How to make the perfect brew

Our advice will help you make the perfect cup of coffee
Our advice will help you make the perfect cup of coffee
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Do you add boiling hot water to coffee? How do you make the perfect espresso? Whether you like to brew coffee at home or try a new speciality coffee, baristas have all the answers to help with your caffeine fix.

New research published by Costa Coffee to celebrate their annual global Barista of the Year competition, revealed that of those people who drink coffee, 94% of the North West do so daily. Coffee drinkers in the North West are habitual in their drinking habits with eight out of ten (77%) having one first thing in the morning, and just under three quarters (71%) drink one late morning and over half (58%) have a cup in the afternoon.

The taste of the coffee is vital for consumers as the new research reveals that the majority of coffee drinkers (94%) think that taste is the most important factor when choosing a coffee to drink, with over two fifths (44%) saying smell.

When it comes to trying new coffees (such as a cold brew or an alcoholic brew), the survey has shown that London coffee drinkers are the most adventurous (74%), in contrast to North West (48%), Northern Ireland (37%) and the South West (39%) who are the least adventurous.

All the recent developments in the coffee industry, encapsulating flavours, technology and the coffee drinking experience may well be influencing the perception and perceived career opportunities that a Barista has to offer too. As interestingly, of those coffee drinkers surveyed it was found that half from the North West (50%) would select being a Barista as their preferred profession, other than selecting waitressing or bartending as a profession.

The Barista of the Year competition, which takes place in London next week, highlights the important skillset of Costa’s baristas from all over the world. Luke Antinoro, Laboratory Assistant for Costa Coffee and former finalists says: “Being a barista is more than just making drinks, it’s impacting on someone’s day – making a customer feel happy. As a barista, I thoroughly enjoy learning about coffee and all the aspects of its preparation, as well as flavour trends to inspire us to create our own signature drinks. This is why the Barista of the Year competition is so important, as Costa wants to showcase their barista’s and highlight their importance in the industry. Baristas have technical knowledge, creativity and a passion for coffee which makes them all unique.”

Some barista techniques for brewing the perfect cup of coffee at home include;

• Serving a crafted coffee in a proper porcelain cup to experience it at its best – as the cup keeps the coffee warm for longer so you can take your time drinking the coffee and savour every last drop.

• An espresso shot only remains in its perfect state for around 15 seconds. This means that when preparing favourites such as the latte or cappuccino, the milk is always prepared first so that the coffee can be used as soon as it’s been poured.

• When serving an Americano, baristas always serve the espresso shot on top of the water, rather than topping the espresso up with water. This is to preserve the precious crema on the surface of the Americano and ensures that it isn’t burnt by the water.

• The barista’s top trick is with the cappuccino. They roll an espresso ring gently around the edge of the cup before pouring over the frothy milk, ensuring that with every sip of the silky drink you can taste the delicious coffee blend.

According to the new research three out of five adults in the North West believe they should not add boiling water to the coffee when brewing a specialist coffee (64%), which is absolutely correct as according to Luke Antinoro when brewing a cup of coffee, the higher the temperature, the more flavour you extract from the coffee, so adding the water just off the boil works better.

Nearly three quarters of coffee drinkers from the North West (73%) think they should add the milk after adding the water when brewing a cup of specialist coffee. Luke would agree and advises adding milk last, so you can judge by the colour of the coffee whether the preferred amount of milk has been added.

When it comes to heating milk, over half of coffee drinkers in the area (56%) think they should heat milk before adding it to their coffee when brewing a cup of specialist coffee. Luke suggests that if you are adding a splash of milk, cold is fine unless you prefer very hot coffee. If you are adding a considerable amount, then add warm milk, otherwise adding cold milk will make your coffee lukewarm.

Baristas play a huge role in experimenting with coffee to create new coffee trends and their own ‘signature drink’. Some of the recent coffee trends across the globe include Egg Cappuccino’s from Korea, Nitro Cold Brew from the United States and Charcoal Lattes from the UK.

The annual Barista of the Year competition sees twelve baristas from all over the world showcase their passion and flair for coffee for the chance to be crowned Costa’s Barista of the Year 2017.