Archive for February, 2011

For Your Brewing Pleasure: The Top 10 Barista Blogs

We love it, we need it, actually, it is a necessity for waking up and living our lives every day. Coffee, Java, Joe, café, “hot stuff,” jamocha, varnish remover, whatever you like to call it, is a worldwide drink that we can all agree on. The masters of coffee, the artists who use beans as their paints, the experts who create alertness for all of mankind, they are: Baristas. After scouring the internet for our favorite Barista Blogs, we have narrowed down our selection to the Top 10 Barista Blogs. These clever blogs are informative, instructive, and for many, hilarious. Teaching us coffee tips, and giving us unforgettable anecdotes from the other side of the counter, these blogs are here to keep you entertained!

  1. 1. Jim Seven – Jim Seven is a great blog written by James Hoffmann, the World Barista Champion 2007, also the winner of the UK Barista competition in both 2006 & 2007. This barista’s blog is up to date with the latest and greatest in coffee news. From perfecting espresso to coffee competitions, this guy has covered it all.
  2. 2. Barista Blog – Barista Blog is a fun blog that really shines, as it is made for coffee addicts and tea lovers. There are facts, news, photos, recipes, and videos that are filled with the latest and greatest java information. A beautiful blog with great descriptions (and pics!), it is certainly worth your time if you are seeking out coffee-knowledge!
  3. 3. Barista Exchange – Barista Exchange is a magnificent site where baristas unite! It is “the world’s premiere online community for the specialty coffee industry,” where baristas worldwide can share their stories, recipes, tips, and latest news. Even if you are not a barista, this site is certainly worth your time, as it will have you buying an espresso maker in no time!
  4. 4. Dublin Barista – Dublin’s # 1 barista, Colin Harmon, has a magnificent, up-to-date blog giving us coffee’s best from the Emerald Isle. Ireland has always had a gorgeous coffee reputation, and Colin has done extremely well depicting that on the screen. A barista at 3FE in Dublin, he has some entertaining bits on a life that revolves around coffee! Check it out!
  5. 5. Live Journal – The Livejournal Baristas Community is an online forum that is an blank canvas for all baristas. It is a wonderful place for sharing stories (or venting, we all do it) and exploring the life of a Barista!. Check it out for entertaining stories about these baristas shifts!
  6. 6. Pasteboard: Barista Magazine – Barista Magazine is a highly regarded magazine straight outta Portland, Oregon. Covering competitions to an espresso quick-fix on the run, this publication has a beautiful blog that is well-manicured, filled with the most informative java news coming straight to you!
  7. 7. 147 xxxx – A Starbucks Barista blog (in NYC!) is as real as it gets. This excellent blog is written by a barista who remembers “making your latte, working with the motto “just say yes,” dealing with the hobos, the clueless, the regulars, and amazing(ly dumb) customers.” While this blogger is no longer a Starbucks barista, this blog is very well written, and has a superb sense of humor, especially when dealing with the masses!
  8. 8. Barista Brat – The Barista Brat is not your average brat. This blogger chronicles the rants and raves of a barista, all while being a coffee shop owner. An expert, you might say, this seasoned barista has some hilarious posts that are certainly worth your time!
  9. 9. Caffenation – This Antwerp Barista, Rob Berghmans, is living life in Antwerp and blogging as he brews. Rob is the owner of the Caffènation coffee company, and therefore knows the ins and outs of not only making coffee, but knowing how to make coffee into a business. This well-kept blog is up to date and always giving out great advice to not only baristas, but your average (or above-average!) coffee aficionados as well!
  10. 10. Bikini Baristas -Bikini Baristas is certainly the most unique blog about baristas, to say the least. This clever and probably male-popular site is a collection of all the Seattle area “Bikini Baristas.” You’re probably thinking that they are all in one place- but no, these bikini babes are spread throughout the city at various stands, waiting to make YOU a latte. Pretty interesting!

Posted on 21 February '11 by , under Featured.

5 Surefire Ways to Great Cooking

It’s just like any other skill – some people take to cooking like a duck to water while others have to learn the hard way through practice and experience. My mom belongs to the first category while I got shoved to the second. Unfortunately, her expertise in cooking was not something she passed to me through her genes. I was (and still am) a reluctant cook; but since I love to eat, I had to learn the tricks of the trade or settle for mediocre and/or inedible food. There is no dearth of recipes, so it’s not how to cook that you need to worry about when you start your journey as a cook; rather, it’s the extraneous aspects of cooking that make your dishes look, smell and taste great.

  • Pay attention to the recipe: Unless you’re an experienced cook or know your way around a kitchen, it’s best to follow instructions exactly as specified by the recipe. When you’re a newbie, don’t take liberties and try experimenting with ingredients and amounts; there’s time for this a few months down the road, when you’re surer of your skills and know what’s what in the cooking department. If you’re not sure about any aspect of the recipe, ask someone who is at home in a kitchen for help.
  • Keep all ingredients at hand: Before you begin, ensure that you have all the ingredients needed at home. It’s also best to measure out the exact amounts of each ingredient and keep them on your countertop so you don’t have to scramble for them at the last minute. Read the recipe thoroughly before you start – this prevents mistakes that could ruin your dish. For example, if the recipe calls for butter at room temperature to be added to the flour mix and you haven’t set out the butter to thaw, then your cake or pastry is going to fall flat (pardon the pun). Planning ahead and being prepared is an integral part of cooking great dishes.
  • Don’t be distracted: There are people who multitask efficiently even as they cook up a storm, but if you’re a newbie or you’re like me, you must concentrate on the dish you’re making to avoid burning, undercooking, boiling over, overcooking and other blunders that could happen when you’re distracted. If the recipe calls for you to keep stirring the liquid or broth, do so without question. If you’re supposed to stay near the stove tending to what’s in the pan, do it without hesitation. Distraction in the kitchen leads not just to errors in your food, but also to safety risks that could endanger your life.
  • Use the right equipment: Don’t just make do with what’s available; when you plan to be a good cook, you must arm yourself with the right equipment. Use the right pots, pans, ladles, stirrers, stoves, and ovens. Without the tools, you’re only half the cook you could possibly be.
  • Do it whole-heartedly: A recent study has found that hard work improves the taste of food. Now whether this is true or not, cooking whole-heartedly and without any reluctance does make a difference in the outcome. When you put your heart and soul into your meals, you use the best ingredients and you take the most care in ensuring that you’ve followed all the instructions to the letter. This attention to detail makes the end result both delicious and wholesome.

Posted on 6 February '11 by , under Featured.