As we all know, tastes differ and not all coffees are created equal. Martin Mühlbäck, barista at the Café Am Hof, explains the different ways to prepare coffee.
Filter coffee: the Chemex method
Coffee from the chemistry lab, so to speak. Peter Schlumbohm developed the famous Chemex glass coffeemaker in 1941, and today even the Museum of Modern Art in New York owns an example. How does it differ from conventional filter coffee? The barista can measure the amount of water and coffee exactly. S/he pours the hot water in circles over the coffee – not too finely ground – which ultimately creates a beautiful crema. Martin Mühlbäck recommends Indian Monsooned Malabar beans for making coffee by the Chemex method. They contain unusually low acidity, which results in a light, aromatic coffee.
The Turkish way to prepare coffee – also known as Arabic, Egyptian, Greek coffee – comes down to the how finely the beans are ground – namely as finely as possible. Incidentally, at the Café Am Hof Martin Mühlbäck has three different grinders as well as weighing scales at his disposal. After being ground, the coffee is brought to a boil three times in a copper pot. The sediment is characteristic for Turkish coffee: it is left in the cup along with the fluid.
Martin Mühlbäck prepares the moka – not to be confused with the English-language mocha, which contains chocolate – in a traditional moka pot, also known as a macchinetta. The most well-known version is the Italian classic Bialetti. The water in the lower section of the pot is heated and the resulting steam forces its way through the ground coffee in the centre to the top. With a moka, the crema doesn’t rise to the surface of the fluid, but remains in the coffee itself – which often causes confusion among the guests at the Café Am Hof.
The French press (or cafetière) method is the simplest way to prepare fresh coffee. The barista tips the coarsely ground coffee into the pot and pours hot water over it. The sediment is then pushed to the bottom with a plunger made of fine metal mesh. The advantage: the guest can easily define their desired strength by changing the amount of coffee used.
The classic way to prepare an espresso in Italy is for the hot water to be pressed through the finely ground coffee with high pressure. Water temperature, pressure and flow time all play very important roles. This type of preparation requires the least manual labour of the barista, but the most sensitivity.