Thursday training part one: The circle of (coffee) life
From the Doma coffee roasting plant you can follow the life of a bean from farm to cup. There have been several expeditions to the coffee cooperatives traveling to countries such as Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Sumatra, Nicaragua and Guatemala. On the end of that journey, are the retailers, the baristas and coffee shops where the average person can sip on a cup of hot coffee, lounge on a chair and read a good book.
Last week, I didn’t quite do that, but I did meet some local baristas when they came in for training in the lab. All the coffee shops that carry Doma coffee have the opportunity to come to the plant and get training as a barista. This means learning how to make the perfect espresso. When I say perfect, I’m going back to the idea that coffee isn’t only a commodity, it’s both an art and science.
We began by getting a general introduction to Doma. To summarize: Doma was created 12 years ago by husband and wife Terry and Rebecca Patano. The name is the combination of the first two letters of their sons’ Dominic and Marco– DoMa. The image of the man on the label? A photo of Terry’s dad taken at the old pier on Lake Coeur d’Alene in 1943. How much more local do you get than that?
After a detailed explanation of how coffee grows (see next post), and a tour of the roasting facility, we had gained a much greater appreciation for the the beans in the bag. Now enlightened, we were ready to learn how to make a perfect shot of espresso. To begin, we ground exactly 18 grams of coffee. Then we used a tamper to tamp the coffee with 30 pounds of pressure. To make sure these measurements were correct, we did several practice measurements using scales.
Once the right amount of grinds was well tamped, we put the portafilter on the espresso machine for 26-30 seconds. As the liquid pours out, it’s important to pay attention to the golden-brown coloring and the crema (foam) that appears in the shot. About two-thirds of the actual shot should be crema. And voilà! a perfect shot of coffee. Steam milk, attempt some amazing coffee art, and you have yourself a beautiful latte.