Recovering from a steady three job lifestyle, I graciously accepted a position at a cafe close to my apartment two springs ago. I was actually probably the worst barista ever — with too little short-term memory, too much sass. Anyway, I struggled at making lattes, especially. The trick was to not over-think it. Drop the double shot of espresso at the bottom, steam and add milk. Maybe do a little ambient design in the foam. Holler something and hand it over.
The handing it over part, man. I didn’t make a lot of cute lattes, typically slopping something on the cup lip or not filling it to the top. But when I did pull of a cute one, I defaulted to staring into its foam. I’d grow rapidly aware of how hot the milk was and how little the paper cup protected my marshmallow hand. I watched its perfect foam top too long, open-mouthed zoning at the customer who ordered it. I noticed how I didn’t fuck up yet. YET.
And then, almost every time, my grasp intensified and anywhere from a 3 to 95 perfect of the latte overflowed, scorching my skin and confidence.
Don’t. Squeeze. The latte. Whatever the actual latte is.
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