I had a serious bout of cabin fever a few nights back. I needed to get out. So I grabbed my camera and laptop and headed to a coffee shop.

The plan was to blog.

When I ordered a cappuccino the barista asked me if I’d like to try a new blend. And after describing it to me, I asked him if a cappuccino was the best way to appreciate the work that went into it. His eyes lit up and he suggested I try it as a chemex. He was super excited about showing me something new.

I listened carefully as he described each step of the brewing process. Why he was wetting the filter paper. Why he chose the grind size he did. Why he let the coffee bloom. Why the pour was a slow, circular exercise. Why he was watching the timer. And why he really appreciated me giving him the chance to brew me a chemex.

We tasted the coffee together. He complimented my slurp. We talked about the tasting notes. Then he let me go.

I enjoyed everything about that experience. I enjoyed that the barista was so young. I enjoyed that he was so genuinely excited about talking me through the brewing process. I really enjoyed the coffee. And I enjoyed making a new friend.

That’s the best advice I can give you if you’re considering getting into speciality coffee. Embrace the learning. Ask questions. Be inquisitive.

Yes, sometimes you’ll meet a barista for whom the job is only a job. He won’t be interested in giving you an education. But sometimes you’ll meet someone who’s excited to share their knowledge.

And they’ll inspire you to learn more.