One Saturday I headed into Birmingham on a little adventure. An adventure to see if 200 Degrees Coffee could turn me into someone who drinks coffee! I’ve always claimed never to be a coffee drinker. Maybe it’s because I’ve never managed to have a good coffee?!
So 200 Degrees invited me (and I then invited my trusty blogger crew along – Laura, Fay and George – with me) to a morning at their Barista School and to attempt to get me in the coffee gang. We arrived for breakfast, immediately opting for a warm croissant as it was the beginning of the cold snap. We also indulged in a Peanut Butter Latte, which I did drink but that’s probably because of all the sugar in it. The main coffee test was still to come!
Then we met Alex, or should I say Alex met us?! He did very well with a few boisterous ladies hyped on coffee tbh! Alex is the Brand Ambassador for 200 Degrees. He helps out with the Barista Classes, deals with the press side of things as well as good old coffee making. He took us downstairs to the Barista School and we got going with our lesson!
Let’s just start by saying this class is not a formal sit down affair. It’s about enjoying yourself and getting to know coffee. Especially me, miss “I don’t do coffee!” We started off with smell testing. Yup, putting our senses to the test so we can appreciate the coffee. I struggled to guess some of these but the specific smells were to help engage our sense of smell with out the taste.
Alex then went on to do a lot of map pointing and we did a lot of giggling. His main aim was to point out the area (bean belt) where coffee is grown. Our blend of coffee for the day included – Brazilian, Colombian and Vietnamese Arabica – these are robust coffee flavours. The coffee was called Brazilian Love Affair. Alex pointed out that all the coffee sold and used by 200 Degrees is imported by themselves and roasted in house too. This way their can control their blends to make sure they are tip top quality!
We were then let loose with the coffee machines. We made a lot of mess. We shrieked at the hot things. We learnt that for lattes the milk must make the right noise – not loud and screechy like some coffee chains do, but gentle bubbling. Coffee should be a drinkable temperature and doesn’t need to be a venti size to provide you with a caffeine kick if made correctly.
I had a go at making a latte and I wasn’t terrible and I drank it. BUT. Latte art is another thing. The key is to keep everything moving, not letting anything rest. But it’s definitely very tricky. Alex made it look so easy (but he’s been in the industry for a long time!)
Now our class came to an end we were getting peckish… And there was a lot of coffee. A LOT. So naturally the non coffee drinker felt almost drunk! Poor Alex! But it was lunch time and time to soak up the caffeine with food. I enjoyed a Sausage, Stilton and Mango Chutney Baguette. Which was absolutely delicious! We also couldn’t resist sharing a Sausage Roll. All the food at 200 Degrees is made in house fresh and is wonderful. If you’re looking for a coffee/lunch place, then get yourself to 200 Degrees!
So I bet you’re all wondering, am I converted to coffee? And the answer is…. kinda. Now, I’m a bit coffee fussy and this continues. Coffee has to definitely be the right temperature and I’m still all for the lattes. So I won’t be reaching for the filter coffee anytime soon. But I will be tempted to order lattes (as long as the milk is not over steamed!) and enjoy them. But for day to day, tea is still my bae.
I’d just like to finish by saying thanks to Alex for being an excellent tutor. I’m almost converted and will be ordering coffee more often. If you like coffee or are looking to getting into coffee, I would suggest checking out the 200 Degrees Barista School. It would also make a good alternative for a Hen Do that doesn’t involve a cocktail masterclass or even as a birthday party for grown ups!
Have you checked out 200 Degrees Coffee? Are you a coffee fan? Would you give the Barista School a go? Let me know in the comments,
P.S. We were invited down to check out the coffee class by 200 Degrees Coffee. As ever all words, photos and opinions are my own.
P.P.S. 200 Degrees Coffee is located at 21 Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2BH.