How to make the perfect coffee

We asked a champion barista how to do the business at home

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The UAE’s reigning barista champion, winner of last year’s competition at the International Coffee and Tea Festival, 33-year old Romeo Perello from Coffee Planet, shares his tips on how to make a winning cup.

Must-have equipment
Other than fresh coffee (no more than three weeks old), a good coffee grinder is paramount. Grind your coffee immediately prior to use.

The perfect espresso
The perfect espresso is a 45ml beverage, prepared from 7-9 grams of coffee, using clean filtered water of 88-92°C with a brewing time of 22-28 seconds. While brewing, the flow of espresso will appear to have the viscosity of warm honey and the resulting beverage will exhibit a thick cream foam topping, known as ‘crema’.

The perfect caffè latte
Cold, fresh, whole milk must be steamed to approximately 65-70°C maximum in order to maintain its natural sweetness. Never re-heat milk after it has been steamed once.

The perfect French press
Correct ratios of water to coffee, water temperature and brewing time are key. Depending on the size of your French press, a ratio of 16 grams of water per 1 gram of coffee (coarsely ground) works best. For example, using 38 grams of coffee in a four-cup French press, you can follow this guide. Grind fresh coffee to a coarse consistency. Use water heated to 92-98°C. Start your timer as soon as you have just about wet all the coffee. After 60 seconds, stir gently to submerge all of the coffee grounds, and add the rest of the water (to a total of 600ml). Plunge the coffee after four minutes. Let all the grinds settle to the bottom for a minute or so and then serve.

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