There are a million* types of different coffee machines. There are those car-sized, top-of-the-range Italian ones with more bells and whistles than the Notting Hill Carnival. They adorn most indie coffee shop counters and produce incredible coffee. Or, alternatively, there are those coffee machines which use George Clooney to advertise them, which produce coffee. In a similar vein, there are also a million* types of coffee drinkers. There are the individuals who turn to instant granules and chipped mugs and UHT milk every day for a quick-fix. Then, there are those who see the discipline of coffee consumption in the same way my Grandma sees her local Sunday morning church service. It’s an important part of their lives. It’s not to be looked upon lightly. It’s religion. Do not take coffee’s name in vein; this is serious business.
*numbers exaggerated slightly, whilst on a coffee-induced high
If you count yourself as one of those latter individuals, we’ve found a unique way to satisfy your caffeine cravings which goes beyond your standard twelve cups a day. This is more than satisfying an appetite. This is education.
We headed to the mecca of indie coffee, also known as The Department of Coffee and Social Affairs in Clerkenwell. There, we were inducted into the inner coffee ring, by embarking on a smooth, silky journey of coffee-prep mania, also known as the Craft & Science of Espresso Coffee School.
We didn’t wear lab coats, but we might as well have. This two hour course is run by the coffee-world elite, and takes you through the process of using one of those aforementioned Italian bells-and-whistles machine, whilst teaching you how to pour milk, prepare the perfect beverage and …you learn the secrets of latte art.
The pinnacle of every sippers’ dreams.
The whole course was super hands-on, with loads of room for spills and errors. Good job really, seeing as apparently I suck at making coffee.
We were all pretty blown away by how science-y it all was. I just thought it was a case of grinding beans, pressing buttons and flirting with customers. Turns out, there’s a lot more to it than that. Like, weighing stuff. Mainly, ground beans – not each other. There’s so much weighing involved with making decent coffee – and we’re talking seriously precise weighing. You also have to time things precisely, turn things a certain way, pour it with method and prep it with conviction. Everything about each part of the process is measured and perfect and flawless. Well, except when I do it.
The class is a coffee-lovers dream. I took friends of mine who fall into the ‘coffee worshippers’ bracket and they skipped away from the class with sparkly eyes and crazy smiles – although I’m fairly sure that was down to being wired on caffeine from all the sampling.
It’s a perfect way to hone your skills and develop your palate – or, if you don’t take to the art as well as I did, it’ll just make you appreciate everything baristas go through to produce your morning wake up call whilst trying to charm your socks off.