With unease I recall those days when I was happily drinking instant coffee and every time I tried a ‘proper’ coffee, it went down with a side order of grimaces. I just couldn’t understand how anyone would enjoy that unpleasant bitter taste. I know now that I wasn’t ready back then. My taste buds have since matured and I have developed an undeniable love for coffee. I am not ashamed to admit that I have become somewhat of a coffee connoisseur.
I truly fell in love with coffee about 5 years ago, around the same time I devoted myself to weekend brunches.
I prepare my first cup religiously every morning, using an old fashioned Moka pot – no milk and no sugar, just straight up. The next cup comes a few hours later served with a milk alternative.
When I’m meeting a friend for brunch or coffee, I chose flat white or a latte. I look forward to those pretty little shapes on top of my cup like a child looks forward to a Christmas morning.
Pretty designs resting with ease on top of a milky coffee have long been the stars of social media and I have never realised how much skill goes into their creation.
I put my own talents (and patience) to test recently, when I visited the Origin Coffee shop in East London to learn how I can become a Latte Art pro.
Working directly with coffee farmers in Ethiopia to El Salvador, Origin Coffee is carefully roasted in their UK stores and is one of UK’s top speciality coffee roasters.
We arrived at the minimalistic café in Shoreditch and were lead down the stairs to a rooms serving as a space for education. Table and chairs were occupying the centre of the room, and a space against the wall was set up in a laboratory style – large espresso machines, pots, cups, stirring equipment and scales, ready to be put into use. I have never operated a coffee machine larger than the average espresso maker, and I remembered how I automatically take a step back from the coffee machine when waiting for my flat white in a café. I’m not going to lie – those loud milk steamers full of force can be a little frightening.
The course was led by Alex Passmore, a multiple award-winning training manager for Origin Coffee, who put me at easy faster than you can say cappuccino.
We learned the basics – how much coffee is needed for an espresso, how long it takes to pour the right amount of water to make the perfect cup, and three things customers expect from their latte – good temperature, texture of milk and full cup.
Alex taught us how to make pretty shapes on top of a cup, including a heart and a leaf. I perfected the ‘blob’ shape like a true professional.
The course was fun, hands-on and certainly made me appreciate all those pretty little pictures on top of my coffee. Definitely a skill to be appreciated and worth every Instagram post out there.
As well as Latte Art and Home Brewing courses for coffee enthusiasts (priced at £30 each per person), Origins Coffee offers a number of professional barista courses. Location: Origin Coffee, 65 Charlotte Rd, London EC2A 3PE; Nearest Tube: Old Street.
* For more information and bookings visit http://www.origincoffee.co.uk/