What’s your best coffee tasting tip?
First never drink hot coffee- the act of sipping hot or excessively-brewed coffee (> 60 °C) burns your taste buds; so you have ruined the chance to assess or will have no taste capacity left! My major tip is to taste your coffee warm (58 °C) when the milk and its fat is sweetest; as flat white; and look for two aspects:
(1) the extent of chocolate flavour developed by the barista when milk is creamed with coffee liquor, and how much you like it, and (2) do you enjoy the level of char, or the extent of over-roast, verging on the blackening or oiling of beans. Coffee drinkers think this is richness whereas it is deliberate excessive roasting which some drinkers like to enjoy, others detest. So develop your own understanding of why your favourite coffee tastes like it tastes.
PS- Although I spend time drinking and tasting beans that comprise Merlo Coffee I regularly taste daily-freshly-roasted coffees from every roaster in the market place. However, I do not bother with coffee brands shipped roasted from Italy which are past three months old. They are easy to spot in the high turnover places where the barista work is poor and the result variable.
What’s your favourite bean Merlo Coffee stocks?
I regularly drink Merlo Espresso as it is my utility bean for both flat white and short black. If I feel the blend roasting is too intensive for flat white some days, I will switch the morning coffee to a single origin smart roast or use the Bean of the Month which is roasted similarly.
What’s the most important thing to you about coffee?
It must be a pleasant experience. As a barista’s efforts vary from country to country, bar to restaurant, supermarket to delicatessen, you must be prepared to negotiate how your coffee will arrive rather than vacate your chair with the drink unfinished. Be knowledgeable, be determined.