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Coffee Myths, Dispelled!, Bean Scene, Issue 4, 2004

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Coffee Myths, Dispelled!

Lots of people talk about coffee but not everyone has their facts straight, explain Matthew Gee and David Gee. It’s time to clear the air and separate fact from fiction…

We don’t know what it is about coffee (and wine for that matter) but almost everyone seems to have an opinion on it and almost everyone is an expert. It’s OK to feign ignorance on world affairs, politics and religion but coffee…no way! Proffering an opinion seems to be an obligatory part of any dinner party conversation, café tête-à-tête or office banter around the drink cooler.

But not everything you hear is necessarily true. In this article we try to separate fact from fiction so that you can be even more informed than before. Wouldn’t you just love to make Phil from Accounts squirm as he realises he’s been telling everyone completely the wrong thing about the merits of arabica coffee over robusta?

Let’s work through some of the common myths:

Myth #1

That only the coffee company should adjust the grinder, not staff members

All over the country this morning chances are the following conversation took place at the local café…

Café Worker: “Hey boss! I think there’s something wrong with the grind. The coffee is pouring out really, really slowly.”



“I told you! Don’t touch the grinder! Let the coffee company guy do it next time he’s in.”



We estimate that probably 90% of 'baristas' do not know how to adjust the grind of the coffee to achieve the optimal tasting espresso.

You can be a world barista champion, have AAA Grade arabica beans, froth milk like a legend and be working on the most hi-tech Italian espresso machine but your coffee will taste awful if your grind is incorrect. Differences in the humidity in the air and atmospheric pressure mean that you will have to change it almost every day.

If you are working on a commercial espresso machine and grinder, ensure that you are adjusting the grind on a twice-daily basis to ensure that your 30ml shot comes out in 30seconds (the 30ml-in-30seconds rule). Turn the collar on the grinder to make the particle size finer if it is coming out too quickly (eg. 15 seconds) and the other way to make it courser if it is coming out too slowly (eg. 45 seconds). A quick pour will yield a weak coffee with little crema and a slow pour will yield a strong, bitter coffee with a dark, bubbly and inconsistent-coloured crema. The water from the group will have spent just long enough to produce a beautifully extracted espresso if it has spent 30 seconds running through the compacted coffee and into your cup.

At home, it is a little more difficult to get the 30second pour if you are buying your coffee already pre-g


Effective Barista Training, Tea and Coffee Asia, first quarter 2006
Coffee The Australian Way, Tea and Coffee Asia, fourth quarter 2005
In the End, It's All in the Blend, Bean Scene, Issue 10, 2005
Tools of the Trade, Bean Scene, Issue 10, 2005
The Starters Guide To Coffee, Bean Scene, Issue 9, 2005
Cutting Edge Espresso - Bean Scene Magazine, Issue 8, 2005
Postcards from Seattle - Bean Scene Magazine, Issue 8, 2005
Making Great Coffee At Home - Loreal's Club Matrix Magazine, Issue 2, 2004
Buying a Home Espresso Machine - Loreal's Club Matrix Magazine, Issue 3, 2005
Australians v Italians: Who Makes Better Coffee? - Bean Scene Magazine, Issue 6, 2004
The Decline of Tea and the Dethroning of the Flat White - Bean Scene Magazine, Issue 7, 2005
Coffee Indulgence - Loreals' Club Matrix Magazine, Issue 4, 2005
Coffee Appreciation
How to be a Gun Barista - Bean Scene, Issue 5, 2004
Affogato with a twist of Mocha - Australian Table, May 2004
Hygiene in the Café Environment - Bean Scene, Issue 3, 2004
Grind It, Baby - Eat Drink Magazine, May 2004
Coffee Myths, Dispelled!, Bean Scene, Issue 4, 2004
Coffee Art - Eatdrink Magazine, June 2004
Questions: Hospitality Magazine, May 2004


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