I’ll come right out with it: cup measurements freak me out. (And that’s cup measurements for baking Mister, before your mind starts wandering elsewhere. Tsk).
Despite possessing a set of measuring cups, not to mention several conversion charts, I am never entirely sure how much a cup of X actually contains, as it seems to vary quite significantly, depending on how that cup of X was filled and who was doing the filling. Give me ounces or grams and the reassurance of a weighing scales any day.
My cup-o-phobia was the one thing, in fact, that concerned me ever so slightly about participating in the International Holiday Cookie Recipe Exchange. The brainchild of Adrienne from Gastroanthropology and Lori from Fake Food Free, the idea behind the exchange was to pair up participating bloggers, who would then swap recipes for seasonal treats. Would I be foiled by the dreaded cup measurements in my designated exchange recipe?
Butterscotch-glazed coffee shortbread bars
“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?