KIPP high school students are training to pour a perfect Bongo East latte, decorated with the quintessential leaf design on top.
It’s the afternoon lull at Bongo Java East, and five students from KIPP Academy are tripping over each other behind the counter of this hip Nashville coffee joint, trying to show off what they’ve learned. They’re grinding espresso beans. They’re packing the grounds. They’re steaming milk.
“Let’s see how this goes,” 10th-grader Ayanna Holder says as she knocks a steel pot of scalding milk on the counter to keep foam from forming. She takes a freshly pulled espresso and begins pouring the latte, aiming for a quintessential leaf design on top.
It doesn’t quite go as planned.
“It’s a cloud,” she says with a laugh. “That’s a new masterpiece.”
You can only get so much practice over the course of six weekends, after all. But the group of students training to be baristas this se…