Archives for posts with tag: craft coffee

It happened and will certainly happen again – a regular customer turned up and asked for a latte to take-away at around 5pm. Being a regular, the barista mentioned that these beans are different from the ones served that same morning.

This wasn’t a blend of Brazil & Burundi but a single origin from El Salvador. Meaning that the latte will without a doubt taste different.

At that very point, the customer looked confused with a nervous smile on his face.

The barista could almost hear that little voice in the customer’s head saying: “what are you talking about…”.

There was (of course) that mention from the customer: “i am just after a latte”!

This type of customer was a drinker and not a taster. He just wanted a caffeine hit, a taste of coffee without caring about:

  • the roast profile,
  • the origin of the beans,
  • the taste and/or flavours.

Should people buying a coffee be more curious about what is in their cup/drink?

Those individuals might be really fussy when it comes to choose a wine to go with their meals. However, coffee is (sadly) seen and perceived as a hot beverage – as if all of them have a taste of…coffee.

Some could be surprised and eventually shocked, as speciality coffee is deeper than that.

It is not about being arrogant or pretentious about coffee. Being passionate (or an expert) when it comes to recognize the country and region is where all the difference is.

It is similar to what a sommelier does! Assessing the tasting notes and measuring the level of acidity, sweetness and body.

cupping matFor larger and full version click on the image

Filter coffee is starting – slowly – to become more popular than milky espresso based drinks. But, do people decide to have a nice latte because of the latte art or do they believe that black coffee is boring?

We could question whether they have ever tried an AeroPress, Chemex or V60?! Does this seem too complex?

These filter brewing methods will produce incredibly different drinks; the coffee extraction is surprising and it is not unusual to see people discarding their 15 year old cafetiere for a new device.

What does this mean? The drink quality can be a revelation. It is a bit like buying ground coffee and coffee beans which are then freshly ground on demand (either manually or automatically), or even cooking from fresh and having a ready meal. It works the same way.

If all beans were the same, why would so many coffee shops be selling two or three different coffees either blends or single estate!?

Here again, it can be compared with pubs and the various beer/ales: they all have a distinctive finish with more/less acidity or floral aroma!

This is the same with coffee beans! Without forgetting the peaberry – rare too.

The washing process is also something important to consider.

Coffee washing process

Coffee washing process

Caring about coffee is just natural, isn’t it? No one would like to have a lager served instead of a bitter and vice versa. Same rule applies for that caffeinated drink!

Another example with tea: Assam will bring something that Earl Grey doesn’t have and here people don’t say “it is just tea” – they are clearly after a specific taste and flavour.

When looking at a cappuccino, the espresso (which is the foundation of the drink) is then diluted with milk in order to give that smoothness.

The actual sensation after having had such coffee can make you feel “heavy” or full-up. This is because proteins contained in the milk will produce sweetness. Imagine combining this with a rich slice of cake. The sugar hit will have an effect on your metabolism.

When ordering a filter coffee why adding milk to a delicate liquid? There is no logic to do so.

Would you be ready to purchase a great tasty meal (whether fish, vegetables or meat) and spoil it with an additional ingredient which would destroy the initial point of having ordered such food? A person would buy a curry because of what it brings to the taste buds and pouring either tomato or brown sauce over it could be perceived as a major mistake, wouldn’t it?

This is why caring about coffee is something which has to become more natural/common and putting sugar away would in fact, help you to enjoy a subtle cup of coffee. Without forgetting that speciality coffee is not bitter due to the roast being medium rather than dark!

It is also important to understand that each beans have been hand selected to be in your bag. There is a reason why 250g of coffee can be over ten Pounds. The green beans required a lot of attention, labour and care too and there is a price to pay for quality.

Preparing a filter is similar to cooking – there is a recipe. It is about respecting proportions (ratio in this case) between coffee and water. It is not just about pouring water over a powder sitting in a filter.

