A how to make a perfect coffee that dates back to... 1836
"Nothing is healthier [...] than this drink,
especially when the berries were well chosen and prepared"
A few weeks ago we happened to come across the booklet "Manual of the perfect coffee lover" that appeared in Naples. It contains stories, tales and recipes taken from an original dated 1836.
This quick reading made us reflect on how our coffee habits have changed although sometimes we are inclined to think that coffee as we know it today has always been as it is right now.
This small manual lists a series of concepts that help the coffee lovers to extract the perfect cup. Let me be clear, these are very useful suggestions from the nineteenth-century readers perspective.
But are we really sure that these tips are obsolete and outdated?
We at Ernani are not at all. In fact, as we continued with the reading, we increasingly found ourselves in tune with those ways.
For the sake of clarity we here you the most significant pieces.
"Nothing demands more attention than coffee roasting. [...] If the coffee is not roasted enough it loses its quality and if on the contrary it too much roasted, it becomes acrid, tasteless and with an unpleasant burnt taste"
Nothing could be more true! Roasting coffee is a very delicate process that requires many precautions.
You can choose between three main roasting levels: light, medium and dark. In the first case, the coffee will be strongly acidic and aromatic, but with a body and creaminess almost absent; on the contrary, if it is dark, the third option, the creaminess will be maximum exactly as the bitterness and aromas, both positive and negative, would be hidden by the strong hint of bitterness and burnt.
The medium roasting is the one that allows the combination of pros of the other two options: in fact in the cup we will have a bodied coffee with a good level of cream and intense positive aromas, enhanced by the roasting process.
The medium roasting seems to be the winning choice, by why isn't it the the default choice of all roasters?
Because it is also a more expensive choice, as it can only be carried out if the raw material is of quality and therefore without defects. Many roasters therefore decide to opt for a lower quality raw material, of a significantly lower cost, but with some defects. To hide them, dark roasting will be the choice bringing in bitterness.
"It is not necessary to put sugar on it, as it doesn't hold any bitterness, and on the other hand it feels like you get a tasty sweet coffee"
We strongly believe in this step. Of course, starting to drink coffee without sugar is difficult, because it means giving up a well-established habit. In addition, too often it happens to drink bad and excessively bitter coffees, which necessarily require sugar.
Medium roasted coffees, as we said, are less bitter and more aromatic. This makes them suitable for our purpose: to eliminate sugar.
In this case two improvements can be obtained. In fact, health will certainly benefit of the choice, but incredible aromas will also be discovered in every cup, which was not even thought to exist.
"Each requires a different degree of color to be roasted exactly at its point"
This is now called mono-origin roasting, performed by roasters who make quality their mantra.
To better understand we always propose the following example: would you ever throw various kind of pasta together at the same time in boiling water and would you always drain them at the same time? Absolutely not! Otherwise you will get a plate of pasta which is partly raw and partly overcooked.
The same principle applies to coffee. For this reason, roasting must be carried out separately for each individual origin.
Some roasters, especially those with larger sales volumes, blends raw beans and roast different beans together so that they can roast larger volumes in a shorter time span but quality will be the victim.
So we asked ourselves: is the medium roasting that we offer really new?
It is difficult to admit it, but no, it is not new. As we have seen, it is the same technique used since the nineteenth century.
The "novelty", if this can be defined, lies in re-proposing it, re-reading our tradition and treasuring it, in order to offer a coffee where the aromas are the masters and the quality can be felt from the first taste.
The team of Caffè Ernani
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