We were quite shocked when we got a phone call from our local paper, the Westmorland Gazette, asking if we’d do a coffee workshop for them. Haven’t they got enough on their plate creating Newspaper articles? Well we got straight onto it… and we not only showed them, but shocked them into realizing how much hard work goes into that perfect cup of JO!
Here is what was said in the newspaper article:
“”Skinny lattes, Americanos, mocha-chocoa-chinos…the l of coffee can be a daunting place. Despite the industry being worth 10 billion dollars a year, finding the perfect cup of coffee can still be a challenge.Reporter KATE PROCTOR signed up for a Barista training course at Esquires Coffee Shop in Ambleside in a bid to learn just what goes into preparing the nations fastest growing drink.
“With machinery clinking, temperature gauges rising and a hazy mist of steam, head Barista Simon Dann appears to be a master at work. Silver milk jugs must be heated to perfection, coffee beans ground and the perfect espresso poured before being transformed into various sized lattes and cappucinos. Timing and an air of calm are key- as one wrong move could spell disaster!
“There’s a lot more to making a cup of coffee than people think- it really is an art form but it’s not hard something everyone can learn,” said Simon, who has worked at Ambleside’s Esquires Coffee Shop for two years. And he’s right; after 20 minutes of watching him at work I was terrified at the idea of getting behind the counter and have a go.
Contrary to what I though, we started with the milk- which depending how it is prepared, will transform your espresso into a latte or cappucinno. For a cappucinno it is put through the steamer and heated to 70C and filled with bubbles until it expands it’s size by two thirds. This is then left to stand while a double shot espresso is prepared by filling a device called a group head with freshly ground coffee.
Esquires uses beans from Fairtrade co-operatives in Peru, Sumatra, Honduras and Tanzania, expertly roasted in the UK. Coffee once it is ground only has a life span of 20 to 25 minutes, which is why we grind coffee here little and often. “I can tell if coffee has been left in the grinder for longer because it will taste bitter.” Hot water is then passed through the grouphead to create the espresso, which must have a perfect caramel coloured topping. With a steady hand, I topped up the coffee with the foamy milk- and no chocolate sprinkles, that’s not the true Italian way!
For a latte the aim is to create a milky foam, but with as few bubbles in as possible. This is quite a skill as the milk needs to be frothed on an angle. Pour the milk onto the espersso in a circular motion and leave enough foamy milk to create some show-stopping latte art. As I was feeling keen I learned how to create a leaf shape in the froth- not bad for my first Barista attempt!”"