Term Papers, Espresso Update, and a Job Interview

Well, it’s been an interesting week. The crush of catching up on those few homework assignments that never quite got done, term projects due next week, and thinking about final exams. At least it will be all done in another week or ten days. For this semester anyway.

The espresso trials have been somewhat disappointing. I am astonished at how difficult it is to be successful at this seemingly simple task. There is a remarkable variation in the quality of the espresso shots from very minor adjustments in the grind of the beans to how much you compact the coffee (tamp). The temperature of the water and preheating the portafilter also seem to play into it. Then to top it off the beans themselves add another variable into the mix.

Even if I had been successful at pulling a good espresso shot there is still another art to master… steaming the milk. Which does not, I have discovered, mean boiling the milk with steam. The trick (according to those in the know) is to surf the tip of the steam wand just below the surface of the milk thus creating a splendid micro-foam. Sounds easier than it is. Mostly I have managed to simply make hot milk with some silly-looking dishwater bubbles on top. Last night I actually turned out a halfway decent latte. I think I may have finally caught on to the surfing trick.

Now if I can just figure out the right combination of grinder settings, tamping pressure, etc. I might be able to whip out a decent espresso drink on-demand. Hope blooms eternal!

I also had another job interview this week. A friend of mine called me up and said his company was putting out a “call for resumes”. I sent him my resume which he forwarded on. Rather surprisingly I got a call later that morning and found myself sitting in an interview at 4pm that same afternoon. First time I’ve had anything move that fast since I’ve been here.

The interview went well. They are interested in me and I am interested in them. It’s a smaller company (as far as defense contractors go) but I really liked what I saw. They are working on some interesting projects with the US Army component (ARSTRAT) to US Strategic Command, Air Force Space Command, and also with US Northern Command. I enjoyed the people I met and it looks like a good opportunity. The company is Decisive Analytics Corp. I would be working in the Strategic and Operational Solutions Division. I should know sometime next week how this will all work out.