Monday, May 12, 2008

Why a Mocha Latte?

Of all the edible things that come from and chocolate have to be at the top of my list. Each enjoyed on their own are grounds for creating a special occasion, but combine them and then add a little bit of perfectly frothed milk in all its natural creamy sweetness and one truly has a little taste of something straight from the heavens.

OK, so where does a Mocha Latte come into the picture as my measuring stick for a cafe? The way I see it, there are several crucial factors that go into making a banging Mocha Latte:

1) attention to detail (preparation- see #3, serving cup: e.g cup material/warmed/shape of cup, ingredients-see #2, asking on whipped cream, presentation)
2) quality of ingredients (fresh, best available, or even better it's made in-house)
3) skilled (i.e. properly trained) and competent baristi
4) cleanliness (tools, techniques, cafe, baristas)
5) quality of tools (tamper, grinder, espresso machine, pitcher)

Even though I'm talking about a specific drink I believe that everything it takes to make a truly special Mocha Latte carries over into the rest of the cafe. And in over the 420 Mocha Lattes at individual cafes that I've visited thus far this has been proved to me over and over again. Why not a double espresso you ask? good question. To pull a "god shot" does take various degrees of the 5 criteria I mentioned before. But, looking at my own experience as an RV barista (aka home barista) I can pull a pretty decent shot with a good fresh espresso blend but I have some way to go before I can get my milk right and even further before I feel qualified in my barista background to do justice to an espresso drink by adding chocolate to it. Thus, an amazing Mocha Latte that leaves a lasting impression is truly something special....something that is a culmination of everything a cafe and its barista can offer and most certainly something worth seeking out. Thus, my quest continues......

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