I will soon be working in a new cafe. But before we open the doors, I’ve been spending a lot of time wondering how to get people through them. Quality on every level is a given, and good press is always helpful, but when it comes to pleasing the masses, how does one stand out if your competition is brewing and pouring just as well as you. Put another way, how many shops serve lattes so individual and distinctive in taste, you could pick them out blind. This question is particularly tough for me as I normally don’t drink lattes, but still, I’d like to think its possible to offer a latte that ticked all the boxes in what people want, but offered something else others didn’t.
Oddly, one of my most recent ‘lovely coffee moments’ was a latte prepared in the newly opened Manic Coffee in Toronto. Its worth pointing out I suppose, that at the time I was cradling a very delicate stomach and sore head as a result of much drink the night before, all of which I’ve no doubt helped sensationalise the nursing qualities of the coffee. That said though, I do remember certain details of why I liked it so much; the temperature, more in the tepid cappuccino arena than what is often interpreted to be a latte temp, something considerably hotter. The other detail I appreciated in the cup was the balance. Built with a double shot of Intelligentsia’s Black Cat, and combined with the pleasant lower temp, the drink was sweet, smooth, full of flavour, and managed to articulate a lovely pointed chocolate taste through the milk.
Obviously the comparisons to hot chocolates have popped up in many blog or flickr gushs referring either to macchiatos, cappuccinos, or quite often lattes too. But, I have had lattes before that were brewed well,with tepid milk and quite possibly loved by a hungover self, none of which stood out like the above mentioned Manic experience. Its made me think that I need to start tasting more lattes, and not stopping there, but tasting mochas, vanilla lattes and whatever else seems to top sales in cafes. While I’m comfortable our coffee will be delicious and approachable, I would like our bigger drinks to have something distinct other than pretty latte art to develop a customer base. I probably prefer Kid O, Intelligentisa’s Organic espresso as a straight shot, but when it comes to milk, I think a Black Cat latte is a very very tasty drink and reckon I might be able to pick it out blind.