Barista Schools, Techniques, and Methods

Espresso doesn’t mean fast, it means expression.

There are so many options when you are ordering drinks from an artisanal coffee shop, and each has its own methods and teachings, handed down orally from years of knowledge. I know three and I’d love to discuss them here before I start my new assignment at Ebar at Nordstrom’s. I plan to offer all three I currently know, there are so many others, and each is wonderful and different. I have my own version of each of them, so please know when you’re ordering at any coffee shop I work at, that while my personal style is unique I can make anything you really dream of, from the deepest mochas to the lightest cappuccinos and macchiatos. I’m sure I will learn a new style at Ebar.

I don’t know the house style yet at Ebar, but my barista training taught me three methods, one I could call the Equator, with subtle, elegant microfoam, one I could call Texas96, an aerated, vintage, bubbly froth explosion, and one I could call Mill Valley School, as a working title.

Texas 96 is a frothy, aerated foam crested drink that leaves an espresso milk base completely separated from the milk itself, and it’s served extremely hot, pushing to the upper levels to the maximum 140-degree mark, but still drinkable. It’s bold like Texas itself. I was taught in a bookstore in Texas in 1996, as my first job, and so I’m calling it Texas96. It’s vintage, and almost a quarter-century old.

Equator is a modern style, which I learned from taking a barista certification course, which is really elegant, with a series of modern techniques creating a blend across and within the surface of the entire espresso drink itself, it’s subtle, elegant, and delicious, It’s so good that the last one I made I literally scooped out the remaining foam from the cup, and it was not quite a desert, but so amazing. I love making my version of it and I can’t wait to see what folks think about it.

And the Peets style, which I’m going to call Mill Valley School. comes from what I learned at Peets, which is a rather hot bold style that is all its own, which is a mildly frothy, un aerated mix that is inseparable in my mind from the experience of the cafe itself. I was taught by one of the lead baristas about this method one day in Mill Valley School, by an almost operatic singer who I worked the closing shift with one evening in the town.

Each is a style I can weave in between, and I have my own style in all three styles I could call Cloud School, which is the ability to have any one of these shapes and textures, just like clouds in the sky. In that way each belongs to me, no one, and everyone at the same time, just as clouds combine in our own imaginations into something that’s truly our own, in perfect harmony with all that can be, and all there is, in our bodies, speech, and mind.


Practised making espresso drinks for around four hours this morning, and each one was so different. Being a barista is like fine art, no matter what you read or get scientific about it (i know all of the chemical reactions and processes from my research).

The way each is contained, each espresso’s mix of milk and coffee, from bright white to the darkest shades of black and brown. Each one is unique, and in that sense, it’s truly alive, vibrant culture in one warm cup. It comes as a massive group effort, from the hands of farmers to the engineers who make the steam and roasting machines, from cultures far and near.

I understand why so many visual artists get work as baristas. It’s absolutely the same thing. Our cultures are like that. Everyone is different and all are equally amazing, and it’s exciting to get each cup and see what’s in store for your particular experience.

I hope everyone gets a chance to try an artisanal coffee shop, there are so many now, and I learned at one of the best, Peets. And if we take it with intention, we can realize that each moment is different, and just carefully observed.

It’s Sunday, I hope your morning was as good as mine was, and if you’re ever in the North Bay I hope you’ll stop by any coffee shop I work at, I’ll let you know where once I know more. I’ll make you a warm drink that is specifically yours. I won’t and you won’t experience anything like it before and anything like it again. Does that make it the best? Absolutely not, but each is a moment in time, and if that’s what I do as a day job, I’m excited and fulfilled.

Down the Hill

We went down the hill and voted, no one really in line, everyone was happy, almost everyone, and it was beautiful. The elder townspeople and volunteers helping the polling place, the American Flags outside in people’s yards, the birds singing, folks from all walks of life. Each moment so peaceful, as if to remind me, of all that happens in the rest of the world, this space is sacred, not one place in a moment, but an idea in time, of shared resources, coming together, to choose our futures, and prepare for better days. What do we choose when we’re voting, the hope that we have in our hearts to make the right decisions, our own that will remain. Hope belongs to no one, it’s held in our hearts as solemn as a vow. It’s with us from our first beginnings, each step along the way. And what is more to hope for, than a hope for peace, that can be renewed with every life on earth, flowers grow, seasons change, a bird in a forest, gentle as a dove, the silences enwrapped in circular motion, in every moment a promise of home.


