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Culture Drinks Humor

10 Tips From a Former Barista That Will Ensure The Best Coffee Experience Ever

Listen, I get that the empire that is Starbucks has been crumbling in the past few weeks. With closures due to public outrage, the coffee conglomerate has seen better days.

However, it doesn’t mean that one bad egg ruins the bunch. The bunch is human, the bunch gets that what happened is abhorred, the bunch still has to go into work the next day and deal with the hundreds of people yelling and screaming at their faces for something so insignificant like coffee being too bitter.

So show the bunch some humanity.

I’m not asking for sympathy, just decency towards the people that have been up since 4 A.M. trying to give you a little pep in your step.

I’ve been a barista for five years, give or take. I’ve seen pretty much everything there is to see when it comes to inept customers not getting the simple and relatively easy to understand ins and outs about coffee.

I see how this complaint could be petty, but petty turns to torture when it’s hammered into my head every day. The fact that I have nightmares of my face melting off from someone angrily throwing coffee at my face, telling me it tastes “like dirt,” is a problem.

Instead of getting angry for not getting what you want like a child, there are steps you can take to  keep your latte from being spat into, and make your experience a little more pleasant at your local coffee shop

If You’re in Line, Decide

Figure out what you want before you get to the register. I can’t tell you how many times someone will mess around on their phone until they get to the register and still not know what they want. I’m not your mom, I’m your barista, I will help you if you know what you want. If not, at least lead with that.

Caffeine ≠ Coffee

Too many times people will walk in and say they want coffee, but aren’t down to drink a 16 oz cup of dark roast, or squeal when their cup is full of espresso. If you want coffee, say coffee; if you want caffeine, that’s a different story.  There’s so much more for you if you want caffeine. You can have espresso, iced coffee, cold brew, tea, or a mix.

There’s More Than One Type

Not all beans are equal. Certain coffee beans produce a different flavor profile and complexity. Even Starbucks, with their unicorn bs, still has three different types of coffee brewing in the morning. Ask the difference and taste it too, you’ll have a better morning if you have the coffee you like best.

Hot is Different From Burnt

Extra hot milk is just burned milk. Anything over 200 degrees is just burned. If you’re trying to save it for later just get a stopper to keep the heat from escaping, or get it later, I doubt there isn’t a starbucks around wherever you are.

Ethnocentricism is no Excuse

Cold brew has been around for a long time. Just because Starbucks recently began doling out the new drink doesn’t mean they created it. According to historical records, cold brew finds its origins in Japan, specifically in Kyoto. It used to be referred to as Kyoto-style coffee, and only recently has been proliferate amongst US markets. See, pretty interesting huh? Ask a barista, and if they’ve got an ounce of intelligence and care, they’ll gladly tell you any further information or tidbits.

Don’t Play Yourself

Milk/cream and sugar are not needed. Sometimes the reason your coffee tastes so bad is because it’s just not the right type. Not all black coffee is a bitter charcoal pit. This isn’t a one size fits all type of situation. Just like there are different flavors of tea, there are different roasts with varying characteristics. Experiment a little, baristas are there to help you with that. Don’t just say it’s gross and expect us to read your mind, tell us what flavors you’re into.

This is Not That

If you order a Caramel Frappuccino with extra caramel because you want “coffee,” I will slap you. In my mind, at least.

There Are Actual Sizes

“Regular” is not and has never been a size. I assume you mean medium, which is mostly correct, but for those special folks that think I’m being dumb when I ask what exactly they mean, regular is not real.

Seek Within

If you really don’t know what you want, just ask yourself these three questions: 1. Do I want something hot or cold? 2. Do I want caffeine? 3. Do I want sugar? If you just tell your barista these three things and give them free reign to do whatever, they’ll have a blast and you’ll probably find a new favorite drink.

Enjoy

Overall, enjoy the experience that the barista is trying to impart. We genuinely care about the coffee, it’s what’s keeping us from throwing a bagel in your face at 5 in the morning. So take a minute, soak in the environment and know this isn’t a vending machine, it’s a cafe and we have real beans with real hot water and real people, not a robot.

