While I could probably live quite well on spuds alone – and believe me, there are far worse diets than one that is predominantly potato-based – I do find that my mornings are much the better for the existence (and consumption) of good, properly brewed coffee.
Last week's Sunday Times, where I was all about the coffee
(the article lives online, but behind the Sunday Times' paywall, alas)
It was thus my great pleasure, last week, to have the opportunity to relay, via the Sunday Times, the thoughts of some of my favourite coffee people – Colin Harmon of 3FE, Karl Purdy of Coffee Angel and Paul Stack of Marco, among others – on the subject of the variable, but improving, standard of coffee available to us here in Ireland.
“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?