I’ve been sitting here for the past few minutes trying to decide what to title this post. Over the winter, I volunteered as a barista, but now I have a part-time position with GSC (another one of the contractors here) as a barista/bartender.
I haven’t had the chance to work at one of the bars yet, so this post is simply about doing the barista thing, oh and coffee.
First things first, let’s talk about the ingredients we have to work with.
1. Coffee Beans – Antarctica is an extremely dry continent. To ensure that we keep as much moisture as possible in the coffee beans, we have to keep them in the bags and the bags sealed as long as possible. I generally don’t fill the grinder unless I have people in the coffee house, and then, I only fill it a quarter of the way. No one wants dry, funky beans as the base for their coffee.
2. Milk – Obviously we’re a long ways away from any place that we can purchase milk. To fix this problem, we have milk powder that we blend with water to produce Whole, Skim and Soy milk. We generally make our drinks with whole milk because it produces a better foam.
3. Sauces/Syrups – We have Ghiradelli Caramel, Chocolate and White Chocolate sauces. We also have Irish Cream and Amaretto syrups.
4. Liqueurs – We offer Kahlua, Bailey’s and Grand Marnier
5. Miscellaneous – I generally bring in cayenne pepper (for Zombie Slayer espresso shots), peppermint (for Peppermint Mochas). I also recently found an unopened bottle of peppermint syrup in skua that I’ve been experimenting with. Cinnamon, cocoa powder and nutmeg are also on hand at the coffeehouse for extra flavoring and latte art.
There is also a decent variety of tea kept there as well.
I’ve been working the “day bar” shift at the coffee house. Day Bar is held at the CH on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The best day shift to work is the Thursday morning shift because there are no other bars open at that time. Since the coffee house also serves wine, this is where the night shift workers go to unwind after their shift. The day shift hours at the CH are from 0630 to 1130. I generally get there around 0530 because I want more people (town folk) to have a chance to get good coffee before they head in to work.
So the first thing I do when I enter the coffeehouse is turn on the espresso machine. It takes around 25 minutes to warm up, so it’s important to turn it on early. After that, I start pulling out everything that I’m going to need – tampers, jiggers, whisks, syrups, sauces, wine bottles, etc. I unlock the cabinets to make sure the wine bottles I use on display match what I have available.
After I get everything set up, I go through and straighten tables and chairs, and I wash any leftover dishes from the evening before. The CH is open as a lounge 24 hours a day so there are often a few mugs and wine glasses that need to be cleaned.
Once all of the housekeeping chores are done, I make my first cup of coffee, for myself, of course. I’ve been on a cinnamon kick lately, so one of creations I’ve been consuming has been named the Caramel Cinnamon Amaziato. It’s delicious and it’s what I generally recommend to customers who have no idea what they want to try, they just want to try something new. I get a fair number of repeat customers for that drink only.