When I started getting into coffee at the age of eleven, I didn’t know what went into those caffeinated drinks. All I knew was that a mocha had lots of chocolate and lattes were just milk and espresso. But now that I have aged about ten years and I am now a barista (officially now! I started my bar training yesterday at the coffee shop I work at), I can tell you what drinks actually matter and taste just amazing, and the ones that don’t. With the help of author Ruth Brown and her book Coffee Nerd, here are some drinks that matter a lot to baristas and ones that matter little.
Drinks that matter to baristas
A shot (or more) of espresso: This is literally THE most important espresso drink ever because it’s in every espresso drink ever, and let me tell you, it tastes amazing. It is the bread and butter of baristas (next to regular coffee beans). Now, in Brown’s book, she says that the espresso shot is like a straight shot of whiskey, and is “not for the faint of heart.” This drink is kind of bitter because it is straight espresso beans, but it will give you the boost that you’ve been looking for! To make this drink you must get some finely grounded espresso beans, pack it as tightly as possible, put it through the espresso machine which shoots hot water through the tight, compacted grounds and boom, you have the espresso shot! Enjoy your couple hours of being hyper!
Macchiatos: This is my favorite espresso drink ever because visually it is cool looking (I like how the espresso drips into the coffee as well as the syrup that is put on top) and it just tastes amazing. As a barista, I feel as if this is one of the easiest drinks that we could make. To make a macchiato, you steam milk to about 140 degrees, pour it into the cup with vanilla syrup at the bottom, pour the shot(s) of espresso on top and make a cross-hatch pattern of caramel sauce on top. I honestly like to put pumpkin in mine because I am a pumpkin lover and enthusiast, and it just tastes like fall.
Drinks that are just meh to baristas
Mochas: Now, don’t get me wrong, mochas are good but are they really that important. I mean, if you really think about it, mochas are just hot chocolate with a shot of espresso. I love chocolate as much as the next person in line, but I will not order a mocha just because I don’t want to just drink hot chocolate. ORDER SOMETHING ADVENTUROUS!
Chai Tea Latte: Okay, I’m not the one for this drink…like at all. There’s not even a shot of espresso in this drink. So, I don’t know what business it has at a coffee shop let alone the world of coffee. When I make this drink, I get sad because there are so many awesome drink choices to choose from other than a chai tea latte. To make this drink, you just need to steam milk and chai tea together and boom, it’s just as underwhelming as a mocha!
What is your favorite type of espresso drink? Did your favorite make the list?