Categories
Health

I’m A Food Social Media Entrepreneur And I Just Quit All Social Media

Day 1.

This is weird for me to write. Let me explain.

I’m a 29-year-old co-founder of Foodbeast, a website and media company whose content is seen by over a billion people a year. Our articles are read on Foodbeast.com and our videos are viewed on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. We have some premiere food and travel shows in our network now. My work day consists of answering emails, thinking of content ideas, client relations and growing our audience.

I started Foodbeast close to 10 years ago as a blog. It was a time prior to Facebook’s newsfeed, before Instagram was a seed in Kevin Systrom’s entrepreneurial ballsack — in short, social media as we know it did not exist.

I was still in college at the time and had a passion for writing and telling stories in any medium I could. Whether I was blogging about my friend attempting to eat 30 Sloppy Joes in one sitting inside a school cafeteria, the new burgers at Carl’s Jr., or using a MiniDV cam to film myself burning the roof of my mouth on hot pot the first time — I just wanted to tell stories I cared about.

I wanted to discuss food sans all the pretentiousness, because the proposition of Food Network being the sole voice for food was starting to feel stale to me. Fast forward 10 years later, Foodbeast is a humble company of creators, social media managers, ad sales, writers and video producers that continue to live out that vision. To say we owe a LOT to social media would be an understatement. Before Facebook and YouTube, our monthly audience maxed out at 2 million people a month. That’s a LOT of people, don’t get me wrong, but when technology and hackers like Mark Zuckerberg, and the bros behind YouTube gave us some bigger microphones to tell our stories through, our audience ballooned. For a self-funded, entirely private company like Foodbeast, social media gave us an opportunity and voice we likely wouldn’t have had without it.

That said, I just deleted Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat from my phone. Any social application that gives me access to a seemingly unlimited amount of people, I’ve removed. Only 1-on-1 conversations. Text and phone is cool. No “social validations” for a while. No quick social media dopamine hits to vacantly boost my mood when people like or view my “content.” No addictive social validation loop. Gone:

I didn’t run this decision by my business partners, my family — I didn’t want to make a symbolic gesture by announcing “going dark” on all my social feeds by uploading some dumb all black photo. I’m obviously not looking to advocate for the eradication of the amazing tool that social media is — my business wouldn’t have succeeded without it. With social media I have the ability to, within seconds, speak to anyone on fucking planet Earth. It’s an amazing tool, I want to use it, but I no longer feel like I have any control over it.

Fuck, I literally just switched tabs while writing this — entirely muscle memory — to check Facebook. The above is literally a screenshot, in real time, of me stopping the task at hand and going to Facebook. Good thing I’ve logged out of all of it. But seriously, I just hot-keyed my keyboard to spawn up a new tab and began typing ‘F-A….’

This morning, on our bi-weekly Katchup podcast I do with my co-founder Geoff Kutnick, the topic was the Most Important Food Instagrammers of 2018. I had been planning to discuss my research, interviews and surveys I’d accumulated over the past couple weeks. Who’s the most important? Who takes the best photos? Who has the best engagement? My goal was to finish the article before the podcast went live. I didn’t. I must have been too busy to finish… hm.

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll notice that I nearly crack and lose it towards the end as I describe Facebook “not giving a fuck about you.” The one bit of my research that stuck with me so profusely happened to come from a random YouTube video featuring ex-Facebook execs talking about social media.

The following video reveals both Sean Parker (ex-President of Facebook) and Chamath Palihapitiya (former Facebook exec and current Golden State Warriors co-owner) having immense regret for growing the Facebook platform.

“I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” Palihapitiya said in front of students at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Alright Chamath, you sound CRAZY, dawg. Easy to sit on your billions and say you don’t “do” social media now. But…

…then something clicked for me.

