THE TASTE MAKER: ELYSIA TAN
Guide to DIY Coffee
Singapore Brewers Cup Champion 2019 and owner of specialty micro-roastery Homeground Coffee Roasters, Elysia Tan (@elysiaholmes), is the barista of the moment. She shares her 101 on coffee, from how to brew a good cup to where in the world to find the best beans.
A good cup of coffee is…. a coffee that you will like.
Coffee has many different taste profiles, just like wine and cheese. Understanding what you like is the first step. For example, some people like their coffee bitter and robust, so if you give them an Ethiopian coffee which is livelier, they will never like it.
Featured styles on Elysia: 956-3 Gold-Tone Buckle Mules
Robusta or Arabica?
Arabica. I like its complexity and it has a lot more sweetness too. It grows at a higher elevation, so the coffee goes through a slower maturation process and produces more sugars. But if you want a kick, I’d recommend robusta which has more caffeine. The coffee plant is a very intelligent creature—it actually generates caffeine to fight the bugs that attack it and the robusta grows at lower heights so there are more bugs to fend off!
I like my coffee…brewed using the pour-over method. I believe it showcases the taste of the coffee best. It’s a very straightforward way of making coffee—just pour the water over the coffee—but it creates a lot of complexity in the coffee, and excitement when you’re drinking it. It could be chocolatey at the start and change into something fruity or floral.
The best coffee I ever tried was…from Costa Rica. When I took my first sip, I actually cried. It was a very elegant coffee; very smooth with sweet and floral notes that lingered in your nose and on your tongue for a good ten seconds.
My favourite coffee is…Costa Rican and Columbian coffee. They always catch me by surprise. You expect them to taste a certain way, and they don’t.
Elysia's Guide to Home Brewing
Tip 1: Begin with a weighing scale
It allows you to control the intensity of your coffee. The standard ratio is 1:15 – 10 grams of coffee for 150 grams of water. If you want your coffee to be more intense, reduce the ratio to 1:13 for example. Less water brings out heavier and more intense flavours.
Tip 2: Invest in your own grinder
The surface area of the coffee affects the extraction so when you can decide the grind size for yourself, you can tweak a lot of factors to your taste.
Tip 3: Use a thermometer
Temperature affects the extraction. We usually recommend from 84 to 96 degrees, but different coffees react differently. Sometimes we use a higher temperature to bring out more floral notes; other times lowering the temperature can tone down the acidity level.
Cups of coffee brewed in a day: 100
Cups of coffee drunk in a day: 0 to 1. I often don’t drink coffee as I’ve got to the point where I’m so immune to caffeine that it actually makes me tired instead!
If you want to be a barista… go and work in a café. Don’t be discouraged when they tell you that you need to start from the floor or that you can’t serve coffee right away. To be a good barista, you need to understand your product well and that usually starts from being a cashier or on the floor; that’s when customers throw you a lot of questions and when you are able to answer those, you showcase that you understand the product and can move on to the practical.
My top coffee spots around the world are:
Artisan Roastery in Kuala Lumpur
Hands and Heart in Bangkok
Trunk Coffee in Japan
Good Man Coffee in Taiwan
SHOP THE STYLE
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