- Coffee drinks are just as difficult to make as mixed drinks: a bartender’s basic concoction of Jack and Coke has nothing on a ristretto double macciato with 1% milk and a dash of caramel.
- There are no dispensers shooting out milk, syrup or espresso like a bars soda and tonic dispensers.
- Coffee drinks are just as exacting as fancy mixed drinks: sometimes three or four ingredients must be used to make a specialty coffee drink.
- Drinks in coffeeshops and bars cost relatively the same: but bartenders receive on average a 20% tip or far better for a drink with the same cost. Baristas receive somewhere between 0% and 30%.
- At busy shops baristas say thank you for a decent tip, unlike any bartender at a crammed bar who gets a dollar tip for pouring a draft beer.
- Baristas have dozens of customers drinks memorized, which are far more exacting than a bartenders.
- Baristas have to concentrate, rush and be courteous just as much as a bartender.
- Baristas have to deal with unruly customers just like bartenders.
- Barista, although not given the same respect as bartenders, work long hours and attempt to make delicious, expensive drinks just as bartenders do.
- There are many coffee types, just like booze or wine, which require a decent knowledge base to describe the proper characteristics to a curious customer.
- There are many teas (herbal, organic, caffienated) as well that must be known and served to particular customers.
- Both baristas and bartenders have to handle difficult situations: irate customers who believe they received the wrong drink or have an inane problem with the proper proportions of ice.
- Both baristas and bartenders have to wipe off counters, bottles and machines a hundred times a day.
- Both baristas and bartenders have to be submissive to blockheaded bosses.
I get asked this question more than "Do you have lids?" "Doesn't dark roast have more caffeine than light roast?" I will answer no and this is why.
If you are avoiding caffeine (sad but true), but your lifelong habit does not allow you the strength to quit coffee, which you never should, consider drinking dark roasts over light roasts. The light does not have anything to do with less caffeine, only less roasted. And dark roast, which oftentimes tastes stronger due to the flavor characteristics, does not in any way equate to more caffeine.
Light roast coffee has been roasted (cooked) less than dark roast so elements like caffeine have not been cooked off. When you reduce a sauce you take liquid away during the cooking process, and that liquid contains flavors just as roasting takes original qualities from a green bean. Imagine a very bright, berry flavored coffee that has been lightly roasted compared to a charcoal, even burnt flavored, very dark roast like an Italian or slightly less roasted French roast (easily one of the most popular roasts in the states) will not have the original nuances of fruit tasted in light roasts as well as the same amount of caffeine.
Light roast and dark roast can be brewed with equal amounts of ground beans (espresso or drip or pour over), and the light will probably give you more of the caffeine buzz, which you must try simply for the fun of being thoroughly caffeinated!
Rarely are we inclined to go into restaurants of coffee houses that have no visible business with folks sitting outside or cars and bikes crammed into the parking lot...go to shops that show signs of life as it surely indicates better coffee and probably friendly folks inside...which leads to the next sign that baristas and employees should be able to say "Good morning" or "Can I help you?"...if you are avoided like a plague then the shop probably isn't interested in your business...another obvious sign is if the employees are ragged and unclean looking as well as the workstation around the espresso machine (an unavoidable fact in a super busy coffee house)...lastly is if the barista does not know the type of coffee being served (not light or dark roast) but the actual beans from Sumatra or Central America (Guatemalan) then it shows disinterest.
Good luck out there.
The strength of your daily coffee is truly a ! Why is it every time you walk into a different coffee shop or make coffee at home (after having the coffee ground at a shop or grocery store) it tastes different? The truth of the matter is many fold. You may buy a different roast of coffee each time, which will make the taste (often equated with strength) be completely different. Secondly, the grind used at the shop or store may appear to be auto drip, but the grinders used can be calibrated incorrectly (giving you the WRONG grind). Thirdly, when you buy a cup at your favorite shop(s), each place will brew the coffee differently (use a shop specific grind and a different amount of coffee per brew cycle). Consider it this way...a greasy-spoon diner will use inexpensive, mass-market coffee like Farmers Brothers and use just enough coffee per brew cycle to give you a see-through cup of brown water...conversely, a quality independent shop will use excellent Arabica beans and brew a pot with far more coffee in the brew cycle. The great other determining factor has to be blooming the coffee. A bloom will wet the grounds (whatever grind you prefer for home use) and extract more flavor and oils thus creating a stronger cup once the entre brew cycle (whether on your home auto-drip machine, French Press, or pour over-think camp coffee with the white filter, grounds and water being poured over the beans.
In the end, to get a STRONG cup of coffee, grind good quality coffee finer (imagine water flowing over large stones will pass through faster as compared to water flowing through sand, which will certainly go through slower) thus coffee gets more flavor and strength; consider blooming the ground coffee first, and undoubtedly use MORE coffee.
Thanksgiving in the coffee world...November and the holidays are a significant time to be grateful for what we have...love, warmth, friends, and delicious coffee! I look forward to a single day off, if you own a small coffee house and your parents instilled a stoic work ethic, you are grateful for a little time off. Come by occasionally and enjoy thoughtful insights into coffee and the extraordinary culture...