Latte Artist Perry Czopp Gives a Step-by-Step Tutorial
The words latte art might evoke an eye roll, but bear with me. Honestly, Perry Czopp, who has won local competitions with his pours, will be the first to admit that he doesn't take it very seriously. Rather, it's a means to get people passionate about their morning cup of coffee, and that's what he's after. His company, The Coffee Chop, specializes in coffee education, catering, and more. To say that he has big ideas for Phoenix's coffee scene would be an understatement.
Heather Hoch "Nobody takes [latte art] super seriously at the competitions," Perry Czopp says.
Fresh back from a trip to San Fransisco, Perry Czopp is looking at Phoenix's coffee culture in a new light. He says the Valley has all of the fundamentals, from a good base of local roasters to passionate baristas, and now he says it just needs an educational nudge--from roaster to barista to consumer.
While out of town, he noticed that, unprovoked, baristas would explain every element of a drink they were making, including the bean's origin, the roast type and date, and even the exact gram measurement of the espresso grind that would be brewed. That level of knowledge not only shows a barista's know-how, but also makes the consumer more discerning about the product they're getting.
"I'm on a mission to make Phoenix a destination," he says. "I'm here for education."
Czopp started, as so many others, at a Starbucks after his mother told him he could "meet cute girls" working at a coffee shop. While he might've done that, he says he hated the job. It wasn't until after some time in college and joining on the newly-opened Urban Beans that he found a love for coffee. Having been promoted to manager three months after getting the job, Czopp knew it was time to start getting some serious knowledge about coffee under his belt.
Heather Hoch Clean lines and solid contrast are key.
"It got to the point where I would just be hanging out at roasters on all my days off," Czopp says. "Everyone was so nice and willing to teach me."
Now as a roaster at Coffee Reserve (where he roasts 2,000 pounds of coffee every day) and the owner of The Coffee Chop, he hopes to pass some of what he learned along. According to him, two of the main avenues for consumers to educate themselves is brewing at home and going to multi-roaster cafes.
While boutique roasters have their place, Czopp says the experience of one coffee house using multiple roasters' beans can help show customers what they like in a more expanded scope. He also think brewing your on coffee at home will help raise the bar for baristas, since consumers will then know what their pour over (or whatever they order) is actually supposed to taste like.
"Everyone should buy an Aeropress for their home," he says. "It's $25 and it takes about two minutes to brew and then you'd know if the coffee you're getting at a café is on point."
However, Czopp definitely sees the merit of ambiance and social interaction at coffee shops. While he thinks choosing a coffee shop to go to is as much a matter of mood as it is the coffee they serve in Phoenix, he says there are a few tell-tale signs of a great coffee house.
3617 North Goldwater Road, Scottsdale, AZ