18 Feb 2016

Coffee vs. Tea // part I

So let's get back to this issue I already raised in my "tea and blog" story.

On coffee.
After having known and frequented it for a while, I decided to ask for a job at said café (the one that serves its teas in this nice Gongfu-esque way). And since they are sort of always hiring, I got the job. I learned how to prepare all their fancy breakfast menus, as well as homemade iced teas, frappés, skipped the tea part and of course ended up also knowing how to make plenty of different espresso-milk combinations as well as medium perfect latte art now. Coffee with milk is, in terms of drinking it, mostly not interesting to me, not only for being vegan (there'd be plenty of alternatives of course), but I regularly don't want a cup of hot milk with light coffee flavour when planning to drink coffee.

Espresso, Macchiato, Cappucchino, Caffè Latte, Flat White, Americano, Long Black, a dripper, and a precision kettle

Later, the café's owners opened another coffee bar I'd soon change over to, because for me, the other one was just a bit too narrow and chaotic for working. The new place follows the so-called third wave of coffee approach.
Since I hadn't heard of any waves of coffee before that, here's an overview of how I understand it:

The first wave can be understood as the breakthrough of coffee on a global market. After it having been rather expensive, exclusive and thus rare, big companies now started mass-producing and mass-selling the stuff for affordable prices to every household. It was expected to be cheap, uniform and strong.
The second wave then started to make a social event out of drinking coffee. Not that everyone had drunk it alone before, but going out in a fancy café and ordering foreign sounding inventions was the thing now. Most of the cafés nowadays are somewhat second wave and every kiosk sells you Latte Macchiato. The coffee itself seems not even so important here, the setting and feeling count. Starbucks can be seen as the prototype of a second wave café, although they actually started more third wavey, only "slipping off" to today's overcommercialized form later (and trying to climb back up recently?)
The third wave now tries to quasi bring the coffee back on the menu. You try to understand and show how coffee really works, what different facettes it shows depending on treatment and origin and what unique aromas you can put forth.

So more learning about espresso, time and dose parameters, tampering, grind size, filter coffee, climate influences, production styles etc. was on my schedule now. Working in that, it was not a question of much time until I had started drinking espresso every now and then (really more every now than then). Probably at first because it's fast made and somehow also fast satisfying. I had never been a big fan of coffee, but since I never really not liked it, it was easy to form a habit of it.

I developed what you could call interest, or maybe it's rather concern, for coffee. I got better distinguishing flavours and aromas, I like to compare notes with my colleagues, customers, or friends, sometimes, I even have a craving for it. And I noticed that bad coffee started to displease me. Much like tea bags. Both situations I didn't know some time ago. I try not to be a snob about it, but that can be a ridiculous problem sometimes! (Spoiler: When faced with a choice of burt-to-death coffee or tea bags, I'd rather sacrifice my coffee liking than my tea love.)

That's, by the way, how raw coffee beans look like. Found that in my shoe once.

Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment