Today on the train to and from work, I was ‘cleaning’ my computer: ordering all the documents and downloads, trashing what I didn’t need anymore, etc. In the ‘coffee’ folder, I found a document titled: ‘barista_info’. It listed a number of names and websites, such as the Scae, James Hoffmann, an Illy coffee university in Italy, a coffee school of London… “Oh my god” I thought, this document dates from the time that I needed to file every single bit of information I found on coffee, every website, every name… Its from the time that I barely knew what a barista was, when I didn’t have a clue that coffee was processed in different ways, and had no idea what a good espresso looks and tastes like. It actually goes back all the way to the frustrating time, when I was obsessively looking for information on coffee and on how to be a good barista. I wanted to learn and get a job in coffee so badly and there was no one to guide me. I couldn’t see the wood for the trees and there was no one to clear my path. (No one really understood why I even wanted to get into coffee with degrees in philosophy and marketing.) So I decided to list all I found and save it in this document.
A couple of minutes ago, I moved this file to the trash box. Realizing that I don’t need this file anymore – because I know the things that it says, they’ve become a daily routine or I know they are not relevant – is actually a pretty nice way to find out the progress I’ve made.
If I come to realize what I’ve learned in only a couple of months (I’ve only been in coffee since last march), it’s pretty amazing… Yet to me, it’s still so little and very basic knowledge. The road ahead of me is still long (well, I hope it’ll always be longer than the one already taken). But I understand now that it may seem an awful lot for someone who’s not into coffee, or a mere coffee drinker. And I also understand how easily you get swept away into something you’re passionate about: you walk your own line without actually looking back. While in the first post on this blog I was still blaming coffee professionals for speaking in terms only ‘their own’ could understand, I know realize that I have ended up doing so myself. I’ve ended up being a coffee geek myself. But I love to share the info, the knowledge and the fun. And I still strongly believe that it’s part of a barista’s job to inform, educate and teach others about coffee, in whatever terms they understand. So next time you see me: ask me a question! :)
Today this document is rubbish, but only a couple of months ago, it was my way of learning about coffee; of trying to figure it out.
Today this document is rubbish for me, but it might not be for you.
A twofold lesson learned from cleaning files on my computer :)