From writer/blogger Cynthia Houchin. Cynthia is a regular at Kick Butt and recently participated in our Vocation Vacation: Barista for a Day. She writes for Chickster Mag. Chickster Mag is all about fun things for the ladies in Austin, Texas. Enjoy:
For the caffé connoisseur, nothing's better than piping hot espresso any time of day. But if you've ever wanted to enjoy some from the comfort of home, there remains the challenge of mastering the espresso machine. Now you can learn to channel your inner barista through UT's informal class at Kick Butt Coffee Music & Booze.
A local independent coffee shop, Kick Butt Coffee Music & Booze on Airport Boulevard takes you behind the counter to learn a few tricks of the trade. Thomas Gohring (of Master Gohring's Tai Chi and Kung Fu fame) brought this little coffee joint to life in February 2008, and it thrives with diehard regulars and an eclectic mix of folks drawn in by excellent coffee, a full bar (if you'd like something a little stiffer than coffee), music, and comedy shows. Oh yeah, and a shared affection for Chuck Norris.
Kick Butt's impressively large commercial grade espresso machine equates to operating heavy machinery, in my opinion, with triple spouts for portafilters and I'm loving the chance to go for a ride. Flipping the grinding switch, I fill my portafilter to the brim, and tamp it down three times with a mini metal barbell. I slip the portafilter into the machine with a flick of my wrist and some elbow grease (there's definitely an art to this step), and pull. I hold my breath to see twin delicious shots trickling out with a head of rich crema (tastiest when arriving between 18 and 24 seconds of the pull). Espresso shots should be consumed within two minutes, as they rapidly degrade through cooling and oxidation.
However, I have other plans for my shots. Having learned the finer points of foam versus steam in my class (and realizing I should have been asking for "wet" or less foamy cappuccino for many years now) I spin up some steamed milk in the necessary stainless steel pitcher with just a hint of foam, and carefully gauging the temperature to be sure and hit the 160-degree mark but not the dreaded burnt flavor 170-degrees brings. I start my cup with a few squirts of vanilla sauce, pour in my double shot of fresh espresso, then add the milk, skip the whip and voila! Made to order. Hard work never tasted so good as I sip my Caramel Macchiato.
BTW: Deadly weapons adorn the wall and also help to guard Kick Butt Coffee grounds from caffeine junkies.
My sister and I attended the class for her birthday and loved it! The instructor was incredible and was very informative. I had a special request to learn about the French Press and he was sure to remember to give many pointers on it. The hands on approach to learning the espresso machine was also a great way to learn. Awesome class would recommend to anyone.
Naiman was an excellent instructor, and we learned so much about coffee that we didn't know. We recently bought our first espresso machine, so it was fun to get some hands on experience and tips for perfecting the art of foaming milk for lattes/cappuccinos perfectly and making latte art! Very informative and lots of fun!
Such a great experience, so informative and I got to make my velvety steamed marshmallow milk latte art! Definitely recommend 🌟
What to expect: Fun 2-ish hour class, mix of discussion and hands-on. Origins and varieties of coffee, tools + techniques, and best practices discussed. Learned how to perfect my own favorite coffee brewing method, how to pull shots, and latte art. Catered completely to our group based on our expectations for the class and personal tastes. If there's something else you're looking to learn, just ask!
The instructor's breadth of knowledge, combined with his killer wit made this class one of the most fun learning experiences we've ever had. My friends have been talking about it all week. The discussion piece at the beginning was just as engaging as pulling shots on a legit espresso machine and trying our hands at latte art.
Loved hearing about the history of coffee from our instructor, Naiman. It was lots of fun, we learned a lot and got some great coffee brewing tips!
A group of friends & I went to Kickbutt Coffee's Barista for a Day course last weekend and had such a blast! As my friend found the course and set it up, I wasn't too sure what to expect other than... well maybe making some coffee :) I have to say, the course was not only informative, but a lot of fun! Our instructor was Naimin, who just rocked in every way shape and form. I have never met someone so well versed on coffee and found the history provided to us at the beginning of class really interesting as well as a good start to the day itself. Naimin really wanted to make sure we got things out of the course that we had intended to leave with. He made sure to answer questions at the beginning, middle, and end. I have to also mention, that we were really in the space of the baristas on shift that day and was really impressed on how accommodating they were with sharing the space while still taking care of customers. I could only imagine it was pretty limiting for us to be in their space, but they were polite and professional nonetheless. Great day and tons of fun. I'd recommend this to friends as it was a fun activity to do with our group and could imagine pretty easy to do with strangers as well if your friends aren't as fun as mine ;)
Fun class with great atmosphere!
Barista Training Since 2008