This is a story that I tell during my Introduction to Coffee class that all of our certified baristi have to take. It’s the first of four required classes, and it is mostly me (or one of our Educators) pointing at a map, some writing on a white board, and a little explaining how solenoids work. We go over a few required tidbits of knowledge, and one of these is something we’ve come to call The Only 3 Rules. This story is true!
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Not long ago, inexplicably, the man who has been called (by me) the Socrates of Specialty Coffee, Gwilym Davies, came to Foxboro Massachusetts. Gwilym runs a few coffee bars in London, and was at the time the departing World Barista Champion. He was doing a machine demonstration, and a few of us trekked up from Providence to see it, and meet the man himself. Thanks to the ever-astounding charisma of Gerra Harrigan, he agreed to come have a beer with us.
As you might imagine, I was pretty excited. GD is, and remains, a serious inspiration.
So, as folks will, we all had a few beers and chatted and eventually talk turned to our natural common ground: coffee. Making coffee. Thinking about coffee. We discussed the role that dogma, and a dogmatic approach to preparation, can take in day-to-day operations behind an espresso bar, and GD said something that struck me as very significant. He said that he really only follows three rules anymore. Here is what he said you have to do, to make good coffee:
1.) You have to taste your coffee
2.) You have to clean your machine
3.) You have to care.