Tuesday, May 18, 2010
As I type this I am getting ready to press the last of my Peru. Sadly I can't get anymore for now.
I figured it was time to get in gear and finally blog about it...sorry I don't mean to be a tease.
I really love Latin American coffees. I guess it's the nuttiness and cocoa notes that are usually present. I'm not sure :). Most are pretty acidic, so that is probably part of it.
(Break to go and pour water into my press)
However, I found Peru to be very different. The roasted nut and herby notes are very distinctive.
(Just took my first sip)
I find the aroma to be very rich and enticing. You can really smell the roasted nut notes. I'm going to miss this one very much!
I initially paired this coffee with a ginger molasses cookie as we don't really have anything herby in the store. It was ok this way, and I still really liked this blend right away.
However, pairing it as they suggest, with savory food and cheese really makes the flavors pop! Especially cheese.
A few other specifics:
~The beans used in this blend are grown on the eastern slopes of the Andes mountains. They are slowly ripened, which contributes to their unique taste.
~Peru is made through the washed method. (This means that after the coffee cherries are picked they are emerged in water for a period of time, then the pulp is removed. It's a bit more complicated than that, but that's not what this post is about.)
~Peru is a medium roast with a medium body.
~Peru is quite acidic, leaving a clean finish in your mouth after you take a sip.
~Peru is a certified Organic blend.
~Peru is certified Conservation international, meaning the area in which it is grown does not interfere with the ecosystem.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Having grown up in family like churches all my life, I have long believed this. I have had family everywhere I've moved, even when I was single, simple because I was a part of the family of God-it's amazing!
Little did I know though, when I was hired at Starbucks that I was going to become a part of a new community, one in which a passion and love of coffee drew us together.
After being hired I stumbled on one of my new favourite blogs: Starbucks Melody
She is a big starbucks fan, and posts a wealth of interesting information about starbucks and coffee. It's a really fun and informative blog, and the community there is uplifting (something that is greatly lacking "other" places).
So, after poking around for a bit, I started to comment. I even entered a contest with some photos of chalk art in our cafe.
I also chatted with her a bit on twitter.
Then one day a few weeks ago, this arrived:
My first thought "cool stamps!" (the man said the same thing of course). Then "who?" I open it and find a "Thank you" card..."what is this?" I really had no idea what this was!
I open it to find a starbucks gift card from the first starbucks cafe! "NO WAY!!!"
Melody had my address in case of winning the other contest and sent this as a thank you for participating in her blog! I've since learned more and more what a generous person she is and how she loves to send packages :) Thank you Melody for brightening our lives with your passion! It is appreciated!
Monday, March 8, 2010
This past week I have been especially grateful to my wonderful co-workers. I've been having some killer headaches (migraine anyone?), and have been so glad to be backed up in my job, and not have them rolling their eyes at what an idiot I am, but rather encouraging me and telling me I'm doing fine. They may see this as just doing their job-but that just shows what character they have.
And I'll tell you what, when you've not had that in the past, you really come to appreciate it.
That and I love working somewhere where Barista girl and Barista Cowgirl make an appearance...
Friday, March 5, 2010
ok, so I've found a better phrase "Coffee Geek".
Maybe just Coffee Geek in training ;).
I like it a lot better and I defiantly am not a coffee connoisseur as I'm just taking my first baby steps.
I'm finally taking the time to post this :).
I DO really love trying different coffees, finding the different smells, mouth feels, flavour notes. I find it fascinating.
So, when you taste a coffee there are three different steps and different things that you are looking for. I'll touch on them since this is my first coffee tasting post:
When you smell the coffee (Black of course!), you cup your hand around the top of the cup and really inhale. Some smell nutty, earthy, spicy or floral.
When I did this with the Kenya I thought that it smelled lighter and fruity, and not just fruity but I could really smell the Citrus!
This is not like the acidity in wine, but rather how smooth it leaves your mouth feeling once you have swallowed. I found the Kenya left a very crisp and clean feeling on my tongue-so this means it is quite acidic, something I really like in a coffee.
