Starbucks Customer Demands Recompense For Harassing An Employee

I don’t particularly feel like buttering up what’s happening here. This news story is a common bad memory for anyone who works, or has worked, as a barista.

Being a barista means being the verbal punching bag for middle-aged women who get a kick out of being waited on hand and foot. Take more than five minutes during rush hour making their order? They need a manager. Don’t have their usual on hand due to low supplies? They would like to speak to someone ‘higher up’. Get them the right sized order because that’s what they asked for? You actually gave them a size too big, they need recompense for their suffering. It’s not funny. It’s annoying, stressful and pathologically maddening.

So we have yet another tale of someone who clearly hasn’t been told no enough in their life wanting justice for…being a prick.

I’ve had women like this try to get me fired over nothing, and it was only the fact my co-workers and supervisors didn’t like her either that had me keeping my job. I’ve heard (and watched) stories about workers being spat on, coughed on, screamed at with no consequences for the aggressive party. I’ll never forget the video taken of a cafe customer who, quite literally, shat on the floor of the lobby to get a point across. I’d link to it, but it’s gross. Look it up on YouTube if you’re curious.

The details of this story are like trying to debate astrophysics with someone drunk. A chiropractor (who won’t even comment on the issue) is the authority on a breathing problem? A past issue of an ovarian cyst is enough reason not to wear a mask in a public space and protect others with immunodisorders or asthma? I mean…you’d think someone with a life-threatening breathing problem would be more wary of going into public spaces, but what would I know? I’m just glad the employee got some financial stability out of this mess.

Wear a mask. Social distance. Care about your neighbor, unless it’s this woman.

Coffee On Wheels: Innovative Ideas For Hard Times

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Coffee on wheels has been a trend in Europe for a while. Thanks to this former real estate manager, it’s a trend starting to catch on elsewhere. This entrepreneur turned his coffee business into an on-the-go deal, inspired by mobile coffee shops in Europe. He went through the painstaking process of converting his car to house coffee equipment and now goes around neighborhoods making fresh lattes and mochas, practically at people’s doorstep. It’s a flexible and convenient approach to coffee I would love to see myself one day.

Like the ice cream truck, but for adults! (Though I do love ice cream)

The pandemic has driven an unforgiving heel into the already flimsy global coffee industry. Indeed, I can’t entirely blame this curveball for much of what we’re seeing now. The weak foundation of underpaid farmers, convoluted supply chains and rapidly developing climate change couldn’t do anything but further buckle under a dangerous virus. Neat ideas like mobile cafes could be a great way to change how we engage with our daily staple. A way to reduce space. Improve accessibility. Stay flexible.

Even if we’re lucky to return back to normal…normal wasn’t exactly good to begin with.

Level Up Your Summer With A Catchy Coffee Tune

One of the easiest ways to get me in a good mood? Send me music!

There’s just so much beautiful work out there in need of more love. Heck, one of my daily habits is just letting Soundcloud autoplay go crazy. I was recently sent this song by one of the folks at El Parche Coffee, who write and record music alongside releasing quality Colombian beans. It’s a catchy little acoustic song that hearkens to the summery bops of Bomba Estéreo and the upbeat tempos of Don Omar. If you’re also practicing Spanish fluency (like myself), consider that another plus.

El Parche Coffee is currently focused on helping Colombians who were hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, with the goal of providing them with reliable food delivery. Their Together For Colombia products will see 100% of the proceeds donated to the cause. If you’ve got a few spare minutes or some spare change, check them out. In the meantime, grab yourself a mug, hit play and be swept away to a sunkissed beach with white sands…that ideally doesn’t require masks.

Millennials Want Decaf Coffee More Than Previously Thought

You ever think about how the stigma toward decaf coffee is a self-fulfilling prophecy?

“People don’t want decaf because we don’t offer decaf options and it’s hard to buy what isn’t there hence why they don’t want decaf.”

This mountain of stigma is less a natural side-effect and more built brick-by-brick by people who really need to get their priorities straight. Decaf tastes bad…because many in the past didn’t give it the same care and attention as caffeinated coffee. Decaf is only for puerile, shallow coffee drinkers…because snobbery is more important than personal preferences. One way or another, decaf coffee gets bumped to the bottom of the pile, resulting in few options and a lot of rolled eyes.

