In my own personal taxonomy of tea, there are 2 broad classifications, those being (a) real tea and (b) everything else.
Real tea is what we mean when we talk about tea in Ireland, that cup that will be offered to you on entry to almost every Irish household. Be it Lyons or be it Barry’s, cups of same regularly punctuate my day.
To avoid overdosing on the real stuff, however, I do drink a variety of those other teas and will happily try new ones if they come my way. So when Barry’s got in touch about their new pu-erh and rooibos teas, that was my cue to put the kettle on.
Pu-erh and rooibos teas from Barry's
“I want to be a barista when I grow up.”
I’d hazard a guess that you’re not likely to hear little Johnny or Mary coming out with that one too often.
The tools of the barista's trade
Yet it was the wish expressed by Flavio Urizzi, export sales manager with espresso machine manufacturer CMA SpA and one of the technical judges at last week’s Irish Barista Championships, that being a barista would be seen, not as a job on the way to another career, but as a worthy profession in and of itself. His was a vision of people retiring at 60, saying I was a barista and proud of it. And why should they not? Good baristas have a lot to be proud of. Anybody watching the championship finalists in action last Thursday could have seen that.
Time was when coffee in Dublin meant a mug of milky white coffee at Bewley’s, with nothing either grande or latte about it. Even so, it seemed like a big step up from drinking tea, if only because that’s what you did at home, morning, noon and night.
Then we got all fancy with our imported coffee culture: American styles, Italian names, and the spawning of a whole generation of grande skinny decaf drinkers. (And before I go any further, I should point out that I count myself in this – I have spent years with a takeaway latte cup welded to my hand).
Yes, we fancied, in our Celtic Tiger way, that we now knew about coffee. Who among us was willing to admit that, more often than not, we were drinking what amounted to the emperor’s new decaf?
But it's only coffee, right?