Special Edition: Talkin’ Coffee

So I spent about 11 years at Starbucks (if you add it all up). I started out as a barista straight out of high school and worked my way up to Store Manager. So I learned a lot about coffee during that time. Most people, when they find out I worked at Starbucks, ask me how to make your coffee taste great. So I thought, why not just share my favorite ways to make coffee.

Here are some of my favorite coffees and two of my favorite devices. At Starbucks, my favorite coffee was always Caffe Verona. It’s a dessert coffee, cocoa undertones, a smooth but bold body. Stumptown is another amazing line of coffee from Portland, Oregon. Make sure to check it out. Lastly, the Golden S’mores is a new coffee from Starbucks (available in the grocery stores only). I’ll give you more details on this one in a minute. Now for the coffee devices.

This is a moka pot I bought in Italy. In Italy this is what we typically made coffee in. It makes a small amount of coffee which is great for a quick on the go jolt of energy! The way it works is if you put water in the lower chamber and coffee grounds in the middle chamber. You place it on the stovetop and the water boils, pushing up through the coffee grounds and into the top chamber. After a few minutes it’s ready!

Now this is something most people know: a French Press. And since most people know how to use it I’m not going to go into too many details on how to make coffee in it. I am going to give a little insight into the common mistakes people make.

First, using too much or too little coffee. The ratio for a great cup of coffee is 1-2 tablespoons for every 6 ounces of water. Too much? Your coffee will be bitter. Too Little? Your coffee will be watery. Going between 1-2 tbsp will allow you to alter how strong it will be without messing it up too much.

Second mistake: using unfiltered water. Water will change the way the coffee tastes. Being from Las Vegas, tap water is not something I drink. Honestly, I go to Starbucks everyday and get my water bottle filled because Starbucks water is triple filtered. You can always tell when a Starbucks has to bypass it’s filtration system because everything seems off in the way it tastes. So do yourself a favor, it doesn’t have to be triple filtered, but at least use some type of filtered water the next time you make coffee.

Third mistake: letting the coffee sit too long. For a french press you should only let the coffee sit without plunging it for about 4-5 minutes tops. I typically do mine for only 4 minutes. The coffee will become bitter the longer it sits. So set those timers and drink that coffee before it tastes like knives on your tongue.

One of the mistakes I think people make without realizing it is not eating the right foods with the right coffee. Every coffee has a different flavor profile, which means that certain foods pair nicely with it and others do not. Also, not every coffee pairs well with delicious pastries like the one pictured. Some coffees have earthy tones, citrus tones, berry tones, and spicy tones. You have to get to know the coffee to know what food to enjoy it with.

If my time at Starbucks or even my time in Italy taught me anything, its that coffee is not just something you chug on your way to work in order to get a good caffeine buzz to get you through the day. It’s meant to be enjoyed. It’s meant to be something people bond over. It’s meant to bring people together. In America, in our fast pace 24/7 culture, we tend to forget that coffee can be enjoyed slowly throughout the day, paired with good food. Remember that the next time you run out of the house with a tumbler of coffee in hand.

Now for the grand finale. This was my first time trying this new flavored coffee. Haris and I decided to test it out together. First, we tried it black, no milk or any added sugars. The graham cracker flavor was very subtle, but present. We didn’t taste the marshmallow or chocolate notes though. So, what do you do? Grab the items you are suppose to taste and create your own tasting! The key is to sip the coffee through a bite of whatever you you are pairing with the coffee. When we did this with the marshmallows and chocolate the flavors began to pop. You’ll notice it even without a bite of the food. Overall I enjoyed this coffee a lot. If you see it in the stores grab a bag.

Well I hope that helps answer some very simple coffee questions for you. Leave a comment below if you have any further questions.

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