Wine appreciation workshops are aplenty, but in recent times, the nation has seen a surge in the popularity of coffee appreciation with the emergence of specialty coffee.
Coffee appreciation is in no way less comprehensive than wine appreciation. The coffee-equivalent of wine tasting would be coffee cupping –in which taste, aroma, flavour, acidity and body are determining factors of a great wine or coffee.
I recently attended a coffee appreciation workshop at DEAN & DELUCA, jointly hosted by Papa Palheta.
Papa Palheta is an independent coffee boutique that specialises in roasting and purveying specialty coffee in Singapore.
Visit their website to know more: http://www.papapalheta.com/
The session commenced with the introduction of different coffee beans from various regions and learning to distinguish them, followed by some basic facts on coffee.
Fact #1: Specialty coffee emerged during ‘the third wave’. The ubiquitous local kopi constitutes the ‘first wave’, and amongst those in ‘the second wave’ are Starbucks and Coffee Bean.
Fact #2: During roasting, the beans ‘pop’ and expand in size –this is also known as the first crack.
They also brought along a professional kit containing an extensive collection (of 36 aromas) to put our sense of smell to the test. The scents include clove-like, vanilla, lemon, apricot, apple, malt, caramel, roasted nuts and medicinal to name a few.
The trained baristas from Papa Palheta demonstrated the extraction of coffee flavours using the clever coffee dripper (which can be purchased at DEAN & DELUCA), executing precision in temperature control and coffee-to-water ratio with the utilisation of weighing scales and thermometers.
Tip: The fresher the coffee beans, the better they are. Always check the roast date on the package. Old coffee beans are less aromatic; a way to salvage them would be grinding them finer to extract more flavour.
Brewing your own coffee is a notch easier with this simple yet functional apparatus that doesn’t take long for one to get the hang of. The fundamental of the ideal brew is matching good quality coffee with the optimal amount and temperature of water.
Fact #3: There is more caffeine in a serving of drip coffee than a shot of espresso; the longer the contact time between hot water and ground coffee before it drips, the more the extraction of coffee.
Attendees at the workshop had a taste of coffees from three regions –Kenya, Costa Rica and PNG.
In my opinion, the Kenya brew was the most acidic amongst the three; the Costa Rica had a balance of acidity and bitterness; and the PNG was significantly bitterer than the rest.
Just like food and wine pairing, coffee and dessert pairing is, too, an art, but they are no exact science; the experiences may differ on individual palates.
I cannot resist praising DEAN & DELUCA’s desserts, especially the moist and enlivening Gluten-free Orange Cake that stole my affection right from start, so much so I almost got distracted from the main topic –coffee.
After sipping on all three brews with alternate nibbles of cake, I found that I enjoyed the Costa Rica with the Gluten-free Orange Cake most, the Lemon Pound Cake with the PNG, and the Canalé with the Kenya.
Thank you DEAN & DELUCA and Papa Palheta for this engaging session. I definitely brought back plenty of information and insights.
Stay updated with the latest news on upcoming sessions by following DEAN & DELUCA’s facebook page:
DEAN & DELUCA
#04-23/24 Orchard Central