More outstanding cappuccino foam
Waldo's foam impressed me with it unruly, cotton-candy texture.
Catalina Coffee's impresses with a different style of foam -- tightly focused and dense, with artistic patterns.
The whole operation at Catalina Coffee on Washington Ave. is a little more serious, a little more sophisticated than Waldo's counter-culture aesthetic. Catalina's counter even features baked goods and a CD on display -- just like you-know-who.
But like Waldo's, Catalina isn't Starbucks. The baristas are artists -- and individuals.
Will it be art?
Catalina's web page shows foam in the pattern of a heart. As you can see from the 1st photo, this morning, I got a leaf. Two days ago, there was no pattern other than a carefully constructed cylinder topped with a perfectly flat plateau.
If I go to Catalina often enough, will I get the same pattern twice? Or is every drink an individualized creation?
Sure, visual patterns don't change the flavor. But they can make the coffee better. Drinking is a visual experience too.
Why independent coffee houses matter
We shouldn't hate corporate coffee. American coffee is far better after Starbucks than it was before. Even McDonald's now serves decent coffee drinks.
But every Starbucks cappuccino is essentially the same. As is every McDonald's cappuccino. They are assembly-line product that customers value for consistency.
Wildly different, a cappuccino at Catalina or Waldo's is going to be the creation of an individual. It probably will taste a little better. Its beauty may even approach art.
And it almost certainly will be more . . . human.