Latte art practice: espresso substitute? - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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LaDan

#11: Post by LaDan »

What do you end up paying per pound for that freshly roasted cheap gross coffee??

jonny

#12: Post by jonny »

I don't mean to pick on you but I always find it peculiar how a lot of the members on here will spend unjustifiable amounts of money on equipment and then turn frugal when it comes to less exciting, but equally, if not more important things like practicing in order to use the equipment well. If you want to get better quickly, practice with what you would normally use. A pound of coffee: $20. A gallon of milk: $5. $25 invested in your skill is a small fraction of what you have invested in equipment. If you are worried about throwing stuff down the drain, just make a latte a day and enjoy it. Soon enough, your skills will develop.

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Maxwell Mooney

#13: Post by Maxwell Mooney »

Jonny nailed it.

But I pay $20 for 2lbs. I practice with 6oz Capps so usually go through 4galls milk.

Now that I work for a roastery, I use waste coffee or pay cost of green.
"Coffee is evidence of Divine Grace, flavored coffee evidence of the Fall" -Kevin Hall

LMWDP #406

jedovaty

#14: Post by jedovaty »

jonny wrote:I don't mean to pick on you but I always find it peculiar how a lot of the members on here will spend unjustifiable amounts of money on equipment and then turn frugal when it comes to less exciting, but equally, if not more important things like practicing in order to use the equipment well. If you want to get better quickly, practice with what you would normally use. A pound of coffee: $20. A gallon of milk: $5. $25 invested in your skill is a small fraction of what you have invested in equipment. If you are worried about throwing stuff down the drain, just make a latte a day and enjoy it. Soon enough, your skills will develop.
It's not about money, but rather, rapid, repeated pours into consistent base. :) There many of us who learn this way, and would like to get the basics down quickly. Those of us bringing up the cost of goods are demonstrating "you shouldn't really use money as an excuse".

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LaDan

#15: Post by LaDan »

I just run out of coffee, had enough for one espresso, and that was it. Waiting for Tom's Linea Coffee to arrive in the mail... So... What a guy has to drink???

Had some 70% chocolate chips in the fridge. I melted a few chips in hot water from the steam boiler tap. Made it 30g in total. Steamed the milk as usual and poured.

No preparation, just straight pour of the milk into the non-crema chocolate liquid. I didn't even know what to expect, this is the first time I did this.

Point is, pour your milk into whatever dark drink you have. With the chocolate, at least you can collect them all into a large jar and refrigerate for a nice cold (or hot) drink in the days ahead... :)

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LaDan

#16: Post by LaDan »

jonny wrote:I don't mean to pick on you but I always find it peculiar how a lot of the members on here will spend unjustifiable amounts of money on equipment and then turn frugal when it comes to less exciting, but equally, if not more important things like practicing in order to use the equipment well. If you want to get better quickly, practice with what you would normally use. A pound of coffee: $20. A gallon of milk: $5. $25 invested in your skill is a small fraction of what you have invested in equipment. If you are worried about throwing stuff down the drain, just make a latte a day and enjoy it. Soon enough, your skills will develop.
I respectfully COMPLETELY disagree.

First point. The cost of the equipment has nothing to do with the waste of throwing down the drain good, lovingly grown, sorted, and roasted, specialty grade coffee. It's almost a blasphemy in my book.

Next, the importance of practicing depends on what he is practicing. He is practicing the "unimportant" part of latte art. If he was practicing pulling shots, then he'd need to use the high quality $20/lbs coffee. For practicing microfoam pours, get the milk you need to practice with. That's the important ingredient here.

Making a latte a day to justify the cost of the "real" coffee does not help in getting the latte art honed in. A home barista can make 100 drinks in 100 days and he'd learn nothing in comparison to crunching 100 drinks in one or two days. There is a lot that an HBer will realize after pouring one after the other. He's pour a few and realize a pattern of a mistake and a solution and he'd get to try it on the spot. Sees what happens and correct again in the next pour. This is something that an HB can not learn by making 1 or even 2 pours every day. 100 steam/pours in 100 days =/= 100 steam/pours in 1-2 days. Not even close.

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Maxwell Mooney

#17: Post by Maxwell Mooney »

With all due respect, working behind a bar can be just as much a curse as it is a blessing. All it does is sometimes expedite your trajectory, meaning that if you're forming bad habits all bar shifts do is ingrain them. I also don't buy that home-baristas can't do great latte art cause they only make a few drinks a day. I grew a lot and was pouring some pretty nice stuff by month 6 of my coffee experience. I also continued to develop between my jobs in a cafe just by practicing a couple drinks per day, because every pour was very intentional and focused.

Also, again, the liquid you're pouring into does make a difference. Any ole dark liquid won't necessarily work, or if it does work, it doesn't work the same. Espresso and crema each have their own buoyancy that is not the same as pouring a foamy bit of milk in a dense chocolate ganache. You can still make it pretty but the mechanics of the pour legitimately change. Its best to practice with as close to what you'll be usng as possible.

I do agree that using a beautiful and super nice coffee may not be the best choice if you're dumping them down a sink, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't invest into increasing your skills by at least buying coffee to use.

Again, assuming you're using something faster than the Pharos. Cause that would be torture.
"Coffee is evidence of Divine Grace, flavored coffee evidence of the Fall" -Kevin Hall

LMWDP #406

jonny

#18: Post by jonny »

Some may agree, some may not. Everyone's learning style is different. That's fine. I will add that if you can find someone who knows how to steam milk well and pour latte art and is willing to spend a little time coaching you, that would be invaluable. They will be able to give you detailed, visual explanations in the moment and be able to see what you are doing right and what needs to be adjusted, which could take a lot of trial and error for the average home barista. I trained several baristas at the cafe I worked at and I had them all steaming quality microfoamed milk within 2 or 3 pitchers. By the end of the day, they could not pour latte art, but they understood the concept and the motions and some pours were beginning to vaguely resemble hearts or rosettas.

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Maxwell Mooney

#19: Post by Maxwell Mooney »

I'd be willing to do a Skype session with you. :)
"Coffee is evidence of Divine Grace, flavored coffee evidence of the Fall" -Kevin Hall

LMWDP #406

jonny

#20: Post by jonny » replying to Maxwell Mooney »

Haha we could probably set something up at some point. School keeps me pretty busy but I'll keep you in mind.