My first brew was the same as most. Parents drinking a black, mud-like liquid right before going to work. With such a delicious smell yet intensely unappealing taste, I never understood why people liked it. I never even tried it… until a few years ago.
It was December 2015, around Christmas time. Unfortunately, I was not able to visit my family for work related reasons. So it ended up being quite lonely. I promised myself that with the new year, a new hobby will arise. And so it did.
I knew nothing about coffee. How do you grind it, how long do you roast it, where does it grow? This made the start quite simple. Wikipedia. Then it slowly escalated to watching movies such as ”A film about coffee” by Brandon Loper. Expanding horizons and subscribing to magazines such as ”Caffeine”. On and on it went. Eventually I started travelling around the UK’s coffee scene. London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and many more. Experiencing some incredible stuff by Southern Gangsters Workshop, Ozone and Prufrock and growing very fond of Northern gems like 200 degrees, North Star and Dark wood. These passionate people took coffee to another level – science. The third wave coffee movement made coffee into an artisan treasure, similar to wine.
None of these travels and explorations would have happened without this guy. This is Paul. He is a great cyclist, passionate coffee guru and most of all – experienced traveller. Whatever you think of, he has done it. One time he brought me a bag of Jamaica Blue Mountain beans from where they grow. If you have never heard of these, Google it. You’ll see what the fuss is about.
I’ve never met a person who was as passionate as Paul. Especially about a good cup of coffee! The thing that impressed me the most was the attention to detail. With his old school Gaggia Classic he could pull off such Caffe Crema, that even Latte lovers would adore it. All because of the details to the filters he used, time, pressure, weight, cups, tamper, heat. All of it matters. I won’t even start on the variety of beans he’s tried.
Most importantly, he would easily travel to London or Cumbria for a day to have a nice cup of coffee. And I understand why. Because, yet again, you can experience such luxury. Like art.
For me it wasn’t the espresso. I liked the process, when coffee blooms, when it releases its flavours, allows you to take your time. Filter coffee was my arena.
First it was the grinder, V60, filters, kettle, scale, then it escalated into chemex, aeropress, syphon, kalita and off we go. Sorry for all the strange sounding words, but in barista and coffee expert life these are every day instruments. Which I am for off by the way 😊
I started with following instructions that manufacturers provided or someone like Stump Town Coffee would suggest and eventually started going rogue and experimenting. At one point I even started cooking with coffee!
I’m pretty sure at this point people thought I was doing Shrooms. 😂
As my passion grew and different techniques were tried, my taste for coffee started developing. I’ll be honest, when I started there were times where I thought that this was a waste of money. That I didn’t even like coffee so what was the point? As I carried on being persistent, my taste buds changed and developed.
What do you see in this picture? Precision, technique, colours, comfort, art, bitter, sweet, symmetry.
It’s exactly the same with coffee. The inexperienced eye will not see that Ellie is wearing casio or brewing with chemex for the first time.
Have you ever seen the coffee flavour palate? If you haven’t – good. Try imagining it first. Next time you taste a nice brew, think about sweetness, bitterness, how heavy or light the coffee texture is and match it with foods e.g. strawberries, ginger, pepper, salt, caramel – something that you know best.
I’ve been talking for too long. Too much information for one entry!
But I just want to make one final point:
Get to know what you are drinking. Where it comes from. Who makes it. How does it actually impact the ecosystem and economy. And if the right people get paid for the coffee you drink. But first start small. Go to a local coffee shop and buy a bag of beans, ask them to grind it the way you want and begin. They will help you with whatever you need.
Credits: Thank you to both Ellie for making her first brew with chemex and Paul for amazing experiences within the coffee world.
- Aayushi – Diamond Child
- Punctual – Eva & Fix
- Phoenix – Goodbye Soleil