Being a Barista

Today’s post is going to be something a little different, a little look in to my life as the title suggests and something that is very appropriate to talk about at the moment because it is taking up so much of the time that I used to have for writing but guess what? I really love being a barista too so I hope this bit of background will interest those who don’t know me and for the rest of you who do, you knew I would have to write about my love for coffee sometime and that time is now.

In October 2014 I was given my first opportunity to work as a barista, I had operated espresso machines before but not as my main job and without any real training so this job was my first insight into the world of coffee. It was at this job that I learnt the importance of checking that the espresso shots were always consistent in the time they take to run off and the yield they produce and it was at this job that I actually started drinking coffee. For years I had avoided caffeinated drinks because they made my unusually fast heart only beat faster but being around the smell of espresso all day only makes you want to drink it and eventually I moved from milky lattes with sugar to black americanos. This was all pretty simple stuff at the time, I was learning small things that were important to our company and attempting to learn how to do latte art (without much success) but not thinking that this was the beginning of something else.

Now, I don’t want to sound dramatic here or like I have really pursued a career in coffee but my interest in it and the enjoyment I get from being a barista surprised me. When I was at this job it was just a job but when I moved on to my first independent, speciality coffee shop I realised I wanted to know so much more, perfect my latte art and learn new brewing methods. I moved on to my first independent in 2016 and this is where I really began to get in deep with the ever-growing culture around coffee thanks to my manager and fellow staff. In this time I got my own Hario V60 dripper so I could brew at home, tasted the espresso and knew what I had to adjust depending on taste and finally started getting past ugly, thin beige squiggles on top of the crema to make well-defined hearts and rosettas after spending 2 solid hours after work practicing. I was watching YouTube videos to improve my technique and miming the motion alongside it with my imaginary jug and cup. I even read up about the different ways coffee is processed and how that affects the taste to then be quizzed about it on shift. I guess all of this just adheres to my love of learning new things.

I really could go on and on as to why I think all the little things you learn as a barista are important when it comes to serving a good cup of coffee, I don’t think most people realise what they have been drinking is bad until they have tried something as good as properly served espresso and milk.

I may be back from Barcelona but I am not sad in the slightest about coming back if it means I get to work with coffee again and thankfully it does, you can now find me at Cow&Co in Liverpool. If anyone is around Liverpool and wants to come in and have a good chat with me about home brewing, their favourite roasters and anything else coffee related I will always be more than happy to do so!

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