Tips for better coffee

Java addicts out there, welcome to the club. The moment I got hooked on making coffee back in my dorm in Sydney, my life had changed forever.

It’s 11pm, 3 korean chicks in their PJs holding on to mugs with cutesey animals painted on them, come knocking on your door on a cold winter evening.

“Chris! Can we get some coffee please? It’s so cold and we need some coffee to help us with our assignment”, they say with puppy eyes, in a slightly  pitchy voice.

“Yeah of course! Come in!” I smile.

The golden moment comes when they take the first sip of the creamy, velvety froth, topped with chocolate powder..or in the case of the Mocha Godzilla, semi-melted crushed classic tim tams.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhh”, almost like a cat’s purr, the sound of satisfaction, they exclaim, then lick the milk moustache off their lips. You stand there for a moment, stunned. ‘Wow, I must be dreaming aye?’

After which, nothing pervy happens. Girls go back to their work, I clean up the coffee machine..end of story!

It has been like that, making coffee for people, it’s almost like giving them…LIFE. Chris, the giver of life. Especially for students, worn by dreaded assignments, borderlining on 3 hours of sleep a day. It’s like giving drugs to them, they crave it, they’re addicted, and they always want more. For a young man, there’s no harm having an entourage of young ladies crave your coffee doesn’t it? (every boy’s dream). I will give some tips on some good practices for the enjoyment of better quality coffee.

Over here in Lanka, they are famous for tea. Finding a cafe is not something you’d expect here! Just walking around some rual areas, I’ve been lucky to chance upon a few coffee shops. You must imagine the joy that befalls,  a coffee joint in the middle of a jungle?  I can’tcontain my enthusiasm, “Hi! How are you? I’m Chris, and I’m a barista! I love making coffee!”

“My God! Can you teach us!??”

I jump right into it.

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Tips for better coffee

  1. Freshly Roasted Coffee

No matter how fancy the wrappers may be, or how reputable the brand may be, don’t be fooled! For quality coffee, you wouldn’t want it older than 3 weeks after the date of roast. In supermarkets, even some ‘famous’ coffee chains, the beans have been sitting there for AGES. Weeks or months maybe?  A look on these bags, only show ‘Best Before’. This is basically a sign for ‘don’t buy me, I’m not fresh hence I’m not telling you when I was produced’ Coffee is a perishable, and loses flavour very quickly after 10 days of being roasted, even if it is sealed! If you have expensive equipment like an espresso machine, why not get your coffee from a local independent roaster, or the nearest small cafe retailer. They can tell you when it was roasted.

      2.   Enemies : Heat, Moisture, and Light.

You would be surprised how fast coffee loses its flavours. It needs to be taken care of dearly to preserve the good flavours the farmers work so hard to attain. To keep away from heat, and light and moisture, when not using coffee, store it in an airtight container, in a dry, cool dark place. I have tried freezing and chilling beans, but instead of preserving the goodness, the moisture that comes out of it from thawing ruins it quite quickly. Take out only small amounts of coffee you need for the day and keep the rest sealed well.

    3. Grind On Demand

We experimented, after just half an hour, the ground coffee did not have its nice aromas. It is best to grind just before making each cup of java. If you have a brew bar set up, try a hand grinder by Hario. If you are doing espresso, get a good grinder. I highly recommend a Mazzer Mini for that consistent non-clumpy grind. The last resort would really be to have a whole pack of ground coffee (off the supermarket shelves), lasting you for a month!

   4. Water

Most of your drink is actually water, up to 90% sometimes. You do you want to have the best tasting water available. If you are using tap water, the pipes may be rusty, or contain too much minerals or calcium. You may definitely want to consider a water filter, it could be a Jug charcoal filter, like a Brita one, or even a multi-stage filtration system if the water isn’t too clean or if its too ‘hard’. When coffee tasted real funky and after we changed the filters and softners, it tasted a million times better. Taste hot water on its own to see if its alright.

5. Temperature

A slight variation of up to 2 degrees can completely change the flavour of coffee. From acidic to slightly charcoal, temperature plays a big part. There is usually a recommended temperature for each type of brew method, as well as coffee variety/roast style. Do not be afraid to experiment as you could reduce undesirable characteristics and find flavours that are unexpectedly favourable! Ask the local barista more about the coffee you’re getting from him and what’s advisable, he’d definitely be happy to share.

So that’s all the tips for now! Happy brewing 😉

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