Dispel The Myth / Improve The Cup

With most hobbies naturally you go through peaks and troughs of attention and passion. Most ‘coffee professionals’ are lucky enough to share their hobby with their job. Of course when this activity happens to be something that you stress over every day at work then it’s no exaggeration to suggest that brewing coffee at home can get you pretty damn bored.

This was until recently when we started adding better structure to the quality control standards of our roasting. As part of this aforementioned quality control I make sure that I’m tasting our roasted coffee using tap water, a basic grinder, and a myriad of simple tools that are at anyones disposal with minor financial investment. As a business we’re selling more retail coffee than we ever have and so it’s so important to ensure that these beans that we’re browning are therefore tasty both in the shop and in your homes. I guess in some respect I’m blurring the lines of work versus hobby even more, but I have certainly become reinvigorated to challenge my home barista skills.

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Inevitably I began to overthink things and wonder if the marginal gains that I’d been executing in the cafe were really making a difference at home. It’s one thing to weigh to .1g when you’re selling to a paying customer, but timing the duration off the boil of water from the kettle on a Sunday morning for my own cup seemed somewhat overkill.  I began to spark conversations with other Barista’s about their home brew practices. It seemed that they too had questioned the effort to get to a good enough end goal and often they found their opportunity to execute a lack of preciseness quite endearing.

But where do you cross that line and switch that marginal decrease of quality to aid speed and tiredness, with a major decline of taste?

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In the next few blog posts I’m going to be making coffee both with and without a single change to my method. This ‘myth’ is usually just some ‘pocket science’ (thanks Colin Harmon for that term) that I’ve inherited online or assumed myself. We’ll measure using TDS (out of interest) and taste (is king) to determine whether we carry this myth into the next blog post. A marginal improvement that takes too much time may also be omitted as the people want coffee, they want it now, and the people are I.

Think of it as a season of blogs as I aim to improve the quality of my coffee at home and in conclusion we’ll have a resulting brew method that isn’t half bad. Hopefully.

‘Volume 1: The Kalita’ - coming soon.

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Robi Lambie