Where I’m coming from when trying a new shop

When it comes to coffee I am more of a purist, but since my goal here is to provide full insight to the shop’s offering, I always bring back-up to help me tackle some of the other options in the menu.  When I am experiencing a shop for the first time I usually order a few different things …yes in the same visit…. And yes this means that I am there  for a very long time =).

As I was writing about some of the places that will be featured in the blog, I realized that I wanted to give you, the readers, a little more insight into my point of view and where I am coming from. When I try a coffee shop for the first time I have a few orders that I use as my baseline: Americano, Pour over, Latte, and Drip.

Ordering drip usually gives you some insight into the quality of their coffee and the care the baristas have for their brew.  If drip coffee is left sitting for too long the coffee becomes bitter and it loses all of its original quality.

Americanos give you some insight into their roasting techniques. Americanos should be smooth with no bitterness. Unlike drip coffee, Americanos are made to order and are basically espresso shots with water. There has been times where I may drink the drip coffee and not be sold, but then I’ll have their americano and love their roast. Another point to note here, is that usually the beans and roast that are used for drip may be different for their americanos, the shop most likely will be using espresso beans instead. This is another reason why I like to try different items in a menu, different drinks usually mean different beans and roasts.

Lattes are something that I order when I want something a little heavier and somewhat of a treat. One of my biggest issues with lattes is that baristas don’t always  balance the milk and espresso properly. I’ve been to countless places where I order a latte and all I can taste is the frothed milk and the espresso is nowhere to be found.  The perfect latte is when the barista is able to showcase the coffee and complement it with the milk. Temperature, ratios, roast, and the type of milk all play a role in the making of the perfect latte.

Pour overs have become more popular in the last year or so, and by that I mean that it has become more mainstream allowing more people to enjoy this delicious brewing method. Pour overs like Americanos are made to order. The difference here is that instead of using espresso beans, baristas will use other types of roasts and beans. The other big difference is that there is no machine being used for this brewing method. Pour overs are usually brewed from a contraption that is placed over the cup or mug, coffee is ground to order and put into a filter that is then placed inside the plastic contraption.  A barista will then slowly pour water that has been brought to about 195-205 degrees over the grounds. This is a slower brewing method that is supposed to highlight roasts in a different way.

Though the drinks above are usually my order staples I will be featuring some drinks outside of these that will knock your socks off. In San Diego many of the coffee shops will use beans from two main roasters, which means that at times I am more interested in how a shop highlights the beans  and how they managed to elevate them.


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