How do you do?
Origin Coffee Roasting invited me to their alternative brewing methods course in Maboneng. I got the opportunity to expand my coffee brewing knowledge from coffee guru and former SA Barista Champion Willem Pienaar, and so I thought to share with you my main takeaways and tips 😀
I really enjoyed this one-on-one demonstration of the following alternative brewing methods, which we ended off with a quick cupping.
Each of the following brewing methods were demonstrated and the best extraction method was explained;
- V60 Pour-over
- Moka Pot
We used the same Ghanaian coffee throughout the whole course, this way we could see how each method affected the taste of the coffee – which was quite significant for some. I find this also gives one a good indication of which method they’d want to use at home based on the type of coffee a particular method yields. It’s important to note though that some coffees or origins can be best enjoyed with different methods e.g. An Ethiopian Yirgacheffe with Chemex, and another origin with an Aeropress.
Well, as the course ensued we spoke of the various factors that we can control that affect how good of a coffee we’ll end up with. This will be my focus. We decided to list them in order of importance, with the first being the most important and last, the least.
A little side note, we were joking at how some coffee enthusiasts may disagree with the following – and I can attest to this. I’ve seen some coffee connoisseurs go heavily crazy on one of the following factors, where to them – controlling one of these to a T is really the be-all-end-all.
Overall though, the way people enjoy coffee can be very individualistic. In the sense that, there is a lot of personal preference involved. I mean yes, there is a standard “very good cup” which cannot be argued, but the more subtle nuances can be rightfully and shamelessly left to Q-graders, championship candidates, winners and judges, and well, any coffee enthusiast who enjoys the hunt :D! Absolutely nothing wrong with this!
So in order of importance we got to:
The freshness of coffee is a complete game changer. Freshly ground coffee beans affect the taste and smell of the coffee immensely – i.e. every hour from the moment the beans are ground the freshness rapidly decreases. One of the best investments you can make is purchasing a coffee grinder. Purchase coffee in bean form and grind them right before every cup. This has a huuuuge impact on the taste and the notes that you will get from the coffee. I’d say you ditch the ground grocery store isle coffee, shop local and grab a bag of recently roasted beans from your local roastery.
Very important. Why? Because the optimal range of temperature for extraction is one that allows the flavor compounds to easily dissolve in the water. At Origin, we discussed the optimal temperature being 90°C-95°C. If you care about consistency in your cup then a kitchen thermometer will be worth investing in.
- GRIND SIZE & BREWING TIME
As a general indicator, if your coffee is too sour, then the grind is probably too coarse. If it’s too bitter, then it’s probably too fine. If you’re having an issue here, dial up or down your grinding and play around until you reach your desired taste. Grind size goes hand-in-hand with brewing time. Shorter brewing methods tend to behave better with finer grinds and longer brewing methods behave well with coarser grinds.
- BREWING METHOD
This is counter intuitive isn’t it? How the brewing method is all the way down here?! 😀 Well, it doesn’t mean it’s not important. It is. They all really affect the taste of the coffee and yield different results. Remember we used the same coffee throughout in order to make the comparison between brewing methods – I particularly remember how completely different the Aeropress coffee was to Pour-overs, and the espresso and richness we got out of the Moka Pot. Attending a course like this will really help you in trying different home brew methods and the type of coffee you’ll generally get from each machine. Then, you can make the choice on which to purchase.
Now also important but not extremely. During this course we stuck to 7g for every 100ml or 16g for every 200ml of coffee as the rule. Weight apparently will not affect the coffee that much unless EXTREMELY OFF i.e. too little or too much. A gram or two either way though, won’t mess things up completely especially if all the above are properly controlled!!
& well, that’s that homies! I really enjoyed this course and I have my eye on the others that are on offer 🙂
As always, over here we’re all about knowledge and taking something away from each read so I really hope you learned something new & helpful today!