An Idea For a Drink
For her specialty drink Liz decided to highlight another side of the Santa Elena by serving another single espresso, with nothing added to it, that tasted completely different from the shot she served first as the espresso part of her competition. She changed the way the shots tasted by adjusting the particle size and dose of her shot, something baristas do daily to finesse their drinks. By changing these parameters she was able to present two different versions of the Santa Elena, highlighting the versatility of her coffee, and also offer an homage to the barista. "The barista" as Liz put it "who combines the personality of the coffee with their own personality to create a unique reflection of the present moment." One of the shots she served had flavors of green apple, crisp nectarine, and while grape, with the mouthfeel of silky flower petals. The other shot offered up a deeper taste, one reminiscent of red delicious apples, raisins, and the scent of drying red rose.
If a big part of a baristas job is to to accurately represent the terroir of a coffee, then which version of the Santa Elena is the correct one? Liz would answer "Both! There are proper extraction techniques, but no incorrect flavor profile. A good coffee should have personality, and it is allowed mood swings." She got the idea for her specialty drink from drinking and working with Leftist, Gimme's signature espresso blend, on a daily basis. The Leftist always has a wood like, or smoky, element to it. One day she noticed, with that note in particular, that baristas played with it depending on what they personally enjoyed. Some baristas were offering thick ashy tastes, others sweet cedar chips like the type used for smoking meat, some found a dry wood quality, and others managed the crisp green scent of a freshly stripped branch. Different expressions of the same type of taste. This was a meaningful moment in her coffee carreer and the one she chose to share with the judges.
Espresso is a very interesting way to prepare coffee, and I am grateful to Liz for pushing limits of different flavor possibilities. Each espresso you drink is going to be slightly different each day; with each barista putting a slight stamp of their preference on the drinks they serve in an effort to share what they consider to be the very best.