My sister came home laughing but very disappointed last week after attempting to order a flat white somewhere.
“A flat white….?”, was the response to her order, wondering what it was that she wanted flat and white. A table? A plate? She didn’t order a coffee here, knowing that if they didn’t even know what it was, there was no way they were going to get it right.
My family don’t drink, but we all love really good food and place our liquid appreciation mostly on coffee. And some amazing Irish apple juices!
But it’s at the level that no matter how good a restaurant’s food may be, my parents won’t eat there if the coffee is crap. Growing up it used to be hell watching them send back two or more coffees in a row ‘til the waitress got it right. Now, as long as they’re kind and polite about it, I like that they want it they way it’s supposed to be.
An small independent Irish company who knows how coffee is supposed to be is Badger & Dodo, a coffee roasters run by Brock Lewin. And the Australian coffee roaster doesn’t just roast and supply places all over Ireland with the freshest coffees you can get in the country, but he’ll also train you or your staff as baristas.
I was not surprised when I found out he was Australian. They know coffee! They know coffee real good. Australia is where I learned the beauty of milk-based coffees. Previously an Americano snob, in Austraila the coffee used was just bitter enough to cut through the creamy heated milk to create this beautiful balance of sharp and calm. Now that is what you want at breakfast.
And every time i find a place that makes coffees like that, i stick to that place. Until that barista leaves. I’ve gone through phases when i know which days the people who make the good coffees work and schedule where i get my coffee around that. Obscene but sadly true.
In Ireland, we all too often burn the milk and make it ‘frothy’. I was taught in Australia that the ‘froth’ or ‘cream’ as my teacher referred to it, should be thick but silky, with no bubbles. It should gleam. Glossy is good.
Brock pulled his first shot of coffee while at University in Sydney. Since then he’s studied coffee at university, run cafés and learned to roast from an Italian master.
He refers to his coffee roasting business as ‘exploring’, probably because crops are never the same twice. There’s always something new. They also put time and effort into ethically sourcing their selection of coffee beans. And they don’t add new coffees just for the hell of it or for marketing reasons either,
“Any new coffee must bring something different or new to our current list of offerings and compliment our range.”
When at home in Waterford I drink their coffee at T-Bay café in Tramore which I wrote about recently. I’m going to find out if there are places in Dublin they serve it and i’ll add it in a comment below when i know. But if you’re anywhere else, you can get it delivered to you from their online store.
And if you serve food and or coffee and you haven’t got a properly trained barista on your staff – get on it. If you get coffee right you don’t need loyalty cards or the cheapest coffees in town. It will bring people back again and again and again.