Red flags, green flags and unsolicited advice
HOW is it our fourth date already?! So usually by date 4 you start to see peoples true colours, whether its good or bad they tend to reveal themselves now, have you discovered they eat weird, or have you shown the full extent of your terrible coordination (I prefer to call myself a hot mess, but whatever) either way you're starting to see the flags, and flags are what today's blog is primarily about, coffee shop flags, whats good, whats not, and the mental checklist I do as I walk in the door to that date.
Okay I'm a bad news first kind of gal so we'll start with where we're going wrong, so heres some things I wish I knew sooner - coffee shop red flags; they seem small but actually tell you A LOT about the coffee you're going to get. A big one for me is cup size, if a shop is serving anything over an 8oz I'm generally out, (I will push to somewhere that serves 10oz if I'm desperate) but this tells us they're probably ~definitely~ not using single origin, because any shop worth their salt wouldn't drown good beans in too much milk, so over this tells us it'll be a blend which will never taste as good as SO. And if they're using small milk jugs, steaming from a small jug is harder rule 1, this means it takes a more experienced barista. Aside from that it also means they're always steaming a full jug of fresh milk, which this will give you the very best consistency milk, if they're topping up a jug and re-steaming they'll never achieve the optimum texture. These are 2 small things which tell us so much about how good our coffee will be.
I could definitely name more red flags but these won't be as obvious to spot and we're keeping things short, but maybe another time... So, green flags; off the bat which brand of espresso machine they are using, the 3 best brands in the industry are (in my humble opinion) La Marzocco, Victoria Arduino and Sanremo, all very recognisable visually and if a coffee shop has one of these they generally know what they're doing, so these are worth a quick google search. This last one may seem obvious, but cleanliness, not even from a hygiene perspective (though also important, dating and otherwise) but having a spotless group head will produce a better shot, having an empty and clean milk jug will produce a better milk texture, these things make all the difference when trying to achieve the best cup possible, so I always watch for steam arms being cleaned and purged (before and after) the group heads being dusted between shots, and milk jugs being rinsed, again very small steps, but it takes a barista who cares how good your coffee is to do these things.
So for 10/10 coffee follow the rules above and watch how much you improve at finding better coffee. I wish spotting red and green flags while dating was as easy, but thoughtful choosing will always show better long term rewards, so don't go on that date with the 7/10 you lowered your standards for, take that few hours you'd be getting ready to find something better (or do some self care because that is always worthwhile)
I hope you all enjoy my unsolicited advice as always, until next week - stay healthy x