Are you a coffee snob like I’ve become?

barista espresso shots


I am a confessed coffee snob. Granted I still have much to learn, and since working at the café and learning to be a barista, I have found out just how much. Much as for a wine connoisseur, coffee is a very particular thing.

When someone looks for a quality café hoping to find coffee excellence, the barista doesn’t mind a little particularity, in fact it’s expected. Baristas will pull 2-3 shots before being satisfied with the perfect one sometimes. And a customer waiting for their Americano or latte, doesn’t mind the wait generally. Brewed coffee is for the hurried. 😉 The grind, tamping and water temperature all affect the quality of the espresso shot.

Corporate coffee shops with specialty coffees are known for their idiosyncratic customers, with their non-fat, sugar-free, flavored espresso drinks – but is the focus really on the espresso itself? I’m not sure. I just know that if I want a personal touch I look for the homegrown café with the locally fresh-roasted fair-trade organic beans.

Which is why I was dismayed to discover at a small town shop with a quality supplier of beans, that when I ordered my Americano it was made with a pre-portioned/packed puck of espresso. Why on earth would you bother with an espresso machine, if not to pull a fresh ground espresso shot? I figured we may as well have been using the single-brew specialty coffee-makers that are used for convenience in many homes and offices.

At a good café the barista doesn’t mind pulling a new shot if the customer is not satisfied with the crème. They don’t mind waiting for the water to heat to it’s optimum temperature before pulling the shot. And will work to froth the milk just right for the perfect pour into a lovely bit of latte art.

I may never become the skilled barista, but I now have a greater appreciation for what my barista does for me, and am on the hunt for an inexpensive quality home espresso machine 😉

I hope to keep my newly gained skills practiced, but am on to new horizons, having finally secured employment in my field of study, social work.


Trish Blogs… on Java!

Until I had children, I was one cuppa day java drinker. I was no connoisseur, though I knew I preferred espresso drinks to perked. I didn’t have to cut back on my coffee while pregnant because I already drank less than the maximum allotment.


I’m not sure when I started paying attention to coffee more, but I was buying a coffee maker and started researching a little to see what would make a difference in the enjoyment of my coffee at home. I started off with a drip brewer that had a control on it for the warmer, so as not to burn the coffee after it was ready.


I bought fair trade, organic coffee, and started grinding it fresh when I brewed it. Then I decided to try some new coffeemakers. I got an inexpensive stovetop espresso maker, and a glass french press. I started ordering Americanos or lattes without flavoring added when at coffee shops that had the option.

I learned to dislike certain Canadian icon brands, whose coffee was fresh-brewed, but not fresh.


I have dreamed of one day opening a little cafe/used bookstore, and would love to learn to be a barista and pull a great espresso shot, and maybe make fancy latte art – for when the time comes.


I choose local shops that use fresh-roasted beans first, and began frequenting my favourite spot, Cafe Brea this past summer. The owner and I became friends over time, and recently we were able to help one another out  – I needed some extra work, and she needed someone to fill some extra hours.

Cafe Brea

So began the adventures of a newbie barista…


So far I’ve learned the basics about coffee blends and how to operate the grinder, the antiquated cash register, and help in the kitchen. I had no idea the profile of coffee could change so much by blending two different beans/roasts together!


Pulling espresso is an art form that will require practice, I made my first attempt at it one day last week – then it got busy – same thing happened the next day I tried – can’t wait to try again!


I wonder how long it will take me to learn to do this!

I wonder how long it will take me to learn to do this!