Do you recall your first encounter with coffee? Was it love at first sight? Or similar to mine, the bonding came slowly with age. My first taste of coffee was an introduction from a coffee fanatic. He shared quite a bit of information right before my first taste, the beans, the acidity, the brews……  I appreciated the info, but honestly, I did’t get it. It just wasn’t my “cup of tea”. 

Perhaps it was my friend’s overly enthusiastic sharing that threw me off, or we just weren’t meant to fall in love at that time. Until three years back, coffee and I crossed paths once again. At my first day working in the tea and coffee industry, I met my “Cup of Destiny” –  an espresso. It was a burst of bold, sour and bitter taste that woke my slumbering taste buds. The strong flavor was strong at first, but slowly, a hint of delicate aroma taken over and lingered inside the mouth. That’s how my love for espresso began.

I love the complexity of espressos, especially the transformations of texture and flavor from the beginning to the end of each shot. It was intriguing. As I explore into the world of coffee, I was then fascinated by the science, culture and skills involved in creating the “Perfect Cup”. The origins of the beans, the wash, the grinds, the amount of powder, the water temperate, the barristers’ skill…. Any variation in these attributes can dramatically change the taste of the espresso. Nowadays, I still explore coffee’s intricacies regularly. It has become my nature instinct to share my coffee knowledge to others in hope of spreading the goodness and joy of coffee making. And today I would like to share some basic knowledge with you.

What is the Best Italian Coffee?
A lot of people do not know Italian espresso is served in small amounts known as shots, so some might wonder why the espresso cup is so small. To avoid customer complaints in small serving, some restaurants might purposely serve espresso in larger amounts. This is very wrong! The best espresso should be served according to the standard of 25 – 35 ml with a total brewing time of 20 – 30 seconds. It should be prepared from 7 – 9 grams (14 – 18 grams for double) of coffee through which clean water of 92 – 95ohas been forced at 9 – 10 (bar) of atmospheric pressure. While brewing, the flow of espresso should appear to have the viscosity of warm honey so that the resulting beverage will exhibit a thick reddish-brown crema.

When Italian espresso is made right, a rich aroma, crowned by an amazing thick, unique crema should be formed. It should be an ever-changing espresso that can be made into various Italian coffee including caffè latte, cappuccino, and caffè mocha. For all latte, it should be served in 240ml and prepared using 1 shot of espresso and steamed milk, with a layer of 5mm thick froth on top.

Knowing a little bit more about coffee can make you appreciate the specialty coffee and brewing we have in town. So next time when you visit a coffee shop, take a moment to observe the ritual of the barista. See whether the barista’s coffee making is right. If not, then you know you gotta find another shop. Give it a try and have some fun because who knows, you might find the love of your life during the process. 

 Information provided by AFTER TASTE‧ASIA