The Essential Coffee Ratio
I would say that I have a love for coffee, but I think I must admit to it being an addiction. I first began drinking coffee when I was fourteen. It was my first job and the status of ‘dish pig’ in a café at $14 an hour seemed highly appealing to me. Before then I’d been slipped the occasional $50 from grandma (and made it last weeks and weeks) but always dreaded having to wrangle some cash out of dad before pleading to go to the movies with friends. The idea of financial freedom was it for me, it’s where it all started. Off I went every Saturday and Sunday to work from 8am to 4pm. To slowly introduce myself to the taste of coffee I would drink mochas, those horrible half cappuccino, half hot chocolate drinks. I then progressed to drinking a cappuccino and over time evolved to drinking a cappuccino in the morning and a macchiato in the afternoons. Such as the italians do.
After that first job as a very good but over worked and seriously under-paid dish-pig, I went on to forge a career for myself in the hospitality industry. Silly me, the over-worked and under paid problem was clear from the very beginning and it took me years to finally give up and move over to a more rewarding career. I guess I’m a slow learner! But I did learn a few valuable things in that time. Like how to manage a restaurant, and how to work with people you don’t like, and how to pretend to love customers even though you don’t. I also learnt how to make coffee. I discovered an important ratio. It’s a sturdy old reliable friend when in search of good places to keep on my ‘will return’ list.
25% coffee beans + 25% coffee machine + 50% barista = The Perfect Coffee
This essential coffee ratio reminded me of a note I wrote to baristas about the difference between a cappuccino and a flat white. Speaking of this ratio and places I will return to. I was discussing this method for getting the perfect coffee every time over my morning coffee at my favourite local café. It’s my favourite because it’s within stumbling distance in the mornings, it’s got a laid back vibe with friendly service, and they make great coffee. Which is saying something. I don’t come across many places that can get the mix just right. As with the ratio above, it’s not always easy to keep up a perfect average. With the slightest change in variable, your entire end product can be less than standard. But this café manages to serve it up every single time. So I go back, every day. Did I mention they remember my name and my order and know how to coax me into a fresh-out-of-the-oven muffin? Yep, they do. They’re that good!
Further Reading: A Cappuccino Is Not A Flat White With Chocolate
I can be found at this café several times a week. Apparently my brain seems to think it’s not possible to have breakfast at home anymore. I’m usually there by myself, catching up with a girl friend, with the boyfriend and even with Baby Viv. In fact, I just love going there with her. The barista has known her since she was tiny and always pulls funny faces to make her smile, they bring her toys and don’t bat an eye lid when she puts banana bread all over the floor. Now that she’s getting older, they’re desperate to get her onto the babycinos. Although I tend to think the longer we can hold off on sugar and chocolate from existence (in her eyes) the better!We can be found doing this multiple times a week.
As regulars (you could call it creatures of habit) we tend to test the boundaries by drinking single origin beans instead of the campos beans. One of the many appeals of the single origin beans, despite generally being superior to campos, is that they’re always changing. Each week there’s a new bean from a new location. It’s great for a monday morning pick-me-up. You may be relenting the loss of your weekend and the start of another week, but with your first cup of coffee you’ve just travelled to Guatemala. I think that’s not a bad scenario if we must awaken to Mondays.
So hats off to you guys and a big shout out to the owner of The Espresso Room, you’re on to a good thing!