A home barista’s view:
By Reinhard Nell
It is said that we only regret the things we didn't do and I almost didn't enter the Home Barista Jam at all and very almost did not enter the manual brewing competition, something I would have regretted very much.
Intensely nerve wrecking and gloriously fun is probably the best way to describe the Home Barista Jam. It is an invaluable experience for any home barista.
From an espresso point of view, it teaches you to focus on the small details and not only the results. No good cup of coffee has ever been made recklessly. You have to be technical and quite pedantic as a barista. Especially in the beginning when you are still learning and everything you are doing is not yet second nature.
Working on 3 different espresso machines and 3 different grinders at the Home Barista Jam taught me that the equipment you are using does not determine how good your coffee is as much as your skills, better equipment only makes it easier. A big part of a barista's skills is the attention to detail and managing the variables. Whether it is manual brewing or espresso, in essence, it comes down to a brew ratio and how long the extraction takes.
"Any person who is successful has failed
more times than others have even tried!"
The most important thing I learned is that we must stay curious and open-minded. Coffee is one topic that a person will probably never know everything, there will always be something new to learn and new to experience and new ways to experiment, the number one thing that makes someone a good home barista is experimentation. You will never know if something works or doesn't work unless you have tried it. As they say any person who is successful has failed more times than others have even tried, the road to great coffee will be riddled with failed attempts but it will be worth it in the end.
Iced Aeropress recipe
As summer has arrived we all long for something cold to drink but we still need our coffee, this is my recipe for an Iced Aeropress, or if you are feeling adventurous try an Iced Lemon Aeropress.
• Brew ratio 1:16.67 (Ideally use a Light or medium roast bean)
• Beans 21g
• Water 210g
• Ice 140g (In the vessel)
• Grind beans finer than for drip (somewhere between sea salt and table salt)
• Water temperature: 85C (even a bit cooler will work but don't go too hot)
• 2-3 slices of lemon (Optional)
Brew method (Inverted):
• Pre-wet filter (I use 2 filters) by rinsing with hot water.
• Add the ground coffee into the Aeropress.
• Zero the scale and start your timer.
• Slowly pour (10 seconds) about 40g of water, make sure all the grounds are wet and then wait 30 seconds.
• Start pouring again the rest of the water in a circular motion it should take about 20 seconds to pour the water.
• Add the filter cap, flip and press into the vessel. If you are feeling adventurous use a slice of lemon as an extra filter and depending on your taste, you can add another slice or two to the extracted coffee.
*note: when making the lemon version use a coffee with low acidity.