Let’s Talk Shop
Sometimes I like to think that coffee is the great equalizer. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. You’re probably thinking about that one time when you stopped at that one coffee shop and the barista behind the counter glared at you for ordering whipped cream on your latte or about how intimidating the menu appears because it’s all in Italian or Spanish or Martian.
First of all, a lot of baristas (and dare I say, the majority of the coffee industry) is not like that snobby, know-it-all barista you just met. One of my favorite things about the coffee world, and one of the reasons why I hope to remain in this industry until I retire, is indeed the people and the sharing of knowledge that is prevalent in coffee culture. Secondly, don’t worry about the language. A good barista will be an equally good tour guide. Which brings me back to this idea of sharing knowledge.
Coffee is something that is consumed and celebrated all over the world. For as many different places as coffee can be found, as many ways exist for partaking of this dark, rich beverage. And I have come to find that the people who enjoy a good cup of joe or sweet mocha or strong espresso are excited to share and teach about the way they do coffee. Coffee is a science.
There are a variety of roasts to choose from, a variety of brewing methods too. And of course, within those brewing methods the coffee to water ratio can just as easily be tweak for yet another variation. No matter who you are or what you like, there’s a coffee style for you. You just have to play around and be adventurous!
A good barista will guide you through the nuances of the different roasts and processes. They will also be more than willing to share their personal favorites and opinions. We are tour guides, coffee ambassadors. Ask us questions because we love to tell you about it. Or if you’re feeling intimidated, scour the Internet. There are some great blogs and recipes and other resources at your fingertips. There’s not really a wrong way to approach coffee. Oh, and about those languages,it’s all just marketing.
And speaking of resources and in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I leave you with a little recipe for “Mexican Coffee:” start with 5 oz of your favorite coffee. Add 1 oz coffee-flavored liqueur and ½ oz of your favorite tequila. Top with whipped cream or ice cream. Yum!
Viva la café…
Written by: Talia Velasquez