We sent resident caffeine addict Melanie May to check out a class in coffee brewing at Bewley’s Georges St Store in Dublin.
Would I like to attend a coffee master class? Hello, have we met? I am a coffee fiend. I love it. I actually did a little dance of excitement when the beautiful invitation arrived in the post from Bewley’s.
On arrival at the Bewley’s George’s Street store, an espresso martini, an elegant looking drink that packed a punch in taste, kicked off our caffeine-fuelled event. After an interesting talk on how coffee beans are grown and harvested, we listened to the wonderful success story that is Bewley’s. Bewley’s was the first to import Fairtrade and Cup of Excellence coffees into Ireland, the first to introduce latte art, the first to roast coffee in-store and the first Carbon Neutral coffee roastery in Ireland. Bewley’s is such a successful Irish company that almost one out of every two fresh coffees served in Ireland is a Bewley’s coffee.
Speaking of which, it was then time to get down to the business of brewing. Three different brewing systems were demonstrated, a Chemex, an Aeropress and the syphon method. With each brewing method, we made a different coffee; a fruity little number from Panama (my favourite), a strong caramel toned coffee from Bolivia and a sweet and silky tasting coffee from Ethiopia.
The key to making a really good coffee is precision. Coffee brewing is a scientific endeavour. When making each coffee, the correct amount of water needed depended on the amount of coffee used, and we measured this out precisely on a scale! (Bewley’s take their coffee seriously). Then the correct water temperature was selected, water just off the boil is best, around 96 degrees and then the timer, yes a timer, was used to make sure that the coffee was not over extracted. When you first pour the water over the coffee and you see it bubble and come alive (it looks like it is breathing) this is called the bloom. You use about 50 ml of water to bloom the coffee and then you pour the rest of the water for the allocated time depending on the brewing method. I have to admit I thought it was an awful lot of trouble to go to for a coffee. I would never be able to follow such detailed instruction in the morning; I have trouble just getting dressed sometimes, however, the coffee did taste different. It tasted better, better than anything I have ever make at home, so know I think it is worth following the instructions, even just the quantities on the packages saying how many spoonful of coffee per cup. There is a reason for the instructions. They help make better tasting coffee.
After the brewing demonstration, we then had a blind taste test, with each of the coffees already tasted brewed using a different method. This was an extremely hard task and I don’t think I got one correct, but it was a fun way of distinguishing the three characteristics of coffee, which are body, balance and flavour. Next up was some latte art demonstrations by Bewley’s award winning baristas. After watching the experts make it look easy, they then taught us how to do it and it wasn’t so easy. In fact, I found it down right impossible. Then three of us (including yours truly) were picked to have an art-off. I was very happy with my flower (it didn’t start off as a flower) but the lady beside me was just too good and her beautiful design won and deservedly so.
After a wonderful evening, we all went home with a very generous goodie bag, a personalised mug, and a whole heap of extra coffee knowledge and skills. This fabulous event left me more informed, enlightened, and energetic. Thanks Bewley’s.