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Everyone like a nice cup of coffee whether filter, straight black, cappuccino or flat white.

However, there is a cost behind it. Quality doesn’t come cheap. This is applicable for everything.

Let’s take an example.

Making good/perfect coffee is like taking a good/perfect picture.

There are various ingredients. To get a great result it is not just about the main product but also all accessories around it! The camera can be the best one but the photograph could be poor, because a skill is needed for the composition and having the right settings from exposure to shutter speed.

Also, buying a DSLR is the first step. You might then need a polarized filter, tripod or flashgun as well as a fast memory card (according to the type of photography). According to your level, an expensive camera might not be the right choice unless you have already a few years experience. A basic point and shoot can be sufficient for a start then upgrading is always a possibility.

DSLR Vs Point and Shoot

DSLR Vs Point and Shoot

Making coffee works the same way. Good coffee beans is just the foundation. Having a top of the range espresso machine is good as long as the user knows how to deal with it and is able to adjust the grinder in order to produce a great extraction and respect the ratio coffee:water.

As I was in an independent coffee shop on Tuesday morning (30th December 2014), a customer who was waiting for his filter (brewing method V60) started to talk about the cost of making perfect coffee.

He is an avid drinker and own himself a manual grinder. But, he openly said that all this process – despite the fabulous brew – could generate a high cost related to the step by step instructions as a full list of items are necessary:

V60 ceramic and server

V60 ceramic and server

Purists will get all of it without thinking twice because the taste and aroma will be second-to-none. There is a good reason to have the full equipment… Indeed, a budget is needed to get the same cup of coffee as the one you buy at a speciality coffee shop.

The other advantage is that you can recycle coffee grounds for your own garden or your neighbours’ allotments. It is all about waste management, which is too much ignored especially after the festive season.

Christmas rubbish collection

Christmas rubbish collection

In other words, you get a great brew and others can benefit by using what has been put in the filter to produce that nectar to grow fresh vegetables. A great chain reaction which is a win-win from start to finish.

Finally, if you don’t have the financial means to purchase the entire list of brewing utensils, the direct alternative is to visit your local espresso bar (with preferably a brew bar) and who knows, you might get a bundle if you decide to invest in several bits!

There are some basic rules to follow when it comes to make a great espresso. Tamping your ground coffee is one of them – but there is more to it.


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