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The Art of Coffee

The Art of Coffee

When I began my job as a Barista at Mainline Coffee I knew next to nothing about this art. I enjoyed hanging out at coffee shops with friends, and appreciated the energy boost drinking a cup could give me; however, the sum of my knowledge appeared to be only that I knew how to brew coffee at home. I didn’t know the differences between espresso and drip brew coffee, or the differences between a cappuccino and a latte. I was ignorant of how much more went into the process of creating good quality coffee. During my first few months there I strove to learn as much about this trade as possible. Similar to any other job that I have worked at, I felt that it was my duty as a paid employee to become as fully qualified for the position as possible. An emphatic enthusiast about coffee, my manager Josh took me under his wing and began to impart his vast sum of knowledge to me. Every day I worked with him he would teach me more and more about roasting techniques, different origins of coffee and their complex tastes, the best way to foam milk, and the correct names for specialty drinks. He worked on developing my palate for coffee by requiring me to taste each new origin we ordered and then, using coffee vernacular, describing it to the best of my ability. We would also have competitions between ourselves as to who could create the best micro-foam when frothing milk.
As my knowledge of this art increased, I was excited by the potential that I was finding in coffee. I was able to experience excellent coffee and espresso, and it opened my eyes up to the fact that there was much more to coffee than the “traditional” Maxwell House, Folgers, or instant coffee could ever offer. Once roasted, coffee beans begin to oxidize, and they rapidly turn stale and bitter. Packing and refrigeration is able to slow down this process, however, it can never be prevented. Maxwell House, Folgers, and similar brands come already ground, and who knows how long they have been sitting on the shelf in the grocery store. The flavors brought out of these coffees can’t compare to the rich, smooth, and full-bodied flavors of coffee that is recently roasted and ground immediately before brewing. I had discovered something that was good, and I wanted to share my new wealth of information with other coffee drinkers like myself.

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