Leyla Simsek has been drinking more and more coffee over the past 14 months, as she has learned the intricacies of roasting beans and serving drinks at Espresso-N-Ice.
Leyla Simsek has been drinking more and more coffee over the past 14 months, as she has learned the intricacies of roasting beans and serving drinks at Espresso-N-Ice, her first job.
A student at Delaware Technical & Community College who is studying criminal justice, she took a few minutes to explain a few things about coffee, espressos and more.
Q What have you learned about coffee in your time at Espresso-N-Ice?
A Because we roast the beans on site, I know how the beans are roasted, what kind of blends make what flavors, the acidity of coffee, if you brew it too long and how to make the drinks, of course — Espresso if you pull the shots too short, if you pull it too long, what can happen, what makes it bitter, what makes it good.
All that kind of stuff, I never would have imagined, the smell, the taste, how to taste the coffee.
Q How are you supposed to taste coffee?
A You have to drink it black and you just sip it. It’s easier when [the owner] tells you how it’s supposed to taste like. So maybe it’s like a figment of my imagination, “Oh yeah, it has a caramel flavor.”
Q Do customers who come in have any misconceptions about coffee?
A There’s different terms at Starbucks, like a macchiato, and it’s not what we do here. We do traditional style. [A customer who asks for] a cappuccino French vanilla, a big one, but that’s Wawa. We do traditional and some people think “Oh too much caffeine.”
They think the bolder the coffee, the more caffeine, which isn’t even true. The more you roast the coffee the caffeine roasts away so that would be a darker roast. The lighter the roast the more caffeine you have.
Q What are the most popular drinks you sell?
A Coffee, the lattes, especially. We have different kinds of mochas and stuff. There’s fun names like banana split mocha and Milky Way mocha because people can identify to those flavors. It’s something they can be comfortable with and it’s self-explanatory.
Some people have never been to a coffee shop before so they don’t know what to get. The big coffee drinkers they want it at home. People who don’t really like coffee, they come for the sandwiches; they come for the food.
Q Do a lot of costumers just come and pick up drinks?
A Uh huh, I mean people do stay when they are in groups of people, but some people need to go to work. Now, we’re doing coffee for offices. They’ll get the big boxes that hold 12 short cups.
Q What kind of feedback do you get from customers about having a coffee shop in Dover?
A They’re like “Oh my gosh, how long have you been open? Dover has needed something like this for a long time.” They enjoy it. They can do homework. We have the Wi-Fi and you can come here for meetings. We have our regulars that come like every Friday and have lunch, a big group of mothers. A big group of kids will come on Friday night.
Q In the 14 months the coffee shop has been open has business changed at all?
A Yeah. At first it was dead, there was maybe 35 people a day. People come in more, they’re like friends of friends and families. They’re like “My mom used to come here all the time.”
Q You have live music here sometimes, right?
A Once a month, we have our open mic night. I love working then; I make sure. I love listening to them. They have really good people who come in. They’re not shy at all.
Q What do you like working about at Espresso-N-Ice?
A I love working here, it’s so fun. It’s a lot people my age, a lot of students. You just have a fun time. You know when you go to a lot of fast food places the servers will have attitudes and you’re not too comfortable, but people come in at first they’re like a block of ice and then you melt them down. You get comfortable with them. You know people by first name, you know what they drink, you have inside jokes. It’s just fun getting to know people.