Becoming a Coffee Connoisseur
Coffee as a beverage is a staple drink in most homes today it’s no secret why; the alluring scent, magical flavor and the stimulant tendencies of caffeine ensures that every cup of coffee delivers an insatiable experience. If regular Starbucks coffee already sparks your senses, then you are in for a treat on your journey of becoming a coffee maestro.
We’ve rounded up the essentials to guide you in this solemn trip of becoming a coffee virtuoso.
Walk in the shadow of those who came before you
One of the best ways to quickly familiarize yourself with the coffee world* is acquainted yourself with a coffee cognoscente, meaning you have to become a student once again, but this is not like college, as you are guaranteed to enjoy every class. You can also subscribe to online coffee classes or take short courses that are designed for newbies in the coffee-making business. Perhaps the easiest option is to locate a good and more importantly, customer-friendly coffee shop because wherein are the best baristas who would gladly take your question and proffer advice provided you order one or two cappuccinos.
Learn the Rudiments.
Being a coffee connoisseur entails knowing the in and outs of the coffee, not just how to brew it, but also its history, how it's grown, the major varieties, the effects of different cultural practices on its taste, the politics it takes to deliver your favourite beans to you, etc. And if you happen to be an activist be sure to engross yourself with the many fair trade debates that focus on the people who churn out the coffee that makes this art feasible.
Use the right Beans
One important thing to note is that although coffee has a particularly long shelf life it loses its essence and flavour with time albeit very slowly. So naturally, you should be looking to get freshly roasted beans from either from highbrow confectionery stores or more preferably local roasters and coffee shops. The choice of beans is an important decision as they are the very source of the additive coffee flavour and aroma and assuming you done your basic research and homework diligently you should now be accustomed to the various bean types and their peculiarities. You can also subscribe to services like Craft Coffee that carry out a monthly delivery of coffee samples from different parts of the country.
Attend Coffee Cuppings
Coffee cuppings are the field’s equivalent of wine tastings, and as is seen in wine tasting it is a cynosure of the coffee aficionados. These events which were once exclusive to the top of the line professionals are now open to admit all, and if you search diligently enough, you are sure to find one in your locality.
Coffee cupping provides an enabling environment to dive even deeper into the art of coffee making and tasting, grooming your tongue to be able to distinguish the numerous subtleties in the various coffee brews; that is an important skill a connoisseur must possess.
Essential Tools to get you Brewing
Grinders; Grinders are probably the most valuable tool in your coffee making journey, before extracting the flavour out of the coffee beans, you need to grind them. It's important that you grind the beans only moments before brewing, to preserve its taste since this diminishes with time.
Ensure you buy a quality burr grinder that does a good job of crushing the beans to the right consistency required for the exact type of coffee you intend to brew. If you're looking to get maximal value for your money, you should consider the Baratza Encore which costs about $129, a more exotic option is the Baratza Vario which will set you back by $560.
Manual brewer; Invest in a manual brewer to enable you to extract maximal flavour out of the beans. There is an immense range of brewers to choose from in the market, but a decent start is a pour over dripper (like the Hario V-60). If you are looking to spend more, you can opt for a more expensive vacuum brewer.
Coffee Scales; A coffee scale is important in helping you determine the perfect brew for the kind of coffee you intend to use. As with manual brewer, there are many brands and types to pick from, whatever one you decide to purchase just make sure it measures in grammes
Timer; A timer is critical to ascertain the optimal brewing time of your coffee. There's a possibility that your coffee scale already incorporates a timer into its build especially if its more high-end, in the case where it doesn’t you can always opt for cheaper timers that are readily available in the market.
The Fine Art of Brewing
With the aforementioned, you are ready to join the baristas in the exclusive theatre of professional brewing. Note that although brewing is the most challenging part of your journey to coffee perfection, with constant practice and dedication, it soon becomes a mightily pleasurable and addictive regimen/routine.
The internet hosts a vast repertoire of helpful tips and tricks that are sure to give your brewing ability a boost. And as always your local popular coffee shop is an excellent choice for go-to guides and secrets in coffee brewing, there's a reason they have such a huge customer base, and it is definitely not voodoo.