Quick tips for coffee creations in your own kitchen

Coffee culture in Canada has evolved enormously over the past decade.

There are an increasing number of coffee shops, java joints and cafés lining our streets. Inside we admire the artful baristas who craft beautiful coffee-based beverages for a morning caffeine fix, the perfect afternoon “pick-me-up” and even a calming companion to take the edge off of a first date.

The downside of our adoration for coffee is that enjoying it can quickly become a pricey habit. Buying a daily cup of simple drip coffee can cost up to $60 a month. Double that amount if you’re one who craves an espresso fix.

While you may love hearing your name as the barista hands you a latte – the crema perfectly adorned with a bit of art – there’s no reason why you can’t easily enjoy that same great experience in your own kitchen. The key is knowing a couple of things about the science of making coffee and the art of choosing the right equipment.

Remember the basics:

• Fresh beans, clean good-tasting water heated to the proper temperature, and quality equipment designed to brew your coffee in the proper amount of time.

• The recommended ratio of coffee to water is two tablespoons to every 8 oz. (237 mL) of water.

• To properly extract the aroma and flavor, while leaving the acidity behind, the optimal temperature for coffee and espresso is 92 to 96 degrees C (195 to 205 degrees F).

• Experiment with different types of roasts to find one that suits your palate, but always opt for grinding your own beans for the best result. Coffee grinders are an integral investment in getting that ultimate cup of joe.

As a new barista, you may feel intimidated by the precise art of espresso making, so a good option is a fully automatic system like the Italian designed Philips Saeco Intelia One Touch cappuccino espresso machine. It has an integrated ceramic grinder that breaks the beans while preserving coffee aromas and a pre-brewing system that moistens coffee grounds before brewing to further enhance flavor.

Confident that your machine will pull the perfect shot, you can focus your art: crema leaf or a heart anyone?

www.newscanada.com

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