Is it really that difficult to smile? I understand that when you’re exhausted on your feet and you just don’t want to serve cups of coffee anymore, maybe the smile will fall. But that still doesn’t give you an excuse to not smile. You’re in a service industry. Specialty coffee, regardless of how high up the “specialty” ladder you are, is still a food service industry. Fake smile, real smile, I don’t care. Though I can tell when you’re fake smiling, I’ll give you a point for effort. As long as you’re not fake smiling every time I go into the store.Read More
I’m reviving this blog. Since my exit from the coffee shop, my new job had taken over my life, spinning away my interests, friends, and general inertia for anything remotely interesting. I’ve gone through the adaptation phase of my current job and now I’m in the settling-and-refocusing phase.
It’s taken a few moments about this for me to get kicked back into coffee.
1) A month ago, the recruiter who interviewed me said he liked me for my passion for coffee. It was a public passion (this blog, my internship, my club, my previous job) and he noticed. While obviously it wasn’t the only reason I was hired, it still helped that I had an outside interest. That I wasn’t going to go home after work and sit on the couch and do nothing.Read More
In less than two weeks, I will be ending my stint as a barista and returning to “coffee enthusiast” status. Many events have occurred to bring about this difficult decision, but nothing more so as to my realization of how much my interest in coffee has changed. Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE coffee, but I loved it more when I was outside the retail world. The day-to-day operation of a shop may just not be for me at the moment. Perhaps in ten years, if I’m settled down, I’ll say differently. During my nine months, I gradually stopped visiting shops, reading up on coffee material, and altogether lost interest in coffee. In truth, the thing I’ll miss the most is having the Synesso at my fingertips.Read More
The following was drafted about a month ago and I just never got around to publishing it.
I’m not a pro at cuppings and I’ll be the first to say that my palate needs some serious work. But what I do know is the feeling I get when I walk away from the cupping. For the most part, I’ve walked away feeling educated, caffeinated, and with a good impression of the roaster.
I’ve attended cuppings presented by a CEO, sales rep, owner, roaster, and a barista. Locations have included a ballroom, classroom, retail shop, and roasting facility. And circumstances have been formal, QC, or even experimental.Read More
I attended my first latte art throwdown the other day at Brothers K in Evanston. Since it was my first one, it’s obvious I’d have preconceived notions about how the baristas go about throwing the lattes around. Here are the major points that I converted on:
Prediction: Lots of baristas geeking out on espresso parameters and scrutinizing rosettas.
Reality: Some discussion on coffee, not a lot of close attention on the art. More time was spent with the snack table (obviously food trumps coffee).Read More
I walked into a recently opened local shop today, hoping to get my caffeine fix with a cappuccino. It was my second time visiting and this time, there was one more customer than during my last visit (and there was no one last time). It made me wonder what was wrong with the shop. There I was, sitting outside on the patio (indoor seating= 10, outdoor seating= 12), the only other customer. On a Friday afternoon and 85 degrees outside. Nothing’s wrong with the location, per se, since the deli next door was packed with customers. But it IS located in a converted house (I almost walked by it the first time) with very little seating. It’s evident that the owners are specialty coffee fans: great espresso machine, grinders, beans, etc. They’ve even hosted workshops and expanded PR into some local news clips and newsletters. So why was the barista on her computer when I entered?Read More
We all know it’s advertising psychology when Coca-Cola features cute little penguins and polar bears in ads (I didn’t want to have a Coke, but the penguins look so happy! I want to be happy, too!). And when the latest must-have item of the year is touted by whatever celebrity is popular, you need it, because you need to be just like him/her (read: sarcasm. I don’t follow celebrities and I didn’t care enough about this particular example to look up popular celebrities modeling items).Read More
If you’re a coffee elitist like me, you balk at using beans more than two weeks past the roasting date. But what if you don’t finish it all? I usually pawn them off to friends who aren’t as picky as me. All that coffee gone to waste. Why not put the beans in food?
I’ve always loved baking. And what’s bettter than adding coffee to the mix? Coffee-flavored food items (ice cream, cheesecake, chocolates) seem to run high on my list of favorites. If given the choice between a mocha cheesecake and a fruity one, I pick the mocha. Anyway, I’ve been craving some snickerdoodles lately and finally had some time to make them. Never made them before, but hey, why not add some coffee, too? So here’s my recipe for some yummy snickersprodoodles.
Aka Japanese iced coffee. I’ve only experienced cold-brewed iced coffee before (Toddy system w/Lavazza medium-dark roast beans with no roast date= still amazing sweetness and low acidity) and was under the impression that cold-brewed iced coffee was the only way to go for iced coffee. Make it, entertain yourself for 12 hours, and then drink. I used a pound of beans last year in one sitting, froze them in ice cube concentrates, and had an iced soy latte on my morning walk to class for two months.
Now, HOT-brewed iced coffee is different. As you can imagine, it’s made with hot water instead of cold water. Take a pourover, fill cup with ice, put grounds in pourover, and pour hot water over grounds. Voila, you have hot coffee dripping right over the ice. That, by itself, sounds almost like it’d turn out to taste like lukewarm, watery coffee. But hey, don’t bash it until you’ve tried it. The ratio of coffee to water would need to be intense for me to enjoy. Plus, the acidity will remain if you try this method.
Why am I writing about iced coffee right now? Because even if it’s 15 degrees outside, we’re still wearing t-shirts in the cafe and hustling around. Iced coffee sounds amazing. And even if the ice melts, it will still be cold, unlike any hot drink I make. So if I get the time, I’m going to experiment with this a bit and see how it goes. We don’t make iced coffee in concentrate anymore for the winter, but that won’t stop me from making my own!
Sidenote: For those stalking me, this is NOT a blog about my place of work. It’s about my experiences in coffee that I’ve had and want to have. Yeah, I mention work a lot, but I work IN COFFEE. So obviously, I’ll have experiences in coffee at work to talk about.
About Jenn Chen
I'm a San Francisco-based coffee marketer: digital strategist, writer & photographer. On the side, I munch on donuts & think of new ways to make you look stunning online.
You can reach me here or on Twitter.
eat / drink coffee / write / travel
>>>> all in one.