Remember the wedding cake that kept my kitchen busy for several weeks? That final wedding week my friend Diane and I had a breather when we attended an exclusive bloggers event hosted by IICBT called The art of making coffee.
Diane is my guest for today to talk about our wonderful coffee morning experience …
No beverage makes me happier than a hot cup of coffee.
It doesn’t matter what type of coffee it is, whether it’s a really fancy cup or just your good old instant 3-in-1 sachet, I would be satisfied for sure. Imagine my delight when my good friend and baking teacher, Abigail, invited me to an event called, “Making the Perfect Cup of Coffee at Home”.
The event was limited to a few people, making it more interactive and fun. We were greeted by our speaker with a cup of coffee of our choice, specially ground and made by her. I chose to have a cappuccino, which was surprisingly sweet enough even without powdered sugar. That cup of fabulous coffee just made me all the more excited for the hours to come.
The Speaker introduced us to the world of Coffee Making by briefly discussing the History of the Coffee Bean, the types of Beans and blends, and some fun facts about Coffee. Did you know that Espressos actually contain less caffeine than other types of coffee? It is because water extracts more of the coffee bean’s caffeine content, and Espresso is just exposed to water for a few seconds. It is actually just more flavorful than most coffee types, but with less of the caffeine that we normally associate with the strong taste.
Moving on to the main event, the speaker finally taught us how to make the perfect cup of coffee at home. It’s not difficult at all. I know I can do this, and I’m sure you can too. I’m not saying it’s very easy, but it really is doable. Here are important points we need to remember:
- The Equipment: it has to be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed with clear hot water and dried over an absorbent towel. Make sure there is no build up or residue of coffee grounds or coffee oil or it can make your future cups of coffee bitter.
- The Coffee Bean: “Fresh roasted coffee is essential to a superb cup of coffee,” an important fact I picked up from the training. It is better to purchase coffee in small amounts too, and store them in a vacuum sealed container. Airtight Glass containers are best for coffee beans. Since buying in bulk is more often preferred due to the price difference, it would be wise to divide and store them in smaller vacuum containers. This way, it will reduce the unused beans’ exposure to air, thus sealing in its natural moisture and keeping it from absorbing the smell from outside the container. Never store them in the freezer because this will cause the essential oils to be corrupted. The beans will also lose its moisture.
- The Grind: Another important tip I learned: when purchasing whole bean coffee, always grind your beans as close to the brew time as possible.
A burr or mill grinder is preferable because of its grinding consistency. Blade grinders are less preferable because it will grind some coffee beans more finely than others. Some stores can grind your coffee for you. You just need to tell them how you will be brewing so you get the perfect grind size.
Also, never reuse coffee grounds because the desired flavors would already be gone and only the bitter and undesired tastes are left.
- The Water: Use filtered or bottled water if the tap water has a strong odor and/or taste. If only tap water is available, let it run a few seconds before filling the pot. Use cold water. Do not use distilled or softened water.
- Coffee to Water Ratio: Remember that some water evaporates in certain brewing methods. A general rule of thumb is 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 8 ounces of water. You can adjust it, however, to suit your taste. Make sure you check the ‘cup’ lines on your brewer to see how they actually measure.
- Brewing Time: as earlier explained, the amount of time that coffee comes in contact with water will affect the taste of the coffee. If the taste of the coffee is not most favorable, it is either you are brewing it too long or brewing it too fast. You can experiment with your brewing time until you get the flavor you desire.
- Enjoy it while it’s Hot! Pour your coffee into a preheated mug or cup (heating the cup with hot water beforehand) so it is hot for a longer period of time. Brewed coffee begins to lose its optimal taste only moments after brewing so prepare only as much as you can consume at one time. If coffee is not to be consumed right away, you can also pour it into a warmed, insulated thermos and consume within the next 45 minutes.
Here are four popular ways of brewing coffee at home (excerpt from the training manual) :
1. Turkish Coffee:
- Finely ground coffee (between 1-2 heaped teaspoons per cup)
- Cardamom (as per the taste)
- Cold water (measure the amount of H2O using the cups)
- Sugar (if desired)
2. French Press:
- Grind size required: like granulated sugar
- Hot, not boiling water
- One heaped tablespoon of ground coffee for each cup (8 oz)
- For a small press (12 oz) 2-3 minutes steep time is enough; for larger press, 3-4 minutes
3. Moka Pot
- Grind size required: fine (between Turkish coffee and French Press)
- 6-7 grams of ground coffee per cup (6 oz cup)
- Depending on the heat source, it will take 5-10 minutes
4. Filter Coffee
- Ground coffee with size like granulated sugar
- One heaped tablespoon of ground coffee for each cup (8 oz)
- Water (as earlier discussed)
- Brewing time: between 6-8 minutes
- Acceptable holding time for a pot on a warming burner is around 20 minutes
If you want to take your espresso a step further like say, a Cappuccino (traditionally equal amounts of espresso and steamed milk with a dollop of frothy milk on top), you can improvise. First Step is to prepare your espresso by using a Moka pot, or you can use brewed coffee from a regular coffee maker. Espresso has a richer coffee flavor than the regular brewed coffee so you might want to experiment with your mix until you get the flavor you want. Next, heat milk over low heat setting on your stove top to your desired temperature, blend it with a hand held blender or just pour it into your conventional blender after heating. Then, preheat your cup by pouring hot water and emptying it when it feels very warm to the touch. Pour your espresso or brewed coffee followed by the frothy milk, holding back the froth with a spoon. Finally, pour or scoop out the rest of the froth and into the cup. You can sprinkle a little cinnamon or chocolate on top of the froth to just give it enough sweetness. You can put a little bit of chocolate syrup on top of that if you like. Now, you can give yourself a gentle pat on the back and enjoy your perfect cup in the comfort of your own home.
* The International Institute of Coffee & Barista Training or IICBT, is a Professional Training Institute. Located at Block 6, G-14, Knowledge Village, P.O. Box 121841, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 04 367 8402; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.iicbtdubai.com