More blithering about aweful espresso. It is making me physically ill

Remember my post about Mickey’s Pastries in Goldsboro taking an add out in the paper for an experienced barista?  Well, what a bunch of crapola.

Look, gloves off.  I have been nice the past few weeks about going into places and getting espresso, capps and coffee that just sucks.  It would be different if I was going into a Starbucks or some cracked up truckstop, but I am going into places that should know better, but they don’t. After reading a post on the Barista Exchange entitled “you serve bad espresso… you should be ashamed…..igot razors in my car if you want” and then replying, I am just sick of bad espresso and coffee.  It isn’t that bad when it is some cracked up joint that doesn’t care (or doesn’t have a history of caring) for the products they sell, they just want to sell’em (like a convenience store: no reason to care if the coffee sucks or not).  But, it is sick, absolutely gut wrenching, when you go into a place historically renown nationwide as being a stalwart and essence of quality.  Mickey’s Pastry has two people that are Certified Master Baker’s, which it is a rarity to have two CMBs on staff.  She has been in Cooking Light Magazine and I have read the article.  There are only a few CMBs in the United States, period.

So, with the CMB background I would figure that Melanie Daniels (CMB) and Mickey’s Pastries would take the same care and effort and funnel that into espresso and coffee.  Of course I know there is a learning curve.  Of course I understand that it will not be perfect at first.  But, there are few essentials I truly figured they would have taken care of first and foremost.

I walked in and a young lady came up to the counter asking if she could help me.  I asked “Did you fill the barista position?”  She said, “What is that?”  And I pointed to the LM Linea.  She said, “Oh, no, Melanie does it.”  So, I said, “I can order an espresso then?”  She replied, “Yes.”

Melanie came out about two minutes later never making eye contact, never saying “hi.”  She ground the shot, never wiping the portafilter after coming out of the group and tamped it with an RB.  Never flushing the Linea.  Pulled the shot which “went blond” immediately and poured in about 12 seconds.  That Espresso Toscano was just literally massacred.  Then, to completely finish whacking any tendons that may have been holding the skull to the upper vertebrae she poured it into a Styrofoam cup.  Yeah, that is right…Styrofoam, not even a paper cup.  Because she didn’t bleed the temperature off of the machine it was surely boiling and I didn’t taste a thing but hot, muddy water.

After she pulled it, she never looked at me and put it up on the counter, starting to walk off I said, “Hey, Melanie!  Have you had a hard time finding a barista?  I saw your ad in the paper.”  She finally made eye contact with me and said the following twice, “No, we really don’t have a need.”  She then, turned about face and walked off.  Weird.  Just weird.

So, what did a walk in on here?  A tax write off?  I know she had at least $7,000 (if used) if not $12,000 (if new) worth of equipment.

Melanie, if your reading this?  Don’t get mad, get better.  Get some cups from and find out as much about Espresso Toscano and coffee, how precious it is and how hard people work to make it spectacular, as you found out about the rest of your fantastic products in your bakery.  That bench with the coffee equipment is a black eye in that shop.  It is just as bad as having tray after tray of baked goods in your display and then on the end having some cakes that a three year old made with mommy. Another thing, about the equipment, there hardly any better equipment that can be purchased; There are a couple machines better and a few grinders better, but they are rarely chosen.  You have a La Marzocco Linea, a Mazzer Super Jolly and a Reg Barber Tamper.  You have the tools of about 80% (my number) of  the best professionals in the world.  Whether it is Murky Coffee in D.C, Octane in ATL, and the list just goes on and on, the LM Linea and the Mazzer SJ are the workhorses of fantastic coffee the world over.

And I am going to ask a serious question here: Where in HADES is Counter Culture Coffee here?  All that talk about espresso, coffee integrity and sustainability and all that.  Look guys, her whole bean on the shelf was roasted in mid-June.  I know you trained her, I could tell she had some practice.  But, what gives?  Are things so bad your salesmen have to talk people into purchasing the equipment that have no education in coffee, no compass to work off of regarding quality?  I know you sold her the drip blend for the walk-ins for years and that is fantastic.  It probably should have stayed right there.  I wonder how long it took you to talk her into the idea of buying $7k to $12k of equipment (or was it a write off).  You (CCC & Melanie) may say “is this any of your business?”  Yes, yes it is.  It becomes my business when I see somebody continuing the thought process in their customer’s mind that espresso is nasty and cappuccinos and lattes need two shots of syrup to hide the coffee.

I am just tired of seeing the same senario over and over and over with no “letting up.”  And on top of that, this time they dropped it right in my backyard.  I sit here looking at places where I would DIE to setup shop and create a fantastic product and atmosphere for people.  I sit here with no money and nobody with to develop a business.  Mrs. Daniels and CCC, if you desire, call me, write me, respond here or whatever.  Just Google me and get my address and phone number.  I am not hard at all to find.  Now, rip me.  Respond here and tell me what you were thinking.  Defend yourself.  Or just blow steam off on me.  Call me the idiot.  Call me the “coffee snob.”  Or you could call me (or somebody) up and ask for some advice.  You DO have a market.  And you CAN “have a need.”


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