Since I have landed in New Zealand, it was very clear from the start that a good coffee is really important to a lot of people here. I agree, I have tasted a lot of coffee here and it's in another league altogether compared to the UK. Back home, it's just a cup of coffee, why care so much? Well, as the Kiwi's have demonstrated, a little care, attention and effort tastes heavenly.
So before I left this beautiful country, I wanted to learn the secrets from the best. So I booked a two hour course with Emporio who make wonderful, smooth, delicious coffee.
It might seem a little silly to pay to learn about such a simple pleasure, but I love my coffee and I am not going away without learning something.
So Emporio have a modern workshop/cafe off Cuba street and this is where they roast their beans before distributing it out to customers. They also have a lovely little cafe where you can get freshly roasted, freshly grounded, and freshly brewed coffee.
The instructor was a guy called Simon, who was welcoming and patient, and made the experience a relaxed one. He first showed us what the beans look like, and where they come from. He then showed us the roasting machine which had a steam-punk charm to it. Then we dug into the basics.
Barista work is really an art form. There are so may key factors that could make the coffee go wrong. Starting from grounding it incorrectly, here is a fine line between consistencies that when combined with the hot water could make your drink bitter and sour. Then moving on how to time each expresso extraction perfectly, too long could again result in weak tasting and smelly and too short can result in a bitter taste. It was a real eye opener and made me appreciate every cup I have had up till now!
Then we moved on to steaming the milk. I have had a very basic experience with coffee making in a bar I once worked in, and to look back now at the quality of the ground coffee and steamed milk. It has certainly opened my eyes and made me think about the quality of coffee's I've had before. Instead of grinding as much as you can to be prepared, you should only ground what you need at the time and after half an hour throw it out. After then the flavour is gone and it's no use.
We covered the three basic drinks, latte, cappuccino and flat white. Then onto workspace maintenance and then multitasking which I found the most challenging. I would love to practice more but I might have to wait until either I get my own machine for home or till I get a barista job when I get back to Scotland. It's certainly something I want to investigate further.
Either way, there is a lot of hard work that goes into each coffee to get it just right. I had so much fun (and even got a goodie bag!) and had about five or six coffee's. That resulted in a giggling fit on the walk back to the car.
Check them out at http://www.emporio.co.nz/