Stop and Smell the Coffee

May 19th 2014

Taking the time to savour a cup of coffee isn’t a common practice these days, with most of us hurrying through this undervalued daily ritual. Bianca Lavoie from the blog Café French Toast wants people to rediscover the pleasure of preparing and enjoying coffee.

 

With tons of coffee varieties from different countries, in a multitude of flavours and roasts, why limit yourself to one kind? In this article, discover the art of home brewed coffee and learn to appreciate all the taste subtleties of your favourite morning pick-me-up.

Brew it yourself: prepare and enjoy great coffee at home

What you need

  • High-quality, freshly roasted coffee beans from two distinct sources (preferably two different countries or continents) 
  • High-quality fresh water with no aftertaste 
  • A kitchen scale 
  • A coffee grinder that constantly grinds 
  • A stopwatch 
  • Coffee brewer (with a brewing system): I chose Chemex®. 
  • Paper filters
  • Kettle with spout 
  • Two cups 
  • A sheet of paper and a pencil (to take notes)
  1. Boil water

    The best temperature to brew your coffee is between 195 and 205° F (between 90 and 96° C). 

  2. Weigh the coffee beans

    The ratio of coffee to water is 1 to 16. So 20 g of coffee requires 320 ml of water. You will get 320 ml of coffee after brewing. 

  3. Grind the coffee beans

    The fineness of the grind depends on the brewing method you choose. Here, the grind is set to Level 20 (as big as salt) for the Chemex® infusion.

  4. Rinse the paper coffee filter with the boiling water 

    This step removes paper residue and eliminates the paper taste from your brewed coffee. After rinsing, you can discard the water. 

  5. Pour boiling water into the cups to warm them up

    Pour out the water only after brewing your coffee.

  6. Use the infusion method you've chosen to brew the coffee

    It's important to pay close attention to the brewing time. With Chemex®, the pre-infusion time (bloom) is 30 to 45 seconds, with about 60 ml of water. My infusion time should be 3 minutes. It's best to brew your two coffee varieties at the same time, but if you only have one Chemex®, brew one after the other. 

  7. Pour both types of coffee into your cups

     

  8. Take a sip from one of the cups, inhaling the aroma

    The important thing is to allow air into your coffee to intensify taste. Hold the coffee on your tongue to savour its texture.

  9.  Identify the flavours and mouthfeel
  10. Jot down your opinions on the sheet of paper

Flavours

(The only judge, jury and executioner for this tasting will be your mouth. Remember, there are no wrong answers.) When it comes to flavours, the tongue can discern only basic tastes: salty, sweet, bitter and sour. However, we want to go further with our interpretation. We want to assign a state to the coffee: chocolaty, velvety, cereal-like, smoked, sweet, you name it. We also want to give it a taste like chocolate, caramel or cinnamon.

The mouthfeel (texture)

What is the body and texture? Oily, creamy, thick, heavy, full, light, powerful, weak, you know what I mean.

The aftertaste (finish)

These are the flavours you detect after swallowing or spitting out the coffee (if you do not want to ingest too much caffeine). What's the in-mouth finish? A strong, moderate, weak, light, spicy or astringent aftertaste? 

 

7 steps to froth your milk

 
  1. Clean the steam nozzle with a wet cloth. Milk deposits can alter your coffee’s taste and prevent the milk from frothing properly.
  2. Pour the milk into the jug. Try to use only the quantity of milk needed in your beverage. *
  3. Turn on the steam nozzle. Let it run until steam emerges, then turn it off. 
  4. Heat the milk by inserting the steam nozzle and activating maximum pressure. Aerate the milk for a few seconds to create micro-bubbles. Bring up the steam nozzle until it barely touches the milk. You should hear a faint whistling sound.
  5. Reinsert the steam nozzle into the milk and tilt the jug to allow the milk to circle around the nozzle. Make sure your hands remain stable. Heat the milk until the jug is hot to the touch. Be careful; overheated milk will alter the coffee’s taste.
  6. Pour the foam into a cup. Perfectly frothed milk should be thick and lustrous.
  7. Enjoy! **

* Choose your milk according to the kind of foam you want. Milk with a high fat content will produce dense foam that’s ideal for a latte. Milk with a lower fat content will yield an airier, lighter foam, perfect for a cappuccino. For even better frothing results, try our Lactose Free products.

** Add a touch of flavour to your foam with our new delicious Caramel Latte Flavoured Milk or with our Maple Milk.