Do you have a Passion for Coffee?
Do you have a passion for coffee? We all love a morning brew of coffee, but are you really passionate about it? Do you plan your day around that special moment when you take your first sip of delicious coffee? Do you join the gathering around the coffee machine, and discuss the flavor of the beans? Can you hear that first crack as the beans are roasting? Do you like to grind your own coffee beans and tamp your own pack before putting it under the coffee machine?
Italian Passion for coffee
Nobody is more passionate about coffee than the Italians, so we thought it might be useful to explore the Italian psyche to find out a bit more about the Italian passion for coffee. And rather than try to interpret the Italian for the process steps, we thought you might be interested to learn the Italian words for the individual steps.
How to make the perfect espresso
To make the perfect espresso, Italians call it the “four M’s” of the passion for coffee making. The “four M’s” are the four most important factors involved in making the perfect espresso.
- Miscela: This is a description of the selection of coffee beans. This can be a blend of the most suitable beans to provide that perfect mix of flavors and texture. This process involves the experience of the coffee barista to select the best coffee beans and to roast the beans for the perfect. Using freshly roasted and blended coffee beans is the trick to the Miscela!
- Macinazione: This is the process for grinding of the coffee beans. The perfect grind is judged to be a consistency that is uniform and smooth, but not grainy. Don’t run the Macinazione for too long or the coffee grounds will be turned into dust!
- Macchina: This is the word for Coffee Machine, or espresso maker, or whatever term you are familiar with. The barista drives the Macchina and the skill of the barista is how to control the coffee maker to extract the right amount of coffee from the coffee beans.
- Mano: This is the word for hand, and refers to manual effort required to produce that perfect espresso. Because making the perfect espresso is such an art form, it is impossible to allow the machine to do it automatically, and the use of this word is an acknowledgement that the perfect espresso is dependent on the manual skills of the barista.
How to make the perfect espresso is an art form
There is no doubt that making the perfect coffee is an art form, which is the essence of the passion for coffee. When it all comes together, there is nothing as exquisite as the best espresso coffee. But the issue is all about how to bring everything together to make that perfect coffee brew. From the growing of the coffee bean, to that first sip of delicious brewed coffee, there is a whole range of processes that can make or break the perfection. So what is involved in making the perfect espresso coffee?
Roasting the coffee beans
Firstly the coffee bean has to be roasted, and this involves a delicate balance between under roasting and burning. The experts at roasting coffee beans all have a recipe that they follow to ensure that the beans are roasted just the right amount. When the temperature and conditions are just right, they will listen for the first crack of a roasting coffee bean as the primary indication. Obviously the whole selection of beans do not all crack at exactly the same instant, so the trick is to wait for the first crack, and then judge the time to remove the beans, before over cooking the whole lot!
Grind the coffee beans
The next step in the process is to grind the beans prior to brewing. Again, the tick here is to run the grinding process for just the right time to create an evenly distributed coffee grind, but not to grind for so long that the beans are reduced to powder! The principle behind the coffee grind is to enable the grounds a coffee to interact with the water during the brew process. If the coffee grinds are too fine, then there might be too much extraction, and the flavor will be bitter. Too coarse and the brew will not have enough flavor.
Water temperature is important to make the perfect espresso
The next step is the actual brewing process, and for most people this is the step that they can get involved in themselves. The water temperature is important because if it is too cold, there is nothing worse than a tepid cup of coffee. If the water is too hot, there is a risk that the coffee will be scorched, and the extraction will be too bitter.
Back Pressure – the essence of a passion for coffee
If you are fortunate enough to have a coffee machine, then the brewing process is a delicate balance between speed and extraction. The factor that regulates speed is the back pressure of the steam or water that is being pushed through the coffee grinds. This is where experience matters, because if the back pressure is too high, the speed will be too fast, and the coffee will not have time for correct extraction. If the brew is too slow, then the coffee may be too bitter. The skill of the coffee barista is to get the brewing speed just right, depending on all of the factors that we just discussed, such as coffee grinds, back pressure and brewing speed.
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