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Here we are at Intelli Venice, alongside 60-some producers, with speed metal on the stereo and Doug and Geoff and Stephen playing air traffic controllers and that Terry Ziniewicz custom four group La Marzocco GS2 taking up the length of its own island in the work zone/war zone, where the baristas are making affogatos, endless affogatos for all, this place is crammed full of people, swarmed with people, this entire cafe transmogrified in a single instant to a humming bird bumblebee ant hill hive, all served by just eight employees behind the counter, pulling shots on the aforementioned Espresso Parts special and four 2-group Synessos, while the steady stream of Abbott Kinney coffee seekers snakes itself out the front door as if this were any other 1:44pm moment in the normal life cycle of this cafe, the Blue Blocker-clad beach bums and people who might be famous and a man whose sternum-length ponytail has been carefully threaded out the back strap of his red ballcap, and to our left is Peter from Kenya with his big-ass Nikon camera, and to our right is Luis from Guatemala (his family owns the farm that produces Maravilla, he tells us, adding that they’re big Sprudge readers back in Guatemala), and there are these keen, honey-blonde rays of California sunlight streaming in from all around us, past what is quite simply the biggest Siemens superconductor power box ever produced by man, pouring sunlight onto the Chemex pinkies and Bodum blacks and ambition-red bags of Thiriku and Timbio, and now from behind that squared-circle of a bar they baristas (some of whom are close to tears, so profoundly moved are they by the chance to meet the people responsible for the coffee they work with every day) are busy brewing Chemexes, destined for service on marbled wooden trays the shade of buttered brown bread, and Peter from Kenya can’t stop taking pictures, and the music shifts into some sort of minimalist drum exercise, and Geoff is laughing and talking with his hands with Juan Comilo from Colombia, and pretty soon we have to get back on the bus, but did we mention the Affogatos?


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