Coffee is an agricultural product - the varietal, processing method and growing conditions have a huge impact on its flavour, aroma and texture e.g. Yellow Bourbon beans are particularly sweet - pulped naturals have a good body and the growing region give it low acidity and Hazelnuts, mixed with the dry processed Ethiopian beans, which bring a dried fruit flavour, in this case Apricots.
For freshness sake, you need to know when the coffee was roasted - it should be used within three weeks, with an optimum time of 6-10 days from roast.
Look out for roast dates on the bag - this is a clear indication of a roaster's philosophy concerning freshness.
Gwilym's coffee is roasted by Squaremile Coffee, his advice is: "Build a mutually beneficial relationship - Find out from your roaster how fresh the coffee is and get a starting point brewing recipe. In-turn, give feedback on how the blend behaves, they can then pass this on to the importers/farmers."
Liken coffee to wine - it is not enough to know that a wine is simply French, as the varietal and growing conditions have a big influence on final flavour!
- Go for a burr grinder, not one with helicopter blades because they don't grind evenly.
- A good-quality machine with a stable temperature is key!
- The steam wand must be kept clean - a dirty wand, as well as being unhygienic is also a good indicator on the machines general cleanliness.
- Be careful not to overheat the milk - If milk is steamed too hot it will lose sweetness and texture.
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