Is The Barista The New Bartender?
Have you ever asked a barista at a coffee shop to recommend a drink? If so, chances are it didn’t feel all that different from the kinds of conversations you’ve been having with bartenders for years…
Here’s a few questions that go through the heads of baristas when asked to make recommendations:
What do you like to drink?
What flavors do you not like?
Do you like really fruit forward flavors?”
Often the response is, "Oh, I don't want it too strong."
That's an interesting adjective because, do they mean super caffeinated? Do they mean really, really acid, too bitey of a flavor? Too much body?
Baristas have to extrapolate meaning from this… so there’s another list of follow-up questions:
Are you looking for caffeine?
Is that what you mean by “strong”?
You don't like it super dark and full bodied?
If they say no to bold flavors, a mild option would be something like a Guatemalan roast, a really good in-between of not too fruit forward, not too bright, but it's got a really good kind of cocoa, and almost like a honey, syrupy flavor to it. This delicate acidity comes from the rich volcanic ash of the Pacaya region of Guatemala.
If it turns out they want something really strong, over at 8&R we’d recommend something like Shakiso (below).
Looking to expand your palette? Try ordering both options at shop.8thandroast.com and do a blind taste test. And the next time you’re in your favorite locally owned coffee shop, ask your barista what they think… chances are, they’ll have plenty to offer.