Mature waiters in white tuxedos, gleaming brass machines and professional baristas pouring double espressos in handmade white porcelain cups. It is a time to reflect, take stock of the day and enjoy the moment. This is the daily ritual for the people of Buenos Aires.
No line-ups at the counter, no 16-year-old servers and no fully automatic espresso machines that produce the same mediocre espresso time after time. In this bustling city of 17 million you will find no giant 20oz cups to go filled with way too much milk for a grown person, to cover up the poorly chosen, poorly brewed bitter espresso.
When did what we refer to as a coffee break, cease to become a break? When did going for a coffee cease to become an experience? When did a waiter cease to become a dignified profession where one could support a family?
One of our favorite espresso experiences in Buenos Aires is at the Cafe Martinez. They roast their own coffee, and offer several varieties and degrees of roast. You choose the variety and the roast that you want your espresso to be pulled from. They have experienced well-trained baristas who take pride in their work. You receive a small glass of mineral water and a hand crafted chocolate with every espresso. Playing in the background is either classic tango or neo tango fusion such as the Gotan Project or the Bajo Fondo Tango Club.
Another great coffee experiences can be found in Quebec City, Canada. In a dark and romantic cafe in the heart of the old city, you have the option to choose the variety, then one of four methods of preparation: espresso, filtered drip, French press, or an Italian stove stop that brews right at your table over a small flame, the perfect choice for a romantic rendezvous. Over time you become intimately acquainted with all the subtleties of one variety through the different brewing processes.
It is no longer just coffee, it is an experience, and each experience is unique and original. We invite you to think about your memorable coffee experiences, and more importantly WHEN will be your next.
Stay original… enjoy the moment.
The other day someone asked Eva (the greater half of the Underground Art Project) where she gets the inspiration to keep painting. My thoughts immediately turned to the often repeated remark attributed to Brian Eno, that while the Velvet Underground’s first album in 1967 sold only a few thousand copies, every person who bought it formed a band and made more music.
That is the great thing about art. It fuels itself. That is why art in all its forms continue to evolve. Take tango music for example. It all began in Buenos Aires with Carlos Gardel in the 30′s. Now more than 70 years later we see new artists still redefining tango. There is neo tango like the electronic beats of the Gotan Project and the Bajo Fondo Tango Club. Then there is the tango fusion of Tango Crash who fuse neo tango with experimental jazz and Otros Aires who mix tango with the milonga of Barcelona.
The question of course is, who inspired the likes of Carlos Gardel or the VU? I do not know, but of this we can be certain, it was art in some form. Art fuels art. Whether you listen to great music, read a captivating book, fall in love with a beautiful oil painting, savor a perfect shot of espresso (yes, it is art, why you even have latte art, but that is for a future blog), or get lost in the complex aromas and flavors of a hand-crafted, hand-pulled cask-conditioned India pale ale, you are fueling your artistic creativity. All forms of art converge into inspiration, motivating us, fueling us to produce more art.
The music we play in our studio affects the way we paint that particular day, what we write about or how much kerning I want to apply to my favorite font. Art inspires us all to be artists in some way. Artists will continue to redefine and reinvent their art and other people’s art. That is why art has, is, and will always stay original. Stay original… fuel up.