My Quest to Find My Perfect Brew.

I have found this definition of programmer which is really funny and true.

Programmer n. (proh-gram-er) an organism that turns caffeine and pizza into software

. You can order this lousy T-Shirt here.

I know everybody loves a cup of Joe. I’m amazed when people order decaf coffee which I have to resist myself to ask this question every time, “Why on earth you want to drink that?”, I’m sure most people who are coffee fanatic will ask the same question. Well, that’s the purpose of this blog here. I love coffee and I love it dark, rich and no milk. Now my love for coffee grows and I cannoy quench my thirst for a perfect cup with my french press anymore, so I seek help from professionals.

So far, I have been drinking my coffee from Monmouth in London, which I’m sure people love them and lucky me my office is just 5 min walk to the coffee shop. But what about at home? How do I drink the same quality coffee at home. Like most people, when I was a student I could not afford a £2 cup of coffee. My coffee intake had always come from instant coffee. Now I have (not so much) money I can enjoy what I love drinking the most. I started with filter coffee which you can buy filters from supermarket. They’re cheap and you can make a decent coffee if done it right. However, I don’t want to buy new filters every week considering how much I drink coffee everyday. Until my girlfriend gave me this as my birthday present with ground coffee from Starbucks (I know, I know but hey that was my first ground coffee). My life has changed you just pour ground coffee and in with hot water wait for a couple minutes and plunge and enjoy!

Here’s my setting so far.

French Press

My quest has not stopped there. I decided to take a further step by taking up a Barista course at taylor. I have learned more about coffee origins, cupping, how to stream milk and good ratio for espresso.

Here’s my take from the course which I think it was really comprehensive.

  • Never buy ground coffee, once the coffee has been grinned it’s losing its aroma and quality.
  • Don’t stock up your coffee, buy small batch and don’t keep it longer than 6 months.
  • Good ratio for espresso and water is 1:1.2, but you need to find your golden ratio. And it’s different for every coffee. So, if you try new coffee you need to adjust your balance.
  • Don’t freeze your coffee, think of it as your spice.
  • Grind size, does and time matter a lot to your coffee

After I have learned all of this I changed my way of making coffee. I still cannot afford a decent espresso machine but I know how to tune up my way of making coffee. I used to just put some 2-3 table spoons of coffee and boiling water and then plunge it right away. Sometime I over-extracted the coffee by letting the coffee submerged too long. Here’s some of the steps I have changed.

I still haven’t got a decent grinder so I’m still relying on my ground coffee from supermarket. I’ll buy a grinder soon which I’ll blog about that later.

  • Instead of putting 2-3 table spoons of coffee, I weight it around 16-20 grams.
  • Instead of using boiling water, I put the kettle on, let it boil and after the switch is cut I leave it there for ~2 minutes so the temp drops to around 90. I remember went I bought a cup of coffee from big chained coffee shop and I had to let the coffee sit there for 10 minutes before I could even sip it.
  • Instead of guessing the amount of water, I use around 240mm for a cup of coffee. (This is not for espresso though).
  • Stir the coffee twice to make sure that all the coffee is submerged.
  • Instead of extract the coffee for sometime, I time it for 3:30 minutes and the last 30 seconds I just plunge and pour the coffee right away.

I was really surprised how much my cup of Joe has changed even though I didn’t change the coffee or even my french press.

However, I’m not going to stop just there, my quest continues. Now, I’m looking for a decent Espresso machine for my home brew…

Aug 19th, 2013

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