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Coffee Culture In 2016
Like most cultures, coffee culture is really no different. A group of people brought together by a common interest. What better place than a coffee shop. There is always a buzz, and a buzz of activity. It attracts in some ways, so many like-minded people, and in other ways such diversity. From businessmen, to housewives, students to teachers. Hundreds of years ago, they were popular meeting places for artists. A few years ago, Wine Masters were popping up everywhere, and now it seems the latest trend is to become a Barrister. We were lucky enough to be able to interview Winston, one of the country’s upcoming Barristers.
These days no matter where I am, or what I’m doing, coffee seems to be screaming at me! Coffee culture, coffee culture! Most people have coffee makers, and there are shops dedicated solely to selling coffee. We are so spoiled for choice, that it is difficult to know which coffee to drink, when, where and why? I’m attending a Barristers course early next month, and will be back with a lot more information about all the different coffee beans, and how to choose between them.
Meanwhile, not sure about you, but I’m getting really confused between the different ways to drink coffee. Gone are the days when we only had the choice between espresso and cappuccino. And even worse, when I grew up, we had instant coffee or percolated coffee. We now have a wide range of ways to drink our coffee:
– Latte: Coffee mixed with foamed milk foam.
– Americana: Made by adding hot water to a mug full of espresso coffee.
– Iced Coffee: Cold coffee with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
– Cappuccino: A cup of coffee covered with a layer of frothy milk foam.
– Thin Cappuccino. Same as cappuccino, but made with skimmed milk.
– Flat white: A cup of coffee with milk.
– Espresso: Extremely strong, and intense, with “crema” (coffee foam on top). So, an alternative name for Italian espresso is cafe crema.
– Macchiato: A cup of foamy milk, filled with espresso coffee.
– Moccachino: A cafe latte with added chocolate.
– Frappe. Coffee with ice, served in black or white.
And to make coffee even more attractive, many countries around the world have their own specialty coffees, such as:
Caffe Au Lait: France
Egg Coffee: Vietnam
Turkish Coffee: Turkey
Café Bombon: Spain
Cafe Cubana: Cuba
Caffe De Ola: Mexico
On top of that we have alcoholic coffee drinks, such as Irish coffee, Bavarian coffee, Café Royal, Kalua coffee, and even coffee spirits.
I have to say cappuccino is still my favourite. It has to be made with the best quality coffee beans, and sprinkled over the top of the mug with foam. If you can convince me otherwise, share with me how you love your coffee.
How did you get involved with espresso coffee. How did it all start?
Without romanticizing too much, there was a complaint in my local paper about the bad coffee served in my town. That was about 5 years ago. After reading that I started tasting different coffees trying to find out what a good cup of coffee really was. This eventually led to Origin Coffee Roasting where I did a barista course whilst studying in 2013. I worked part time at a roaster in West Somerset and a market in Woodstock until I completed my studies in June 2014. I started working’ n full time at Origin in August 2014.
What keeps you working as a barista? Is the job repetitive?
No, it is not repetitive. It might seem that way because, at the other end of the bar, it looks like we’re pouring coffee every day but that’s far from the case. We use different coffees every day so there is a lot of tasting, the weather is always changing which means the coffee pours differently throughout the day so we have to work according to that, we meet different people every day, face different challenges on a daily basis etc. So far from being repetitive. And that’s exactly why I continue to work as a barista.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find my inspiration by looking at all the people involved in the coffee circle. From the farmer, to the green coffee buyer, the roaster, the barista and finally the consumer. Knowing that I play a part in this process gives me the inspiration to do my best to serve the best cup of coffee possible. To justice for those who have played their part before me.
What is the new “in” in the current coffee industry?
To be honest I think quality has become the new “in” in the coffee industry. More and more cafes are trying to produce better coffee, which makes things very competitive in terms of quality. This is driving the industry in a positive direction. More cafes are also starting to use alternative brewing or filter methods such as the aeropress and v60 pourover to make filter coffee. This is best enjoyed black without sugar to ensure that the nuances and characteristics of the coffee are noted.
What kind of coffee do you like / don’t like to make
I like to make all kinds of coffee. There is espresso based coffee like your usual Americano and latte and there are filter brews like the French press or the aeropress. I can’t say I don’t like making certain types of coffee but sometimes I cringe when customers want an unusual order that takes away from the emphasis of the coffee. For example, a large milk base with one shot and soy milk will completely overshadow the taste of the coffee. But at the end of the day coffee is subjective and we can’t tell the customers what they like or don’t like, we can only give advice and hope to guide them.
What is the coffee that takes the longest to make?
I would say the filtering methods we use in our cafe are the most time consuming. The French press takes about 5 minutes to complete. While espresso based takes about 2 minutes.
What can you tell me about Coffee Culture?
Coffee Culture. Where do I start? Well right now in the coffee industry (worldwide) we are experiencing what we call the “Third wave.” “First wave” would be defined as the way our parents might have had their coffee. Instant coffee or dark roast Italian blend in the home filter machine. There was no real coffee or cafe culture. Then, with the arrival of Starbucks and other commercial coffee chains, the “Second wave” of coffee drinkers evolved. People became more aware of what they were drinking and the trend of takeaway espresso drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos began.
At the moment we are experiencing a “Third wave” where people in the coffee industry have become more aware of the quality of the coffee they buy. Some companies go as far as establishing direct trade with farmers so that they contribute to improving farming methods, exports etc.
Green coffee beans are precisely roasted and great care is taken in the preparation of espresso drinks and filter drinks. Along with this, consumers are also aware of the quality of the coffee in cafes. Consumers know what they want when they buy coffee, more so than before. And they are also much more educated. Because of this you will see more cafes opening and more consumers visiting cafes and therefore a growing cafe culture. More than before.
Tell me about the competitions you’ve won and what’s ahead.
Most recently I have won the South African National Aeropress title. The aeropress is basically a filter device used to make coffee. And I won the national competition so I will compete in the World Aeropress championships in Dublin, Ireland in June. I also came 2nd in the Western Cape Barista competition and 8th in the National Barista competition. In the future I would like to take part in more competitions with the aim of winning and competing in the World Barista Competition.
My dream is to put Africa on the map for coffee. As a continent we produce some of the best tasting coffee in the world but, apart from in South Africa, we don’t necessarily serve it the way it should be served. Most of the high quality coffee produced in Africa is exported and lower grade commercial coffee is abandoned. I would like to change this. Coffee was founded in Africa so I feel we have a responsibility to be serving the best tasting African coffee in our cafes.
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