Coffee & Espresso

Several years ago, a friend was working in Kazakhstan. He couldn’t find good coffee so he got a press pot and needed tips on how to use it. I sent him some suggestions and he was delighted to finally have good coffee!

Friends come to my house for a good espresso drink. I give my full attention to steaming the milk and preparing the espresso. I’ve sampled over 50 espresso blends in the past few years and know what I really like. I’ve learned how to bring out the best qualities in milk so it fully complements the espresso. My friends all have taste preferences I attempt to meet. In short, they are now spoiled as it’s difficult to find a great coffee anywhere else.

Like anything, being a barista is an art. It takes practice and attention to detail. While I love connecting with people, when I’m making their drink, that is my primary focus. A few seconds too long in the espresso extraction or in steaming the milk and the drink is mediocre. It still shocks me that I’ve learned how to do this at home yet so many full-time barista’s in espresso coffee shops simply don’t get it.

“Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks” was a sign in a local coffee shop along with recommendations for four locally owned places. Two of the four are notorious for being dirty (both their espresso equipment and their shop), the third uses a fully automatic espresso machine with no attention to detail and literally NO crema on their espresso while the last had perhaps the worst tasting espresso blend I’ve ever had. Locally owned doesn’t translate to great coffee. If you aren’t interested in great coffee and you know what satisfies you, that’s fine. If you want something that smacks you in the mouth and wakes up all your senses, perhaps I can help!

I’ll post some ideas here on how to make great coffee at home, how to tell if you are going to get a good coffee by the sound of the steaming process and how to order a drink you know you will like. There are tons of coffee related websites. I’ll provide links to those that have really helped me and to sites with great coffee information.

Recently a friend stopped by for a visit and I made him an “Iced Larry”. He drinks a lot of coffee, has a sophisticated palate and knows what he likes. In the middle of our conversation, he took a sip, lost his train of thought and said, “WOW! That is really good!” That’s what I’m after, a drink that is a conversation stopper.

If you have a specific interest or question, let me know. I’ll see what I can do to answer it for you or steer you in the right direction.

One thought on “Coffee & Espresso”

  1. Ok, so that friend in Kazakhstan was enlightened on how to make his first good coffee finally, but now that next phase. Thais has received an espresso machine for Christmas and during this week’s snow break from school (we had 8-9 inches and cold temps…fun on the farm!) back to the topic at hand…she began experimenting, but would like let’s say 2-3-4 basic must do steps to starting toward that “smack you in your mouth” great cup.

    Lead on my friend but go slow we want this to stick for a long time.

    p.s. Enjoying the stories from the road less traveled.

    Godspeed. Jim

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