Quarantine made me a barista

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A bit of background

Before quarantine I had a caffeinated beverage before school, during school, after school, and possible another depending how my day was going. Nowadays, I stick to pretty much the same schedule, if you don’t count the additional two drinks during the school day. It all went downhill when I realized it didn’t take up the whole five minute passing period to join my next Zoom call. Who knew I could make an iced Americano in just four minutes? I even have time to spare before class starts. Due to the excessive practice I am getting, I would like to think my barista skills have improved and my overall knowledge on the subject has increased.


Coffee

I probably began drinking coffee when I was too young. I first started drinking coffee when I was eleven. This is partly thanks to having an older sister who would always give me a sip of her iced vanilla latte. I was clearly set up for this addiction. Of course, at the beginning of my relationship with coffee there was a lot of milk, sugar, and vanilla involved. However, it didn’t stay that way for long as relatively quickly I found a love for black coffee. My go to order at a coffee shop today is an iced Americano.

When making coffee at home I tend to use my Nespresso machine, but sometimes I make drip coffee if I am in the mood. My favorite places to buy coffee beans from to use for drip coffee are La colombe, Verve, Blue Bottle , and Alfred. When looking for coffee beans to use at home, I would recommend buying from your favorite coffee shops. During quarantine it makes for a great way to support their business, but you also know the quality and taste of the beans.


Matcha

I haven’t been drinking matcha for as long as coffee but I absolutely love it. The taste is like that of a very strong green tea yet with a kind of refreshing lightness. Just like with coffee, I drink matcha both iced and hot and I prefer it without milk. According to an Instagram post by Cha Cha Matcha, my absolute favorite matcha stop, one cup of matcha is the caffeine equivalent to ten cups of regular green tea; however, this caffeine is released in a slow and controlled manner resulting in long term jitter free energy without the crash associated with coffee.

To make matcha at home you will need ceremonial grade matcha powder. I buy mine either at Alfred or Cha Cha Matcha. The traditional way to make matcha is with a bamboo whisk, stirring in a “w” pattern. When I first began making matcha, I used this method. The bamboo whisk can take a while if you are half asleep when using it, like I usually am. I decided to try out an electric whisk for my matcha, to make my mornings a bit faster and easier. I have never looked back. Although it is a little unorthodox, it really does get the job done and many in the matcha community utilize one as well.


Lattes

Although a latte is not my go to order, every once in a while I love a good latte. The biggest talking point on lattes is the milk, or in my case milk alternatives. Honestly, I really dislike dairy milk. I don’t have any allergies to it, but I have always preferred a milk alternative. At home I tend to use either Almond milk or macadamia nut milk. That is pretty much the same for when I purchase a latte as well. When I go to Cha Cha Matcha I will sometimes get hemp milk. For frothing milk for an at home latte, I use a Nespresso milk frother. It has an option for both hot and cold foam, so I could also enjoy an iced latte. Of course, a lot of people like dairy milk in their lattes too. When ordering or making a latte, it is critical to use a milk that you like. Otherwise, the latte is doomed.

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