Becoming a Barista
I remember like it was yesterday. The sound of the steam. The smell of the grind. The chatter of the cafe. My first day as a barista was sensory overload, but I fell in love with it immediately! I also immediately hated my boss. Go figure! Thanks Starbucks. I was determined to learn how to craft the perfect beverage. The weeks that followed during my training were rocky. I couldn’t understand the specifics behind frothing milk.
I made at least 300 latte’s at that point and it wasn’t sticking. My angle was always off, the sound the milk makes was so specific and it was hard to pinpoint. Finally someone (a customer) who was a former barista told me to just set the wand in the pitcher and watch. I was like, uh..no. That’s not what you’re supposed to do. You gotta tilt the pitcher, make sure the wand was at the right angle and listen to the milk. Which he told me was true, but not all machines are made equally.
With most high industrial machines, the wand does the work, not the barista.
They are made so you can churn out 100-200 drinks within an hour with ease. This means less stress on the barista, and a happier customer. Much to my surprise, he was right. Granted, I was working at a Starbucks and I should’ve known. I know Starbucks gets a bad rep for fake coffee drinks, but I really learned how to handle high volume orders. During Christmas week, just myself, I would easily make 500 drinks.
It was great learning how to cope with that kind of pressure. Those skills stuck with me for a long time and I miss that environment quite often. However, now knowing the sweet taste of freshly brewed hand picked coffee, I can never go back! A cup of black coffee that was roasted less than 7 days ago will always outperform a solo grande double blended java chip frappuccino any day of the week. Bet! Oh, and If you’re reading this, don’t buy a Unicorn Frappuccino. Have respect for yourself and the Unicorns. C’mon.