Rowen’s Coffee House: Grand Opening

Welcome to Rowen’s Coffee House! Feel free to pull up a chair, enjoy your free range/shade grown peppermint chocolate cappuccino, and chill out to the groovy lounge jazz!

I’d like for this to be a place to discuss the trials and tribulations of working in the customer service industry, especially the coffee industry, which is where I work now. I’d like to keep this scathing, but I’d also like to not have this turn into Barista Rant. So, let’s get started. Many people out there have no clue what’s in their cuppa, so here’s a quick intro to just what you’re drinking (and you can impress your friends with your esoteric coffee knowledge!!)

There’s quite a lot of ways to grind and prepare coffee, but unfortunately, your local Starbucks doesn’t serve them, so, in the interest of not confusing the hell out of you or allowing you to sound like a total douche, I’m going to keep it simple. Please note that I WON’T be covering crap like the frappucinos and the chai-teas, since that would be like including a Strawberry Sunrise Surprise Frozen Martini in an article about whiskey.

1)      Brewed (non-espresso) – This is the type of coffee Americans think of when they think of coffee. It’s the acidic shit that the bitchy waitress serves you at IHOP, and gives you a glare whenever you request a refill. Variations include

a.       Black Coffee – Just What It Says on the Tin, you idiot.

b.      White Coffee – I’ve never heard anyone say this, but Wikipedia claims that this is coffee with cream. Or, ya know, coffee.

c.       Café au Lait, Café Ole, Coffee Misto – Equal parts coffee and steamed milk. The poor man’s latte.

d.      Red Eye –Black coffee with a shot. Two shots is a black eye. People have stupid names for more shots (Blue eye! Green eye! Brown Eye!) but that’s, once again, going into douchebag territory.

e.      French Press – This should get its own section, but since it’s so rarely done, I figured I’d put it in the brewed section. French press coffee is more coarsely ground, and then scooped into a French Press. It’s allowed to steep for a few minutes, after which you press down on this plunger thing which pushes most of the grounds to the bottom. Personally, I find this to be the best tasting style of brewing coffee, as it has much more flavor then drip style. You can get a French Press for about 20 bucks and it doesn’t require a filter.

2)      Espresso – This is a dark roast coffee that’s been ground much finer then your regular mud, and then packed into a small little puck called a “puck” which is then inserted into one of these magical espresso machines where hot water is forced through the coffee, to slowly dribble into a tiny cup. It’s a very sexy drink. . .

a.       Espresso – This is your basic espresso with nothing added. True snobs will tell you that it’s supposed to be drunk almost immediately after being brewed , before the sweeter small topping, or crema, dissolves. However, this person is usually the dickhead “experiencing” their espresso right at the coffee bar, blocking everyone else from getting their 2/3’s caf, venti, 3.4 pumps no foam skinny vanilla latte. You can get regular espresso or you can have it in one of these two styles”

i.      Long (or Lungo) – More water is added to the espresso, but it’s added as it goes through the espresso machine (compare to the Americano). This allows more of the bitter flavor to come through.

ii.      Ristretto – Less water is used, making the drink smaller in volume, but sweeter in taste.

b.      Café Americano – This style came from Europeans trying to mimic American drip coffee during WWII. Hot water is added to the espresso (destroying the crema).

c.       Long Black – The inverse of the Americano. Hot water is poured first, and then the espresso is added, thus preserving the crema.

d.      Espresso Macchiato – The espresso shot is topped off with a scoop of foam.

e.      Latte – The espresso mixed with mostly steamed milk, and a topping of foam. Some places, not Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, teach their employees how to make shapes with the foam, which is cute in a ceramic cup in Snotty McCoffee Bar in Williamsburg, but who really has time for that?

f.        Cappuccino – After the espresso, this drink has equal parts steamed milk and foam, meaning it’s supposed to have a thick layer of foam in it (yes, I have had people order a cappuccino and then bitch about the presence of foam. Please don’t be that person.)


So, there you have it! A quick list of what the hell is being served at your local Starbucks. Until next time, enjoy! And remember, if we didn’t make your drink right the first time, then fuck off.

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