Barista Course – Review

When is a coffee not a coffee? …….. When it’s made by me. Then it’s brown slurry!

This was my motivation to book myself on the Barista Basics course. The other childish motivation is that my wife has learnt the dark arts of making a fine flat white at home on our machine. This leaves me powerless to her whims when I need a caffeine fix. Which, with two small boys under 6, is pretty darn often!

So this Easter weekend myself and my colleague (and chum) Cindy went off to the Sydney CBD for a crash course in making a decent coffee.

We arrived at a very well equipped classroom, to be greeted by our guide for the day, Jay and his handy assistant Elly.

Whilst we waited for the other attendees Jay made me a flat white. Jeez it was good. This was a man who knew his instant from his beans.

Once everyone had arrived, Jay started us off with a history of coffee. I won’t go into loads a detail but interesting fact for the day is that Coffee was discovered by shepherds in Ethiopia who noticed their flocks didn’t sleep during the night after having a nibble on a coffee tree!

We moved on through history and arrived at milk. If you thought it was just heat the stuff up and plonk it in a glass you’d be right, sorry I mean wrong. Out of everything we learned, how to get the milk at the correct temperature, the right consistency and volume of foam was mind bending.

Fortunately Jay and Elly were very patient and allowed us to practice on an obscene amount of Cow juice!
It’s a fine art, but with a bit of practice it was amazingly satisfying when I produced my first usable jug of Coffee milk. Once we had drained three cows of their hard earned milk we moved on to the coffee itself and the grind. Depending on your machine and the type of coffee you prefer this will dictate the texture of your coffee.

Here's me pretending to look like I know what I'm doing!

Here's me pretending to look like I know what I'm doing!

It was time to make the actual stuff. We were provided with recipe cards for all the well known types of coffee. I started at the top of and then proceeded to massacre all the greats from cappuccino to mocha. But more patience from our great teachers and a lot more practice, I was knocking out coffees even my wife would have been impressed by. I even managed to place a few pretty patterns on top (for those interested this, the details are covered in the Master Class).

Check out the pattern on that!

Check out the pattern on that!

Time flew and it was mid-day and time to go home. I felt enriched with a new skill and a new knowledge of that great beverage, Coffee. I couldn’t wait to get home and make my wife a Caffe Latte. Freedom from her caffeine control beckoned.

Needless to say, the wife and kids had gone out so I had to wait until Breakfast the next day. I strode confidently up to the machine, turned it on, frothed my milk and proceeded to make the worst coffee she’s tasted since she left the UK (and it’s pretty bad there).

I blamed it on the fact that she hadn’t cleaned the machine recently. She blamed it on the fact I was rubbish and would have to put in some serious practice. The gauntlet has been laid and I will one day make a coffee my wife can drink!

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