After spending a day with Ryan from Strangers Reunion - who is also Singapore National Barista Champion 2011, 2012 & 2013 – to learn more about coffee, I have a newfound respect for the beverage. In order to make the perfect cuppa, there are many factors in play, and the next time you have a cappuccino at your favourite cafe, do thank the barista for satisfying your caffeine addiction.
Here are 5 things you should know about coffee.
1. Amount of foam in the coffee does not make a difference.
There are some people who are obsessed with the foam level in coffee, but it does not make a big difference to the taste of coffee. Technically speaking, there is a marginal difference, but most people are probably not able to tell anyway. Instead of being overly-concerned about foam, people should focus on the factors – coffee bean, temperature, texture and flavour – that makes or breaks a cup of coffee.
2. Latte Art
While latte art (or lack of) does not affect the taste of the coffee, it is an indicator of how serious a barista is about his trade as it reflects how good the milk is.
3. Soy is not meant to be a drink option.
Soy is actually meant for those who are lactose-intolerant, and not because it is healthier or tastes better. There has always been the debate that soy is healthier than milk, but that is not necessarily true. It is really not about comparing which is healthier, though. The problem with soy is that it masks the flavour of coffee. Full cream milk, on the other hand, does not affect the flavour. Milk is supposed to complement the coffee, not over-power it.
4. There is no need to stir the coffee before drinking it.
When milk is poured into the espresso to make the latte, it is already thoroughly mixed. There is no need to stir the coffee any more.
5. Coffee is good enough on its own without sugar.
If the coffee is done correctly, it should be sweet enough. Adding sugar actually stifles the coffee and does not allow its full aroma to be released. The barista has to put in a lot of hard work in order to prepare a cup of good coffee, so appreciate it as it is, because they know best how coffee should be served.
Also read our Beginners Guide to Coffee.