Vintage Coffee Barista Training
Our favourite good-vibe Pretoria coffee spot, Vintage Coffee, hosts regular barista workshops (once a month).
I Love Pretoria was very lucky to be invited to their first workshop for 2016, which was packed with coffee enthusiasts who were intent on learning more about the magic brew from the masters themselves.
Kevin, co-owner of Vintage Coffee, started the workshop with an introduction on the history of coffee and how it was first exported, as well as the actual harvesting and production process. Read more about this on our sister site, Meet & Eat.
After the short history lesson, Kevin proceeded to show us how proper coffee is made, using an espresso machine. The methods he shared was true to Vintage Coffee and focused on creating a cup of coffee that is neither too bitter or too subtle – the perfectly balanced cuppa.
Some tips on creating the perfect brew from buying the beans to frothing the milk, include:
Buy fresh, medium roast beans
Coffee is best when used within days of being roasted. Buying from a local roaster is the surest way to get the absolute freshest beans. Oxygen and light are the worst flavour busters for roasted beans, and vacuum-sealed packs are your best bet. Kevin also advised that beans should not bee too dark, to avoid getting a bitter after-taste. Good coffee should not be bitter or leave a bitter taste in your mouth, so a good medium-roast is the best.
Keep your beans fresh
Always store opened coffee beans in an airtight container. Glass canning jars or ceramic storage crocks with rubber-gasket seals are good choices. Never refrigerate (roasted beans are porous and readily take up moisture).
Grind like a pro
Coffee starts losing quality almost immediately upon grinding. The best-tasting brews are made from beans ground just before brewing. When using an at-home grinder, make sure your settings are correct in terms of the amount of powder you want (depending on your preferred strength) and make sure that your beans are ground as fine as possible, as finer grounds equal better taste.
Use good, filtered water
Nothing can ruin a pot of coffee more surely than tap water with chlorine or off flavors. Serious coffee lovers use bottled spring water or activated-charcoal/carbon filters on their taps. Also make sure that the water is not too hot, as it may then burn the coffee and result in a bitter taste.
Keep it clean
Clean storage containers and grinders often to remove any oily buildup. Also keep dedicated cloths handy to clean spouts and the surface area of the machine.