I didn’t know my flat white from my flatpack or my ground beans from my baked. Cue Costa in Outfit MK1 ready to give me the lowdown on all things COSTA COFFEE!
Coffee, coffee, coffee. One of those marmite-like things in life you either love or hate, right? Not necessarily. I definitely fall into a void somewhere in the middle.
The smell of a coffee shop is intoxicating to me. I find it alluring and delicious. Maybe down to the fresh coffee beans that these coffee shops are brimming with. BUT whenever I’ve tried drinking coffee (mostly at home) I get squeamish, and a bit disappointed with this bitter, burnt tasting liquid I end up with in my cup, no matter how much sugar or milk I throw at it.
I like it smoooooth.
I have enjoyed coffee out of doors. In coffee shops, hotels, etc. for example, not always though. Sometimes that bitter, burnt taste is there even in an expensive cup of coffee. There’s just no telling!
That’s why I have always been a tea monkey; a tea addict. It’s reassuringly consistent. You nearly always know what you’re getting from a cup of builder’s tea.
However, never one to be close minded, when I was invited to a Barista Masterclass at the recently opened Costa Coffee upstairs in Outfit at MK1 Shopping, my curiosity was tickled. The opportunity to learn exactly how to make a ‘proper’ cup of coffee, the Costa way, was super appealing and even more so to find out why half the cups of coffee I’ve encountered in life suck, that and the course fee of £15 was raising funds for The Costa Foundation – pretty snazzy.
The Costa Baritsta Masterclass was being held on the same day as a charity event across the whole of the Outfit store at MK 1, there was fizz and balloons and lots of special offers.
Firstly, how amazing is it that there’s now a Costa at MK1 Shopping? I know that Mr LouBou will love being able to take the babies to Costa for a babyccino, whilst I can get some serious clothes shopping done. Winning!
But there was no time to shop, I headed straight up the escalator with Mr LouBou in tow, to the shiny new Costa unit (what used to be the BHS cafe). When we walked in, I was pleasantly surprised to see that half the masterclass group I already knew!
Honza from Costa led the masterclass. He welcomed everyone and gave us a tour around all the equipment and paraphernalia that the staff use, including this funky machine (below). It grinds up fresh coffee beans, then measures them out perfectly into portions, ready to use.
The measured coffee beans go into that ice cream scoop-looking spoon and then the spoon thingy gets fitted onto the coffee machine. Buttons are pushed, hot water gets busy and voila! Espresso coffee comes shooting out the machine.
The secret between the different types of coffee, cappuccino, latte, flat whites actually is from the way the milk is prepared. Some might be frothed up insanely to make cappuccinos, some is just steamed milk for lattes and some are silky, softly frothed milks ready for a flat white.
The temperature is integral for not spoiling the coffee. There’s a thermometer inside the milk jug so you can watch to make sure the milk doesn’t get burnt and cause a horrible taste to the drink. Is this why I’ve suffered at the hands of bad cups of coffee before?
Everyone in the group had a chance to make lots of cups of coffees. It was really funny watching people assembling them, it’s not an easy job at all to make a cup of Costa coffee look the way it gets served to you!
The flat white looks like a piece of art. Look at the sheeny top on that! (Below was made by Honza). I was amazed at the skill behind the barista in creating cups of coffee. I will definitely be watching in awe now whenever I see people making them. It is not just boiling a kettle!
The latte is probably the least impressive to look at but was my most favourite to drink, being creamy and mild. Nom.
The cappuccino was perhaps not my fave but maybe helped it’s taste was helped from the cocoa powder on top of the froth. I was tempted to just spoon the frothy milk and cocoa powder off the top of it!
As a thank you for our donations to The Costa Coffee Foundation, we got these Costa Coffee gifts too – Nice!
Thanks Honza and the team at Costa in Outfit, MK1 Shopping (below). I never thought I would be grinding beans, frothing milk and jiggling jugs to make cups of coffee and enjoying, not only the process but the finished beverage too. Maybe I’ll be braver and trust in Costa to serve me up a coffee I’ll enjoy in the near future and I’ll even be able to spot some of the clues to a decent coffee now too!
After all that coffee (and not being used to drinking it) my head was buzzing. I felt super wired. Desperate to burn off the energy, Mr LouBou and I ended up doing some late night shopping. Look at my feet go!