February 14, 2009

Barista Saturdays

Barista Satrudays: the day my wife and I fill in barista shifts at Cafe Verde. After working many years on the back side of coffee (green coffee development and export), it's refreshing to finally be working at the moment that all the back side becomes specialty coffee.

Our specialty coffee industry has many of interpretations of the definition of "specialty coffee", but I think the barista experience reminds me of the truth: it's only a specialty coffee if the consumer encounters an extraordinary cup of coffee. The years of work on cooperative development, farming techniques and quality selection is meaningless if the barista brews the coffee wrong.

So there I am remembering all the back side work and 5 customers walk in at the same time. Coffee starts flying and I'm faced with the reality that it's difficult to remember my protocols and serve specialty coffee in the chaos of retail pressure. Then a customer comments, thats the best cup of coffee I've had in Lima . . . protocols are worth it till the end.

5 more minutes and I'm on bar!

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