23 - 26 September 2021 |The Truman Brewery
  • Step Up Your Coffee Game

Beginner's Guide To...

22 March 2019

Clueless about water quality? Soy milk always curdling? No idea what a Q Grader does? Everyone has to start somewhere - read on for our 101 class to all things coffee.


by Faema rep Ivan Zergilli
How do you brew a good espresso?
“To extract the perfect espresso we first have to use good water (total hardness between 50-175ppm) and secondly we need to think about grind, ratio and the ‘three T’s’ (temperature, turbulence and contact time). The  coarseness of grind is inextricably linked to extraction. The finer a coffee is ground, the more bean surface area there is. A good coarseness allows you extract the perfect amount of flavour from your coffee. Coffee to water ratio is the most subjective variable of the coffee brewing, so it’s up to you to find a sweet spot that respects complexity and taste balance. Last but not least, adjusting brew temperature, pre-infusion and shot time allows you to fine-tune your espresso recipe to different coffee varieties.”




by BRITA water expert Birgit Kohler
How does water impact the flavour of coffee?
“Water is arguably the most important element of coffee, since it makes up 98% of the cup. The most important factor to achieving a good flavour in coffee is the mineral composition of the water, a.k.a. the water’s ‘hardness’. If water contains too much hydrogen carbonate, it is too hard and throws the flavour off balance. Most people prefer the taste of coffee with ‘softer’ water, which creates an ideal balance between acidic and bitter. It’s also important to filter out any substances used in water treatment, such as chlorine. Using a water filter can help reduce water hardness and filter out any unwanted substances.”


by The Roasting Party Q Grader Philip Searle
How do you become a Q Grader?
“The job of a Q Grader is to objectively examine the taste of coffee and ensure that roasters are delivered the right quality bean, at the right time, at a sustainable price for all parties within the supply chain. Most Q Graders first
get certified by the Coffee Quality Institute, where they have to pass many rounds of ‘cupping’ tests to ensure their palate is up to the job. Once certified, Q Graders go out on coffee sourcing trips to origin, where they visit coffee farms to check out their range of coffees and sell them onto roasters back home.”



by Curators Coffee founder and Hario rep Catherine Seay
How do you brew the perfect cup with a coffee dripper? 
“For the best-tasting cup, we recommend using water with a neutral pH level, as relatively hard or soft waters will strongly impact the flavour of your coffee. Use 220ml of boiled water to 16-18g of coffee, depending on your taste. If you’re using whole beans, make sure to grind them to a medium-coarse consistency (if it looks like table salt, it’s probably too fine). To ensure none of the paper taste transfers to the coffee, place your filter inside the dripper and wet it with hot water, making sure it’s all out before pouring. Put the ground coffee in and pour slowly in the middle of the filter, then drink up!”


by award-winning barista and Almond Breeze ambassador Luke Shilling
How can you best use milk alternatives in coffee? 
“One of most important things when selecting your dairy free option is to make sure you choose the barista- or coffee-specific type. Another thing to keep in mind is that plant-based proteins may react to coffees with high acidity. This can cause splitting and  curdling in the cup. To help prevent a this, use a more developed roasted coffee instead of a lighter one. Finally, remember it’s about the taste. Different types of non dairy alternatives will have their own unique flavour. Try a few and see which one(s) suit your coffee and of course, your palette.”

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