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Coffee Culture In 2016
Like most cultures, coffee culture isn’t really that different. A group of people brought together by a common interest. What better place than a coffee shop. There is always a buzz, and a hive of activity. It attracts in some ways, many like-minded people, and in other ways such variety. From businessmen, housewives, students to teachers. Hundreds of years ago, it was a popular meeting place for artists. A few years ago, wine masters were popping up all over the place and now the latest trend seems to be becoming a barrister. We were lucky enough to interview Winston, one of the country’s top up and coming barristers.
Coffee seems to be screaming at me these days wherever I am or what I’m doing! Coffee culture, coffee culture! Many people have coffee making machines and there are shops dedicated only to selling coffee. Are we so spoiled for choice that it’s hard to know which coffee to drink when, where and why? I’m going on a barristers course early next month, and will come back with more information on what coffee beans are and how to choose them.
Meanwhile, not sure about you, but I’m getting very confused about the different ways to drink coffee. Gone are the days when we only had a choice between espresso and cappuccino. And worst of all, when I grew up, we had either instant or brewed coffee. Now we have many ways to drink coffee:
– Latte: coffee mixed with frothed milk foam.
– Americana: Espresso is made by adding hot water to a mug of coffee.
– Iced Coffee: Chilled coffee with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
– Cappuccino: A cup of coffee covered with a layer of frothed milk foam.
– Skinny Cappuccino. Similar to cappuccino, but made with fat free milk.
– Flat white: A cup of coffee with milk.
– Espresso: very strong and dense with “crema” (coffee foam on top). Hence, Caffe Crema is an alternative name for Italian Espresso.
– Macchiato: a cup of frosted milk, filled with espresso coffee.
– Moccachino: Cafe latte with chocolate added to it.
– Frappe. Served with iced coffee, black or white.
And to make coffee even more enticing, many countries around the world have their own specialty coffees, such as:
Caffe Au Lait: France
Egg Coffee: Vietnam
Turkish Coffee: Turkey
Cafe Bomban: Spain
Cafe Cubana: Cuba
Cafe de Ola: Mexico
To top it off we have alcoholic coffee drinks like Irish Coffee, Bavarian Coffee, Cafe Royal, Kalua Coffee and even Coffee Liqueur.
I have to say my favorite is still the cappuccino. It has to be made with the best quality coffee beans and the top of the mug is filled with foam. If you can convince me otherwise, share with me how you like your coffee.
Interview with Winston..
How did you get involved with espresso coffee? How did it all start?
Without getting too romantic, there was a complaint in my local newspaper about the bad coffee served in my town. About 5 years ago. After reading that I started tasting different coffees trying to figure out what makes a good cup of coffee. This eventually led me to Origin Coffee Roasting where I did a barista course while studying in 2013. Until I finished my studies in June 2014 I worked part-time at a roaster in Somerset West and a market in Woodstock. I started working full time at Origin. In August 2014.
Why continue working as a barista? Is the job repetitive?
No it doesn’t repeat. It may seem that way because, at the opposite end of the bar, it seems like we only pour coffee every day but it is far from it. We try different coffees every day so there’s a lot of flavor involved, the weather is always changing which means the coffee pours differently throughout the day so we have to work accordingly, we meet different people every day, face different challenges every day. Aadhaar etc. So far from repeating. And that’s why I’m working as a barista.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from looking at all the people involved in the coffee cycle. From the farmer to the green coffee buyer, the roaster, the barista and finally the consumer. Knowing that I play a role in the process motivates me to do my best for the best cup of coffee possible. To do justice to those who have played their part before me.
What is the new “in” in the current coffee industry?
Honestly, I think quality has become the new “in” in the coffee industry. More and more cafes are trying to produce better coffee, which makes it very competitive in terms of quality. Due to this, the industry is moving in a positive direction. More cafes are also using alternative or filter brew methods such as the Aeropress and v60 pourover to make filter coffee. Black is best enjoyed without sugar to ensure that the nuances and characteristics of the coffee can be picked up.
What kind of coffee do you like/don’t you like to make?
I like to make all kinds of coffee. There are espresso based coffees like your typical Americano and latte, and filter brews like French Press or Aeropress. I can’t say I don’t like making certain types of coffee but I sometimes get annoyed when customers want an unusual order that dilutes the strength of the coffee. For example, large milk and soy milk based on a single shot will completely overshadow the taste of coffee. But at the end of the day coffee is subjective and we can’t tell customers what they like or dislike, we can only advise and guide them.
What is the most time-consuming coffee?
I would say the filter methods we use in our cafe are the most time consuming. The French press takes about 5 minutes to complete. Whereas espresso based takes approximately 2 minutes.
What can you tell me about coffee culture?
Coffee culture. Where do I start? Right now in the coffee industry (worldwide) we are experiencing what we call the “Third Wave”. “First Wave” will be defined as the way our parents drank coffee. Instant coffee or a dark roast Italian blend in a home filter machine. There was no real coffee or cafe culture. Then, with the advent of Starbucks and other commercial coffee chains, a “second wave” of coffee people developed. People became more aware of what they were drinking and drinks such as takeaway espresso based lattes and cappuccinos began to trend.
Currently we are experiencing a “Third Wave” where coffee drinkers have become more conscious of the quality of the coffee they are buying. Some companies establish direct trade with farmers so they contribute in improving farming practices, exporting etc.
Green coffee beans are precisely roasted and great care is taken in creating both espresso based and filter drinks. Along with this, customers are also aware about the quality of coffee in cafes. Consumers know more than ever what they want when buying coffee. And they are also much more educated. Because of this you see more cafes opening and more customers visiting cafes thus the cafe culture is growing. Bigger than ever.
Tell me about the competitions you’ve won and what’s next for you.
Most recently I won the South African National Aeropress Championship. An Aeropress is basically a filtering device used to brew coffee. And since I won the national competition, I will be competing in the World Aeropress Championships in Dublin, Ireland in June. I came 2nd in the Western Cape Barista Competition and 8th in the National Barista Competition. In the future I would like to enter more competitions with the goal of winning and competing in the World Barista Competition.
My dream is to put Africa on the map for coffee. As a continent we produce some of the best tasting coffee in the world but, apart from South Africa, we don’t serve it the way it should. Most of the high-quality coffee produced in Africa is exported, and low-quality commercial coffee remains. I want to change this. Coffee was founded in Africa so I feel we have a responsibility to serve the best tasting African coffee in our cafe.
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