a review is born

originally posted on Uncommon Brew 1.0 on September 4, 2009

I’ve been telling myself I’d like to make coffee more of a hobby.  Other than drinking it, roasting it, selling it, I can’t think of too many ways to make it a hobby.  But once one of my friends told me that I should write reviews on coffee shops I’ve been to.  That sounds fun, but.  There’s always a “but” right?  I don’t what criteria to base this on? I have to have a standard so it’s not completely touchy feely.  [I’m an INFP, F for Feeling]  Some sort of empirical something, to make sure we’re comparing beans to beans right?  Also, this is a big “but” [lol, I said big but], I have no coffee street cred.  I don’t have much jargon.  I’ve never done a cupping, or  gone to barista school.  But maybe, if I’m an average Joe, telling the average Joe where to get a good cup of coffee I don’t need coffee cred.

So here’s my stab in the dark at criteria 1.0:

Overall:  The take away of the whole experience.

Coffee:  Evaluate the main product, duh?  My MO for the past few years has been to give a new shop an easy one for “the first date.” Which is a carmel latte.  Its hard to screw that one up.  So if they do, I’m probably not coming back.  For the “second date”, I get a cappacino.  A traditional one: equal parts, espresso, steamed milk, and foam.  It’s hard to hide bad beans, or a poorly pulled shot.  If you scorch the milk, or don’t know how to foam you can’t hide that either.  I will probably taste test the brewed coffee as well, but that will reflect their choice in beans probably not their technique in brewing.  Although there’s tons of variables to brewing coffee, so if they have a The Clover Coffee Machine they could really bring out the nuances of the beans.  Other than that it’s not likely that it would be the barista’s fault. Having said that,  I’ll be focusing on the espresso based beverages for the most part.

Vibe: This is the location, ambiance, seating, decor, etc.

Hospitality:  How was I treated by by the staff.

Each one will be rated in beans, 5 being best.

I’m sure I’ll come back to this at some point after I’ve worked it for a few places.

Here I go.  A review is born.