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It’s not my cup of coffee?

這不是我杯 “咖啡” ?

I like my coffee like my women:  hot, strong, steamy.  ~Author Unknown

Special thanks to Benjamin Lee of Tata Café and Kleber Battaglia of Forest Bird for their opinions

Coffee, a gift from the Muslim world to the European civilization, has conquered the hearts of Europeans for the many decades. Asians who, in the past had limited exporsure to coffee culture, began embracing this newly found “European lifestyle” culture. Nowadays many coffee fans here have started to retune their drinking habits by brewing from fresh coffee beans at home or visiting boutique coffee shops that sell quality coffee beans. With the many beans from different growing areas, it is possible to find a certain flavour profiles that are capable of satisfying different taste buds.

You don’t have to be a coffee connoisseur in order to make good coffee at home. All you need to do is to follow some basic rules. Kleber Battaglia, the Italian barista at Forest Bird deserves a mention for his understanding of customers’ taste and quality demand. He explains that milk between 60 and 65 degrees Celsius tends to give a soft and smooth texture but will become watery if overheated. The temperature, humidity and quality of water are all factors affecting the flavour in a cup of coffee. Upon tasting, I personally found coffee beans from South America easily enjoyable which leave a smooth and pleasantly pleasing note on the palate. If your taste buds prefer more acidic and coffee of a stronger body, perhaps the African ones are your best options.

There is no definite rule that defines what is good or bad. Benjamin Lee, owner of Tata Café offered me an espresso made from beans produced in 5 different countries. It’s an extra-dark roast blend that gives an irresistible, incredible and almost insatiable chocolate like fullness that swirls around in the mouth, leaving a long and lingering bittersweet aftertaste on the palette. The beans chosen for this magical blend were chosen from beans produced in Mexico, Bolivia, Nicaragua and other countries that are rare on the market. Budget concerns often drive coffee brewers to scout for different sources for beans that could produce similar results but for a cheaper price. I did try a type of bean from Java, Indonesia which is as strong as the South American ones but less expensive, and it could be considered as an alternative to the higher cost South Americans.

With so many different ways to brew coffee and so many different types of beans to blend and combine for numerous results, don’t be afraid to experiment and try out more new ways of making your own cup of coffee!

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咖啡是伊斯蘭世界送給歐洲文明的禮物,幾百年來征服了無數歐洲人心。由於亞洲人的生活習慣日漸西化的緣故,咖啡文化亦於亞洲開始發揚光大。近年很多咖啡迷愛上在家中泡咖啡,或光顧售賣高質素咖啡的精品咖啡店,追求最適合自己口味的咖啡。咖啡選擇多了,我們亦可重新思索如何泡出不但自己喜愛,而且味道獨特的咖啡。

我們不需成為專業人士才能在家中泡出好咖啡,只要跟隨一些小秘訣便成。Forest Bird 的意大利藉咖啡師Kleber Battaglia 可謂最明白顧客的口味和要求了,他提到攝氏60至65度的奶最香滑,過熱會變得很浠。氣溫、濕度和水質均可影響咖啡的味道。品嚐過多款咖啡後,我最喜歡口感特別滑的南美洲咖啡。如果你喜歡酸度較高和味道濃的咖啡,非洲咖啡是你不二之選。

我經常混合來自不同國家的咖啡豆沖調咖啡為自己帶來新驚喜! 我相信好和差並沒有明確的界線,只有喜歡和不喜歡。Tata Café 的老闆Benjamin Lee泡了一柸用了5種來自不同國家的咖啡豆來調配的特濃咖啡給我品嚐,此深煎炒咖啡帶有朱古力味,甘香一直留在口中慢慢品嘗,令我精神為之一陣。他亦引入來自墨西哥、玻利維亞、尼加拉瓜等的咖啡豆,為本地顧客帶來無限新鮮感。一些對價格比較敏感的咖啡迷亦可找到價錢便宜,但味道和貴價豆差不多的品種。我嚐過比較平宜的爪哇咖啡豆,泡出來的咖啡味道什濃,可比美南美的咖啡呢!

我們最終只需要一柸可以令自己快樂的咖啡,與品牌和價錢沒關係啊!

By Kevin Ho
interview and translation by Lily Poon