A good coffee is a real pleasure. Above all, the concentrated variant, which is simply called caffè in Italy and which is known here under the name espresso, is a must for many in the morning or at the end of a delicious meal. If you pay attention to a few things, you will also get a good result when preparing at home.
Thomas Brinkmann, owner of the coffee school in Hanover and member of the German Coffee Association, provides answers to the most important questions:
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How do consumers recognize good coffee beans?
There is no list that consumers can work through. Ultimately, personal taste decides – and that often depends on which coffee aroma you are used to. “Basically, I would say that the beans must not be roasted too darkly so that the fine nuances are preserved,” explains Brinkmann. He personally also avoids coffee, which is very oily: “It has very smoky notes.” Brinkmann advises anyone who is unsure to seek advice from a roastery.
For the expert, on the other hand, the price is not a more meaningful quality feature: “Very cheap coffee will rarely be good. Conversely, I can also spend a lot of money for poor quality.”
Can you roast coffee beans yourself?
That’s fine. Brinkmann advises, either in a pan or, even better, in a popcorn machine.
What makes a good espresso?
For Brinkmann, it is crucial that you grind the coffee yourself: “I should invest in a good grinder.” A good machine grinds the beans into particles of the same size if possible. For the grinding discs, he prefers steel to ceramics. A good espresso is nice and creamy and has a good crema. The taste should balance sweet, sour and bitter nuances. The perfect result also depends on the skills of the preparer: “It doesn’t help to buy an expensive and fancy machine if I don’t know what I’m doing.”
How to create the perfect milk froth?
It’s actually not complicated: A battery-powered frothing device or whisk ensures the desired result. “It works best with a portafilter machine, but not everyone has one.” It is important to only warm the milk and not to heat it. Otherwise the lactose will caramelize and the milk can taste bitter.
How other countries enjoy their coffee
Germany is a coffee country. On average, Germans drink 150 liters of coffee a year. So a whole bathtub full. And even in Beethoven’s day, the morning hot drink was very popular. The composer himself, as the German Coffee Association reveals , had 60 different beans counted by hand every day – and with that he certainly came up with a considerable amount of coffee per year.
But not only in this country the aromatic drink has always played an encouraging role. Arabs were sipping it in coffee houses as early as the 15th century. These institutions then gradually emerged in Europe in the middle of the 16th century. The coffee house became a meeting point with an entertainment character for the educated middle class.
The pleasure conquered the whole world and the beans and plantations grew mainly around the equator because that is where the best climate is. The difference in the different cultures is the fineness of the powder and country-specific additions.