Only a few short years ago I didn’t drink coffee at all. As a native Brit I was a tea man all the way. How times have changed!
When I started working in an office I realised that my colleagues were taking a 15 minute break every day to walk a few blocks down to the nearest Starbucks. One day I joined them on a whim and found myself completely overwhelmed by the choices on offer. Was I a grande chai latte kind of guy, or was a skinny vanilla frappuccino more my style? I don’t recall what that first drink I tried was, but I do remember thinking it was awful. I didn’t join them again.
A few months later work got silly, I mean like 16 hours a day silly, and so any time away from my desk was something to cherish. To stretch my legs I joined the crew on their daily coffee run and this time tried a white chocolate mocha. It was so sweet I could barely taste the coffee, which for me was a big plus. It was good enough for me so I started joining them on their daily visits. At this point I considered Starbucks the absolute height of coffee sophistication.
When I moved to Melbourne I was surprised to find a city jam packed with coffee shops. I naturally assumed that because it is always so insanely hot in Australia that the last thing in the world anyone would want to drink was a big mug of steaming hot coffee, but boy was I wrong. Spotting an opportunity to impress my new colleagues on my first day I invited them all for coffee. When they accepted I asked where the nearest Starbucks was and was met with stares of horror. They dragged me to a tiny boutique coffee place down a nearby side street. It was at that moment that I really fell in love with coffee. The people in the store were so passionate about their work, you only had to watch them obsess over every little detail to appreciate just how seriously they were taking it. I was immediately fascinated and wanted to learn more.
My (now) wife noticed my new found interest in espresso and so for my birthday booked us both on a half day home barista course. I really can’t recommend this enough for anyone with even a passing interest in coffee. We learned all about the different beans, grinds and espresso drinks. We spent a lot of time learning how to froth milk, which is still an art I am trying to perfect. We even had time for a bit of coffee art at the end. It was a great day and I learned a huge amount about just how intricate coffee really is.
When we moved to Canada I tried to find the same boutique coffee scene, but where we live doesn’t have anything quite like Melbourne. After trying several different places I have found my favorite, but now I am more interested in making my coffee at home. In my next entry I’m going to talk more about my forray into becoming a home barista.