First off, I’ve got some big news…I’m a barista now! That’s right. I made my way from a crazy coffee loving, coffee shop reviewing enthusiast to being a professional at Mudhouse Coffee Roasters in Charlottesville, VA. This has given me a totally different angle on coffee over the last two months and has led to a few questions and insights for me. Here are just a few.

Practice, practice, practice!

Why americano?

A number of people come in and order americanos. Whenever they do, I can’t help but wonder to myself…why? Is it because they actually prefer the taste of an americano or because they want more caffeine than drip?

If it’s the former, awesome! While I definitely prefer a nice drip coffee over an americano, we all have different tastes. I will gladly serve you an americano.

If it’s the latter, then there might be a slight problem for the consumer. A drip coffee actually has more caffeine than a double shot americano. The caffeine comparison between espresso and drip is roughly 30-50mg per shot or espresso and 10-20mg per fluid ounce of drip (read more about that here). With our standard americano being 12 fl.oz, they are getting 100mg max instead of the average 150mg from drip. Even with our 8 fl.oz. size, the drip probably still has more.

Mocha, no whip…I’m trying to be healthy.

I find this interesting. A lot of people will order a mocha without the whip cream in an effort to be more healthy. I reckon it makes sense, but to me it seems kind of funny, as if the whip cream is the unhealthy part. This poses the question. Is it worth it to say no to the whip, or should you treat yourself? It should be pretty simple to find out.

Calories in a 16oz mocha: 350-400

Calories in 1 tbsp of heavy cream used to make whip cream: 50

Calories in additional flavoring/sugars in whip cream: ~15

After my estimates, it seems that by avoiding the whip cream, you are saving yourself about 50-75 calories, depending on flavorings added to the whip.

Is it worth it? You decide for yourself, but I’ll take the whip!

It seems that people actually do want ice…

Too much ice in iced coffee is constant struggle. I don’t really want to be a bother, so I’ve never made a special request for little ice (although now I probably will since I know it’s not really a bother). I have always just assumed the baristas are told to put a lot of ice to increase revenues. More ice = less coffee. Makes sense, right?

Carrying that logic with me, I have often created iced drinks with less ice. My thinking was that everyone was like me. They want more coffee and less ice. Surprisingly that’s not the case though. Hmmm…interesting.

A number of times, people have asked for more ice, so maybe coffee shops don’t put so much ice just to increase revenue, but rather because the consumers actually like it…

Mind blown.