Customer: “un caffe" (at this point put one coin on the counter)
The classic Italian Espresso Bar - Milan, over 100 years ago. The typical transaction would have gone something like;
Customer: “un caffe" (at this point put one coin on the counter)
If you’re like me you enjoy the sweetness of sugar in your coffee and trying a coffee without sugar is confronting!
It’s just the way you’ve always ordered coffee, “two sugars and milk”. Before coffee became great, it was the only way you could drink coffee, and that’s what everybody ordered.
But times have changed and the quality of coffee for most people has improved dramatically. We now have access to fresh roasted coffee beans and proper coffee machines in almost every suburban cafe and a lot of homes and offices.
One way to enjoy a naturally sweet coffee is with the technique that the italians call Ristretto, that means to cut the coffee extraction process in half which results in the sweetest part of the coffee landing in your cup, and the second half of the coffee is discarded.
The next time you order a coffee give it a try, order a Ristretto if you usually enjoy an espresso, or a flat white made from a Doubleshot Ristretto If you usually enjoy milk based coffees.
Ordering ristretto will halve the amount of coffee in your cup since you are discarding the second half of the extraction, however, that first half of the extraction is the sweetest part of the coffee. So where you may have previously ordered a single shot, now you will be ordering a double shot but with the same volume as a single shot.
If you’d like to reduce the amount of sugar in your daily coffee, try ordering a ristretto with one sugar and then cut down to a ristretto with no sugars.
The fact is, A2 milk is more expensive than regular milk, and when you compare it to supermarket milk which usually sells for only $1 per litre, the difference becomes even more noticeable.
So, there needs to be a benefit, either in taste, quality, or ethically, to make the premium price worthwhile. In using A2 milk in coffee, the benefit comes from the quality of the feed used to produce the milk - A2 milk dairy cows are not exposed to the Silage Season, where the dairy cows are fed fermented grass - this season which is unpredictable to the consumer, which results in another variable that we need to account for. This can be the reason why one day your steamed milk is velvety smooth and creamy, and the next day, with a new bottle of milk, the results a re a bubbly mess with separation in the foam.
If you are chasing a consistently high quality steamed milk, A2 may be the answer. It is also thought that the higher protein count in A2 milk can improve the results too.
If you don't want to select A2 milk, you can instead reach for regular full cream milk (4% fat) instead of light milk (2% fat) - the light milk will almost always result in a fluffy steamed milk which does not have the same mouth feel or texture of full cream milk, or A2 milk.
I scooped up these Italian made porcelain Nuova Point Espresso cups and saucers - unopened, from what could be 1983! These cups have a very thick wall and will have you talking with your hands in no time.
Coffee really is science done right.
If you take a moment to think about it, we measure out 14grams of precisely ground, expertly roasted coffee beans that have been grown and cared for by farmers and processed based on sometimes generations of experience and knowledge.
We then tamp the grinds to a predetermined pressure, loaded into a precisely engineered portafilter basket that has been pre-heated on the espresso machine, under an exacting 15 bars of water pressure, heated to the perfect temperature of 91 degrees, resulting in 60 mls of deliciously smooth espresso.
So while the extracted coffee has a warm and cosy path through the group head, into the grinds and out the the preheated spout of the poetafilter, if you haven’t preheated your cup, the temperature of the extracted coffee is going to be different once it reaches your lips. That in itself is not such a bad thing, some people enjoy their coffee a little coole, and that’s perfectly fine, however the problem is the coffee liquid exposed to the cool cup drops in temperature faster that the coffee toward the centre of the brew. When these two mix, you end up with a cooler coffee that will affect the flavour, usually by reducing the sweetness.
I store my ceramic coffee cups on top of my espresso machine, but for the times that I forget, I’ll just rinse the cup with some warm or hot water and that will do pretty much the same job.
We’ve all heard the stories about caffeine; it’s the perfect pick-me-up but some people have difficulty getting off to sleep if they have coffee late at night.
So, what does science have to contribute?
One research study found that consuming a double espresso shot 3 hours before you go to sleep can delay your natural sleep hormones by upto 40 minutes. I’m lucky in that I am not affected at all by caffeine and sleep.
What about you?
I asked this question over on the Bay Beans Facebook page this week and the general consensus was all the same - a resounding “nothing”!
That’s right, we just can’t function right. For me, my day hasn’t yet started until after I’ve had a coffee. It’s much less to do with the caffeine and a lot more to do with the routine.
It’s just a simple pleasure I’ve become accustomed to.
What about you?
If you’ve not yet tried coffee and tonic, you’ve got just one job that needs to be done today, and that is to get on it!
This drink is so easy to prepare, it’s punching well above it’s weight. Grab a glass and extract a single shot of espresso, and set aside while you grab a bottle of tonic water from the fridge. You can add fresh slice of lemon or lime, so cut a wedge and go grab a few cubes of ice from the freezer.
Drop the ice cubes in with the espresso, add the wedge of lemon and top up the glass with Tonic Water.
Grab a comfy chair, sit back and enjoy your moment of sunshine in a glass.
Are you a little bit like me in that you usually leave the gift buying until the last minute?
Here is a simple solution, and everything was purchased at my local shops. $35 spent at Aldi because they have bottles of champagne, wine, cheese, crackers, chocolate and fruit all under the one roof.
I then bought a cane basket from the dollar store and a few sheets of butchers paper. Lined the basket with butchers paper, laid out the gifts and topped it all off with black grapes. Paired with a bag of Bay Beans coffee and the problem was solved in under 15 minutes, and it has that personal touch!
So, what is the difference between coffee blends and Single Origin coffee? Its something that a lot of people are unsure about and also a little afraid to ask about. That's perfectly normal, we often fear the unknown!
Think about a Single Origin coffee as a coffee that is grown in one region, or more specifically, one coffee farm - it is then processed, bagged, transported to the exporter, shipped internationally to arrive at the roaster, to then be unpacked as a raw green coffee bean into a roaster and roasted according to that roasters specific style and specification, too then be packaged up for the customer to enjoy. You then have a bag of fresh roasted Single Origin coffee, sometimes referred to as S.O. Coffee. Popular regions of Single Origin Coffee might be Ethiopia, Brazil, Nicaragua, Kenya, Costa Rica, Indian, PNG. Each Single Origin bean will have its own characteristic, such as;
As you can see, a Single Origin will be very specific in one particular flavour, but that comes at a cost of a balance of flavour. A Master Roaster invests time and experimentation time in to then blending the best coffees from the world to produce a signature blend that might bring the boldness of a Colombian bean, with the aroma and mouth feel of a PNG bean and the highlights of a Kenyan AA bean, all in specific ratios, roasted to their own specific roast profiles to deliver an exceptional cup of coffee.
When you next enjoy your Bay Beans coffee, try and pick the different flavours in the coffee - you can even see in the whole beans as they sit in the hopper, the different sized coffee beans that make up your blend. Compare the flavours to the other Bay Beans varieties and see if you can discover which variety is more pronounced than the other in different ways. As a clue, Espresso Master has more South American beans compared to Forte which has more Central American beans.