What’s Your Perfect Espresso-Based Beverage?

Alright, today’s blog is going to tackle milk ratios! Wooohoooo! We’re about to help you discover what your perfect espresso-based drink is. Maybe you like a little milk, maybe you like a lot, maybe you’re looking for something just right. WE KNOW WHAT YOU NEED!FullSizeRender (6)

Our menu is arranged so that the drinks with little to no milk are at the top, and as you go down the list, the amount of milk in each drink increases. This little secret will help you out while you’re trying to choose the perfect beverage. A macchiato!

The drink with the least amount of milk is a macchiato. It’s just a double shot of espresso that has been marked with steamed milk. It’s served in a demitasse–AKA the tiniest of all mugs.

Macchiatos are tricky for customers and baristas alike because they force us to have awkward conversations, thank you Starbucks. So, let’s just get it over with and save ourselves from the great debate. Here we go! The Starbucks caramel macchiato is actually a new western form of the classic, going by the official name of a “latte macchiato” though they’ve conveniently left the “latte” out of it. Therefore, baristas have to gently (if you’re in a shop full of hipsters and serious coffee-purists, expect it to be much less gentle, but that’s just not our style) steer customers towards the caramel vanilla latte that they love rather than the traditional macchiato. The hard part is convincing any avid coffee drinker that their favorite drink is misnamed–yikes. This is especially dangerous if it’s their first cup of the day; none of us function well without our coffee. If you walk in at 8 a.m. and order a “caramel macchiato,” we’ve got your back.IMG_1912

Next up in the milk ratio procession is the cortado, my personal favorite. I often describe it as a baby latte, but it’s so much more. It is the perfect ratio (not biased at all) of milk to espresso: two ounces of each. This way, the espresso can pop, but you can still sit and sip if you’d like. Four ounces of deliciousness, served in a glass.

The drink that’s currently making headlines, the Flat White, soon to be at a Starbucks near you, fits here. It’s going to be about six ounces–two ounces of espresso, and four ounces of milk. It’s called “flat” because it’s served with a thicker microfoam (milk that has air dispersed throughout it in tiny micro-bubbles), but it isn’t as deliberately airy (or foamy) as a cappuccino.

Cappuccinos are next up on the list. For many, this is the ideal ratio. 2-2-2. Espresso, steamed milk, and stretched milk. Its milk is thicker than that of a cortado, meaning we’ve introduced more air into the milk during the steaming/stretching process. You can order this classic anywhere in the world, and it’s going to live up to your expectations. Hmmm, maybe we should all take a trip to Italy?

Moving on from our travel dreams, the final link in the milk ratio chain is the latte. The milkiest of all, this is the most sippable of espresso-based drinks. And, you can choose your amount of sipping time–eight ounces, twelve ounces, or sixteen ounces. Unless you request extra shots, each of these has just two ounces of espresso.

Now, you should be able to think about what you like (or what you need, we get that feeling!): How much espresso do you want to come through your drink? How long do you want the drink to last? How quickly do you need that sweet ‘spro in your system? And, you can make an informed decision about the drink that suits your needs. But honestly if you just can’t decide, we’re always here and happy to help you figure it out!


The Intimidating Pour Over

We’re all aware that coffee shops can be intimidating, baristas experience it, too. In my favorite Pittsburgh coffee shop, I walk in, complicated menuand I order one of the same three things every single time. This isn’t because I don’t WANT to branch out, but it’s because their menu is on three different walls–it has you surrounded! And if that isn’t terrifying enough, it’s especially hard to concentrate with other coffee addicts bustling around you. So, I’m either awkwardly trembling in a sea of people until I order, or I just confidently walk up and order one of my go-tos. But, when you can’t branch out (for any reason) you’re missing out!

So, one of the things we’d like to do with this blog is introduce you to some of our products, so you’re not awkwardly trembling in our space. We’re starting with the infamous (and delicious!) V60 or pour over. Now, if you mention a pour over to your parents or an older friend, they’ll tell you that it isn’t anything special, nothing new. But the pour overs that they were making “back in the day” lack the precision and science that now surrounds this single cup brew method. It’s been perfected, and it yields a smooth, less acidic cup of coffee fit for the gods.

How does it work? You order a pour over, we’ll give you your coffee options. This morning, I chose Ethiopia Gelana Abaya–a bright coffee with some serious notes of blueberry. It was like warm, glorious sunshine on this arcticly chilly day.

The gooseneck kettle allows for a more controlled and precise pour. And, as you can see, its name is appropriate.

The gooseneck kettle allows for a more controlled and precise pour. And, as you can see, its name is appropriate.

Once you’ve chosen your coffee, the carafe is preheated–we want to keep your pour over as hot and tasty as possible. Then, we grind coffee especially for you. Next, using a gooseneck kettle we pre-rinse the filter to wash away anything icky that could’ve found the filter during its time on the shelf.

Now, we start brewing! The ground coffee is added to the filter, and we pour just enough boiling hot water to wet all of the grounds and wait about 45 seconds. This is called the “bloom”, and you can watch as the grounds expand and gases are released. Once the coffee has bloomed, we pour the remaining hot water in concentric circles around the center of the grounds. And, voila! You have your first pour over.picstitch (2)

Also, different tasting notes will become detectable at different stages of the cooling process. So, if your cup goes cool, you might find a new flavor note that you really enjoy.

The entire process takes about 3 minutes—a small price to pay for a cup of coffee that has been handcrafted just for you. And, if you stop  by on a Wired Wednesday, you can try your first pour over for half price! The coffee world is just full of good news…and good brews!