Traditionally when I think of a fancy coffee shop, I think of French presses, steaming espresso machines, and cups made from 100% recycled left-wing literature. This place is more like a science lab. The coffee and water - which is kept at a precise temperatures - are both carefully weighed for just the perfect blend, and then double-filtered. This is the coffee that you would find at the opposite end of the coffee wheel from your Bodum coffee. The latter is rugged and full-bodied, often with a fine sheen of oil on the top and a small layer of sludge at the bottom. It is raw, bold and intense. The Chemex process produces coffee that is smooth and incredibly refined. The coffee is reduced to its flavour essence. We were sipping an African roast one day when Dave looked thoughtful for a moment and then said, "I have been trying to come up with a description for the flavour of this bean, and I think the best description I can come up with is that it tastes like coffee. When I think of coffee, I think of a definitive taste, and this is it." Pretty much nailed it.
I took this picture on full manual. I rested the camera on the counter for the shot, though I at 1/1000 of a second it hardly needed to be braced. I just liked that particular angle. We managed to get the last two seats in the coffee shop that was full to overflowing. In spite of the moderately chilly temperatures and brisk breeze outside, a small crowd had gathered out front to visit and enjoy espresso from elegant little demitasse cups.
Right after I took the previous picture, Dave reached for the camera and said, "I think I might have a good shot for you." Before I could warn him that it was set on full manual mode, he lined up a shot looking down into his mug. He took a couple more at different angles and settings, but in the end the first picture turned out the best. I have found that it often works that way. There is something to be said for spontaneity.
I cropped the shot, and did some modest colour-balancing (which you almost always need to do when you are using the raw image). The Canon software that came with the camera has a "click to balance" feature that I have started playing with lately. I usually just use one of the pre-sets (Daylight, Florescent, Tungsten, etc.) but the click-balance gives some nice granular control when none of those quite do the trick. I did not bother to colour-balance the picture above for, well, obvious reasons.
Sharp observers will notice one other thing that I edited in this picture - well, actually it's pretty obvious when you look at it, but I think it looks better this way.