Coffee Break – Part 1.

I’m sure there’s a quote out there about throwing yourself in to your work when you need a distraction. In fact, I just googled it.

…Throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.

Challenge accepted! As mentioned in my last post I have recently moved back to my home town to regroup and spend some time on myself; an extended coffee break perhaps? After a few hiccups over the past few days I’m back on track and am determined to launch into my blog again along with the other things that make me happy… Just gotta keep my eye on the prize!

One of the benefits of living around the area is I have the pleasure of spending time with my family. After a morning swim with my cousin and Uncle at the local pool we strolled down to a cafe in Gulgong… a gorgeous little historic gold rush town most famous for the being the town on the ten dollar note! My cousin and I sat watching people walk in and out catching up with old friends while enjoying coffee. One of the loveliest things we noticed was how friendly people are around here. It sounds like such a cliche but it’s true – there’s something about country towns and saying hello to people you might not even know. We giggled as we heard people saying their “Ta Ta’s” and “Toodle-Loo’s” and agreed we’re pretty lucky to have grown up around here and have the opportunity to spend some time here as adults with a new perspective.

One of the best things about my time in Wollongong was the opportunity I had to learn about the complex art of coffee and all of the factors that need to be going your way to produce a smooth cup.

I’ve decided to share. Everyone deserves a good brew! Now, once again I am by no means claiming to be an expert on this- but I think I do alright. I hope those of you who have an interest in coffee can take away some skills to try out yourself and those of you who have never really tried are encouraged to have a go; because when you make yourself a beautiful cup of coffee it’s such a satisfying and rewarding treat.

I’ll focus on making an espresso coffee because that’s the stuff I know. It’s also the fastest growing method of making coffee today, with many people owning a domestic espresso machine.

Lesson One – Storage.

Whether you have a grinder or buy ground beans will make a significant difference on how well the coffee extracts. If you are buying ground beans, where you can – try and buy beans that are ground fresh for you. As soon as beans are ground they begin to break down and when they come in contact with oxygen they instantly begin to go stale.

It’s also a common misconception that you should store your coffee in a fridge or freezer. Coffee and moisture do not mix. Water greatly increases the oxidation within coffee beans, and the presence of water in coffee beans leaves them in an unstable condition. The fridge and freezer do nothing to help this.

My best advice – air tight container in a cool, dry, dark place.

If you are lucky enough to own your own grinder – don’t grind until you’re ready to make your coffee. You want to get the most from the bean and the only way to do this is to grind on demand!

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You’ll be able to tell how fresh the coffee is straight away by looking at the colour of the extraction (provided you’ve got the grind and quantity right). It should be dark and look sticky – if it’s pale it’s probably not as fresh as it could be (provided once again that all other factors have been addressed correctly – stay tuned I’ll post that soon enough!)

Next post I’ll attempt to explain probably one of the biggest factors in enabling a good extraction. The grind and quantity…

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