Many people across Singapore drink coffee on a daily basis, that’s a fact… But, a vast majority of them make their coffee at home, rather than buying a cup at a coffeehouse like Starbucks or just a simple coffee shop. But, so few for them truly know how to brew ground coffee, it is truly an art to get all the aspects right (I am not referring to those people just emptying a packet of powdered coffee into a cup, that’s not brewing).
The famous coffeehouse, Starbucks recognises this, and once in a while, they will hold their exclusive coffee Seminars to teach people how to brew the right cup of coffee. Now, this isn’t a Seminar you can just sign up for, there are very limited spaces, and you have to register your interest for the Seminar, and Starbucks will choose who they want to invite to the seminar… You must then R.S.V.P to confirm your attendance on that date to avoid no-shows.
Now, the one I went to was held at Starbucks 100th Store, at the Fullerton Waterboat House, a rather big-sized branch, and it is also one of 5 reserve branches, where they offer exotic, special coffee brewed specially for the true coffee connoisseur.
Also, the Seminar itself would cost about $30, which is quite a bit… But, in return, you do get a $10 Starbucks gift card, a 250g pack of Starbucks coffee beans and you do get to sample some rather exotic and exclusive coffee.
The Seminar would be conducted with slides on a projector with 2 highly experienced Store Managers who will bring you through the steps of how to brew the perfect coffee. They will also try to answer all the questions asked
(be it how stupid), to the best of their ability, even though I did see a lot of fumbling and hesitation with some of their answers and explanations! A set of papers will also be given, which pretty much explains all the key points and mistakes people make while brewing coffee. It also comes with some blank lines for you to take down notes during the Seminar.
Now, I don’t want to give up too much about the Seminar, if not you would just read this article, and not bother trying to apply for the Seminar, but the Seminar starts with a short video explaining the basic errors people commit, while brewing coffee. They also provide some ground coffee and different substances meant for you to compare the differences of the coarseness of ground coffee.
One of the key points the presenters stressed on was the proportion of coffee to water. On the left, the cup of coffee was way too dilute, thus it only tasted bitter, due to the over-extraction of the coffee. On the right, you can tell that the coffee had a darker colour, this had the correct proportions of coffee to water, and it was weirdly, less bitter than the diluted coffee… And it also had a very nice roasted smell to it…
The next segment, was the identification of good coffee beans. The one on the top (sorry for the blur picture), was just dark and hardly had any aroma. Now this is what happens to coffee beans when they are left out in the open for a few days. The one of the bottom, had a shiny, oily coating on it and had an amazing, roasted aroma! This are coffee beans that had just came out on a tightly-sealed packet of coffee beans. Trust me, this doesn’t seem like such a big deal to you, but the state of the coffee beans does leave an impact on a cup of coffee.
Now, the most exciting, interesting part of the whole seminar! This is where the presenters show you how to do the pourover method for coffee. It is basically filtration of water and coffee beans in the top beaker… And you get literally, drips of coffee coming down of the bottom, and into the bottom beaker.
Now, I know not a lot of coffee drinkers agree that the pourover method produces the best cup of coffee, but from all the different cups of coffee I have tasted that evening, I have to disagree with them… Even though I don’t take any coffee straight up black (Espresso), this cup of coffee was so good, I drank 3 small cups of it! Yes, it was slightly bitter, but it also had a slight nutty, roasted taste and aroma that only the gentle pourover method can extract!
This is the little peanut butter Cake that the Presenters provided as a compliment to the cup of pourover coffee. The idea is to take a sip of coffee and a bite of the cake at the same time, and the sweetness of the cake really cuts down on the bitterness in the Coffee! The temperature of the coffee also meant that the cake was melted in your mouth and blended in with the coffee. It was probably, the best experience I took away from the Seminar!!!
In conclusion, this was definitely an eye-opening experience for me to learn how to brew the perfect cup of coffee (even though I don’t brew any coffee at home). In my mind, this Seminar was definitely a brewing, tasting and appreciation session of coffee. So, if you are a coffee drinker, and you want to learn more about Coffee and how to brew it, this is a great Seminar for you to attend!
Check out this website regularly for updates on their Seminars!