Amanda and I have spent the past two days down in DC at the Counter Culture Training Center maxing out on caffeine until our heads and tummys exploded. On Tuesday we took a Beginners Espresso Class offered by CCC to train new baristas on the art of espresso and whip seasoned baristas (like Amanda and I) back into shape after working at less than suitable cafes where we developed many a bad habit.
The best part of the class is that we were able to use a machine somewhat similar to the one we just purchased! The CCC Linea was a three group and had some upgrades like teflon steam wands, but the look and feel of it will be similar to our soon to be arriving machine.
Here are some of the cappuccinos that I poured:
The classes were taught by our CCC rep and old co-worker Alex as well as the CCC technician Brian. It was much needed practice and we both learned some new tricks and pointers. We also found out that we were inadvertantly on the track to becoming CCC certified baristas. After two more classes, Milk Chemistry and Intermediate Espresso, we will be able to take a test and have excess street cred in the barista world. In addition we get sweet personalized tampers for completion of the course and passing the test which includes pouring two good shots of espresso, making two good cappuccinos, creating a signature drink and completing a written test.
We both decided that we should come back next week and take the Milk Chemistry course and start working on our certifications.
Wednesday we had plans to meet up with Alex to do some tasting for our house brew and espresso blend. It was pretty hard work, but obviously enjoyable at the same time. We had the pleasure of trying out CCC’s newest espresso blend, Apollo, which we had heard a lot about. Although we really enjoyed Apollo once it was dialed in and pulled perfectly, we both fell in love with Toscano the day before and decided that it was what we would be using in the shop. Toscano is an amazingly sweet and mellow blend which drinks wonderfully as both an espresso or mixed in with milk in a cappuccino or latte.
After multiple tastings, we came to the conclusion of Finca Nueva Armenia as our house roast. FNA hails from Guatemala and is very much a coffee drinker’s coffee: smooth, slightly bitter, but with great taste all around. This coffee is great black, but will also lend well to milk and sugar for those who roll that way. Also it is certified organic and falls under CCC’s strict Direct Trade Standards.
We can not wait to serve both these and and many more coffees and foods to all of you. The anticipation in the group is reaching a critical mass and fortunately we will be able to relieve ourselves once our doors open in the very near future.
Amanda and I both had a blast these past couple of days and are definitely excited about our next class next week, however we are both less than enthused about the friendly DC traffic…perhaps the Marc train will be in order for our next trip. Keep posted for more updates as our opening date approaches!