Barista Dance

Part 4

The Barista Dance.

Ever since I started to make espresso drinks – I learned that there was a certain rhythm to find. A rhythm that suddenly became a dance. Of course in the beginning it’s a little tricky, sometimes my feet would get in the way, or I would stumble around with the mugs and perhaps burn myself with the steam wand. Over the course of time fluidity and graceful movement becomes second nature.

I often think of myself as a dancer when I make espresso drinks. I know I know, it’s weird and I’m not a great dancer even though I love to dance. But the motions have been pounded into my brain and now I hardly think about what my feet and hands do.

Don’t be fooled though, there are probably some baristas out there that aren’t the most ‘graceful’. Yet, I do believe all great baristas are ‘smooth’ simply because that is what makes the process efficient.

And that’s the real knowledge you’ll gain today even if it is fairly common sense its detrimental to the quality of your drink.

Efficiency.

If your barista is not efficient (don’t mistake this as ‘fast movement’) then your drink will tell.

If your barista knows what he/she is doing, then things will be done in order, quickly, smoothly and correctly. There are tricks of the trade that help us out here, but honestly ‘go with the flow’ is the best way I can describe it – while staying within the rhythm of the barista dance.

~Delian

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Barista Knowledge Part 3

Clean station.

Yup. I know this one is a go figure but here’s the real deal.

The warning buzzer doesn’t need to go off if you see a bunch of espresso everywhere – no, that’s not going to affect your drink like it’ll affect the bosses pockets. Warning bells can start going off when you see that things are wet. If you see water (and possibly steamed milk) on the counter (ESPECIALLY on/around the tamper) be wary. What happens is when water gets on the espresso grinds in the portafilter basket when the shot is being pulled the water going through it is attracted to the espresso with water on it already. Instead of a smooth and balanced shot you’ll be getting a shot that didn’t ‘pull through’ correctly creating a possible acidic taste.

~Delian

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Imparting Barista Knowledge Part 2

A huge key to seeing if you have a good barista at your shop is if their hopper is consistently full of espresso beans. I mean – if they have a rush and it gets a bit low don’t be like ‘o my gosh my drink is gonna be crap!’ let me reassure  you, it won’t be. The reason why it should be full is because the consistency of the shots change and it becomes harder for the barista to control the shot. Like I said in my last post espresso is incredibly moody, so it’ll change on a whim. Sort of like us when we’re hungry, the hungrier we get the crabbier we’ll are. For espresso its stomach is the hopper and the emptier it gets the crabbier it’ll be and harder for the barista to manage. So there you have it! Keep your hoppers full and your espresso happy and your drinks will be Muy Bien!

~Delian

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Barista Knowledge Part 1

Something that I have wanted to do is to express different aspects of espresso drinks so that you could understand the ‘behind the scenes’ of your drinks.

One thing. If the espresso shot we’re pulling comes out too fast or too slow – essentially if we ourselves would not drink it – you will not get it. Many of us have described espresso as being, well a bit moody. In fact it’s REALLY moody. It’ll change up on us if the weather changes. It’ll change on us depending on how old it is (the younger it is the more uncontrollable. Go figure). Anything and everything from how heavy the tamper is to the strength of each barista. The art of mastering espresso takes an intuitive soul who can use all of their senses to tune in with the mood of the espresso.

So there you are. Next time you have to wait an extra second for your mocha maybe the barista threw away your first shot because it got moody and decided to come out fast so that it was acidic and gross. The easy thing to do is give you whatever is available because in our culture we tend to have the ‘get in and get out’ mentality – especially with food and drinks. However, to keep a quality standard up to par we often have to go the extra mile to make sure you get an amazing drink.

End of Barista Knowledge Part 1

Keep a look out for Part 2

~Delian

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Barista Expressions

I feel responsible this morning to write a post because I had a remarkable amount of hits on this site and I feel as if it might have something to do with yesterdays event at Heavenly Cup. So here’s the deal. I’ll give you the ‘barista’ down low IF anyone who reads this and went to the event gives us their info on it as well!

Deal?

Ok good.

Last night was INSANE. After last years event (Barista Blast) I wasn’t sure how this one would go. Without getting into details about last year let’s just say we got hit and we weren’t expecting it (I guess two months of advertising really DOES work – go figure). So this time we did less advertising and a little more preparing for the ‘flow’ of the evening. With that said, we had no idea how busy we were going to get. Well it got crazy! Insane crazy. We have a ticket rack up by our LaMarzocco and for at least an hour straight that was filled with more coming! Actually I think it was closer to two hours. Of course the ‘plan’ never fully works, so thanks to everyone on the team that improvised! You all did an amazing job!