The Perfect Daily Grind takes a look at how decaf coffee has seen a rise in interest among Millennials, actively preferred for its lower caffeine content with statistics that only continue to grow. The article takes a look at several fairly recent studies ranging from 2013 to 2017, noting that decaf hits many high notes for the demographic. Reduced caffeine addiction is one. Fewer jitters, crashes and, yes, drowsiness are more. Cafes are being called upon to meet this significant percentage halfway, and, of course, I’m all for it.

I mean…decaf’s my default. Has been for several years now. It keeps heart palpitations and nausea at bay without sacrificing delicious flavor. I’ll sing its praises all day long and, with any luck, more voices will be added to this choir.

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From Part-Time Barista To Making Coffee At Home: My Homebrewing Coffee Journey (Part Two)

The coffee journey never ends. Anyone who pretends to know all there is about this ancient bean is a liar…and an unsuccessful one, at that.

At-home coffee. Homebrew coffee. Making coffee at home. Whatever you happen to call it, this method has taken a front seat for many in the wake of the coronavirus. Myself included! After many a year deprioritizing this beloved fascination in favor of more immediate concerns, I’ve since purchased a manual coffee grinder, a French press and some decaf beans to start my homebrewing coffee journey. Not content with just a few options on the table, I’ve decided to try out the pourover, as well. You can find the first part of the series here.

How are all these different brew methods faring? Let me count the ways.

I recently got my Hario pourover and Malita filters from Seattle Coffee Gear (as you can likely see, they’re my go-to for online coffee supplies). I bought my French Press off of Amazon, however…and let me say, I do not generally recommend this. It’s best to buy your coffee supplies from either a specialty supplier or the original business, as the site is loaded with fake sellers that either sell knock-offs or used versions that slipped quality control. Fortunately for me, my French Press arrived in mint condition.

My very first personal French Press coffee, though…wasn’t great.

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Not Quite A Latte, Not Quite A Cappuccino: What Is A Macchiato, Exactly?

Being a barista meant a lot of explaining.

“Oh, a frappuccino is an iced drink!”

“A mocha frappuccino just means it has chocolate in it.”

“Do you want a dry or a wet cappuccino? …Oh, you wanted a latte?”

Again and again I found myself spending more time hashing out terminology than making the actual drink (and this was essential, as a dissatisfied coffee customer can take up even more time). It was part of the job, and the coffee industry is rather notorious for its mile-long list of exclusive terminology. For those of you out there wanting to brush up on your coffee vocabulary, take a look at the Perfect Daily Grind’s rundown of the macchiato.

A quick overview: the macchiato is a predominantly espresso based drink, with just a little milk to add texture without overwhelming the subtle flavor notes of the coffee. This differentiates it from the milk-dominant latte and the foam-dominant cappuccino. This won’t stop you from seeing unique takes on the drink, however, as each cafe will still have different techniques (and misnomers) to its name. For those that are counting calories, this is also considered a superior drink to add to your diet. A win-win.

Easy And No Longer Cheap: Why Specialty Instant Coffee Is On The Rise

Coffee is as varied as the people who drink it. Some prefer to take their time on a lazy Sunday crafting delicate home lattes. Others barely have enough time to toss a packet in a mug before rushing to work. I regularly look forward to my home coffee set-up, choosing between decaf beans and brewing methods alike.

That’s what makes coffee so wonderful: it adapts to fit us, in every shape and size.

That doesn’t stop instant coffee from being somewhat of a dirty phrase in the coffee industry, however, conjuring up comparisons to caffeinated dirt and being brushed to the side as only fit for the tasteless among us. Several businesses today are challenging that notion, offering specialty instant with gentler brewing methods and more subtle tasting notes. This piece on Vinepair looks at the history of instant coffee over the decades and how it’s starting to break through its stained reputation. Dalgona, the online coffee craze often made with instant coffee crystals, is just the tip of this iceberg.

