‘Straya: we’re a proud nation of coffee snobs.
From taste to trends, we (think we) know best when it comes to beans – yet the very people responsible for our morning/afternoon/potentially-evening-too fix, baristas, reckon we’ve got a lot of it wrong.
P.TV went all the way downstairs to pick the brains of our friends at Single Origin Roasters, the boonta-popular roastery in Sydney’s Surry Hills that’s been providing our office with caffeine highs since way back when, about the hard truths every coffee drinker needs to hear.
Special thanks to Sean McManus, formerly head barista (he’s just moved on to open his own roastery, in the CBD), and Fergus Woolveridge, senior barista, for being brutally honest – fuck knows we needed to hear it.
1. COFFEE DOESN’T CURE A HANGOVER
Coffee will actually make a hangover worse because caffeine dehydrates you. If you really need some caffeine love (it happens), a single shot long black that’s not too hectic on your stomach is the best option.
2. THERE’S ZERO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A LATTE AND A FLAT WHITE
The only thing that makes them different is the vessel they come in. A latte comes in a narrow glass so, because the surface area at the top is less, as you pour textured milk out, it has no where to go but stack up. A flat white glass generally has a larger surface area so the textured milk spreads outwards and generates a flatter top. The milk is poured exactly the same way and it tastes exactly the same, it just generally comes in a different vessel when you order one at a cafe. In a takeaway cup, it’s all the same.
3. BARISTAS AREN’T A DISPENSARY
Gone are the days where working in the service industry means you need to suck up to a rude customer. We know it’s our job to make your coffee but, if we ask how you are, ‘A capp, thanks’ isn’t the right response. We know you’ve got a life but we’re not ATMs where you punch in your order and we spit out whatever you want. Be kind to your barista and you’ll get the same back.
4. ONLY SHIT CAFES DO SKIM MILK
When you go to the supermarket, there’s skim, light and full but no respecting cafe will actually use skim because it gives the coffee such a watery texture. Good cafes do light milk and full cream – that’s it.
On that note, the difference between light and full-cream is like, half a percent, so is .8 of a percent of fat going to make a difference when you’re ordering a large latte with two sugars and a butterscotch muffin? If you’re going to have a great quality coffee, you need milk that comes from a cow.
5. ‘LONG’ ANYTHING IS A DIRTY WORD
Traditionally, a long espresso is one where the ratio is 60ml espresso to water. But no one ever did them properly so it’s just espresso run really long and you just get all this horrible, over-extracted coffee. So when people ask for a ‘long’ anything, we ask if they want a dash of water or a double shot and they’ll often say ‘Oh, just run it longer’. And we have to say, ‘We don’t do that here ’cause it tastes like shit, soz’.
6. BARISTAS LOVE KEEP-CUPS
People have devised this beef between baristas and the owners of plastic or glass KeepCups but it’s just not true. We love them, actually – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Oh, and don’t be embarrassed to give us your dirty KeepCup – it’s not like you’ve pooped your pants, it only takes us a second to rinse it out with boiling water.
7. COFFEE IS RIDICULOUSLY CHEAP, DESPITE WHAT YOU THINK
So much is said about the high price of coffee but people who whinge about paying $4 for a premium coffee have no idea how expensive coffee is to buy, roast, prepare and produce. If you looked at a coffee menu from 10 to 15 years ago, you’d find coffee prices are still pretty much on par with what they are today yet everything else has gone up in cost – people’s wages, milk, the cost of production, rent.
8. STARING AT A BARISTA WON’T MAKE YOUR COFFEE COME ANY FASTER
It doesn’t matter how intently you stare at a busy barista after you’ve paid for your coffee, your position in the queue remains the same. We’re trying to get your coffee out as fast as possible but hanging around near the cash register isn’t going to make it ready any faster – you may as well just relax.
9. TAKING COFFEE SERIOUSLY DOESN’T MAKE YOU A HIPSTER
Just because you appreciate a well-brewed coffee, and care about where your coffee comes from, doesn’t make you a hipster – it makes you a coffee-lover. Same goes for the people who make your coffee; true baristas are actually a bunch of nerds who talk about coffee, TDS (Total Dissolved Solids), brewing, extraction; we’re just a bunch of dorks who read coffee blogs about the science and molecular structure of coffee. It’s a science-y thing, not a cool kid thing.
Photo: Hyperbole And A Half.