This is near the face I’d make when eating a bowl of cereal, and upon after having nearly finishing it, there’s still a few loops swimming in warm milk. I don’t like warm milk. unless it’s in coffee, of course.
But, this is also near the face that I make when I experience a coffee so beautiful, that it reaches somewhere far, far into the recesses of my memory and pulls me back to a place in time – this time, to a breakfast table – before my age reached the double digits – to elucidate what exactly is happening in a cup, in my mouth, in my mind.
Coffee is kind of a serious deal to me. I love it so much because it takes me to places that I’ve forgotten I’ve been to, it reminds me of myself through scenes I otherwise may not recall unless triggered by something in the here and now and it allows me to invite beautiful humans to sit across from me, with me and next to me to share in creating new exchanges, ones that in the future I’ll look back on when triggered by some exterior happening in that present perfect.
This coffee, originating from Nariño, Colombia, was one I couldn’t wait to experience and from the hands of barista Samuel Lewontin, who has worked in the profession of specialty coffee for over a decade. This coffee, named after its farmer Tito Raùl Quelal [ Counter Culture ] is as much a legend as the country in which its grown in.
I’m standing here, in a park, having a major allergy attack because I wanted to create a visual portrait of myself to document what that split shot moment was like in the cool of spring, that tasted like a bowl of fruit loops, right before they went from crisp to soggy, floating, in a bowl of white milk morphing into the color of oatmeal heath.
I experienced it at Sam’s suggestion as a one and one – an espresso shot pulled and split into a serving of a single shot of espresso paired with its sister shot served within a macchiato.
The espresso was like burgundy plums, round and sweet. There was light citrus in the middle of my second sip, finishing off with a taste of honey nougat, rounded out in final sip with a tactile feel of silk.
This was just the espresso.
Then came the milk. The plum espresso turned into fruity fruit loops, marinated stone fruits if you will, in an oat milk mauve hue. I felt like I was tasting color: purple, deep magenta, big bird yellow and shades of hunter green. This was Tito Raùl Quelal This was my barista. This was serious: it was coffee and my childhood.
photographer: Jeremy Mitchell