I was approached to offer my coffee expertise and Food&Beverage (F&B) experience to a school whose caterer had ceased to exist due to COVID-19. They had chosen to restart the in-house catering with their own people instead of outsourcing it because of the uncertainties in the time of the Corona Crisis. However, they had not sufficient knowledge of barista work to staff that themselves.

For 6 weeks, I thoroughly cleaned the 5 year old Della Corta EVO2 espresso machine, who had been neglected a bit IMHO. I dialed the machines in for the coffee blend by zwartekoffie.nl, custom roasted for CHE’s tastes. I developed recipes for two beans with two grinders. The region is still drinking large amounts of “koffie” as opposed to fancy, trendy cortados, flat whites and cafe lattes with designer latte art. So based on tastes, we choose to convert a double espresso from the medium roast blend into a “long black” and serve as “koffie” while the dark blend with 10% robusta served as the basis for all milk-based coffees.

The new F&B manager also wanted to offer more lactose-free milks to students, staff and guests and had trials with various Alpro milk substitutes. For those coffees, I also paired the medium roast with the soy or almond milk drinks because IMHO the dark, bitter, ashy robusta flavors were not masked enough compared to the fatty whole milk used normally.

After reestablishing their coffee corner for several weeks, optimising the coffee recipes and showing everyone that the new coffee from zwartekoffie.nl was excellent compared to the machine coffee served throughout the school building, they found a new lady to man the coffee corner permanently and we parted ways.