Archives for posts with tag: Lifestyle

It has been a few months now that foodies and/or food bloggers who enjoy being the first to try a new eaterie have emerged. Maybe a new type of food-hipsters believing that they have a certain privilege to access venues before the general public/official opening.

It is a kind of a deal between the business and the so-called writer/photographer/food lover. Reviewing a business, the ambiance – décor – layout and coolness of the staff. But what about the actual service and professionalism?

Are new restaurants becoming too flashy: “style over substance” as some like to say?

The image/aspect of a restaurant is important – without a doubt – but, surely the food quality and the service are what makes the business successful. In other words, no one would be interested in purchasing a great looking car if the engine doesn’t run smoothly. Same rule applies for food places!

Unfortunately and too often, a couple/bunch of friends/family will go out for breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner to a specific establishment, because there is something visually attractive, putting the actual food quality second. People are ready to eat out and pay for the look of the place first, even if the dishes and table service are average.

Coming back to the “foodie” trend. Are we not all a foodie – whatever the level – because eating is after all a natural matter.

So, is it someone who likes to stuff himself/herself with anything which can be eaten forgetting the flavours and tastes (a gourmand) or a person who loves fine and delicate ingredients (a gourmet).

When a foodie goes to a café counter asking to write a review but expects not to pay for food/drink, is this not a kind of way to get free scoff? Not saying that writing a review is easy…etc – but there is always (yes, always) this kind of tone in their voice making the owner/manager/staff feel that they are actually doing the shop a favour.

Everyone, nowadays is a photographer (just look at Instagram and/or Pinterest). The net is saturated with images and the timeline goes faster and faster. Getting an online platform up and running is (almost) free – a few Pounds to get a domain name – and you are ready to go.

In parallel, we have social media outlets which are as important as your house keys. Without them people are totally lost! A 21st century thing!

So, is the foodie trend a kind of little gang of wannabe journalists who take revenge by self-publishing their thoughts and attending all types of dinner-party involving an “award winning” ceremony?

Bloggers are blossoming like never before. Visiting hotels, restaurants, coffee shops to tell people how it is, can be a good idea, of course. Meanwhile… being a reviewer is like everything when it comes to convey a message. It would be great if those reviews could emphasis on the actual products. Whether the client/guest is Mr Smith or Lord Mountbatten, the service will/should always remain the same. So, the foodie community should keep calm and not assume they will get an über treatment just because a few words will appear on the world wide web.

This means that if a food and beverage place knows its job, it doesn’t matter who is eating/drinking. The standard should always be the same…as everyone is a paying customer!

Staff tips for good customer service

Staff tips for good customer service

It happened and will certainly happen again – a regular customer turned up and asked for a latte to take-away at around 5pm. Being a regular, the barista mentioned that these beans are different from the ones served that same morning.

This wasn’t a blend of Brazil & Burundi but a single origin from El Salvador. Meaning that the latte will without a doubt taste different.

At that very point, the customer looked confused with a nervous smile on his face.

The barista could almost hear that little voice in the customer’s head saying: “what are you talking about…”.

There was (of course) that mention from the customer: “i am just after a latte”!

This type of customer was a drinker and not a taster. He just wanted a caffeine hit, a taste of coffee without caring about:

  • the roast profile,
  • the origin of the beans,
  • the taste and/or flavours.

Should people buying a coffee be more curious about what is in their cup/drink?

Those individuals might be really fussy when it comes to choose a wine to go with their meals. However, coffee is (sadly) seen and perceived as a hot beverage – as if all of them have a taste of…coffee.

Some could be surprised and eventually shocked, as speciality coffee is deeper than that.

It is not about being arrogant or pretentious about coffee. Being passionate (or an expert) when it comes to recognize the country and region is where all the difference is.

It is similar to what a sommelier does! Assessing the tasting notes and measuring the level of acidity, sweetness and body.

cupping matFor larger and full version click on the image

Filter coffee is starting – slowly – to become more popular than milky espresso based drinks. But, do people decide to have a nice latte because of the latte art or do they believe that black coffee is boring?

We could question whether they have ever tried an AeroPress, Chemex or V60?! Does this seem too complex?

These filter brewing methods will produce incredibly different drinks; the coffee extraction is surprising and it is not unusual to see people discarding their 15 year old cafetiere for a new device.

What does this mean? The drink quality can be a revelation. It is a bit like buying ground coffee and coffee beans which are then freshly ground on demand (either manually or automatically), or even cooking from fresh and having a ready meal. It works the same way.

If all beans were the same, why would so many coffee shops be selling two or three different coffees either blends or single estate!?

Here again, it can be compared with pubs and the various beer/ales: they all have a distinctive finish with more/less acidity or floral aroma!

This is the same with coffee beans! Without forgetting the peaberry – rare too.

The washing process is also something important to consider.

Coffee washing process

Coffee washing process

Caring about coffee is just natural, isn’t it? No one would like to have a lager served instead of a bitter and vice versa. Same rule applies for that caffeinated drink!

Another example with tea: Assam will bring something that Earl Grey doesn’t have and here people don’t say “it is just tea” – they are clearly after a specific taste and flavour.

When looking at a cappuccino, the espresso (which is the foundation of the drink) is then diluted with milk in order to give that smoothness.

The actual sensation after having had such coffee can make you feel “heavy” or full-up. This is because proteins contained in the milk will produce sweetness. Imagine combining this with a rich slice of cake. The sugar hit will have an effect on your metabolism.

When ordering a filter coffee why adding milk to a delicate liquid? There is no logic to do so.

Would you be ready to purchase a great tasty meal (whether fish, vegetables or meat) and spoil it with an additional ingredient which would destroy the initial point of having ordered such food? A person would buy a curry because of what it brings to the taste buds and pouring either tomato or brown sauce over it could be perceived as a major mistake, wouldn’t it?

This is why caring about coffee is something which has to become more natural/common and putting sugar away would in fact, help you to enjoy a subtle cup of coffee. Without forgetting that speciality coffee is not bitter due to the roast being medium rather than dark!

It is also important to understand that each beans have been hand selected to be in your bag. There is a reason why 250g of coffee can be over ten Pounds. The green beans required a lot of attention, labour and care too and there is a price to pay for quality.

Preparing a filter is similar to cooking – there is a recipe. It is about respecting proportions (ratio in this case) between coffee and water. It is not just about pouring water over a powder sitting in a filter.

Once all this is understood then… the consumer will appreciate each second – from the time the barista makes the drink to the last drop in the cup.

There are many ways to brew filter coffee – it all depends on your preferences.

The coffee will be different according to the device used to make that filter.

Today is a video by Kinfolk… indeed like the famous magazine of the same name – it is all about the AeroPress.