You know when you suddenly run into a good friend in an unexpected place and it turns your day around for the better? That's what a cayenne espresso infusion is like, but with chocolate! You taste the chocolate first at the front of your palate, the familiar espresso second in the middle, and then the cayenne donkey punches you in the back of the throat a couple seconds later. If you don't know what a donkey punch is, don't look it up, just take it at face value.
Without the chocolate, the infusion was a little one-two note for my liking. If you like spicy it was still good, but the chocolate put it over the edge. I was pleased with how well the flavour of the pepper came through, spiciness aside. The fragrant, floral, almost rosy notes came bursting through the thick coffee curtains as if to say, "Hey! Look at me! I'm here now." Most of the seeds were removed in an attempt to allay the spiciness, and it was a good thing I did. The sudden burn in the gullet around the two second mark was pleasantly surprising for a spice nut like me, like the wave of a dear friend across the street in the corner of your eye. Even Brian enjoyed it, and he is, as he put it, "not a spice guy."
My friend and partner in music crime, Marc, has a backyard garden at his place on College street. He grew and dried these particular cayenne peppers. I don't know if that makes them taste better, but it can't hurt. If anything, it makes this cuppa joe more of a local brew than it already was. Just a small spattering at the bottom of the holder was all it took to make a surprising, intriguing, full flavoured shot.
For me, the sweet chocolate flavour rounded out and balanced the intensity of the shot and the pepper. This blend was also tasted by a coffee connoisseur by the name of Rick who has a political/coffee blog found here. He found the infusion "surprising", and said that it tasted better than a chili brew he had at last year's Toronto Barista Championship. What a compliment! After only a week I wouldn't consider myself a barista, but Brian is certainly a master of his craft. I am definitely looking forward to seeing how this infusion comes together.