Once all this is understood then… the consumer will appreciate each second – from the time the barista makes the drink to the last drop in the cup.

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When or if you buy an AeroPress, you will see on the box the mention “espresso maker“.

AeroPress coffee and espresso maker

However, it is a bit unclear of how to make such drink with a device designed to produced delicate filter coffee.

Here is a video explaining it all.

 

No real surprise to say that British people love coffee, its culture and the entire scene which goes with it. Hipsters are part of the coffee world and it seems to be a good thing, bringing a real buzz to the industry.

DunneFrankowski were certainly the initial sparkle by giving that innovative feel and creativity to coffee consultancy and training. Some laughed about what they did… but look around you now. We can’t get enough of this coffee. There were cupping sessions and other fun thing such as the syphon latte video.

Office workers are escaping their work place during their lunch break for a well deserved dose (or two) of caffeine. It is as if working from behind a desk is becoming an unwanted job. But standing and serving coffee is the future… or it seems like it.

Not certain though that people know what it is like to brew coffee day-in day-out! It can be fun but tiring too, because it is essential to keep a consistent quality from the start to the end of the day. It is not just about pressing a button and turning a dial to perfectly steam and give this smooth texture to the milk. Everything matters when you are going to make a coffee from a filter to intricate flat white.

Forget the nine to five…it will be more of a 7am to a… 7pm – standing most of the time and getting your hands dirty with eventual blisters/burns too.

It is like working as a cook (or a chef – chef de partie…etc) there is nothing that glamorous about it. It can be physically draining and at the end of the service, you really deserve a rest, peace and quiet. Seen from the outside, everything food and drink related attracts. This is a normal reaction because when you are the guest/customer everything is brought to you and it is a great place to spend time and relax. When a head chef or a barista are off duty they don’t spend hours cooking or making coffee during their spare time… it is a job to which they are dedicated as they want to deliver top quality.

So, what makes a good coffee?

It is not about the cup shape/colour, the fashionable ceramic coasters, the look/ style of the barista, the interior design, the background music, the free magazines/newspapers, the comfy sofa or the unlimited wifi access!

It is more related to the passion, the skill and know-how of the person who is preparing the drinks as well as the quality of the ingredients (water, coffee, milk). This is the winning combination.

Too many people go to coffee shops because it is a “cool place” and being part of this community can feel comfortable and safe. However… these same individuals don’t exactly understand what it means to make a craft coffee. As soon as the barista starts to talk about brew ratio and extraction it is like talking a different language but it is the source of the recipe. It shouldn’t be that complicated to understand.

Craft coffee - pour over

Craft coffee – pour over

There is also this situation when a customer starts to deconstruct the actual beverage menu. When the order begins with “sorry to be a pain….” and ends with “…a flat white extra hot with one shot“!

No one would dare to change the way wine is served in a restaurant…or even the food presentation and portion.

Just imagine: “could this chilled white wine be served at room temperature and the 16 inch pizza reduced to 12“? But it seems acceptable in espresso bars. Meanwhile, changing the way a coffee is prepared is similar to breaking some basic rules. The original recipe is then amended to match a personal requirement. Is this not disrespectful?

The best way to appreciate a great cup of coffee is to visit (preferably) an independent business with great coffee beans and fresh milk. Also, each coffee can taste differently. Remember to ask about the house or guest espresso because one can be sweet and the other citrusy and bitter. And if you are advised to drink this cappuccino without sugar or chocolate sprinkle, don’t take it the wrong way…it is just to guide you in order to  get the best aroma. After all, you would certainly ask your waiter/waitress (when going for a god meal) which wine will suit perfectly your main course. The barista is doing his/her best to make sure that the crafted coffee will diffuse perfectly all the aroma on the taste buds.

Coffee time is almost like a celebration…and a ceremony. It is about mutual respect between buyer and seller making that particular moment a real experience.

coffee time

coffee time