The Art Behind Good Coffee

Victoria Louise
Mar 24, 2018 · 4 min read

Nottingham 200 Degrees Barista Experience

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On Saturday I was lucky enough to attend a barista course at Nottingham’s 200 Degrees, Flying Horse Walk.

I’ve been enjoying coffee for many years and with that my palate has been evolving. I started drinking coffee in 2010 ordering Vanilla Latte’s. Speed up to 2018 I now regularly have Long Blacks. Although I love the taste of good coffee I wouldn’t claim to understand much. Other than a few basic names and the appreciation for how tricky coffee art can be.

This experience was an absolute eye opener. Not only did we get to learn how to physically make coffee but we also got a great overview and understanding of the history, starting with the humble bean. This was done in a fun and engaging way. I personally found the regions where coffee is grown of interest. Having this knowledge and what you like will help you decide what coffee to go for when purchasing in future.

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Grinding , tamping and cleaning (not in the correct order)

Going back to the practical side of this course. I have found a new appreciation for the skill which goes into making what I thought was a ‘simple’ espresso. There is so many variables you have to consider and get right in order to produce a delicious cup. It is quite unbelievable what 3–5 seconds difference can make to this bean.

The practical was thoroughly enjoyable. With so much coffee being made it could be easy to get carried away. I would recommend small sips to understand the difference between each cup produced and plenty of water, otherwise you run the risk leaving with caffeine shakes!

The finale to the course, after attempting to perfect our espresso, was learning how to add milk to our drinks. This again is an art in itself, from how you steam, to how to bang out the bubbles and make it smooth and wet. It’s like the milk has its very own dance, its own showtime. Depending on what drink you are making depends on the thickness of the liquid.

Majority of us were playing with Latte Art, the baristas make it look effortless. However in practice the art is to keep the drink in the cup while attempting to make some kind of heart let alone a swan!

This experience has definitely given me a greater understand of the coffee bean, its production and a further appreciation for why it costs the price it does to drink out. The Baristas work very hard and practice often to get these delicious drinks to our tables. It is a true skill!

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My best attempt (I reckon it looks more like an ostrich)

Takeaways:

  • Be patient the next time you are in a coffee shop, good coffee takes a little longer.
  • Keep a journal to understand what coffee you enjoy. Write down the region, method of bean extraction and temperature it was grown at.
  • Coffee has similar connotation to wine in that the regions could be represented in white, rose and red.
  • Drink sensibly as coffee does have drug like qualities and our brain can react in strange ways if consumed too much.

There is plenty more to learn but I would recommend booking on the experience to find out more! Click Here! It also makes for a great gift, something fun to do with loved ones!

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Me and my brother, happy with our espresso’s

Let me know how you enjoy your coffee below!

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