company - education - coffee

Monday, August 07, 2006

My personal milk bias...

machiatto art with ecco reserve
Milk. Moo Juice. The dairy. That's the problem. I have a personal milk bias. Don't get me wrong, I drink milk at breakfast and I am not lactose intolerant. Soy and dairy. I have it all the time, by itself.... The thing is I never really got into coffee and milk together. I came into coffee drinking it like you would a green tea. Straight. No sugar, no dairy. This is why it became so important for me to find naturally sweet, less bitter, pleasant coffee and espresso that stood on it's own. The thing is I did this cupping... got this lecture from this coffee fanatic who kept stating a dislike for milk and disregard for coffee's pairing with milk.

Then I thought about it. It goes back to relevance. Yes, I love espresso. But espresso in milk is something I serve, not something I would drink. I realize I have to push people to drink less milk and get to smaller sizes and better proportions but... I cannot be 'that guy.' The guy lecturing what coffee is supposed to be and how it should be enjoyed. I can only present the best drink possible and hope that the taste alone will win over. it got me thinking, I have to make a excellent cappuccino and let people naturally find their own way down to espresso. I have to have faith that people will figure, hmm, this tastes so good, what if I had a little less milk and could taste the coffee more?

Make that fabulous espresso drink and people will naturally gravitate towards the better flavors. First with extra shots, then smaller sizes. Then finally coffee unfiltered... the straight shot.

Case in point. A regular customer who has come in for a long time and loves the latte art came ordering a large skim latte(way back when Simon still had the bowls). She migrated to a triple skim cappa and started moving around a lot on her drinks suddenly. It was like she couldn't pick one drink anymore. Skim then whole, then cappa, then latte. Suddenly this morning she says, I want to try a fancy espresso. I chuckled and said 'what drink do you want it in?' thinking it would be a cappa or latte... She says a double shot. A bit suprised but unfazed, I served her a double shot of Ecco Reserve. She took it back to her table and I went back to my routine with other customers. She comes up later and orders a cappuccino and raved about the espresso. So sweet, smooth, and creamy... tasty. She was smiling and plush with emotion about it. I have had many customers try their first espresso (she was the second to announce it that morning) with me but this one stuck in perspective to the milk thing.

What I think is that if I do my thing on all levels well, people will naturally migrate towards better flavors. Latte isn't as satisfying as a cappuccino and machiatto though smaller has more flavor. Finally the espresso on it's own and the unique flavors can be an experience. It's not about what is right, but what tastes good. I don't want to be the "soup nazi," I want to share the coffee experiences I have had so others can fully appreciate the coffee. We can all sit around and talk about fancy flavors and theories but in the end of the day it comes down to one thing:

Prove it in the cafe.

Learning to overcome my milk bias and help others develop theirs-