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Achieving the perfect cup of coffee

Wednesday, July 02, 2014
There’s no one step which will result in the perfect cup of coffee. It is the end product of a huge range of factors, and if you skip or skimp on any one step you’ll find that your cuppa just doesn’t cut the proverbial mustard. This is true whether you buy from a mobile coffee franchise or you brew your own beans at home.

Production

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The perfect coffee starts with a few small beans, which are lovingly tended to, and which a single bought of bad weather can destroy. Well, we say beans but coffee is actually a seed. The seeds are planted in large shaded beds, and once sprouted they are moved into individual pots. They need a lot of water, so these initial stages often start in the wet season.

After three to four years the new plants will start to bear fruit, known as coffee cherries. These are either picked by hand, or by machine. Selective picking means that only the ripe fruit is harvested, and the unripe fruit left until it is ready. Strip picking means that the entire crop is harvested.

The cherries are then prepared for exportation, which means drying and cleaning until they begin to resemble the beans we are all familiar with.

The Blend

Next, the right coffee beans will need to be combined to maximise flavour. This usually means that a recipe is produced, which demands beans from particular farms and of a specific variety. The beans will be constantly tested throughout the production process to ensure consistency of both taste and quality.

Cafe2U constantly visit different coffee growing location and keep an eye on any factors which might affect supplies. As it’s such a long and complicated process, it’s important to have the foresight to know when it might be worthwhile seeking alternative sources to maintain production.

Roasting

Depending on the desired end result, coffee can be roasted for varying degrees of time, in a 550 degree Fahrenheit roasting machine. They are constantly moving while they are roasted, which prevents burning. As the internal temperatures reach around 400 degrees, they begin to turn from the green of the field to the rich brown we know and love. The inner oils begin to emerge as well, and these are a vital part of the aroma and flavour we end up with. When the beans are removed, they are immediately cooled by water or air. This is usually done in the country where the beans will be used, because after the beans are roasted they begin to deteriorate.

Grinding

The amount of grinding necessary varies depending on the chosen brewing method. In our mobile coffee franchises for example, a very fine grind is required. The finer the grind the larger the surface area, and therefore when water is forced through the grounds more of the flavour will be released. It also means that the coffee can be compact down better, leaving fewer gaps for the water to find its way through.

The quicker the water gets through the grounds, the weaker the resulting espresso will be.

Storage

Storing beans can be the difference between rich and aromatic as the growers intended and a bit stale and not very flavoursome at all. Beans shouldn’t really be stored for longer than around two weeks, and the fresher they are the better.

This isn’t too much of a problem for high traffic businesses like a mobile coffee franchise, but for the at home user who won’t be getting through coffee as quickly, it’s much more worthwhile to by smaller quantities and more frequently than to try and buy in bulk.

The enemies of the coffee bean are air exposure, moisture, heat and light. The beans should be stored in airtight jars in a cool, dark place wherever possible, and never in the fridge!

Brewing

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We’ve always believed that an espresso machine and a professionally trained barista will mean that you get the most from your coffee beans. That’s why we give all our franchise partners comprehensive training before we set them out into their territories. It’s also why our mobile coffee franchises are properly equipped with everything that you’d find in a coffee shop.

For those times where you’re making coffee at home though, using better brewing methods can help get the most out of your coffee grounds, so you end up with those beautiful deep and rich flavours.

So really, there’s no one step to better coffee. Everything has to be perfect from start to finish, and when you’re done you’ll really be able to taste all the effort which has gone into your coffee.

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