Hovering not against a solid ground, one in constant motion over the expanse of time, holding an ember glow of soft cadences, clear as birdsong in a silent forest, open without sight or mind, in the stillness the promise, a cry of a plane overhead, wars, years in moments. Each sound becomes frequency, and in. silence becomes an oscilloscope in a science class somewhere, deep in memory, green and flickering across the black grey surfaces, each murmur a diagonal, each in its own hidden promise, like a growing spring, come late into summer, as the seasons change. But what does it know of the cool of the evening, the warmth of the human heart, the rust becomes rainfall, the garden becomes a dream, and here we sit, not against a solid ground, one constant in motion, but the expanse of time, held in the ember glow of soft cadences clear as a song in a silent forest, eyes wide open, for all that we can ever hope to see.

First six months of 2022

Some friends only know about this site for updates into what I’ve been up to, and honestly I work so much that I haven’t slowed down to take a step back and look at the year so far, but here’s what I’ve been up to, sorry if this is a little like a laundry list, but it’s a good laundromat! And you can see how much has happened in what seems, like such a short time, but was in reality, so deep and rich that I can barely remember it, but here’s what happened:

In January I developed and released the Light Fields Film and subsequent art, from a book I worked on in 2021, across character design and architecture and individual works of art, dozens of new digital works in all five experimental films which are likely a preparation for a time when processing power can complete the film series.

In February I worked on the paintings and edited the film for the Fairfax Climate Action Committee, and devoted myself to immersion in French Culture and Language Study because first of its beauty and second of all, I dream of working at the UN, or having a cafe in France, in no particular order.. War in Ukraine started, and I started working for peace activism across any means I had.

In March I had my 1st art show in SF,  continued peace activism, United Nations focus, new Four Eyes issue, mastered digital drawing with a Cintique and completed mastery of Photoshop, and moved toward that as my main creative tool. Had to give up 3D temporarily because of cost.

In April – separated my art and activism accounts across Twitter, building a new global brand series to focus my work into different perspectives. Finished the website and film for the Climate Action Committee, and the Wyndy Comic began.

In May I was elected Vice-Chair of the CAC, redesigned my website, started back at Peets, entry-level team member, taking orders, cleaning and closing the store, cooking and getting back in to the flow. Everyone at Peets knows the full store eventually so you start doing it all. Online Featured Art Exhibition at Art Placer,  All books released on Twitter, #1 New Release in Modern Art. Released absolute best artwork on Foundation when gas was low. Continued Peace Activism late May – Dragon Diver game production began.

June – so far finished author accounts, started Barista Training, enrolled in an art program for building an art practice, and began looking for publishers. Secured my first volunteer graphic design gig for emerging filmmakers on Catchafire. Helping Lead Hour of Action at Climate Changemakers tomorrow.

Completed my plea for the war to stop. Separated my art and personal accounts for professionalism. I Began an Art Strike for Peace and Climate. No new works, in honor of the fallen and how many of our voices have been silenced in the brutal war. And that brings us to tonight, where, honestly, I’m a little frightened for the future with all I now know, but I have the resolve to keep trying for peace and climate activism, in whatever way I can, which is honestly all this has already been for.

New Wave

Cryptography in computing, not in allegory. Open fields within nature, sound crying, moving senses, reflecting absolute, nothing without another, multiples, immutable change, river flows, forest not garden, garden become forest. Open fields, opening, past resolved, new reality.

what the last one, another, then, another then, which will to the what will too? Painting by number, telescope, aldermaine, tesseract, telescope, then again, another one, this one too, synthesize, analysis, sympathy, emoticon, octagon, just as much, telescope, this one too.

Work Today

The small town I work in is at the foot of a mountain, on a quiet square in what feels like a peaceful village. It’s a small coffee shop, and I met everyone for the first time today, folks with long histories in the shop, and it was very clear that we all loved being there. It’s still too soon to know regulars, but I loved everyone I met today. And it was a sad day to join the community. Some customers (honestly I can’t stand calling them that, it seems to impersonal) came in and were visibly distraught from the school shooting. I couldn’t help that think that one of the children in the store, whose mother bought her a hot chocolate, might have been one of them. There was a genuine hush behind the counter in the shop, I remember hearing in the warm silences that seemed to envelop us all, as our barista asked what temperature would be best for her. We made the drink very carefully, and the family walked out the door and into the bright, grey day.

