Blog #3 It’s the Holidays!

Happy Holidays and Happy new year to anyone and everyone reading this. For Christmas I received a brilliant book called the world atlas of coffee by James Hoffman. For those that don’t know, James Hoffman is a British coffee expert and owner of square mile coffee roasters. He won the world barista competition and in his own words, “for the most part I work in coffee.”. While also following him on YouTube I came across his recipe for a Hario V60 pour over, I won’t go into the details of the recipe but you can find it in his book or here.

As a gift, I also received two bags of coffee from my partner from a local coffee roasters/cafe called Quarter Horse Coffee. Quarter Horse are based in Birmingham city centre and have the claim of being the only cafe in the UK to roast their coffee in front of their customers, which is an incredible experience. One of the bags of Coffee was their Christmas blend, aptly in a red packet.

I decided to try the Christmas blend with James Hoffman’s V60 technique. I used 60grams of coffee per litre of water and made up 500ml of coffee, so used 30grams of the Christmas blend. I ground the beans in my Melitta Molino on the grind setting of 6 which is a medium fine setting. I followed the technique best I could with the stirring and swirling and pouring, needing a lot more concentration at first than I am happy to admit! Now, an important point that is made about a V60 pour over is that when the water has drained you should be left with a flat bed of coffee and no large lumps on the side, as this shows an even and consistent extraction. This is something the Hoffman technique, with its stirring and swirling, helps with. I encourage you to watch the video, you can see in the below image that I had a nice flat bed; however, I did still have a lot of coffee on the sides of the filter, but hey, for my first attempt I was pretty happy.

I sat on my sofa in the early morning with the sun beaming through the open curtains and decanted the coffee into a cup, taking in the comforting and relaxing smell that came from the fresh brew. Finally, I was able to take my first sip and it was joyous. There was little bitterness, it was complex yet made the moment feel so simple. Quoted from the Quarter Horse website: “this coffee is very sweet and has notes of milk chocolate, orange, and raisin ” I definitely tasted the milk, chocolate and raisin notes but struggled to find the orange in the taste.

Talking about tasting notes, techniques and equipment lends itself to sound pretentious all too easily. However, the realisation quickly sets in that the bitter coffee that is served in commercial environments is simply grown to be sold in enormous quantites to make money, whereas speciality coffees have been grown and developed for their unique flavour and are driven by passion.

The technique devised by James Hoffman helped me to produce a beautiful and delicious cup of coffee that set me up for a wonderful day, so I’ll continue to use and work on this technique in my coffee ritual. As always, thank you for reading this and remember life is to short to drink sh*t coffee.

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