How do you do?
I mentioned in my last post on coffee that I’d drop a quick interview with a Joburg barista, with a focus on alternative brewing methods.
Quick background, I met Mbonisi Bamala in my neighborhood coffice Origin Coffee Roasting in Maboneng, Johannesburg. He was always happy to demonstrate some alternative brewing methods for me and was referred to by other baristas in the shop as the go to guy for pourovers!
How he got into Coffee? His training began at Mischu Coffee in Cape Town but it definitely didn’t end there, hopping from one coffee shop to another learning as much as he could. He tells me,
“I chose to focus on the scientific side of coffee (perfect espresso extraction, proper milk temperature etc.) instead of the latte art since I’m obsessed with good quality.”
Told you specialty coffee is not far from chemistry! That’s what makes it amazing, buuuut very complex and probably frustrating at times might I add. I say this because true coffee connoisseurs are ALWAYS on the hunt for the ‘perfect cup’. Theoretically, the perfect cup is one where the extraction gets everything that is desirable out of the coffee, leaving behind all that is undesirable!
So while in Cape Town, Mbonisi always wished to work for some of the best coffee roasting companies but found it a mission to find the opportunity while at the coast. He eventually moved to Johannesburg in 2016, which is when he started working at Origin Coffee Roasting – “The best coffee company in Africa” he says. I don’t disagree 😀
Without further ado;
Mbonisi’s favorite alternative brewing method?
“My favorite alternative brewing method is the V60 Pour over. This method produces low body, high acidity and a clean cup. I’m into light roasted African coffees with heightened acidity levels, this method is the best for me since I like good quality.”
and his least favorite method?
“My least favorite brewing method is the Plunger/French Press because it produces a cup with a lot of oils and fines. It lacks clarity due to the heavy body and aromatics in the oils thus making it difficult to taste the unique characteristics of different coffees. “
If you’re new in the coffee game?
“For someone new to coffee I suggest the Plunger/French Press. It may be my least favorite brewing method but the oils and fines help train and adjust the palate making it easier for one to understand coffee when they decide to try other better brewing methods.”
What does he suggest to be the best method for home use?
“The best brewing method I suggest for home use is the Aeropress. It’s one of the easiest, quickest brewing methods, has similarities to the espresso and is very easy to wash. The Aeropress can be easily carried around especially when traveling. It’s not bulky and doesn’t break easily like other brewing methods.”
Mbonisi also shared with me his experience at the 2017 Gauteng Regional Barista Championships where he came in 9th – pretty good as this is a provincial competition…
“It was my first time competing, my main motive was to learn more about the competitions and connect with other baristas in the industry…I learn’t that there’s more to coffee than just knowledge and beautiful latte art.”
More to coffee you say?
“Baristas tend to focus on the origin of the bean, processing methods and the bean’s characteristics. The journey of the coffee from the farm to the cup is only told by a few who work for roasteries with a farmer-roaster relationship. During the competitions I listened to my competitors’ speeches and only a few mentioned how coffee affects the daily lives of farmers families and the communities they live in.
I learnt more on how the coffee money is used to improve the infrastructure, modernize the farming and processing methods to increase the yield of better quality coffee. The greater the yield the more lives improved in these coffee farming regions. I always make sure I pour my best cup every time and tell a much deeper bean to cup story.”
Yes! A conscious barista. The journey the coffee you drink goes through is one that many take for granted. It’s important we educate drinkers about the effort, heart, and hard work that go into their beverages.
NOW PLEASE, how about some key tips for brewing
a perfect V60 coffee for readers?! 😀
“Firstly a pourover is a brewing method similar to the drip filter coffee but with this you have more control.
People use different dosages when preparing the pourover but the method is the same everywhere.
Water temperature and the grind size are the most important factors when brewing using the V60 method. The grind size has to be determined by the age of the coffee and that affects the water temperature.
You don’t want to use boiling water on a finer grind as it will burn the coffee thanks to the larger surface area of the coffee. So finding the perfect grind is the trick.
The brewing ratio is another factor that needs to be paid attention to. The amount of water and ground coffee have to balance out to avoid over/under extraction.
Experimenting with different dosages will help improve one’s skills of making a V60 pourover. By paying attention to these factors you can achieve the perfect V60, well it might not be perfect to someone else since people have different palates 😀 “
If you’ve read this far then you mean business! Thank you!! I hope you learned something new today, be it about coffee or about local talent in the coffee industry. #SUPPORTLOCAL #SUPPORTYOUTH
That’s it for now homies! I’m dedicated to bringing you more coffee content in the coming weeks so leave your email in the box below if you’d like an update!
Peace and Hair Grease!