It was almost a thunderstorm, like the coulds could burst forth at any time. Each person in the shop was like that, a sadness that could really be felt, and one man suggested that he would renounce his citizenship. It’s a thought I heard echoed by friends of mine who thought that there’s nothing we can do, like nothing will ever get done. What you feel when you’re serving coffee on a square in a small town though, is that you’re very much a part of America. The community we are in feels almost like it’s from a different time, one where this kind of violence didn’t happen, but there it was as it was felt by all of us. “I’m sorry for crying,” a man said as he was overcome with emotion. “It’s OK, it’s human!,” I said back to him. The day just drifted. We were busy but there was a hushed tone, not delicate, just whole. You could feel the community together.

I understand this feeling. I did research when I got home, exhausted from the days work but able to sit through the press conference, and I’ve never seen the press pool like this before, everyone was affected by it, it almost seemed like this time could be different, at least from what I saw when I got home. But it may not be, it could very well be, as an article in the BBC I read suggested, that any laws that will be passed will likely be overturned. It’s easy to give up on America in times like this, but feeling what i felt today in the square wasn’t like that at all. I was in a perfect place to understand just what would be lost if my partner and I left the country, and in the shop and in the people I met, I found something that I didn’t have before.

Something beautiful to protect, at all costs, our multicultural place of happiness in the shop around the square, the shops all around us, the people walking by, the pop music on the radio, the promise of a way to make ends meet, the families and high school kids that came in for some coffee for the day. Every moment I had in that shop made me fall more and more deeply in love with this country, and protecting it is worth fighting for. I’m one small voice, but I ask you, whoever is in the government right now to do everything they can to find a solution to this crisis. This time has to be different. I’m in a community where it could happen. And it can’t happen here too.

We’re part of the community, I felt it from the very first day. I’m not outraged anymore, something else has given way, the deep resolve, so different this time, that we have to protect our communities, at every level, in every shop, in every community center, and that can only happen when we have the tools to do this. Do this America, keep us here. I don’t want to leave, but we may. It was a difficult but beautiful first day in the shop today, one I’ll never forget.

There were no storms today, because the people held up the firmament of the heavens, with every heavy heart, every compassionate cry, and I hope we warmed at least someone in an uncommonly cold summer day. We’re doing all we can, but we can’t do it alone. Do everything you can to change this country, what I saw today gave me complete resolve, I’ll do everything I can, for the communities we’re in deserve true peace, every minute of every day, until we are all free.


It was February in January, and January was cold. She walked to the edge of the city slightly beyond the lattice wheels, held aloft by a slow rumbling thunder, the sounds of a blanket moving in the darkness, bright as a raincloud. Have I been here before, she asked an open window, that had been following her all morning. “I have no idea” said the mantlepiece. There were two aprons on the shelf underneath her. She picked each one up, trying them on until they resembled a strange dance, held in place by silences, Open is, she said, she didn’t know why. She had come to this part of the city in order to try and make sense of it all, the 12 people she had met briefly before but never had any real conversations, who always seemed ready to destroy her, and take everything away from her. I have a job to go to tomorrow, and it’s important, she wrote out loud on the kitchen side pavement, and then there were ostriches, several in fact, light as air in the winter cold. The sun it was mid-April, now she was July, and she sat awhile and cried, cried for the countless games that people made her watch in horror as the days dragged on, making her life almost a living hell. Each of these people, or resemblances of them like sigils , tried to make a color for each of their own, and January, now back from mid-April, said simply, I refuse to let this happen. I refuse to let this color countless generations, and I’m calling your bluff. My world is a forest, I am neither it nor of it, and I’m not playing a game. Then she sank into a deep slumber, waking three times until she had managed her way up a mountainside, with every closed eyelid a jump across zyx coordinates in a software system display in a museum somewhere, really anywhere I guess. Where was it? Somewhere really Anywhere I guess, anywhere is better than this was, there are infinite colors, not just the ones you chose, if you choose them, enjoy the mess you made, I”m turning away, and never looking back again. Some say they never saw her again, some say she fell in love, some said she was an orangutan, made of newspaper clippings and rumours of unhidden audio cassette cases that played nothing inside. But she knew, she was happy, and walked away, and lived her days in peace and happiness, at least she hoped, and turned her attention to the real things, not the stratified advantaged positions on the radio dial. But she believed in a few things, like her best friend, her cat, and making coffee for strangers, isn’t that good enough for now? And that was how we were told sandwiches were made in cafes on that cold wonderous day. And sometimes that’s enough. I remember me in the gentle places, unremarkable, the quiet of drifting water in an office park, the wind through a suburban landscape on a summer day, the cicadas talking, the espresso machine, and whenever I hear my voice, which is never, not even now.