This refers to how heavy it feels in your mouth. A good way to think of it is comparing how whole milk and skim milk would feel in your mouth. Whole would be very heavy and skim very light. This is also referred to as mouth feel.
I found Kenya to be very light on my tongue (it has what is referred to as a medium body).
What flavour notes do you taste? Is it earthy, nutty, floral and so forth.
I found the citrus notes in Kenya to be amazingly pronounced.
Another aspect of coffee tasting is pairing-eating a food that ascents the notes that are found in the coffee.
I made lemon loaf to go with my Kenya and found it made the citrus in the Kenya just pop!
I also found that when I added milk and sweetened it a bit (something I rarely do with coffee, just milk please ;) ) it really brought the fruitiness out even more.
African Coffees tend to have a really strong citrus undertone, the defining word for Kenya is Grapefruit.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I do have some deeper thoughts that I want to share, but I will wait for a clearer head to do so. I've been fighting off migraines this week. Fun stuff! So, this is just for fun :).
The dark cherry Mocha has arrived on the scene! So, here is my take on it-I am not a huge mocha fan, and really not a fan of full strength syrup mochas i.e. peppermint mocha. But, if you are one, you will probably really enjoy one!
The syrup is not overpowering, although, if not blended properly into a drink may remind you of cough syrup...however, if you are ordering a drink at starbucks and not throwing a little into something as an afterthought, it will be blended ;).
So far, I like the dark cherry syrup:
~By itself in a latte, hot or cold.
~With white mocha -white seems to blend a lot nicer in my opinion (I love it this way in a double shot!)
~In a vanilla bean frappuccino blended cream
~In a green tea latte
~In a black tea lemonade...
~Less sweet in a Strawberry banana smoothie
Now, what should I try it in today???
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Love is putting others ahead of yourself...
Serving when no one may notice or care...
Loving others when they are unlovely, giving with no thought of what will be returned.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philipians 2:3)
Sunday, February 7, 2010
How much does it take to take an awkward moment and turn it into a moment of joy?
I had God hand me a little lesson a couple of days ago.
I was serving a customer who told me that she wanted two mocachinos. So I asked her if she was looking for a hot or a cold drink (as this is not something on our menu). She looked a good deal miffed. I then proceeded to finish putting her through the till and giving her her cookie. I decided that I should push a little out of my comfort zone and go further and explain why I had ask for clarification and how I just wanted to make sure I was giving her what she really wanted. This led to an immediate smile. Wow, that was not very hard and made a world of difference!
Later, as I was doing what we call a slide of the cafe (collecting dishes, straightening up) I saw her and asked her if they had enjoyed their mochas. She raved about how good they and her cookie were.
So I was thinking and praying about this later. Okay God. I'm getting your message. How often do I miss opportunities to reach others around me because I am comfortable in my little bubble. How often are there people around me who need a little something, or a big something, and I simply pass them by-because it is easier.
May I truly, but His grace live by this verse:
and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
So , I've been loading up on various cold medicines, trying to get better and trying not to gross my customers out. I mean I know that I'm being ultra careful (yea, I sure didn't cough, wipe my hand under my nose and then hand me money for a latte...not that any one's every done that to me!), but you may not realize that and keeping our customers is highly encouraged ;).
Let me just say that I work with some incredible Baristas. I don't know if I've ever worked somewhere where everyone has each others back, and honestly does, as in, they are not just waiting for you to leave so that they can talk about you.
I had such an amazingly off day the other day, and not only did they have me covered as I was at the bar, but one supervisor just went above and beyond, telling my manager that I was doing fine and how we all have off days and so on. I still almost don't know how to handle that (in a good way!)
Then the afternoon just got brighter:
We had some Barista bonding with a bit of an espresso shot competition-two of us did 8, I think the other "only" 6.
I think we might have scared a few people off...our regulars found it hilarious.
Let's say it motivated some cleaning on one of our parts (not mine this time :) ).
