The need to talk…

Posted:  May 17th, 2014 by:  wolfram comments:  0

Coffee brewing has become a scientific process. Today we are able to measure the brewing process, we are talking ratios (extraction) and have overcome the “rules” of the past, of how coffee should be brewed. I am getting asked numerous questions per week. Based on the type of question one can see that our professional “common knowledge” has not yet become a public set of common knowledge. Even that the information is out there, acceessible easily, people are slowly incorporating them.

To me this isn’t a problem if we are talking to consumers. Take the time, educate and they will enhance stepwise. Quite frustrating instead is the fact, that many so claimed “professionals” are lacking knowledge massively and they just refuse to become more educated. People running coffee bars or small roasteries are popping up faster and faster. Roasters are picking up that producing charcoal isn’t the thing anymore so they start producing grassy coffees instead, heavily underdeveloped coffees. Drunk as a filter they might be floral or fruity but having distinct grassy or hay-like aromas. As an espresso those coffees lack body and are way too sour. This isn’t what coffee is all about. If my face looks like having a stroke while drinking, something is wrong, even if I could find “lemon” in it after recovering and getting back an my feet.

In addition we see manufacturers of coffee (or related) equipment talking noise as well. I was talking to a water filtration system manufacturer lately. He explained to me that their filters add minerals to the water which results in a more stable crema which is important if you do use coffees for espresso that do not have robusta in it. Wow! Another day I was debating with an espresso machine manufacturer that likes to post colorfull diagrams showing why his machines produce better coffee which are actually showing… nothing.

Quality arises where one is measuring the process and its results – may it be roasting, brewing or building equipment – and discussing the findings. If you are new to the business, may it be as the owner of a coffee bar or a rostery, chances are high, that there are people out there knowing more about your business than you do. Disconnecting from those people is a stupid thing, since most of them are willing to share their knowledge and can be a huge boost for your development. Get over it that they might give you an open feedback that doesn’t please you. The same is true for some manufacturers of coffee equipment. They got the technical skills but lack coffee knowledge.

We need to talk to each other more frequently. This will benefit all of us.

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