I know these tools inside and out: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. They’re crucial and give us a wealth of power and communication. But who’s really in charge? I hate to call social media a drug, in fear of sounding like my mom circa the grade school years telling me my hours of Nintendo were turning my brain to mush, but fuck dude, I can’t take a shit without passively scrolling Instagram. I’d more rather have my phone on the toilet than toilet paper — at least I have my phone to look up alternatives to wiping my ass when the TP is depleted.

I can’t even go to the gym without checking Twitter for that fire Lavar Ball Tweet. I reward every task on my work ‘to-do’ list with a quick “hit” of social media. H ow come no one has checked me into fucking rehab yet?!

A study in 2016 (yeah, it’s two years old but it’s the first study that came up in Google, sue me) says the typical cellphone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times every day. Bruh. That’s a TYPICAL person. And that’s an OLD study.

Psychological and mental health aside of living within the walls of a digital world for a majority of your day, the physicality of my neck crane-ing over 5+ cumulative hours a day actively using my phone while I wait for people to like my Instagram photo is fastidiously putting a herniated disc into my neck. Truly, my neck hasn’t stopped hurting for the past couple years.

Bruh, it hasn’t been but a couple hours, but speak of the devil:

I’ve found I haven’t been able to write like I used to. I’ll get 400 words in and my mind will find some unexplainable reason that I must check Instagram. An hour of scrolling later, I forgot what I was writing about, have jumped to Facebook, ignored my girlfriend’s texts and cracked my neck three times since there’s no “healthy” way for you to posture looking at a 4 inch screen on a couch.

I haven’t published a memorable article on Foodbeast in the past year or so. It took me “weeks” to get 80% done on three different articles, tens more in drafts. I even went on a “spiritual food journey” during a recent trip to Seattle and left my phone in my room for 24 hours. I documented every food I ate and person I encountered in a journal. A spiral-bound book of blank paper and a pen that ejaculates ink is what people used to use to document memories. It was brilliant day. It was eye opening. I felt like Bourdain on his third book. On the 25th hour when I sat down to write about my day sans-phone, I got two sentences in to my recollection, got distracted by a glowing notification on Instagram and never looked back at that draft.

It’s been five months since then.

It’s February 1st now. I’ll use social media again in March. I won’t be able to tell if people are “commenting” on this story, or the subsequent journal entries I’ll produce this month, but you can email me what you think.

I’d love to hear if I’m crazy. Will my food taste better now? Will my mind change? Does your neck hurt, too? Do you get anxiety about taking shits without your phone? Who will I share my food photos with? Have you ever lost your iPhone for a few hours and felt like you were completely void of meaning and direction in your day? E-mail me. Don’t Tweet me, don’t DM me on Instagram. I can’t see your messages on Facebook — but I can see your e-mails. My email is: elie@foodbeast.com

My Managing Editor didn’t proof this story. There may be typos. Like I said, I haven’t written in a long, long time. I’ve decided not to wait until March to journal my story, ’cause when I pick up the pipe again, I may just forget what the fuck it is I wanted to say.

Now you see why this is weird for me to write. I’ll see you tomorrow with more.

Categories
Video

How To Hack Your Hotel Room To Cook Travel Meals [WATCH]

I’ve been going on quite a few work trips lately. When you’re up late working on stories, you tend to get pretty hungry. Unfortunately, Foodbeast stopped paying for hotel food after someone decided to order the entire room service menu on a cruise and another dude got an escort.

So now, I’ve got to rely on hotel hacks to eat.

The Brothers Green Eats, those guys that recreate popular fast food menu items at home, show us how to survive your hotel stay in one of their latest videos.

If you’re not looking to spend lots of money eating out and want to avoid unhealthy fast foods, you’re gonna want to check out this video.