I’m definitely going to check some of these out soon. I’ve never had specialty instant before (one step at a time!) and am very curious about some of these flavor notes. Cashew, red wine or toffee with just a stir of the spoon? Sign me up.

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From Part-Time Barista To Making Coffee At Home: My Homebrewing Coffee Journey

A former barista and longtime coffee lover just now starting a homebrewing coffee journey? It’s more likely than you think.

Let’s take a few steps back. My priorities were already being shuffled around long before the pandemic stepped in and shook us for all our loose change. From moving to a new apartment to figuring out a career shift, my desire to have an omnipresent home cafe in the corner of my kitchen was a lovely dream, but just that. A distant dream of making coffee at home, constantly pushed onto the back burner and growing ever loftier with every new excuse. If I wanted to enjoy a good cup, there was always a great cafe (or three) just a walk away. I live in the heart of Washington: throw a stone.

These days it’s too risky to even go to the low-activity cafes or roasteries, on top of everyone’s wallets being burned out. Now that things are both more stable and entirely unstable for me, my love for coffee has been resuscitated beyond said coffeehouse trips (and endless poring through coffee industry reports). It’s time to save money in the long run and create a homebrewing coffee set-up, at my own pace and with my preferences front and center.

While living with my mother I’d bounced between using her little red Keurig and her French Press (buying specialty beans had also been low-priority). After I moved, my roommate also happened to have a Keurig on standby. One collecting dust, at that. I’d proceed to use it a few times a week with grocery store coffee staples like Peet’s and Signature Select, giving me another coveted taste of the homebrewing experience (as well as a reminder of why I don’t want to rely on unsustainable coffee pods in the future).

One day my roommate was cleaning up the place and asked if I wanted to sell her Keurig, flicking on the lightbulb in my head that I have a prime opportunity to finally, at long last, upgrade.

Don’t let my procrastination turn you away: putting together your own coffee corner is a ton of fun. I’m going to share my homebrewing coffee journey in this ongoing series, from the equipment I’ve bought to the beans I’m grinding. I’ll also share recipes I’m trying out, homebrewing coffee resources and my thoughts on coffee culture. If you have a coffee set-up you’ve been thinking of starting, or just enjoy the thrill of the journey, read on.

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galaxy

Star Wars And Coffee Go Together Like Java And Jawas

Something that might not be readily apparent with this blog is the fact I’m a huge geek. A raging one. An unapologetic nerd so massive as to simultaneously create and inhabit my own black hole, of which no movie quote or videogame-related TED Talk shall ever escape.

Imagine my delight when I came across this fun list linking Star Wars characters to certain types of coffee. It’s funny, because I’m not even that big a fan of the franchise, having only recently found interest with the new trilogy as well as the stunningly well-crafted The Mandalorian. That said, I’ve seen all the films and know enough to appreciate how spot-on these are. I’m glad I wasn’t drinking my morning brew when I read the Yoda post.

There are spoilers for the new trilogy in this piece, though, so proceed with caution (and the only reason I’m not arguing about how very uninteresting those spoilers are is because this is still a beverage blog). Speaking of which, I’ll have to start thinking which coffee drink personifies me best. I’m thinkiiing…a frothy brown sugar latte in a cup the size of Middle Earth. Maybe a decaf dalgona in the shape of the statue of David.

Variety Is The Spice Of Life: Five Interesting Products Made From Coffee Supplies

One of the most common starting points for sustainability conversations are building materials: the ingredients we use to craft where we live and how we move.

To recycle something is to keep valuable materials out of toxic landfills and back into the hands of the people and businesses that need it. You don’t have to be a sustainability expert to know about the viability of recycled cardboard for storage. In fact, one of my earliest school memories was making my own paper out of recycled bits! Things get a little interesting when you see just how many materials can be reused and for what. Since this is a beverage blog (and I put the hook in the title), you can likely guess where this is going.

Coffee is a daily staple. A lifestyle and, for many, a passion. The old coffee grounds, as well as coffee-related supplies, can be a practical ingredient for all sorts of products. Let’s take a look at whether this is mere novelty or an actual change to get excited about.

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