Sometimes you can be surprised by the “bizarre double life” you and your coworkers might share. A co-worker in my “day job”, Jason Parker, happened to come across my interview in SFist and confessed his own secret love of great espresso. Turns out the guy can also pull a mean shot too, given that he previously worked magic at Peet’s Coffee & Tea for six years.

Jason left me a helpful tip for ensuring that your morning cup is at least semi-tolerable — even if the café isn’t that great. He then reminded me of another suggestion: some coffee lovers have told me how they judge a place by ordering a Café Americano and observing how the café goes about making it.

Here’s what Jason had to say:

Let me tell you a story that you’ll be able to understand being the coffee aficionado that you are: Often when I find (or suspect) that a café’s coffee isn’t very good, I order the Café Americano (espresso + hot water). Usually, you’ll get something a little bit better than the drip coffee at least. BUT I tried the same thing at Chatz down the street, and the guy who works there destroys the Americano by letting the machine run in order to add the water. Needless to say all he’s doing is over extracting the living hell out of the espresso making it almost undrinkable. (I gotta have my caffeine, even if it is crap!).