Having spent 7 hours in a stopover in Kula Lumpur and having spent 7 days in Asia I have enjoyed spending time contemplating what exactly it is I “love” about coffee and have realized I love coffee quality.
Here is a post on what constitutes a high quality espresso coffee.
An important introductory note is that everyone’s personal taste is valid, however there are principles that should not be crossed. A preface always is that coffee is personal. Some like it Turkish. Some like it iced. I like espresso. Coffee quality is mutually exclusive from coffee preparation.
Farm or Origin
To control and improve the quality of a cup of espresso coffee one must control and improve the production, processing and transportation of the green coffee bean. One must select the right variety of coffee, plant it in the right location, pick cherries at the appropriate ripeness and dry or wash the coffee effectively. Any misuse of these processes will diminish the coffee quality in the cup.
Once you have selected an arabica single origin from South America or Africa (my preference) you can trust an experienced roaster to use a barrel roaster and create a profile you enjoy. This is usually 12-15 minutes at around 250 degrees. Roasted beans must be Consimed within 30-40 days.
One needs to grind their beans for each cup. Choose a conical burr grinder. Choose a setting that is right for your beans. Each type of bean will grind differently.
Use a quality E61 group if available or preheat boiler to 90 degrees for extraction. Try to flush the shower screen before use. Regularly clean your machine. Allow the group to preheat for home machines. Back flush your groups every hour. Receive barista training approved by me.
This really has to be shown. However preheat boiler to 120 degrees. Never use a used jug or used milk. Start with a fresh cold jug and fresh cold milk. Texture. Do not add too much air. Stop at 55-70 degrees. Pour slowly generally.
Always drink coffee. I am surprise how many baristas do not drink coffee. This is likened to a priest who never attends church. Tate your coffee. Is it bitter? Is it too hot? How does it compare to an established barista champions coffee? As a coffee trainer I never teach how to make coffee, I teach them how to understand coffee. Ongoing training and exposure to farm, processing, roasting and preparation methods is a must.