How to make a good cup of coffee – barista training

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Pretend you’re a coffee shop barista. First we need a victim… I mean customer.

Smile as a customer approaches you. Ask, “how are you today?” even if you already know the answer. Take the order while furiously scribbling onto a paper cup. Don’t worry about legibility, everyone can hear the order as the customer proudly proclaims…

I’ll have a half-skinny, no foam, extra hot split quad shot latte with whip!

Also, poor legibility is easily mistaken for the “secret language of the baristas.”

You’ll have a What?!

Trust me, it really is complex with all those variations of different syrups and options such as skinny, half-skinny, soy milk, decaf, quad shot, extra hot, room on top etc.

Too bad there isn’t a half-burnt option for those of us who prefer half of the regular burnt flavour.

Maybe this is why the drinks have so many adjectives – too correct for all the mistakes of too much sugar and not enough espresso. It’s kind of like saying, “Can I have a latte, but please don’t burn it, don’t put too much sugary syrup in it, make sure you put enough espresso in it, and don’t over steam my milk.”

In a coffee shop lingo that would be,

“Can I have a half-skinny, no foam, half-sweet, double shot latte?”

Now that we’ve got the order and we’ve overcharged the customer, we can get down to making the drink.

  1. Use a French Roast coffee bean. When it gets accidently burnt it doesn’t destroy the taste. Furthermore, call it additional flavour.
  2. Add the syrup. Now did she say vanilla or hazelnut? Don’t worry, once it’s in the drink it all tastes like a surary mess, and it strategically covers up the burnt espresso taste, oops I mean dark French Roast…very dark French Roast.
  3. Press the button. We all know coffee is made at the push of a button, especially espresso. That’s why there are worldwide barista championships. See? The is a technique to pushing that button.
  4. Get started on steaming the milk. A few coffee shops have pioneered a new technique of simply sticking the steam wand into the pitcher and leaving the pitcher sitting there until it starts overflowing with blogs of overheated foam floating on top. But that’s what the big spoon is for – to skillfully hold the mammoth foam our of the way as you pour what’s left of the milk into the drink.
  5. Serve the drink with a smile!

Random Points to Ponder

Only at a very few coffee shops would a barista seriously ask you, “Would you like to try that drink cold?”

In Europe, you simply order with one word, “latte” or “cappuccino.” In Italy, even that would be unacceptable. After all, a real man (or woman) drinks pure espresso. Please do not try this at your local coffee shop, you may choke on the burnt espresso… err… I mean very dark French Roast.

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