Tasting Notes: How Your Barista Is a Spotify DJ

Tasting Notes: How Your Barista Is a Spotify DJ

Like many baristas, I came to the coffee profession in part because of coffee shops - not just because it’s where your latte comes from but because it’s the place you can sit and unwind, read your favorite book, maybe have a cheerful, surface-level conversation with a stranger.

Coffee shops, at their best, should be safe spaces where anyone who’s anyone can sit, have a drink, and feel welcome.  And, for me, music has always been an important part of that experience, both as a barista and as a customer.

kissaten traditional coffee house in Kyoto, Japan

A Barista's Guide to Kyoto Coffee Culture

Turn a corner on a random city street in Kyoto, and you’re just as likely to run face-first into a classical Buddhist temple as into a five-floor shopping center. Ancient shinto shrines sit anachronistically beside rent-a-bike stations. Brilliant pink cherry blossoms are blown from their branches by the speed of passing delivery trucks. But despite the apparent contradictions, nothing feels disjointed or ungainly about this city. 

Kyoto is a place where modernity and tradition meet in seeming harmony, at least...

How To Make The Perfect Macchiato With a Dollop

How to Make the Perfect Macchiato — Part II

You have just landed in Florence, Italy. You couldn’t sleep on the plane and the local time is 9 AM. Your eyelids struggle to stay open as you try to hunt down your luggage at the baggage claim. The Starbucks mermaid is beckoning you to drink a “venti caramel macchiato” and you succumb to her lures.

You take a sip of your “macchiato”. It’s delicious. The creaminess, the caramel drizzle, the slight notes of “espresso” all come together and you chase down your bags with this newfound energy.

It’s 2 PM in the afternoon and you’ve settled down at a cozy restaurant...

How to Make the Perfect Macchiato — Part I

How to Make the Perfect Macchiato — Part I

Many people would say that dolloping is how we recognize a macchiato. A macchiato derives from the words, “spotted” or “marked” in Italian. It basically is a drink marked with milk. I believe that the traditional method, the dolloping, is fine…

However, nowadays in third wave coffee shops, you'll see something that looks like a mini-cortado that is also not quite a piccolo or a “mezzo-mezzo” (see blog post #1).

I believe this macchiato form has evolved from a traditional dollop to a more presentable creation of a macchiato.

Of course...

What Exactly Is a Mezzo-Mezzo?

What Exactly Is a Mezzo-Mezzo?

I received an order for a MEZZO-MEZZO at the shop yesterday, and wasn’t quite sure what I was dealing with. It’s been a second since I'd flat-out not recognized a drink order, so I thought I’d do a little digging.  Some basic Googling revealed that there are two drinks making the rounds with the name MEZZO-MEZZO.