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Hit-Or-Miss

9 Tips To Make You The Michael Jordan Of Beer Pong

michale-jordan-beer-pong

via Instagram @Yaypril

1. Choose a good teammate (as well as a like-minded one).

You’re looking to win, so here’s an insider trade secret: pick someone good. Your teammate should have the hand-eye coordination of Superman and the muscle memory of Batman. Height is also a bonus, since lanky arms can be lethal. The only problem is that sometimes the ones that want to win the hardest are the most unbearable. They argue about the rules, get aggressive out of nowhere, and do this weird thing where they act like the captain of your two-person team. Make sure your level of competitiveness matches up with them.

 havefun

2. Start from the front and work forward.

Unless you’re really trying to impress someone and don’t mind making your teammate panic, go for the easy shots first. Get them out of the way. Hit that first cup and push onward. You’ll be able to hit those initial harder shots easier when you get a re-rack.

 

3. Discover your steez.

Find a technique of throwing that works for you. There’s no right or wrong way as long as the ball makes it in the cup. Look to grip the ball well, toss it down, and aim true. Beyond that, keep experimenting if you think your groove’s a long way off. Or drink more, which always helps with experimentation…

 

4. Keep your balls dry and your momentum wet.

If your challenger’s ball, by some miracle, doesn’t touch a slimy party floor, a messy collage of spilled drinks and loose papers of scribbled phone numbers, grab it like destiny and send it flying back into the cups of your opponents/enemies after a single bounce. Feel the game, play in the moment; don’t act like this is a trick shot where you need complete silence and total poise.

 

5. Pay attention.

Take the game seriously (without becoming the jock-dweeb-monster who takes it too seriously). Notice what cups you’re missing and how you’re missing them. It’ll better inform your reracks. Consistency can become reflex and routine, which is good, as long as as you’re not consistently missing. Keep track of your heartbeat. If it sounds like a metal song, it’ll muck up your motion. if it sounds like slow jazz, this too will make your movements a bit off. You want the balance of relaxed and focused.

 

michael-jordan-beer-pong-elie-photoshop

6. Remember that it’s a drinking game.

Beer pong is a well-crafted game made by drunks for drunks. You need to stay loose. Otherwise, a lack of buzz will send some doubts your way. You want confidence, poise, and swagger. Even when you’re not playing, don’t let your buzz die—or so will your game. Drink like an ox, play like a horse, win like an eagle.

 

7. Mess with their mind, not their eyeline.

Don’t flail your arms like this is a freshman basketball game. It’s a move for kids, who will do it in every game-sport from miniature golf to billiards. By the time a person’s in their 20s, they’ve learned to ignore waving hands. Sure, sticks and stones may break your bones, but verbal jabs will take up residence inside an opponent. The right observation or reminder can dig its way in like a parasite. Bring up missed shots, distract them with comments, and call out how sadly the teams are mismatched in your favor. Put the pressure on and never let go.

 

8. Never be the worst.

Getting screwy with a competitor’s head is part of the game, but it doesn’t have to be component of the victory or aftermath. If you win, let the game end there—unless the other team said some horrendously bogus things about your family (in which case, by all means, destroy them). If you lose, don’t flip the table and stomp through the party like you have to take revenge on the entire crowd for simply witnessing your loss.

beerpong-life

9. Don’t just party; compete.

Playing beer pong at blowout house parties is one of the most fun things you can do. But it won’t always make you a better player. Like how a fun Saturday night card game doesn’t exactly put you at the big spender table in Las Vegas poker tournaments, you need to try big pressure on for size and see if it fits you. Check out weekly beer pong tournaments at local bars to become the ultimate all-or-nothing, this-is-it, go-big-or-go-home, Eye-of-the-Tiger, maybe-even-The-Final-Countdown beer pong champion you always knew you could be.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

This Simple Potato-Peeling Hack Will Save You Tons Of Time And Grief In The Kitchen

Potato-Hack

Peeling potatoes can definitely be a hassle. Between fumbling through the kitchen for a peeler and spending loads of time paring away, things can get tedious just to get those potatoes bare.

YouTuber Dave Hax (get it?) has discovered a quick and easy way to get your potatoes peeled without having to go though all the unnecessary work. All you need are some potatoes, a knife and some hot water.

