By Emilia Roman
With lockdown confiding everyone to their homes, in a desperate need of a caffeine pick-me up at the beginning of a remote working day, it can be hard not to think of the convenient to-go coffees prepared by local baristas.
But Rosie Lowery, who is the Head of Wholesale at Outpost Coffee Roasters, gives us the latest tips and tricks on how to prepare the best cup of coffee at home, as well as her all-time favourite flavours and brewing methods.
- Purchase what fits your quality standard.
Rosie said: “The best way for a customer to determine the quality of beans is through tasting.”
“Quality isn’t really something that can be determined through colour or aroma of the beans, as these factors will change from origin to origin, depending on where the beans are from,” she added.
Even when purchasing green, fresh coffee beans for Outpost, suppliers are asked to provide what is known as “sample roasts”, so that business can decide what beans meet their quality standards.
- Consider speciality coffee for the best experience.
The coffee expert has hinted at speciality coffee when looking for quality coffee beans, because of the transparency of its label.
Coffee producers that address the issue of sustainability, also allow customer to trace the product they are purchasing, which is a very important step in picking the desired type of coffee.
Rosie said: “The main things that will help you decide which coffee is going to be most to your liking is the origin, tasting notes and process as well as varietal and elevation.”
“The more information, the better, and consumers may be looking to see the producer of the coffee, as well as region and farm,” she said.
“Specialty coffee roasters always include tasting notes on the packaging, so it’s usually simple for consumers to find something that suits their palette.”
- Know the terminology.
Varietal and elevation are probably the attributes that will stand out to consumers who do not usually opt for speciality coffee.
There are different coffee varietals: Typica, Bourbon, Mundo Novo, Catuai, SL28, SL34, and many others.
Varietals can be an indicator of quality in some instances (if cultivated at high altitudes) and can also give clues on origin and taste notes.
For example, if SL38 is known to be of exceptional quality when cultivated at high altitudes and is usually found in Kenya, Caturra, is mostly grown in Central America and is labelled of only good quality, according to the World Coffee Research Verified programme.
- The more things you can control, the better.
Rosie’s top tip for maximum control is: “If you can control the temperature of your water, use scales to weigh out your ground coffee and the amount of water you’re brewing with, and how long it takes to brew – you will then be able to work on how to improve your brew next time, by changing one variable at a time.”