Clarification: This article was originally published on August 26, 2021 for Peruvian Coffee Day and updated for World Coffee Day.
The café it is a universal good. All over the world you can enjoy a cup of coffee (in its different forms) and it is one of those drinks that not only protects from the cold or comforts, but also has a science behind that is captivating. The same happened to Giovanna Villegas, an economist by profession, who decided to study as a barista because of her love for this grain. Advantage He spoke with the founder of the Peruvian Barista Association and a teacher at the Le Cordon Bleu Institute, who gave us some clues to recognize a good coffee.
It should be remembered that in 2007 normal and organic coffee were incorporated into the list of our Flag Products. By way of recognition, in 2008, the Ministry of Agriculture declared as the Peruvian Coffee Day on the fourth Friday in August of each year. A celebration that seeks to recognize the entire coffee ecosystem. It is not only about feeling proud of the diversity in the types of beans that exist in the country and international recognition, but also of the entire system and effort that exists behind a cup of coffee.
1. Fresh and quality grain
The type of grain is important because it is related to characteristics such as: body, which has to do with the density of the drink, acidity and fragrance. It has to be fresh and of quality, so the packages must have roasting and expiration dates. Finally, the degree of roast must be adequate, so that it allows for pleasant aromatic profiles and flavors. Remember that the more you roast, the more body is obtained and the color of the drink will be darker.
This, perhaps, is one of the points that those of us who are not so familiar with the coffee world consider least. Grinding is vital because, as well as the degree of roast, it affects the flavor profile of the coffee. The grind size can vary if it is a bean used for a French press or for an espresso coffee, for example. Villegas says that some of the commercial brands do not take this into account and you can find different sizes in the same bag. “This is not suitable because when preparing it, the coffee will be exposed to water in different ways and there will not be a harmonious taste,” explains the specialist.
Arabica coffee, which is the one that is handled in Peru, has a medium character and has floral and fruity aromas. Giovanna remembers that the acidity must be medium or medium high and we will realize the complexity of the flavor when we taste it. People usually tend to describe coffee as bitter, but this greatly simplifies the description. In reality, a good coffee must have a balance between its main flavors, such as acidity and sweetness. The body is related to the type of grain, the roast and the extraction. It also refers to the sensation of persistence of the taste in the mouth after swallowing it.
4. Extraction method
There are many extraction methods and, depending on the result you are looking for and the coffee grind you have, the most suitable will be chosen. Here we will not make a list of the methods that exist, but rather, of certain transversal aspects to any of these. The specialist comments that one of the first things to take into account is the proportionality of water and coffee that will be used. Second, temperature is vital and we are not only talking about the temperature (and quality) of the water, but also the temperature of the containers or cups where the extraction will take place and where the coffee will be deposited.
5. Total extraction cycle
Another cross-cutting aspect that must be fully complied with is the extraction cycle, which is divided into the wetting, turbulence and rest processes. The first serves to establish a first contact between the coffee and the water and allow the extraction to be even, which then continues to pour the remaining water. The second, also known as agitation, is a slight movement of the coffee beans during the brewing process. The last, but not least, is the rest. Due to haste or ignorance, some may not allow this to happen, but it is vital for its flavors to settle. Of course, the times given to each of these processes will depend on the method chosen.
After all, making good coffee is an experience that deserves great recognition. We know that “good and bad” is really subjective in this world, especially when it comes to the tastes of each diner. What is exposed here are tips so that everyone can control the final flavor profile of a coffee and be able to repeat it at will. It’s all about experimenting with different labels and methods until you find your favorite one.
The Le Cordon Bleu Institute, together with the School of Café Baristas, has launched a course to become a coffee expert. The program includes learning about the grinding and extraction of coffee, the history and culture of this and various topics. May enter here to learn more.