The peeler begins by cutting a thin line across the potato, enough to penetrate only the skin. Then they simply just throw them in a pot, add boiling water, wait for the potatoes to cook and drain them. Cool the potatoes with cold water for a few minutes and once they’re able to be picked up, the peels should slip right off.

Easy, right?

Check out the video below to see a more detailed look at his process.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

7 Nifty Tricks To Make Airplane Food Taste Better

airplane-food

Unless you have no taste buds or standards whatsoever, it is a known fact that airplane food sucks. Not only is it bad quality food, but studies have shown that our ability to detect salty and sweet flavors are diminished by as much as 30% once you’re in the air.

But never fear! There are ways to make your crappy situation better. Here are seven ways to make your food more bearable aside from getting drunk when you’re flying the air.

1. Pick foods with ingredients high in “umami.”

umami-tomatoes

Studies show that it’s easier to taste bitter, sour, and umami (or savory) compared to salty and sweet when you’re up in the air. Below are some popular foods that are high in umami so be sure to watch out for these items when you’re picking your order next time.

Tomatoes (ever wondered why people love drinking tomato juice when flying?)

Shiitake Mushrooms

Potatoes

Soy Sauce

Carrot

Seaweed

Parmesan Cheese

For a full list of umami rich foods check out umamiinfo.com

2. Go for the saucy stuff.

saucy-stuff

Plane food is usually prepared first, then frozen to be reheated once in the air. Because of the change in cabin pressure, food typically dries out once you hit a certain altitude because of the lack of humidity. When given options, choose the dish with more sauce in it. Dan Pashman of The Sporkful podcast says, “go for saucy pasta dishes over big cuts of meat — they tend to hold up better to the chilling and reheating process.” This also includes stews and curries.

 

3. Put on earplugs or listen to music.

headphones

According to research from the University of Manchester, the sound of the plane’s jet engines actually make it harder to taste sweet and salty flavors. So next time you eat in the air, try putting on earplugs or listen to music to dull the background noise.

 

4. Add pretzels or peanuts.

pretzels-peanuts

In the same study at the University of Manchester, they also found that noise from the jet engine also dulls the feeling of crunchiness. You can fix this by crumbling some pretzels or peanuts on your meal for added texture.

 

5. Go for meals with a lot of spice.

sauce

In a 2010 study done by German airline Lufthansa, they found that your ability to detect spicy flavors were relatively unaffected in the air. So if you like spicy food, don’t be shy the next time you fly!

 

6. Opt for BBQ items.

bbq-items

BBQ is generally a good choice of food when flying. This is because the meats can be prepared in advanced, stored, and reheated with minor degradation. BBQ also has spice and sour flavors in it, which helps with taste in high altitude.

 

7. Fly on the right airline.

3-aiplane-food

In recent years, a number of airlines have made a push for giving better food to their passengers. Qatar hired world renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa to prepare their inflight menu and Delta hired restaurateur Danny Meyer to develop better meals. Check out this list by Thrillist on Airlines That Actually Serve Good Food.

Written by the team at NextShark

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

In Case You Missed It: The Grilled Cheese Hack

If you live by the motto, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” you’re finally being rewarded for hanging onto that vintage toaster. The reward comes to you in the form of an instant grilled cheese sandwich via said toaster.

While you might have already caught onto this lil’ gimmick, Grilled Cheese Social provides detailed step-by-step instructions for making a legit grilled cheese sandwich. Basically, you just tip the toaster on its side and voila! (See above for visual grandeur.) While this doesn’t require that you grease a pan or pick up a spatula, there may be some kinks to work out. For example, if you have a new toaster which clasps the piece of toast upon pulling the lever then this process will not work. An older toaster without this super advanced technology allows the bread topped with cheese to freely heat inside the scorching confines. Another thing to keep in mind is that a toaster laid horizontally means that your grilled cheese will fly out horizontally, as in across the room. Keep an eye on it, unless you like the taste of floor, of course.

via Grilled Cheese Social