This piece is dedicated to Weihong Zhang, our excellent Patreon supporter whom we love and appreciate.
By Nathanael May
CHARLOTTE, NC— Eschewing the standard options of “melted ice cream” and “wet paint,” local barista and aspiring shift lead Braedyn Kellson discovered what she believed to be the perfect analogy for teaching new baristas the expected texture of properly steamed and microfoamed milk.
“It just came to me,” she related to our reporter, who was on the scene as soon as word got out. “I was just like, looking at the milk in the pitcher, and I was all, ‘This is sour cream, slightly watered down.’ And I knew that would make them understand what I wanted them to do.”
Kellson went on to describe the reaction when she shared her freshly thought analogy with her new coworker.
“It was like a light came on in his head, and he just got it, you know? As an educator, this is the kind of thing I live for. That lightbulb moment. It’s why I do this. Seeing someone understand something for the first time is magical.”
Kellson’s coworker corroborated her story.
“I don’t know, I just couldn’t wrap my head around what the result was supposed to be after I steamed the milk. But like, we all know what slightly watered down sour cream looks like, and that really helped me see the goalpost clearly.”
As our reporter left, they overheard Kellson continuing her training session with a latte art lesson.
“Yeah, like that, only it’s like a plane landing. Faster. No, even faster. Faster.”
Nathanael May is the customer marketing manager for specialty coffee at Pacific Foods in Tualatin, Oregon. He spent years as a barista, from Disneyland, to Starbucks, to every time he goes somewhere with a coffee maker. When he’s not brewing or drinking coffee, he’s biking, hiking, and playing boardgames with his kids.