Who is this gorgeous human, you ask? Well, this is Megan and she is poised to become one of the coolest people you will ever know. Why, you ask? Because she is studying to become a Coffee Master.
It’s a real thing. If you walk into your local Starbucks and see someone behind the counter wearing a black apron, that’s the person who can answer all of your coffee questions.
Working at Starbucks is like any other job (or anything in life): you get out of it what you put into it. I have loved working here because Starbucks is an amazing corporation that puts a shocking amount of time and resources into taking care of their partners. And, it turns out, they put just as much into their coffee. They don’t devote a lot to advertising it, but they take great pride in the quality of their product.
Somebody told me once that Starbucks coffee is so “bad” because they buy the beans from the end of the roast at all of the major roasters, which is why the beans are burned. She was adamant. And wrong. I now know that Starbucks has an entirely separate corporation whose sole purpose is to foster relationships with coffee farms across the world to procure high quality beans. And they aren’t just takers; they devote considerable resources to the development of both the farmers and their surrounding communities.
Also, there isn’t an “end” of the roast. She obviously never did any research. I, however, definitely have. This coffee master thing comes with a textbook. And a certification exam. And copious note-taking and researching. Coffee traveled across the globe following two separate paths (which I carefully copied into my notes – student win). I know that now. I know a thing.
It’s not just the history of coffee we’re learning, however. We are also learning about growing regions and processing methods and the difference they make on flavor.
Each step of our study is accompanied by a coffee pairing designed to show off something of what we’ve learned. And we are pulling out all the stops. The header of this post shows the three coffees we used to differentiate between the three major processing methods Starbucks uses for their coffee. There is a picture over on Instagram of what we prepared to go with them, but it was…amazing. Vanilla ice cream and berry compote, pico de gallo, and brie with jalapeño jello and fig preserves – all homemade. On the left, is the first pairing that I ever did with Casi Cielo and lemon mousse in a gosh darn chocolate cup.
Call me, Food Network.
It would be easy to breeze right through the text and stumble onto the end of the program, but that isn’t what we want. We want to learn all that there is to know about both our company and coffee in general.
So, we stop to look up words we don’t know or the answers to questions we have, and we take field trips up to Brick & Mortar in Springfield to taste their cold brewed coffee, which Starbucks doesn’t offer yet. That’s where we are in the picture of Megan at the top. It’s why we take the time to argue about George Washington.
So, if you have any love for coffee, talk to your Coffee Masters. It’s crazy how much they have to know. I was shocked when I learned how to bring out specific flavors. Coffee can taste good, y’all!