By Jon Shadel
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
Let’s start by pointing out something obvious: Brewing great coffee is serious business. Yet reducing a morning cup of joe to its most basic elements leaves just two ingredients: beans and water. Simple enough, right? Don’t be fooled! As the chatty barista at a nearby specialty café will likely explain, the craft of making great coffee takes time to master.
Thankfully, ChefSteps is trying to make it a bit easier for home baristas to brew a better cup with today’s launch of an online coffee brewing class. The class aims to provide a fresh take on the morning brew with new tutorials and videos covering: methods to help master the art of extraction, guides on buying beans, step-by-step brewing techniques and more.
And if their recent espresso course is any indication (produced in partnership with La Marzocco), this new coffee-brewing class is bound to be entertaining, informative, and even sexy. As to be expected, they’ve tapped a few head-turning coffee celebrities to help present the course, including: James Hoffmann, partner in London’s renown Square Mile Coffee and author of The World Atlas of Coffee; and coffee consultant Ben Kaminsky, co-founder of Boston’s barismo and a three-time World Cup Tasters Champion.
œBy combining the art of extraction with state-of-the-art brewing practices and the very best beans, this class teaches you how to make home-brewed coffee that rivals the stuff at the world’s best cafes, says Elise Ballard, a representative of ChefSteps. And while a professional barista might question such a statement, it’s certain that Hoffmann and Kaminsky have plenty of advice for improving the coffee experience at home.
Ballard explains that the course approaches making coffee like cooking steak. And before that takes the taste buds on a tangent, hear her out: œThe premise is this: you approach good coffee like you approach a good steak, she says. œYou cook it differently, you ruin it if you overcook it, it tastes different, and it takes some getting used to. Understanding brewing techniques, then, is crucial to getting the coffee’s flavor just right.
With the rising popularity of specialty coffee, consumer preferences have been shifting away from toastier, dark roasts to more subtle, floral flavors. Brew methods have been changing, too, with increased interest in the French press, Chemex, AeroPress and the so on. This cool course is ChefSteps’ response, and it appears they have created a course providing accessible education for the home barista.
According to ChefSteps, the course will include:
- A foolproof method for mastering extraction ”the groundbreaking concept behind the world’s best coffees.
- Guides to buying beans, coffee equipment, and essential books for your home library
- Step-by-step techniques for French Press, Chemex and Aeropress brewers
- 2 pre-brewing tricks for achieving the smoothest brews
- 4 super-cool coffee recipes ”including a novel technique for making coffee “chocolate.”
- 6 original ChefSteps videos
- A 4-part video lecture series from our experts
Jon Shadel is a Portland-based writer and lover of fine coffees. He writes for Oregon Business and Oregon Home magazines. He’s also the founder of Rusty Bike Media, a storytelling agency helping startups, lifestyle brands and nonprofits engage their target audience. With years of experience as a barista, he loves coffee culture and is often found furiously typing in a cozy cafe.