Letters

Letters 11-28-2016

Trump should avoid self-dealing President-elect Donald Trump plans to turn over running of The Trump Organization to his children, who are also involved in the transition and will probably be informal advisers during his administration. This is not a “blind trust.” In this scenario Trump and family could make decisions based on what’s best for them rather than what’s best for the country...

Trump the change we need?  I have had a couple of weeks to digest the results of this election and reflect. There is no way the selection of Trump as POTUS could ever come close to being normal. It is not normal to have a president-elect settle a fraud case for millions a couple of months before the inauguration. It is not normal to have racists considered for cabinet posts. It is not normal for a president-elect tweet outrageous comments on his Twitter feed to respond to supposed insults at all hours of the early morning...

Health care system should benefit all It is no secret that the health insurance situation in our country is controversial. Some say the Affordable Care Act is “the most terrible thing that has happened to our country in years”; others are thrilled that, “for the first time in years I can get and afford health insurance.” Those who have not been closely involved in the medical field cannot be expected to understand how precarious the previous medical insurance structure was...

Christmas tradition needs change The Christmas light we need most is the divine, and to receive it we do not need electricity, probably only prayers and good deeds. But not everyone has this understanding, as we see in the energy waste that follows with the Christmas decorations...

CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATIONS 

A story in last week’s edition about parasailing businesses on East Grand Traverse Bay mistakenly described Grand Traverse Parasail as a business that is affiliated with the ParkShore Resort. It operates from a beach club two doors down from the resort. The story also should have noted that prior to the filing of a civil lawsuit in federal court by Saburi Boyer and Traverse Bay Parasail against Bryan Punturo and the ParkShore Resort, a similar lawsuit was dismissed from 13th Circuit Court in Traverse City upon a motion from the defendant’s attorney. Express regrets the error and omission.

A story in last week’s edition about The Fillmore restaurant in Manistee misstated Jacob Slonecki’s job at Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course. He was a cook. Express regrets the error.

Home · Articles · News · Best of NM 2012 · Best Barista
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Best Barista

Master Barista at Roast & Toast

- March 26th, 2012  

JOE THOMPSON

That perfect latte or cup of coffee starts with the person who prepares it.

And just as people have their favorite coffee beverage, they also have their favorite barista. Coffee connoisseurs develop loyalties to their baristas, such as is the case with Joe Thompson at Roast & Toast in Petoskey.

“I have been here for seven years and I make a lot of coffee and coffee drinks for people everyday, so I have built quite a following,” said Thompson.

But Thompson is quick to credit his fellow baristas as well.

“It is not just me, it is the others who work here as well. Plus it is the vibe here at Roast & Toast that attracts people.”

It was that “vibe” that initially attracted a then 17-year-old Thompson to start hanging out at Roast & Toast while in high school.

“I grew up in Alanson, but always hung out in Petoskey, and one day I walked into Roast & Toast and felt at home,” said Thompson. “The staff was really friendly, all the other people in the place seemed cool and the coffee drinks were delicious, so it became my hangout.”

“After three years of hanging out they eventually offered me a job. I started washing dishes and eventually progressed into preparing food, and then to making coffee drinks,” said Thompson. He started at 20 – or seven years ago.

While he was given some initial training on how to make coffee drinks he has done his fair share of experimenting.

“I am constantly blending together different bean flavors trying to come up with new drinks and cool names,” said Thompson. “I also pride myself in getting people to try new drinks.”

As to why he feels he was voted the Best Barista in the Petoskey region, Thompson attributes it to quickness and quality.

“I think I am successful because I am fast and the drinks taste good,” said Thompson. “We get two types of people in: The person on the go who wants their drinks quickly but also expects the quality. The other type of person is the one coming in for a break, they want to sit down and relax, read or converse with friends and enjoy a beverage.

“Regardless of the type, quality is the key.”

Thompson adds that there is an art to getting the perfect cup of coffee.

“It is importance to get the right balance of grounds when making a pot of coffee. We have it set with our grinder to make the right amount for the perfect pot of coffee,” said Thompson. “If you put too much in it, it is going to be bitter and not taste good and if you don’t have enough grounds in it, it will be watery. So you have to experiment with your coffeemaker at home to know the right amount of grounds for the perfect pot.”

While for some it is an acquired taste, Thompson feels the French Press is the way to go.

“My favorite way is the French Press,” said Thompson. “It is delicious and I feel it is more full -flavor than coffee made in a pot that goes through a filter. It is definitely a bolder cup. We serve a lot of coffee via the French Press. People like ordering them and you get to choose your beans and we grind them for you. It is a nice feeling having that press right at your table.”

While a big fan of straight espresso Thompson prefers it only occasionally.

“I do like espresso and before I worked here I drank lots of it and then even more when I first started,” said Thompson. “Now I just have it every so often and I think I really appreciate it a lot more by not drinking it everyday.”

Fancy designs on top of the latte or other coffee drinks is often a sign of a great barista but Thompson proves that is not always the case.

“I don’t make fancy designs with my drinks only because I have not taken the time to learn. We have people here who have taken a class and know how to do it,” said Thompson.

Despite not liking sweeteners in his coffee Thompson does enjoy the occasional fancy coffee drink.

“I used to drink the Dirty Irishman a lot, which is a café latte with créme de coca, Irish Créme and fresh whipping cream. My taste buds have changed and I don’t prefer sweet drinks as much anymore,” said Thompson. “But I still enjoy this one on occasion.”

For Thompson, working at Roast & Toast he has not developed “donut shop or candy store syndrome,” (where the employees get tired of and won’t eat the products they make).

“I love coffee and being around it everyday,” said Thompson. “There isn’t a day when I don’t want to drink coffee, make coffee drinks for the people or come into work. I am fortunate I love my job and I get to drink and make coffee for a living.”

Roast & Toast is located at 309 East Lake St. in downtown Petoskey. Check out roastandtoast.com for more information.

 
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