One of our core values is to be welcoming.
Let me say that I've been pushed out of my comfort zone already at this job, but I really pushed myself yesterday to start more and more conversations with my customers.
The amazing God thing was that I was planning a devotional for my teen girls that I lead about loving others by seeing the needs around us (not just always focusing on our two best friends) and comfort zones, and I asked God to help me to learn this and to lead by example.
And then yesterday happened and it was awkward at first. Some people don't really want to talk.
And it's just hard for me to do that. But I found the responses incredible. People would stop and look at me like "are you talking to me?" Then they would get into the conversation. Smile. Laugh sometimes.
I had a conversation with a customer who was buying a pound of Verona. Verona is one of my favorite roasts and I told him that. He said he thought all of them were supposed to be our favorite. So, I kept talking about it and how I had tried it at home as espresso and it was amazing.
When he walked away he laughed and told me to never loose my personality.
I was just really struck by what a difference these conversations were making.
And come to think of it, were making in me as well.
We live in such a sterile society. Don't talk to me. I'll check myself out at wal-mart thank you. Just give me my product and let me go home and sit in front of my computer and television. Deliver everything to me.
But we really do crave that interaction. We NEED it.
I've just been amazed on more than one occasion at how God has used this job to bring the real me out.
Those of you who know me know this has been an ongoing thing in my life.
But, recently, God has really been convicting me ( for me personally) that it's a matter of pride to not reach out to others around me.
I say I'm shy. Maybe so (although not as much as I used to be).
But, where does that come from? I'm afraid to show who I am because what if others laugh at the real me? What if they don't like what they see and they wound me?
And? Really what difference does that make?
Does it change my value? Does it change how God sees me?
If they do not like what God created, is there something wrong with ME?
Not in the least.
I also find it very eye opening to realize in a new way that God has placed me there for a reason, and that His work is in all things. I can serve Him and others while I serve coffee.
(Oh I love that He created coffee!)
I still need a lot of work in this area, but I find this of great comfort:
Philippians 1:6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
This morning however is going to be about coffee. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I am now willing to agree with my husband that I am indeed a coffee snob, but I am trying to come up with a better term for it. I tell him that I have just learned to enjoy the better things in life, and somehow just end up coming across as a hilarious comic routine which leaves him hooting. Oh well.
But, this is what happens when you work for a local coffee house, begin to like better coffee, then start working for a company that sells the top selling coffee in North America. Being educated in coffee (which included tastings, called cupping, more on that later), how it's made, how to describe it, how where it's grown affects it's taste...it all adds up. Or at least this is what I keep telling myself. In all honesty I am very thankful to God for giving me a job that I so thoroughly enjoy and that I can be passionate about.
Soon after being hired at this job, I discovered the beauty of the French Press. (again, another blog ;) )
Of course said dear man added fuel to the fire by giving me my own espresso maker for Christmas. I have been having a ball with it! I am still floored over it to tell you the truth.
Which leads me to my wonderful brew of choice this morning: Verona.
But, not only Verona, but Verona as an espresso shot.
In a nut shell Verona is more of a Cocoa tinted, sweeter brew while espresso is a little more bitter with caramel notes.
But, I am in high heaven this morning with my Americano misto. (Americano=espresso shots +hot water. Misto=also some foamy milk)
And if you do not speak coffee, I sincerely apologize and will be posting more blogs about such things in the future.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
It's easy to feel as if we have nothing to offer, or what little we do have can do little to aid such an enormous need.
But, God has called us to help the poor and needy:
Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
We are told that in doing so we are shown as His children and are really doing it for Him:
Matthew 25: 31-40
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' ;
Fo Here in North America we have so much disposable income-even those of us on a tight budget!
Maybe it means giving up our entertainment for the week or month (movies, eating out, new music);
Maybe it means not buying that new pair of jeans or shoes;
Maybe it means not going out for that coffee every day, but we can all do something.
I challenge you to find a way to bless those who are in sever need. Share His Love with hurting.