One Year in the Forest

It’s been an incredible year on an art retreat here in the forests of Fairfax. I really didn’t know what to expect moving into this community, but it’s been incredible. I’ve made a lot of friends and I’m engaged in Climate Action with a local committee, and one national climate outreach group, and there has been so much to learn. The basics of being part of an advisory committee, learnings on the intricacies of state and local resources for mitigating climate change, guiding an All We Can Save Circle, and a genuine friendship with the town itself. But the best thing has been the art.

I’ve had three art shows nationally, one in SF, and made over 200 paintings, with two sold locally. I made two comics and an illustrated book. I learned through a small community on Twitter about the intricacies of the NFT community, opened my first accounts and have a small following on Foundation. I found a way to push through new ideas and concepts, with three completely different art styles that I really feel are groundbreaking and new. And I even own two NFTs.

The forest itself is so incredible. I really learned to respect and be with nature, far from the industrial environment when we lived in the East Bay. It’s been so impactful that I barely remember what it was like when we lived in Emeryville, just a couple of blocks away from Pixar, and nestled between Oakland and Berkeley that combined so many perspectives, diverse and beautiful.

Yet as we did all of this the growing crisis in our world began. Covid was raging in the East Bay, and all over the world, and it was isolating and difficult period happening right after seven years of being in art school. Literally right after. The pandemic started our last semester of school. I went straight from classrooms directly into lockdown, and it took so much to get through that time, much like everyone went through.

When we moved to Fairfax everything changed. Suddenly there were wide spaces to walk in that were so freeing, and I didn’t take a second of it for granted. I started studying nature and post-impressionism, culminating in design and illustrations for the Climate Action Committee, which I rebranded with a logo and style guide, and my private art practice. These were some of the best-received among my friends and colleagues and was both a beginning and completion of spending years studying art. I’ve already moved on to a new period, possibly my fourth since we’ve been in the forest.

I work 12 hour days with just a few reserved for basic life. A lot of that is driven by espresso, which I spent two months studying during a brief period working at Peets. I took online courses from Peets in my spare time, completing the barista training until I was ready to start a shop of my own. But I realized in all this that I couldn’t stop making art. (Besides Peets is the best anyway) It was literally what I lived for, and after all that training in art school, I realized that I could never escape who I am, an artist and illustrator, through and through. The next series I have in my head I promise will be amazing. I’m taking two weeks off to give myself some space to think and plan for the next steps.

Public service is something I’ll always do, and I was a little shocked when I was elected Vice-Chair, which I’m learning about while I take time off of art while I build my practice and look for grants and opportunities. But I’ll never stop making art. Art means so much to me that I can make things for hours, and have to remind myself to sleep. When I’m not making art I’m studying it, going through hundreds of paintings and often returning to a selection of Van Gough’s work I have as an open book in my office, returning to single entries day after day until I let the colourwork seep into my consciousness. In our little apartment in the forest, sometimes it’s quiet and I’ve been given a space to grow, which is exactly what I needed after the formalities of contemporary art education.

When I wasn’t studying art I was enraptured with the UN. I attended every session of the General Assembly and researched economics and culture for each country each leader spoke of. I learned about SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), the importance of biodiversity and multilateralism, and started earnestly learning new languages with the dream that one day I might work at the UN, but for now, I’m happy to be one of its biggest fans. I really got into global culture, assembling a range of historical analyses and cultures across the continents, all packed away on my kindle so I won’t be bored for years. But it hasn’t been time for that. It’s been time to focus and study art in all of its forms, in both two dimensional and three-dimensional visualizations. I’m starting to learn Unity and learned Marvelous Designer for a book and NFT series called Light Fields. It has been an incredible, relentless year of growth, and I haven’t slowed down.

But I’m now turning my gaze away from the blank page and back into research, while I”m not working on my current assignments. I have so much to read, and while I’ve grown by leaps and bounds I still feel like I’m at the beginning of something. There is so much I want to do. I’ve written so much on this blog, among two books, one science fiction novel and a book on design. I haven’t taken a vacation in two years, so having a working holiday to look for new assignments seems like a dream right now.

