Who Really Invented the Air Roaster?

Who Really Invented the Air Roaster?

The invention of the air roaster revolutionised coffee roasting, allowing faster roasts on larger scales than had ever been possible before. In the decades since it was invented, the air roaster became hugely important in industrial coffee roasting — although the classic drum roaster remains the machine of choice for most smaller-scale roasteries …

read more
The Possibly Lactic Process

The Possibly Lactic Process

The two main players in wild coffee fermentations are yeasts and lactic acid bacteria (LAB). LAB are a broad group of bacteria species that ferment glucose into lactic acid and, in some cases, ethanol. Along the way, LAB produce a lot of delicious flavour compounds — esters, ketones, and aldehydes — that can lend coffee distinctive floral, fruity, creamy, and buttery notes…

read more
Wet Weiss Distribution

Wet Weiss Distribution

If you have ever ground your own coffee, then you’ve probably tried the Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT). Possibly even without realising you were doing something that had a name, you might have grabbed a paper clip and done a little puck raking just for the pure catharsis of breaking up those clumps of coffee grounds. But have you ever tried doing WDT in wet coffee?

read more
Post-Roast Sorting

Post-Roast Sorting

If you ever hang out backstage at the World Brewers Cup Competition, you’re very likely to see baristas hunched over trays of coffee, obsessively picking over their beans. Any slight blemish or discoloration, any deviation in size or shape, and the offending bean is plucked out and discarded, until only the most perfect physical specimens are left to face the judges.

read more
Deconstructed Fermentation

Deconstructed Fermentation

Diego Bermudez uses a multi-stage process to isolate and control the different phases of coffee fermentation — even to the extent of carrying out part of the fermentation away from the coffee beans themselves. The resulting coffees have incredibly intense, fruity flavours that push the boundaries of what coffee can taste like. After several years of experimentation…

read more
If and When to Stir a French Press

If and When to Stir a French Press

The French press is one of the simplest coffee brew methods in a barista’s repertoire — grind the coffee; add hot water; wait for a bit; give it a stir; plunge and you’re done. Even the plunge is optional. But despite the apparent simplicity, this brewing method has a few snags that we have been trying to work out. For example, we discovered that

read more
The Mexican Geisha Intrigue

The Mexican Geisha Intrigue

The Geisha variety is one of the big success stories in coffee over the past decade. Ever since the variety’s quality potential was discovered by the Peterson family on Finca Esmerelda, prices of Geisha coffees have broken record after record at auctions. Last year’s Best of Panama winner, from Finca Nuguo, almost doubled the previous auction record with a price of…

read more
Starter Culture Culture

Starter Culture Culture

Every once in a while, a single cup of coffee comes along that redefines your idea of what coffee can taste like. When that happens to us at BH, it sends us down a rabbit hole: We have to find out what made the coffee taste that way, and what we can learn from the way that particular coffee was made. Our Dean of Studies, Jem Challender, tasted one such cup recently…

read more
The Group Head Express

The Group Head Express

You’ve dialled in perfectly. You are weighing every single dose, distributing carefully, tamping perfectly flat with a calibrated amount of force — and yet, your shot times aren’t the same. After a few shots you notice it’s always the same group that runs just a few seconds faster — or slower — than the others. Perhaps you start to avoid using that group…

read more
I Would Ferment Five Hundred Hours

I Would Ferment Five Hundred Hours

Over-fermentation is a sure-fire way to ruin a coffee. The threat of a full sour defect or a ‘stinker’ bean making its way into your cup is enough to put anyone off the idea of stretching out fermentation any longer than necessary. And yet, producers are experimenting with longer and longer fermentation times, and somehow getting away with it.

read more
Following Yonder Star

Following Yonder Star

Nearly all the world’s coffee farms lie between the Tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn — in a region called the coffee belt. This is the only region with the right climate for coffee to grow and ripen properly. Growing coffee outside of this region is possible, but rare. For farmers who grow coffee at the edges of the coffee belt or beyond…

read more
Stirring Strikes Back

Stirring Strikes Back

A few weeks ago, we released the first in a series of experiments on blooming in filter coffee. Our aim is to find some measurable evidence to support one blooming method over another. Rather than rely on flavour, which is very hard to measure objectively, we tried to track the effectiveness of blooming by looking at how…

read more
Air Gap

Air Gap

When we’re brewing filter coffee, our preference at BH is to use filter cones that lose as little heat as possible. In most cases, that means plastic is best — but plastic comes with other disadvantages. Plastics such as polycarbonate can absorb flavour compounds (van Willige et al 2010), potentially minutely affecting the flavour of the coffee.

read more
On the Origin of Arabica

On the Origin of Arabica

According to the religion of the Oromo people of Ethiopia, when the first man died, Waqa (God) wet his grave with his tears, and the first coffee plants sprouted where his tears fell (Yedes et al 2004). This ancient story points to arabica’s origins as a wild plant, which the Oromo found dotted throughout the forests of their homeland in modern-day Ethiopia.

read more
Blooming Marvellous

Blooming Marvellous

Earlier this week, Swiss-based Australian, Matt Winton won the World Brewers Cup. Matt blended Coffea eugenioides and arabica. While his recipe was highly effective in the competition, his technique was different to most commonly accepted brew methods — and different to what we recommend at Barista Hustle. Of course, what works best in competition…

read more
Roasting at Origin

Roasting at Origin

Coffee prices have increased dramatically this year, after years of historic lows. In June 2020 the ‘C’ price, the benchmark price for coffee, sat below $1 per lb. In July of this year it reached more than $2, and may yet increase further. After struggling with low prices for so long, this price increase should be good news for coffee growers…

read more
Towards a Common Coffee Control Chart

Towards a Common Coffee Control Chart

The original Brewed Coffee Control Chart was designed by E.E. Lockhart a little over 60 years ago. Since then, coffee growing, roasting, grinding, and brewing technologies have all changed enormously, and yet the Coffee Control Chart has remained unchanged.

read more
Molecular Targets for Coffee Body

Molecular Targets for Coffee Body

Body can be loosely defined as the tactile sensations of coffee in the mouth. Body is a very important part of coffee quality, and not just in the specialty world. Just read the descriptions on any bag of supermarket coffee to see how prized a full, smooth body is for coffee consumers — perhaps more so than many of the other…

read more
The Coffee Compass

The Coffee Compass

The Coffee Compass is a simple tool that makes it easy to improve your filter coffee brewing. If your coffee tastes anything less than perfect, the Coffee Compass shows you exactly what direction you need to go in to achieve smooth, rich, and balanced brews. We published the original Coffee Compass in 2017 …

read more
Water Chemistry for Tea

Water Chemistry for Tea

Long before Kaldi’s apocryphal goats took their first nibbles of the coffee fruit, tea experts knew about the importance of water quality for brewing*. The eighth-century tea master Lu Yu favoured spring water, and wrote in his guide ‘The Tea Classic’ that ‘the best spring water flows slowly over stone pools on a pristine mountainside’.

read more
Regrinding

Regrinding

Grinding burr technology is like the black box in an aircraft. We can see what we put in, and we can measure what we get out, but there is very little publicly available knowledge about what happens inside the grinder, and why certain designs work the way they do. The debates about whether conical or flat burrs are better …

read more
Buttergate

Buttergate

We have re-designed and re-imagined one of our classic apps — the Cowculator. This handy tool will help you work out the concentration and nutritional content of your cappuccino. The new version includes two modes that can help you decide what size of cups to buy, and what size of baskets you should use, when you’re planning

read more