Friday, 9 October 2015

For the Love of Coffee

I love coffee, in actual fact you could almost have me as the replacement of a chocoholic and call me a coffaholic.

The aroma of fresh roasted beans that seeps the smell of the beautiful oils, is just the beginning. Like a drug I wake up and within minutes a coffee is in my hand without remembering how it got there.

Today in our daily life we venture out to find the perfect blend of bean and the best Barista in town that can deliver on the expectations of fine coffee.

Melbourne being known for it's cafes and coffee, it is sure that each individual knows where to stop for their morning brew.

My question is however how long do you expect to wait?

I once waited 45 minutes in a busy city cafe in it's opening week just to get a bunny on my latte. Sure if you were with a group of other enthusiasts to get a bunny on their latte it wouldn't be a problem, but I was on my own. Boring and lonely.

Was it worth it you ask? Sure, the coffee was well balanced and I got pretty excited to see that bunny smiling at me. Would I do it again? NO.

I understand that the Barista has more things to think about and it's a technique that not everyone understands.

Each bean variety contains a different flavour, and to extract the oil from those beans to make the delicious crema that holds all the flavours you taste can be hard.

To ensure the deliverance of the quality is the entirety of what the consumer demands to receive.

I wonder though, and it is what I recently think most about is why can meals come out from a kitchen quicker than a coffee.

In a lot of places I visit now, you order your coffee as soon as you are seated. You peruse the menu for a good solid 5 minutes maybe longer when your with someone, and yet your meal is served to you before your coffee has hit the table.

Now I'm not discussing the cafes that place the bunny's on my lattes or the Lions in my cup. Those of course you expect to wait, you should never distract an artist.

I'm talking about the love hearts or the roses. These techniques are the beginning of every Baristas life. Some of the time it's taken that long to get the pretty pattern on the top that it comes to you tepid and the milk has started to aerate and bubble.

I'm on the foreground of service and have a team that deliver monstrous amounts of coffee everyday. I value the perfect roast and my team ensures the grind is right and deliver consistency, and on down time they get to do lion's in cups. But I feel that the importance of a consumer is to ensure the coffee is out within 3 minutes and that flavours are perfect.

Im not sure that each individual wants the art, especially when they just want a quick cuppa or don't have time to wait and get a take away. Even then you'd feel like it's taking 15 minutes.

Have we slowed the service down, by expanding these expectations onto our Barista's. The Roasters have provided Melbourne's cafes with amazing blends, all of which come with scales and automatic grinders, which and dare I say it, back in my day never existed.

Do I classify myself as a Barista? Yes. In 1999 and for many years after I spent hours behind the machine serving the cappuccino with mountains of froth, and in that time the more froth you got the better barista you were. Now not only do I feel OLD, I have developed with the trends to ensure the blend is maximised in flavour and the service is gainfully friendly. But what saddens me is that if ever I was asked if I was a Barista, I would have to say no due to the fact that I can't do art.

I have always been told by many roasters, that for a good coffee it is within the flavour of the bean. And I will always stand by that.

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