And of course, I won’t stop making art, as if I could ever try, as this blog has been such a record of my day to day thoughts, I thought I would write this entry to let it stay for awhile, until I think things through and really plan and prepare for the next phase of our lives. Where will it be? Berlin? New York? Paris? Montreal? Here? I have no idea right now but I wouldn’t take this year back for a second. I learned so much here, and still am. The world is still in crisis, but in moments, in my art, and in poetry, across two languages, I found a true solace that will never leave. I was always looking for a new home, and what I found is it was always within me, in my body, heart and mind. I hope we travel the world again someday, but for now, with the world still in crisis, I hope there is a world we can return to, which I have tried my best to try and create with all my abilities, curiosity, and relentless love of life that is always greater than despair, even though it sometimes gets the best of us, peace is always there. As clear as day, bright as the moonlight across our consciouness. The ever-growing possibility, that the future could be a truly beautiful place, of peace, equality, true happiness, and inescapable reality, that even in our most desperate moments, our hearts are the true refuge, that we have a little time on this earth to help and bring to life.

The Lamp is Yellow, And Creates a Smile like the Moon on the Windowshade

There are a lot of ways to deal with despair, and many of them come more naturally than others. Fear is one, you let all of the amalgamated thoughts of possibilities of the unknown enter your mind until they grow in such number that they can make a new city, only of unknowns, the worst of which is death, the lesser is annoyance. Sometimes in this world we don’t know which is which, even the slightest thing can become amplified into something it’s not, the play of shadow from an object nearby, like the moonshape on the windowshade I’m looking at up to my upper right right now as the evening approaches. This is perhaps the easiest and most obvious ways that despair grows, the possibilities seem to shout down any hope of salvation, as if you’ll always be trapped in the unholy world of a city of fear, the contours of which we may never know

A second one is hate, the pain of division as we separate one thing from another, the forced comparison of likes and opposites, as if each moment you had to choose your favorite color. This is the worst of them. Hate cuts both ways, it’s like a pain inside that just grows deeper and deeper the longer the aversion lasts. Also easy to feel, and so destructive, creating countless wars, strife in families, friendships severed, always a cutting, something that only takes careful mending, somewhere between a needle and thread, or the detailed inner workings of the United Nations Security Council. And which is the more delicate work, it might be between the two, or perhaps exactly the same.

The third, and one I’d like to posit, is love. When we break down, we can see the distances less clearly. The earth can seem to shift beneath our feet, either to fall down, or be suspended in mid air. Do you remember the first time you fell in love? How the room felt lighter, how you might have glided with every step, almost as if you could fly, high above the everyday experiences into a view of the world around you, locked into two people, yet surrounded by so much more. This is also one of those kinds of senses of divisions, and so close, as I have read, and find in my notes here, so close to love. But a choice is made, the division is made into a desire for a union, stronger than the bonds of the physical world, limitless in the threads of time that love creates with every moment of being. Between ourselves and other, the greatest mending that could ever be found. It’s Easter, a day that asks us as Christians which we choose. Do we choose death, or choose life, maybe it’s not a question at all. We choose not to believe in hatred, we choose to believe in love, a love that removes all barriers, that leads us up into the sky, and endless world of discovery, the moment that could change the shape of time.

What we choose in these moments defines our reality, and is the gift we leave to the world, is what we can perceive. In the small room I’m sitting in, there are two lamps both emitting a calm glow, the shapes making shapes from the shadows, something that may or may not be there. In this small room, listening to music, I read about lands far away, places gripped by war. Sometimes it’s like we’re in one too, but not one where there has been actual death. But we die a little when we lose hope, and that’s not something I think we should ever do. It’s easy to say in the calm perfection of this evening, but I hope everyone tonight, can think a bit about it. What do we choose in our moments of greatest adversity, If we choose to love, the city of fear in our mind is made invisible, and in it’s place a limitless forest of wonder, or even a quiet place to collect our thoughts, but all this is held in our minds like a whisper, something gentle and kind, and what is this feeling? Is it like our first memories, or even as simple and impossible as being? Let’s see through all the mirage of hate. Lets choose to believe what we know to be true, that there is no division between self and other, but a chasm of space with which we have to pour the limitless love of our thoughts. All over the world, the answers are simple, it is so much easier to love than hate, for the shape of reality could be seen to be infinite, or as indefinable as a space large enough to carry our thoughts, and our hearts, both as small as a raindrop, and as vast as the limitless sky.