Words by Klaus Becker, MD for Caturra Coffee.
For many people, coffee is absolutely central to their daily life. It’s an indulgence and a must-have, all at the same time. Coffee drinking is a culture, a quick fix, a social event and even a necessity. Fast-developing technology, evolving roasting methods and a growing emphasis on the origin as well as organic provenance, are the main reasons for the burgeoning demand for the best coffee.
South Africa’s taste in coffee changed with the introduction of freshly ground espresso-based drinks and bean-to-cup coffee such as cappuccino or caffe latte. Slowly local consumers started preferring these drinks to chicory mixed or even pure instant coffee.
Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted seeds – the coffee beans of the coffee plant. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees in over 70 countries, cultivated primarily in South America, South East Asia and Africa. Green unroasted coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world.
With coffee being one of the most-consumed beverages in the world, here are some “best brewing” tips for the coffee aficionado:
There are many methods for brewing a fine cup of coffee with no single technique being right for everyone. Klaus Becker, owner of Caturra Coffee., has the following advice: “The method you choose for brewing your coffee should be based on your needs and your unique coffee preferences. Do you want a hearty mug of coffee for breakfast, an afternoon cappuccino, or a dessert espresso? Do you prefer a milder or more robust coffee flavour? The quality and flavour of your coffee is not only determined by your preferred brewing process but also by the type of coffee you select.”
No matter how you choose to brew your coffee, there are guidelines to follow which will give you the best results possible.
- Always purchase whole bean coffee, preferably farm-direct and from a single estate. Make sure the whole bean coffee is freshly roasted and shipped to you in a valve-sealed bag. Store the premium coffee beans in a dry, and dark place, either in a zip-locked bag or a sealed container, not a fridge.
- Grind the whole beans just before you brew the coffee and only grind as much coffee as you are going to use at the time.
- Using your favourite coffee machine, whether it is a French Press or otherwise known as a plunger, a percolator with a 1000watt heating element, to brew the coffee and make sure all parts of it are perfectly clean.
- Use cold-filtered or bottled spring water to brew the coffee. Boil the water and then let it sit for just a short time before pouring it into the machine of your choice.
- Begin consuming the coffee immediately after you have poured it into the cup in order to appreciate the optimal aromas and gourmet tastes.
- Purchase coffee as soon after it has been roasted as possible. Fresh roasted coffee is essential to a superb cup of coffee. And purchase your coffee in small amounts – only as much as you can use in a given period of time. Ideally you should purchase your coffee fresh every week or fortnightly at most.
- Choose high quality Arabica beans. The darker the roast, the stronger the coffee. Pre-ground coffee will be more convenient, but will not taste as good as freshly ground beans. If you purchase whole bean coffee, always grind your beans as close to the brew time as possible
- If your coffee tastes bitter, it may be over-extracted, or ground too fine. On the other hand, if your coffee tastes flat, it may be under-extracted, meaning that your grind is too coarse. Tell the professionals (where you purchase your coffee) exactly how you will be brewing it.
- The ratio of water-to-coffee is very important. Too much extraction (too fine grind, too long brew time, too hot water, too much coffee in the recipe) and the brew is bitter. The temperature of the water is equally important.
- The amount of time that the water is in contact with the coffee grounds is another important factor affecting the taste of your coffee.
“A cup of coffee shared with a friend is happiness tasted and time well spent”, says Bekker. Follow the tips above and your happiness as expert coffee brewer will be well assured too.
Caturra Coffee was established in 1994, Caturra Coffee is a highly commended South African coffee roaster, known for its premium coffee and a variety of specialized equipment.