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Lean Times Are Bean Times

Lean Times Are Bean Times

Take a look behind your favorite coffee shop counter. Behind the college-age kids drizzling caramel could lurk something unique: a barista who is working her dream job.

Coffee served by chain and independent shops involve much more than a scoop of Yuban and a quick stir of sugar; for some workers, crafting the perfect drink is part skill, part art, and all passion. More baristas are throwing themselves headfirst into their jobs and training to create your perfect cappuccino.

The American Barista & Coffee School in Portland offers the chance to shell out $1,795 for a four-day training course, and the school has graduated hundreds since its creation. The Culinary Institute of America is jumping on the dark roast bandwagon and now requires barista training for their pastry students.

There are 25,000 coffee shops in the U.S. that help get you wired every morning, and with about five baristas at each, that equals...well, a whole lot of people slaving away steaming milk. The most competitive coffee aficionados can strut their stuff at the U.S. Barista Championship each year, and their community gets their chat on at BaristaExchange.com.

Even though Starbucks announced 600 store closures, coffee sales were up 5% from the past year, proving that when the buck stops, the bean still drops (into your cup). Guess it's still the go-to beverage during these confusing times.

We love when people are passionate about their jobs! What do you feel is the difference between a job and a career? And, on a sidenote, what’s your drink order? [MSNBC]

Posted: 10/1/08
cobber

My favorite job when I was younger was bartender. My drink order? Sleepytime tea. I'm older now. :-)

  • By cobber
  • on 10/6/08 1:37 PM EST
carolineshannon

When considering the word "job" versus "career," I think each one represents a different level of commitment. Now, of course, this is getting very specific, but "job" sounds very non-committal. Like, "Yeah, I am just heading out to work the 9 to 5." But "career" gives off a feeling of "I am in this for life and I like it." Of course, we all use the word "job" from time to time, even if we are committed for life. But I am considering the semantics of it all.

As for my drink order: Black, strong, dark coffee. Gotta have it.

ScreenName1

If you want high-quality espresso-based drinks like Starbucks, McDonald's has some new, great stuff! And it's alot cheaper and quicker! My favorite is the Iced Mocha. Not all restaurants have the specialty coffee yet, but they say it's coming next year to most.

VictoriaB

Well put! I've been lucky to find myself drawn to companies who are doing something I care about ... helping people get the most out of what the web has to offer. It's energizing when you're doing something you love.

I've just about cut Starbuck's out, but when I used to have the time to stand in line to drop $5 on a caffeinated beverage, I would order a tall caramel macchiato (only I wouldn't say tall ... I would say small ... it annoyed me to conform to their naming system ... too pretentious, in my opinion).

LauraLee311

A career involves passion: You love what you do. You thrive on it. Sure you get paid for it, but that's an afterthought. A job is what you show up to and perform so that you can get your paycheck, which lets you pay bills and have fun. And my usual order is a tall skinny vanilla latte.