Last week a group of Transition Year (TY) students were brought to a local coffee roaster for an introduction into coffee roasting and barista techniques. Our TY programme is rich and varied with time set aside for fun learning activities such as the barista course. One of the participating students, Dane Cormack, offered to tell us about his experience at the course and to give us a first-hand understanding of what the boys learned on the day.
Over to you Dane…
“On Thursday the 10th of December a small group of lads and I went to a barista course run by PS Coffee Roasters, a company based in Kildare with two shops – one in Clane and the other in Naas. These coffee shops are speciality coffee shops that import beans from all corners of the world, for example, Columbia, Indonesia and Brazil.
While there we learned how they roast the beans in an industrial roaster that weighs over 1200kg. After the beans are roasted they have to be degassed, this is the process whereby the bean releases CO2. Depending on the bean they have to wait a few weeks before being sold – with the average bean taking about 10-14 days to be ready. We were taken to taste test two different coffee varieties, one from Columbia which had notes of strawberry jam and another from Brazil having notes of chocolate and mango. Before taking part in the course, I believed all coffee had similar tastes but I learned that coffee can taste like vanilla and other weird tastes like maple bacon. After trying both of them the majority of us agreed that the bean from Columbia had tasted nicer due to it being a tiny bit sweeter.
After a small break, we were brought over to the espresso machine where we were shown the basics of making a coffee. We got a portafilter and put precisely 18g of ground coffee into it measuring it using a weighing scale, this amount of coffee was correct for the extraction we were looking for. The next step was to then ‘temp the coffee’, we do this to compress the grounds – after temping we put the portafilter back into the machine. For the espresso to not be too sweet or too bitter the extraction should take between 25 to 35 seconds to make with the grind we used – this left us with a creamy white crema. After the coffee was made we frothed some milk in a stainless-steel jug, we did this by pushing steam into the milk. We poured the milk into the coffee and depending on the amount this equates to different coffee drinks i.e cappuccino, macchiato, latte etc.
All my peers and I got a lot from the day and learned a lot from it. The two instructors were very nice and taught us well. I know if we were asked to go again we definitely would. This was a good experience and I thank Mr McGovern for setting it up for us.”
We would like to say a big thank you to PS Coffee Roasters for giving the boys a fantastic day and to Mr McGovern for organising yet another enjoyable TY activity.