McDonald’s in the United Kingdom released a commercial ribbing specialty coffee shops last week, and a lot of baristas took to social media to voice their anger. The video ridiculed craft coffee shops for having limited hours, being over priced, taking too long, having rewards cards, and frankly just being too precious when it comes to coffee. As voiced by one actor in the commercial, McDonald’s is the place for people who “just want a cup of coffee.”…
Archives for February 2017
You’re probably ignoring the second most important ingredient in your coffee. Although coffee nerds meticulously select their coffee, equipment, and brewing techniques, most just use whatever water comes out of the tap. But water makes up more than 98% of filter coffee, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that water can radically change the way your coffee tastes.
The chemical composition of the water both affects how the soluble coffee particles are extracted and how those flavors are perceived when consumed. For example, softer water will accentuate a coffee’s bright, juicy flavors, while water that is overly-hard will like taste flat and astringent. But it gets more complicated. As Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood and Chris Hendon explain in their seminal book, Water For Coffee, although water hardness is determined by the cumulative ppm of dissolved minerals, it doesn’t tell you what minerals are present. This matters because minerals like calcium and magnesium aid coffee extraction and don’t negatively affect flavor, but other minerals like iron and sodium bicarbonate can have an off-putting affect on coffee flavor. In other words, water matters.
While serious coffee shops spend thousands of dollars on their water filtration systems, for most consumers buying filtered spring water is the only viable option. But different brands and even different bottles of spring water can have very different chemical compositions depending on the source water. This problem bothered a couple of coffee-loving entrepreneurs in Southern Ohio which led them to create a product they call Third Wave Water….
The main area in the hill town of Ubud, Bali, has no more than 2 or 3 large roads. Strangely most tourists bound themselves here. A turn to the narrow streets off the main roads quickly escapes the bustle. It’s on such a quiet pathway that I find something novel—a cafe devoted to one coffee variety from one village.
The shop name, Juria House, takes after the variety. Mind you, the place is small. It only fits a row of sofas and low chairs. The owner, a Japanese transplant named Ryuichi Hirakawa, operates the space almost like his living room. He’d welcome you as you take your shoes off, sit down, and hear the story behind the coffee.
Juria House’s customer space, taking up 2/3 of the shop.
Juria derives from Typica seeds that a Flores native brought home from Sulawesi in 1950. The first trees still thrive today in Colol village, East Manggarai regency. Growing untrimmed to 4 or 5 m, they require a climb during harvest. …