Also a special thanks to Kenzie who came and took a bazillion photos (including some bad ones of me – so we’re just gonna hope I’m in charge of editing). And also Carol for coming in the insaneness and grabbing a few of our expressions!

Also to my dad – Doug Cornfield, who took video footage! (I’m hoping to get a video put together for this and maybe have it up for advertising for our next one! – Ya know, to prove that everyone had a good time).

Thank you Doug and Gail for your behind the scenes help – and if anyone didn’t notice the HUGE fruit bowl – well, that was Gailski! Also for letting us do what we did – I hope it was a good turnout for you as well!

To my sisters who were willing to come in extra early and help out – thanks – I hope the drinks you had were awesome!

To my little brothers who wore suits for the event. (They’re 5 and 7 – so cute!)

Set-up/break down team. You guys were awesome!

Curtis – for all of the help you did but especially for making Morgan’s night amazing simply by setting up her painting the way you did! It literally was perfect!

Thank you all of Morgan’s friends and family who showed – supporting her and her mission and dreams. For everyone who appreciated her art as a barista and a painter!

And most of all – thank you all for coming! It wouldn’t have worked at all without you. No really, it wouldn’t have.

For anyone who left (leaves) comments we REALLY appreciate it! It helps us understand what was liked or not liked and gives us more specifics on things to keep or discard whether it was drinks or systematic things! Thank you!

So – overall – it was a blast for us behind the counter. Some of us had been awake since VERY early (Hawkins thank you for still being there despite your long day!) Or to others who worked all day in order to come and work again (Alicia!). Still, ghana admit that it was fun!

Honestly the atmosphere was so much fun I forgot how ridiculous my outfit probably looked! That’s when you know it’s gotta be fun right?

We made a lot of drinks.

A lot of drinks.

We had a lot of help.

A lot of crazy running around.

But I hope we can do it again!

Thank you everyone!

~Delian

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Drink of the Day!!

A hot creamsicle rooibos tea Latte!! Hot tea, add some vanilla, and steamed milk….welcome to creamy bliss!!!

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First Impressions

When you walk into a coffee shop what is the first thing you notice?

Well, while I wait for you to answer that, I will give you my answer.

First, I notice the setting. I often look for comfortable seating (I’m a sucker for couches). Or anything that might be different. Say if the coffee shop I go to is more of a traditional Italian and has a bar at the front, you will probably see me spazzing out and if you could see my heart, it’d be doing flips. I wouldn’t care if the whole place was covered in couches, if there was a bar set-up to serve espresso I’d be in Heaven.

Next I think about the lighting. Is it darker? Does it make me feel warm? Relaxed? Other worldly? My favorite is probably when it’s a thicker building with a lot of warm lighting. I feel like I’m ‘getting away’ from the world, but it’s a warm and lit atmosphere where I can read or write for hours.

Now, I’m not talking so much about what the coffee shop serves at this point, since I am just talking about what I feel like when I step in, but let’s face it, if there’s not good espresso my experience will be only so-so. Therefore, next I notice the machine they use. The condition it is in, if the station is messy, if the set-up looks efficient. Little things that I know make all the difference in a great espresso. This also means that I check out their menu! (I’m not sure, but I think that may be what most people look at first when they go to a coffee-shop). If I see that they have the correct versions of traditional Italian espresso drinks then I am encouraged and am 100 percent more likely to get a drink. I also look at how they portray their menu, I’m not sure why, but when I remember a shop, that’s often the first visual that comes to my mind – their menu.

The next thing I notice are the people working there. Are they nice? Are they real? Would I like to be friends with them? (I think about this when I’m on the other side of the counter and conversing with customers). If they converse with me and are especially informative about their espresso and even better are excited about it, then I am probably doing a dance right then and there as I give my order!

OK. So let’s say I’ve ordered an espresso (it’s what I want right now, that or a cappuccino, and if I get a cappuccino I can see if they do latte art.  Perhaps I get both! Espresso first though). I’ve sat down at a couch (because this is not one of the Italian Coffee Houses with a bar) and I’ve picked up my book and I’m reading, what do I notice now?

The people. Ah yes. What sort of people come into this coffee shop? Well, let me tell you one thing that is always the same for coffee shops.

You never know what kind of people are going to come in!

So there you have it. If you see me tucked away into a coffee shop reading or writing, perhaps even talking with a friend, these are the things that have gone through my mind from step one to where I am now.

What’s your first impressions of a coffee shop?

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