This Guest Blog Post comes courtesy of Father WordMonkey of LondonTowneMy coffee apprenticeship started in the late 60’s with J. Lyons which became Lyons Tetley. Lyons gave me an old-fashioned but very thorough coffee education and I was trained in all aspects of tasting, buying and blending and the production process of roasting, grinding and packing.During my time there I became responsible for the quality control of all the various coffee blends as well as playing a large part in the development of new products including the launch of the first retail coffee bags in 1974. Latterly, I sensed the impending demise of this once great British company (don’t get me started) and in 1979 joined, what was then, a small provincial tea and coffee company in North Yorkshire. There I was solely responsible for the total coffee output; buying the green beans from around the world to blend, where necessary, for a wide range of coffees. During those years the company started its expansion and now Taylors of Harrogate is one of the largest coffee manufacturers in Britain. By the mid-80’s I had returned south and continued my love affair with coffee by establishing my own coffee company supplying local, domestic and trade outlets.
Cider Coffee House Rules
While it’s great that real coffee drinking seems to be the flavour of the moment and that the speciality coffee shop, like the advance of microbrewers in the real ale world, is challenging the might of the Costas and the Starbucks, the truth is, are we making things more confusing for ourselves?
Is the quest for the wackiest, most intricate pattern made in the thick, creamy topping more important than the actual coffee taste? And is the need to prepare the brew in the most outlandish way hiding the fact the coffee is only average in quality?
So, from one who carried out his apprenticeship in the art of coffee tasting, blending and preparation back in the 1970s, I offer you my Coffee House Rules:
1. When buying, always ensure that the beans have been roasted within a week of purchase and preferably onsite. Also, over a few purchases, monitor the skill of the roaster operator by comparing the roast colour of the ground coffee. If the colour varies, your resulting brew will too.
2. Buy only the amount you will use within a fortnight. Coffee is a living thing and will become stale quickly.
3. Storage – for the same reasons as above – if you buy beans, keep them in the freezer and grind as and when you need it. When buying ready-ground coffee, store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge.
4. Coffee making is simple. For me the easiest and purest way is to use a cafetiere. Avoid methods that boil the brew or impart a taste, such as contaminating filter papers.
5. Experiment. Vary the quantities used to give you the strength you like best and remember the grind size will alter the intensity. The finer the grind the stronger the brew.
6. Now with the coffee made, add a small amount of milk (hot or cold) if required. And that’s all there is, no need for expensive gadgets, whipped cream, foam or fancy patterns – just coffee – simple.
Should you have any further questions from Father WordMonkey ‘Coffee Guru’ please leave your question in the comments section.