Day 3, ABC Barista Training

Class this morning was one hour later. This was nice since it gave me some time to get ready at a more comfortable pace. I had a nice orange and ginger pancake breakfast. After catching up on the USA Today that is left at my door I bundled up and began the 6-8 block journey. I am very fortunate to have been here with such marvelous weather. I only wish I could have had time to explore the area in detail.

The walk was like the last few days, beautiful sun shining on your face with a chill to the air. I got to the school about 20 minutes early so I could use the afforded connectivity to check in on my world. I got to speak with Louie who is a possible Manhatten store. He has a lot of questions and is trying to solve a lot of his issues while here at the school. My mind boggles at how much information one needs to absorb, and how simple a good portion of it is. Of course it only gets simple once you finally understand it. None of this looks simple from the outside.

Austin and Matt showed up with breakfast goodies. They both noted how we tapered off a little early yesterday so they thrust us back into the lab for more practice. They want to make sure when you leave here you are getting an extraction rate and a steam consistancy that you and your clients can be happy with. This to me is the primary core of their teaching. If you cannot get these basics down anything beyond that will be for nothing. Who cares about latte art if your product tastes like crap.

After everyone had many rounds on the machines. Austin gave us a lecture on latte art. Understanding the different base techniques of rolling and pulling. Some of the dynamic nature of your foam. Watching for the signs that let you know you are on the right track. We then went into the lab and Austin made 6 or so rosetta patterns showing many qualities that are hard to textually transcribe. Then he went back to basics showing again, in hand this time, the components of building your artwork. It’s all legos, building blocks of techniques that when watching in motion looks so very difficult but once broken down into its components and many trials begins to come very easily.

As Matt prep’d the room for lunch, we watched Bellissimo’s new video Advanced Barista Training which is quite a good video to show a lot of fancy pours. Our lunch today is Panini’s and we got to make them. I fixed a very tasty caprese and chicken sandwhich with pesto. Then I had a mini-ciabatta of goat cheese and prosciutto, delicious.

After lunch the group split into those who wanted more practice and those who wanted to go on the walking tour. I opt’d for the walking tour which took us through a variety of independents and a few chains that started in the area. It really makes me laugh that even here no one had the motz. I mean I didn’t see an art piece, and I didn’t see correct time from any shop. Go figure. I had a small macchiato at World Cup which rained out at 10 seconds. It was strangly palatable but uneven in its presentation. I must say I do miss my roaster, Counter Culture. Even this far from home I still think they dominate on their Tuscano blend.

We got back to the classroom and had a little diploma session. After getting some pictures in, we were prompted for the final lesson. Machine cleaning! Yaaay shouted the class. Sure. 😉 I learned a few more tips for cleaning that I had not aquired elsewhere and it should cut down even further on the labor I do.

We had a great and lively class. We all, even with diverse backgrounds, really meshed well to make a very smooth and rolling enviornment. Science, method, process, and laughter made up our education. I don’t think you can go wrong with that. I took away from this a large landscape of possibilities armed with the knowledge that I have a good set of skills. That with more practice and fine tuning will both produce a product and manage a store that will dominate our area.

Austin, Matt, thank you for everything.

-a

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