I’ve just moved house and I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee lately. I’ve not cared much about how it tasted. Just that it’s hot and wet. The kind that’s endlessly offered as a cheap and routine stimulant. It has kept me going through the day’s shifting, packing, sorting, distributing of household assortments and detritus office paper work. It also seems to pass through me at a rate of knots and has made me an all too frequent traveller to the loo.
Sadly, this dismissive and disinterested attitude of mine is possibly fairly common amongst us Brits.
“With or without?” is all I’m expected to be asked. I don’t really mind how it comes.
“With milk, no sugar, please…” and “… as long as it’s hot and wet.”
“Real or instant?”
“Oh instant’s fine, I don’t want to be any trouble…”
Although, that answer isn’t strictly true.
For, from now on, I actually want high maintenance coffee. The type that seems to take ages to extract a deep, dark trickle of black coffee into tiny demitasse cups. Where the aroma of rich nutty flavours envelop my senses and is accompanied by the aggressive sound of steaming milk and metal jugs clunked on hard surfaces. Don’t give me any of that over frothy, milky stuff which is too hot to drink right away. I want a highly skilled barista to extrude handfuls of gorgeous ground Origin coffee at my bidding and to serve me a bitter-sweet shiny latte with a Rodda’s rich, creamy-sweet, milky top.
In continental coffee culture they drink coffee made in an expresso machine. Sometimes it is the purest and tiniest slurp in a minute cup (nothing added), or they get fancy with it by adding milk. The time it takes to make a cup is traditionally long enough to roll a cigarette and open the paper to read a page or two. However delicious the coffee tastes (having been made at the optimum temperature to extract flavour) it’s not warm enough to let it stand around. They gulp it down fast and go. ‘Expresso’ I guess it means: ‘Drink up fast and bugger off.’
I grew up in the habit of doing the exact opposite. Coffee served in an instant, before my bum has a chance to warm the chair. We’d have to wait for ten minutes before we’d dare attempt the first sip. Then posh cafes started to warm the milk so we couldn’t rely on adding more cold milk to speed up the process of getting to drink it quickly and dash.
Coffee culture has changed hugely over a generation but it still flummoxes me every time I’m asked: “What coffee do you want?” I never thought this was a flavour question, as with tea, but a question of strength.
Or my strength of character.
Down a neat expresso and you’re obviously bursting full of machismo. On the other hand a milky latte could be a coffee choice for wimps. Faced with other options: americanos, macchiatos or an affogato and I’m stumped. So I inevitably play it safe with cappuccino because I like the idea of having a little chocolate dusting on top.
Last week, I received a short education and although the difference between a latte and a cappuccino is so subtle I can’t really remember which one had more milk foam than the other (and no choccie powder involved in either). A properly trained barista knows that the milk must not be over-heated or get too frothy. He controls the development of bubbles until the heated milk develops a thick shiny texture. He keeps it moving and animated before he pours and with a deft hand makes a pattern of hearts or delicate ferns. It was one of those life defining moments which has changed my relationship with coffee completely…
And, (tsk) I haven’t even made passing mentioned what skill goes into making great tasting coffee in itself!
To create the best tasting coffee, a great blend of carefully sourced and roasted coffee beans is essential. Cornish coffee roasters Origin in Helston have developed this to a fine art. However, the another vital element when creating a Latte, Cappucino or Flat White, is the quality of the milk – something normally overlooked – and Tom Sobey at Origin, by teaming up with Rodda’s to create the perfect cup of coffee – is championing just that.
From the very beginning, Tom realised that the importance of the milk’s properties could not be over-looked in the creation of the perfect coffee. After some considerable research into the best available he now firmly believes that Origin coffee and Rodda’s milk are the best possible combination. Tom comments, “The milk dramatically affects both the taste and appearance of a milk-based coffee. If you think of building a latte like creating a meal, the milk is a massive ingredient in that creation and it needs to be as good as the coffee you’re adding it to. A great milk, along with a competent barista, is essential to create sweet, glossy, micro-foam used to build milk-based drinks like a latte and we find Rodda’s consistently good. Rodda’s also has a distinct and natural sweetness which gives a real additional depth of flavour.”
The first ingredient
Cornwall’s best tasting coffee
Origin Coffee is an innovative Cornish coffee company run by a small group of highly experienced and passionate coffee people. Origin Coffee Roasters are coffee obsessives – taking time to source only the finest beans from farms they are proud to work with. Loving everything about coffee they make sure every bean roasted promotes social, environmental and economic responsibility. They produce world-class single estate and blended coffees hand roasted at the Origin Roastery in Cornwall.
The second ingredient
The locals’ milk – coffee’s best kept secret…..
Rodda’s rich and creamy milk is exactly that. And what is better is that it is sourced directly from dairy farms within a 30-mile radius of its Scorrier-based creamery. Thanks to this and a mix of fresh coastal air, a subtropical climate and lush, green pastures – the milk from these local herds is particularly rich and flavoursome. Nicholas Rodda comments, “We introduced our locals’ milk two years ago and are thrilled to see its popularity with local retailers, coffee shops and restaurants going from strength to strength. The local community really appreciate being able to buy milk produced on farms right here on their doorstep. That is why we were so delighted to discover that the properties of this milk, which are vital for the production of clotted cream, are so suited to making the perfect coffee.”