How to… make the perfect coffee
The science behind pouring the perfect ‘Cup of Joe’.EDGAR staff November 2, 2014
Whether it is a morning cappuccino, a post-dinner espresso or a much-needed, 15-minute coffee break to escape the confines of our offices – for most of us, a quick cup of coffee has manifested itself into our daily routine. B
ut while most caffeine addicts claim to be experts on the brew, simply because they know how to say, “One café latte, please,” most actually know precious little about how to make the perfect coffee at home.
EDGAR picked the brains of head barista Anthony Papandreou, during a particularily busy morning at trendy Dubai coffee shop Tom & Serg. Here are his pointers on what to look out for:
The biggest issue with brewing coffee at home is keeping the beans fresh. Atmospheric factors such as humidity and oxygen affect the taste of the coffee within 10–14 days after roasting, so ideally, you should be buying sustainably farmed, whole beans that have been roasted within the past few weeks. Grinding the beans just before you brew a cup helps keep its compounds intact, so the first things you should do to improve your coffee at home is buy a small grinder and store the beans in an airtight container.
Check the levels
Believe it or not, but making coffee is a science. Small tweaks in temperature, timing and grain size can alter the taste profile, so it is important to be consistent in your technique.
If you are using an espresso machine or an Italian cafetiere, the coffee should be ground very finely (the thinner the grind, the more time it takes for the water to seep through and therefore the more intense the flavour will be) and evenly distributed so that the water can extract the soluble particles from all of the grind, and not just one specific part.
Temperature is also vitally important as it affects the extraction rate. Solids dissolve more quickly at higher temperatures, and in turn affect the flavour. Using water that's too hot will lead to sour tasting coffee since it releases unpleasant acids from the coffee beans.
Milk and sugar
Purists will role their eyes at people who add milk or sugar to their coffee, but it all depends on your preference. If you like milk and sugar, go for it – but be aware that by doing so you dilute the unique flavour of the beans.
A cappuccino is actually the world's most popular coffee order, but when making it at home, it can be tough to get the milk part of it correct. Whole milk will give you a more velvety foam, but you want to be careful not to overheat the milk, as it will lose its sweetness and taste.
Details: Tom & Serg, Al Quoz, Dubai. Weekdays 8am to 4pm. For more visit tomandserg.com