Even though I am a self-proclaimed coffee junkie, the appreciation of coffee is an entire study on its own and something that I have yet gotten a full grasp of. I might have tasted coffee made by over 80 cafe joints from 5 countries, but it is barely the process of sharpening my palates. Only recent, the urge to expand my knowledge of coffee and the opportunity of a Coffee Appreciation Class brought me to Dutch Colony.
Typically, this class covers basic theories of how beans are harvested, roasted and brewed as well as what cupping is and the different kind of common brewing methods. If at some point of time, you are wondering why coffee from different places taste different, or why cafe coffee is different from kopitiam coffee or mass coffee chains, then you should probably attend this class to find out more!
PART 1 – COFFEE ORIGIN AND CUPPING
In the first part of this 2 hour course, a table of 6 different kind of beans are laid in front of the curious students, and the friendly Rashyd would start explaining the origin and its taste profile. At this point, we would all be amazed at how the landscape and its surrounding environment would affect the taste of the coffee bean itself. On deeper thoughts, it made sense, since all kind of natural smells and nutrients would be infused into the soil and over time, develop a special mix that would absorbed by the coffee plants. For example, a coffee plantation with neighbouring fruit plantation would enjoy the fruity aroma on its brew. This is why coffee from different countries, different plantations would taste dissimilar.
Since this class is conducted in a two-way conversational style, students are able to ask any questions and supplement the content with a more interesting array of info.
The general way to analyse the taste profile of a coffee is to identify the aroma, body, acidity and flavour, which we’ve once explained in a layman form in this article. With this few pointers in mind, we go around the table to experience the cupping process. There are two cups per bean to ensure consistency of our analysis. Firstly, we put our nose at the tip of the cup and sniff the fragrance as we use the spoon skim the water layer. then we take a spoonful to experience the taste of it.
There is a whole variation of taste profile and for any average human tastebuds, it could probably only pick out a few. Of course, those who are learned experts could pick up more than the rest.
After going one round, we all shared which kind of taste profile is our favourite. Of course, a diverse set of votes came up, which is understandable since the good-bad of a coffee is very much dependent on individual preferences.
PART 2 – DIFFERENT BREWING METHODS
We had a short break before moving on to the different brewing methods and this part was very interesting as well. Most of us are used to the lazy options of an espresso based coffee, since those are what we get as a standard menu at most cafes.
To the group of coffee connoisseurs, they are likely to be familiar with the Frenchpress, V60, Syphon and etcetera.
As you can see, the different brew methods will produce a different kind of extraction and hence a dissimilar strength in body and clarity in the taste. For example, Frenchpress has bigger filtration holes, which allow more coffee oil to be extracted, hence lesser clarity in its taste though having a thicker body. Chemex uses a finer filter paper, which filtrates away more coffee oil, leaving behind a distinct tasting coffee. Even if the same kind of bean has been used, the extraction method would also create a different taste profile.
Also, some of these extraction methods are very technical, which require some skill in order to achieve the expected results.
For Syphon, the agitation and stirring of the mixture done properly will have a nicely sloping dome at the end. Excess agitation during boiling would result in a more bitter taste, with a steep dome as a tell-tale sign. Indeed, the coffee extracted by Syphon had a very accented taste profile, with a strong and uplifting aroma as well as a stark roasty aftertaste.
This part of the class would be a great chance to try different brewing methods, especially for those who has turned bored of the normal black coffee and is seeking for something more complex and unique.
This two hours were well spent and was indeed enriching.
If you are interested to take up this class, Dutch Colony has opened up more sessions in August. It would be the Coffee Degustation Workshop in this list:
Basic Barista Workshop (5-hr) - $149 (Max per group: 4)
5 Aug (Tue) – 1000 – 1500hrs
12 Aug (Tue) – 1000 – 1500hrs
21 Aug (Thu) – 1000 – 1500hrs
26 Aug (Tue) – 1000 – 1500hrs
Latte Art Workshop (2-hr) – $79 (Max per group: 4)
17 Aug (Sun) – 1700 – 1900hrs
30 Aug (Sat) – 1700 – 1900hrs
For more information or booking enquiries, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org OR text Rashyd at 91071731.
Coffee Degustation Workshop (2-hr) - $59 (Max per group: 8)
2 Aug (Sat) – 1630 – 1830hrs
23 Aug (Sat) – 1600 -1800hrs
Food Pairing Session (1-hr) – $35 (Max per group: 4)
5 Aug (Tue) – 1600 – 1700hrs
17 Aug (Sun) – 1600 – 1700hrs
21 Aug (Thu) – 1600 – 1700hrs
30 Aug (Sat) – 1600 -1700hrs
Many thanks to Dutch Colony for bringing us to this class!