Coffee is one of the most versatile drinks in the world. These days each drinker has their own preference to how they most enjoy their cup. Whether it is a short and strong espresso or a more delicate and smooth cappuccino. However, beyond what we might consider our standard selection, there are many international traditions as well as many newly developed methods to serving coffee that it is a continuous reminder that there is still much room on our menus for creativity.
You may be familiar with brewing methods such as the V60 or aeropress but did you know that in Thailand they use cloth, instead of paper, attached to a ring, to create their oliang coffee? It’s a strong typically black brew that is served cold. There are even variations with ice cream! In Japan, it has become popular to create coffee jelly. Whilst it may not be a drink per se, it has been adopted into roasteries and cafes across the country. There’s also the Senegalese cafe touba, which is coffee spiced with grains of selim, the spicy seeds of an African tree. The spices are often mixed with the beans during the roasting stage and then brewed into a drink.
Perhaps one of the world’s most infamous coffee servings is Sweden’s kaffeost or, literally, coffee cheese. This method pairs a traditional cheese, that is usually grilled, which is then cut into small pieces and placed into cups of hot coffee. Now, whilst this is perhaps more of a novelty than a replacement for the latte, it is pleasant, perhaps surprising, reminder that our taste buds can still be challenged. There’s no single standard of coffee service.
Despite coffee being ubiquitous, it continues to grow considerably within our global culture. The average Australian drinks 301 cups a year. The average American, 422. And the average Swede? 823. Coffee’s place in the spotlight means there is no room for offering a low quality cup. Learning about variety and experimentation is commonplace but, perhaps more importantly, is understanding the equipment used and the ingredients sourced. Are you choosing the right equipment for your establishment? Are you sourcing high quality beans from an ethical source? Is your choice of machine able to offer you range of drinks that you want to offer to your level of quality? If you are looking for reassurance, then see this fun infographic by Bibium. They offer large variety of equipment, from grinders to espresso machines, each with information to help understand how to best utilise it. They also offer a selection of their own ethically-sourced coffee, Underdog.
So, if you want to try your hand at bringing the perfect lungo, ristretto, or wiener melange to your highstreet, you’ll need to make sure you have a strong coffee knowledge, the right tools, and the ability to make a flavourful simple coffee, so that your adventurous creations retain the goodness that has made coffee as popular as it is today.