Starting off the day with some freshly-brewed coffee is a great way to kick start the weekend! Last Saturday, I attended a coffee appreciation workshop by Bettr Barista Coffee Academy. It was a time well spent to learn and appreciate all about coffee.
Bettr Barista Coffee Academy also shared with us about their company’s mission and little did we know that they are actually a social enterprise who runs vocational programmes for disadvantaged women and youth in our society. It makes it so much more meaningful to be supporting them in one way or another.
The workshop itself took us all the way back to AD500 when an Ethiopian named Kaldi who first discovered the coffee plant. Coffee was boiled in water and drank as soup in the past. From Ethiopia, it moved across the seas to Arabia, Turkey, India and to Java, Indonesia. Our instructor, Natasha brought us through the timeline of the coffee journey and how it became the second largest commodity in the world today. The start of Nescafe in 1938 has started the modern revolution of coffee where coffee becomes more widely available to all households. With instant freeze-dried coffee powder, we no longer have to spend time roasting and brewing coffee. Coffee beverages could be made in an instant. The coffee industry becomes more interesting with the introduction of coffee chains like Starbucks. And today, coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world after crude oil.
The raw form of coffee beans is called green coffee beans. On its own, there’s no scent to it but when it is roasted, they release this pleasant aroma. Amazing, isn’t it? Sometimes you just have to undergo that gruelling hardship before you emerge out as a stronger person.
We also learn how coffee beans are cultivated and later processed to form roasted coffee beans. It begins with cultivation and there are two methods of cultivation – sun-grown and shade-grown. Shade-grown cultivation is a more natural and organic way of cultivating coffee. Though it takes a longer time, the yield is of better quality. Most organic and fairtrade coffees are through via this method of cultivation. Bettr Barista Coffee Academy uses sustainably-sourced coffee beans.
We can describe coffee based on its aroma, acidity, aftertaste, body and flavour. To sniff out the best coffees, you will really need a well-trained nose to pick up the subtle scents of coffee. We did a scent test where we exercised our olfactory system and identify the various ingredients based on its scent.
We were also introduced to the various coffee brewing methods which include the clever coffee dripper, Aeropress and V60 dripper. The most impressive form of coffee brewing method is the clever coffee dripper which starts to drip on its own with the parts are all fully-assembled. Each coffee brewing method produces coffee which tasted slightly different in aroma and taste.
The measurements and temperatures have got to be precise to get the best essence from the roasted coffee powder.
After the coffee brewing demonstration, we had a hands-on latte art session where we get to try out some popular latte art designs with some espresso and steamed milk.
Check out these coffee-making machines which were also brought over to the site!
It was really difficult to do a proper latte art by ourselves because it is quite challenging to control the flow of the steamed milk. But it was so intriguing to see how drinks could be transformed into an art piece. I would definitely love to take up barista courses some day! This workshop has definitely stirred up some interest in me about coffee.
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