Friday, 30 December 2016

How to Make a Cup of Coffee

This blog has been devoted to learning, however, this is just too important not to share. It could be considered a science lesson perhaps. Key concepts such as change, perspective or function could drive the inquiry. ATL clusters such as self-management and social skills could be taught, but the real motivation is to pass on something very special. Most of the following was taught to me by Grandmaster Kevin, of Xi'an community fame.

The Beans

Firstly, the beans. You need to find beans that have been recently roasted. Beans roasted within the past three days are ideal. Stay away from what the big names call dark roast. This means burnt beans. You are looking for the likes of the beans below, brown in colour with that yellow line down the split. Big chains will be using beans that could have been roasted a month ago, or longer! Now that you have your beans, you need to take out your tools: a coffee grinder, electronic scales, paper filters, funnel and jug. A small investment in the best cup of coffee ever!
Beans courtesy of TN Coffee Roasting Factory Xi'an

The Ratio

A ratio of 16:1 of water to beans is ideal. When you take into consideration the water that gets trapped in the beans, this should be increased to 18:1. On your scales, measure out your beans. 35 grammes of beans makes two mugs of coffee. If you use 35g of beans, then you need to measure out and boil 630 grammes of water (35x18). The water temperature should be 93 degrees. Experts such as Grandmaster Kevin use a thermometer to measure the water, but if you leave your electric kettle to cool down for a minute after boiling, this will suffice. 
Measuring the beans to water ratio

The Pour

It is important to rinse your filter paper before putting in the coffee. This washes out the paper taste. If you doubt this makes a difference, try it and then take a sip of the water! After you put in your beans, you may do, "the first pour". Cover the coffee evenly with a very thin layer of water and then stop. This allows the carbon dioxide to leave the beans. The resulting shape of the beans is known as, "the first bloom" as it will look...beautiful. After the water has drained, continue to pour the remaining water over the beans, slowly and evenly, pausing to allow it to drain through. Stop when the measurement of water runs out. 
The early bloom from the first pour over
Now, pour the coffee from the jug intermittently between the two cups. This ensures an even distribution of the coffee. Finally, enjoy and, believe me, it is worth it!
The drip