I want to make espresso that hits every part of the pallet and makes the eyes light up every time I pull a shot. I want my milk to blend in with the crema in a way that makes you feel like milk and coffee should just get married and have babies, because they where meant for each other. I want my latte art to be a rossetta or a heart or a tulip every time I pour. This is all I want.
Reality is, I've been a barista for a year now, (not counting the 80's and early 90's which I've blocked out) and I am getting better and better at the craft, but I don't have that natural intuitive feel for the espresso the way my more experienced co-workers have. For example I just got on shift yesterday and had a couple, who drive 10 miles for our coffee, order 2 americanos, one decaf, one regular. When I handed the woman her coffee she took a sip and made a FACE, my heart sank, anything but that flipping sourpuss face! To make it worse the guy wasn't happy with his either. I told them that I really appreciate them letting me know so that I could fix the problem and remake their coffee. They did go away happy. But I was left thinking and obsessing on what went wrong.
In retrospect the shots did not look up to par, so why did I serve them? I think the line intimidates me sometimes and I fall back to just getting people out the door. Do the best baristas make a bad coffee once in a while? When does this become second nature?
I really did kind of toss and turn last night. I thought about the amount of crema on the shot, how long the crema lasted in the shot glass, the grind needing to be tighten, the grind needing to be coarsened, the amount in the portafilter, the weather, the age of the bean, the time it took the shot to pour, the......