A good coffee shop is an important thing. Important for secret meetings to talk about writing with older boys. Important for—praise be—the only poetry reading in town. Important for everyone else too. Important for legendary bathroom graffiti and important for brioche the size of your head.
Important for the cat whose life’s work is sipping cream from tiny stainless pitchers. Important for sitting with sisters, for stretching an hour or so spent laughing at the classifieds over months between visits. Important for the waitress who gets your name wrong so often and with such conviction that you’re sure she’s doing it on purpose. Important for ragtag rows of cake stands and what they keep: a quince-studded vanilla cake set to “buckle” under a mountain of pistachio ginger streusel.
Adapted from The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee, a book about a coffee shop.
- I used Cybele Pascal’s gluten-free flour mix. Gluten-eating folks can sub AP flour by weight and omit the xanthan gum.
- I quartered and cored a single quince and poached it in 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, and 1/4 t lemon juice for about 40 minutes. David Lebovitz has a good poached quince recipe too. Quince poaching is a forgiving science. No matter what, save the poaching liquid as it’s the best soda syrup around.