BONSOIR | THE JOURNAL
Missing your favourite local cafe. Climpson's & Sons is here to show you how to make the perfect coffee at home.
I don't know about you but I really miss going to a coffee shop and having a barista pour their heart and soul into your flat white, but I have taken this as an opportunity to reconnect with making coffee and taking the time to enjoy it. Normally I sit with a cup on my desk that goes cold before I finish it, or I am tasting coffee, which is slightly different to the pleasure - or solace - of closing your eyes and inhaling that coffee aroma.
Here are some top tips to make the most of your cup of coffee - from what to look for when buying coffee, to how to make the perfect brew.
Buy local or independent.
Start with buying local or independent from your nearest coffee shop, deli or online. This is the time to support your local business and you would be surprised at how many amazing coffee shops and roasters that are out there now, so find one of those before you buy from the supermarket.
At Climpson & Sons we focus on quality and responsible sourcing. We pay higher prices to coffee producers - far above organic and fair trade pricing - to ensure the best care and quality of our coffees are rewarded. We have great relationships with our importers and producers so we can work together towards a more sustainable coffee industry as a whole.
You can really delve into this world if you ask your coffee roaster or local cafe. One of my favorite coffees right now is The Baron from Daterra Estate in Brazil. We know exactly where this coffee comes from and have a great partnership with the producers - we have been buying off them year after year.
There is a level of trust between the partners and supply chain, based on buying principles and paying higher prices for quality, as well as our understanding of their farming and sustainability principles.
Read the label
If you are reading a coffee label on a bag, keep an eye out for words like 100% Arabica and clues towards traceability. For instance, the name of a coffee farm or individual producer rather than just ‘coffee from Colombia’. Altitude refers to how high this coffee is grown; generally higher grown coffees have a lot more character and complexity as a general rule.
When it comes time to brew up some coffee, there are a range of options available. I am a big fan of a cafetiere / plunger for a quick fix and to bring out sweetness and body in my coffee, but I also like to use a V60 to make a more complex and balanced filter coffee, for when I have a bit more time to brew.
For filter coffee fresh is best. For espresso you want coffee to be about a week old, this is so the coffee has had time to de-gas and be more consistent through an espresso machine.
A top tip is to grind your coffee fresh. Coffee is a perishable product and can go stale, so fresh is best. Whilst you can have beans that can last for a few months if they are in an airtight container (or even longer when frozen as it can preserve the coffee without it ageing so fast).
Follow a brewing recipe
I like to follow a recipe when making coffee. You wouldn't bake a cake without a recipe, and a coffee recipe is no different as you want to bring out the best flavour and sweetness in the coffee. So dust off your kitchen scales and try it out. For a big pot of coffee, use the easy cheat rule: 60g of coffee per 1L water as a guide. My cafetiere is 500ml, so I use about 30g of freshly ground coffee with a medium coarseness.
If you want to go the extra mile there are videos and recipes here.
Top tips for the budding barista
Coffee extraction is a really important part of making good coffee. Our baristas go through a lot of training to understand this, and is very science led. At home there are a couple of things you can do if your coffee isn't always tasting to your liking. This is why recipes are important, but also a lot of the time coffee can taste bitter or sour because of over or under extraction.
● All coffee has some degree of bitterness from the caffeine it contains. When brewed, a desirable bitterness would be similar to dark chocolate, whereas over extracted coffee is dry and papery and burnt and ashy flavours dominate the cup. If your coffee is too intense you could add some more hot water to it, just to balance it out.
● Sometimes your coffee can be thin or taste a bit acrid and sour. (Sourness can be a little tricky to get your head around and shouldn’t be confused with acidity. Under extracted coffee has the characteristics of expired milk. It’s harsh, short and lacks sweetness. The sugars haven’t had enough time to entirely develop, leaving an acrid, salty finish.)
To counteract the above you could play around with the grind texture of your coffee.
● For example, your coffee grinds might be too fine making it harder for water to pass through, which is giving you a longer, stronger extraction and more intense tasting coffee. You want to make your coffee grind size a bit courser here.
● On the other hand, you grind size might be too coarse and the water passes through too easily, without being able to absorb all the good stuff from the coffee, it could taste thin and watery. You will want to make your coffee grounds finer.
Now sit back and relax and enjoy your brew
At the end of the day, you may only have a short amount of time to enjoy a brew, but even small changes can make a big difference. The main thing is drink it how you like it.
By Nicole Ferris
Nicole is a proud coffee lover and brewing expert. Managing Director of Climpson's & Sons.
You can shop Climpson's & Sons coffee at https://climpsonandsons.com/
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