NEW ESPRESSO BAR IN OUTER SPACE
As much as I love exploring different coffee shops, here’s one that I can’t quite imagine stepping into. Why? Well, I’m extremely claustrophobic. Plus, I’m uncomfortable in aircraft of any sort. So, visiting the International Space Station for coffee shop conversation would be an enormous stretch for my constitution.
Yes, it’s beautiful being out of the earth’s grasp of gravity and gazing back at her blue and green glory, no doubt. It would be the reverse of stargazing – one of my favorite reflective pastimes. How fascinating it would be to flip that view around and look backward on Mother Earth.
But for that role, I commend the astronauts for their bravery. I’ll make do with photographs and my imagination.
By now, you’re probably wondering why an espresso bar ended up in outer space. It seems as though instant coffee has been a staple on board space flights, along with the proverbial Tang, for quite a few decades. But now that some Italian astronauts occasionally stop by the station, there’s been a special request for home brew.
And that request is being fulfilled by a special machine called ISSpresso. I-S-S for the International Space Station.
So there we have it: The ISSpresso Coffee Shop. I guess it has a somewhat galactic rhythm to it.
Anyway, to provide the beverage, an Italian company designed an espresso maker, about the size of a microwave.You put in a pouch of water, add a little capsule of espresso and press the button marked “brew.” The espresso comes out in a second pouch. To make the sipping experience more authentic, the Italians are still trying to develop a little cup that will work in zero-G’s.
Nobody’s sure how all that coffee and steam will behave in zero gravity, and they’ve had to take extra safety measures, including steel tubing and lots of sensors. The machine’s architect says he’s confident, though, that hot espresso won’t squirt into the cabin.*
Once the machinery is perfected, a true espresso bar will be available for all folks visiting from outer space. It will become a happy meeting place for all space wanderers seeking good coffee, conversation and rejuvenation.
I’d love to offer everyone a “Grounds Up!” from Mocha Muse, but, that may be a dangerous blessing in zero gravity. So how about: May the coffee rise up to meet you. . .Gently. . . with each savoring sip.
*NPR’s The Salt