S’up Brew: What coffee was your ‘brew awakening’ and led you to take the humble bean more seriously?
This would have to be the first pour-over I had. It was the first time that coffee wasn’t just about being as strong and as dark as possible. The flavour expressions were so drastically different, light yet filled with punchy fruit notes, it was an entirely new drink. A revelation pretty much up there with the first really good glass of red wine or single malt.
Move Oolong: What was the most disappointing cuppa you have tried and why?
Usually around the third or fourth brew I make with any new bit of kit or technique, that’s around the time that I start to think I know the variables and can confidently adjust them. When you don’t know what you’re doing it’s equally hard to make something really good or really bad, so anything you do comes out ok. But then you learn a bit more and start to get cocky, that’s when it can all go pear-shaped. Hopefully I learn from it and get better, but it’s often taken a lot of time and effort and it’s hard not to be disappointed.
Hospitali-Tea: what kind of coffee would you rustle up if someone popped round unexpectedly and why?
The often maligned cafetière with a nice, well rounded Columbian bean. It’s a generous method whereas a lot of others are short measures or single servings. Done right, and it’s really not too hard, the cafetière is a crowd pleaser and doesn’t involve me going back and forth to the kitchen or talking a lot of boring weights and timings. A good Columbian coffee tastes great but it’s not an overly challenging flavour. Nobody wants a preachy enthusiast explaining exactly what they should be tasting, when and why. Sometimes a nice coffee should be just that.
Sexual Tea-ling: What brew would you use to impress someone & get them in the mood?!
This has to be monsooned Malabar, a South Indian Arabica. The monsooning process gives a fantastic, distinctive flavour, but that’s only a small part of it. There’s a romance to the story of the monsoon winds and rains lashing over the beans exposed to the exotic Malabar coast, to the sultry heat and the salty kiss of the sea. A Malabar cannot be rushed, it takes a long time to get it just right, but it’s the time that makes it special, you can’t get the same depth and flavour any other way. Sure, the beans don’t make the long elysian voyage from India in beautiful wooden ships anymore, but it’s easy to close your eyes and pretend…
Infini-tea & Beyond: You are on death row for unspeakable brew-related crimes (I’ve seen your violent abuse of Aldi Instant!). What would be your ‘last brew’ selection?
Years ago, when I was travelling, I spent many days writing in a tiny coffee shop in Kerala. Little more than a shack with a few rickety tables, it served weak, gritty coffee in tiny, chipped cups, let out with condensed milk. Now, I know that doesn’t sound amazing, and it’s not at all indicative of Indian coffee, but it’s one of those rare flavour memories that are forever linked to a particular time of my life. I can still remember it vividly and, even if I might not have thoroughly enjoyed it at the time, I think of it very fondly. It would be a big mistake to try to replicate it at home, but if I’m on death row and I want a flavour to take me somewhere else, that’s it.
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Check back tomorrow for the next Octeaber blogging challenge instalment