Jamie Braun is a KZN-based barista trainer and coffee consultant. She lives and breathes the world’s favourite caffeinated pick-me-up. #CountryCoffee is where she keeps us up to date with the latest and greatest in the local coffee scene.
Words Jamie Braun
Coffee that is too weak, too bitter, too hot, too strong, tastes burnt, lacks flavour – we all experience a disappointing cup from time to time. Well, fear not, these five tips will help you both in a professional café environment or at home, and take your coffee experience from mediocre to tip-top.
1. Water quality: H20 is just as important as the coffee you are using, and since coffee is mostly water, it is extremely important to always use the best. Using filtered water will not only enhance the taste of your coffee, but also extends the life of your equipment by preventing lime scale.
2. Cleanliness of equipment: Whether your coffee brewing method of choice is a traditional espresso machine, capsule machine, aeropress or mocha pot, it is vital to start every brew with sparkling tools. Coffee excretes oil during the brewing process and if left, this will build up and give a bitter.
3. Grind on demand: Investing your money in a quality grinder is the best way to ensure consistently great-tasting coffee. Sure, buying pre-ground coffee seems like the efficient option but it doesn’t do the coffee justice if you really care about the flavour. Once coffee is ground it starts to lose flavour in as little as FOUR minutes!
4. Coffee storage: No, keeping your coffee in the fridge won’t make it last longer. I don’t know where that idea came from. Keep your coffee in the bag it came in and don’t pour it into a plastic container. Instead, place the entire bag in a container and store in a cool, dark cupboard (coffee hates light). Just promise me, no fridges, PLEASE! 😉
5. Temperature: If you are a cappuccino or latte lover, temperature of milk is just as important as the quality of the shot of espresso being used. Milk is naturally sweet, and if heated too long that natural sweetness is lost and you might burn the milk. Aim to heat your milk to no more than 70 degrees celcuis. (Buy yourself a nice milk thermometer if you want to get this right.)
For a range of water filters, coffee grinders, milk thermometers and anything else you may need to get you on the right path to great coffee, I recommend these two awesome local websites: www.onlinecoffeeshop.co.za and www.koldserve.co.za
Jamie plies her trade with her fellow coffee fundis at Mokador South Africa.