In How to Get the Best from Your Coffee, Pete shares his brewing recipe and the fundamentals behind his approach.
BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Pete Licata has been thinking about coffee brewing for a long time. With a coffee career that has spanned nearly two decades—and has included a 2013 World Barista Championship win—Pete has pondered and discussed the details that go into brewing coffee for countless hours over the years.
This year, he decided to document many of those ideas by putting them onto the page. The result is How to Get the Best from Your Coffee, Pete’s new book that is part theory, part how-to instruction manual. “The idea was to share some of my findings over the years about how to brew coffee for the best results,” says Pete.
Pete, who moved to Melbourne, Australia, this summer to work as a research and development coffee consultant for Nomad Coffee Group, structured the book in a somewhat unconventional manner: It starts with his ideal brewing recipe, then takes a step back to explain what he sees as four fundamentals of coffee brewing: water, the device and filter, grinding, and variables such as pouring technique and brew ratio.
In the book, Pete explains his reasoning for the structure: “It’s simple: Everyone wants the ‘how-to’ when they first pick up a book, and there is no reason to waste your time flipping to the back to find it.” The fundamental sections provide more detailed information on the nitty-gritty of the brewing process, including the results of brewing experiments Pete has logged.
Pete says the book—which was supported by Pacific Foods and is geared toward beginning to intermediate baristas—aims to give coffee professionals the tools they need to brew coffee in a variety of situations. “We’ve all brewed coffee under less-than-ideal conditions, whether at a trade show or in somebody else’s kitchen with unfamiliar equipment,” he says. “The book helps the reader get familiar with the fundamentals of brewing so that they can make adjustments to brew great-tasting coffee, no matter where they are. It’s common to stick to one or two methods and adopt them for every brew. This book is meant to give understanding on what to expect from a given variable, which gives a stronger foundation of knowledge to explore with.”
As one might expect from this flexible mindset, Pete describes his approach to brewing coffee as practical. He says one of the reasons he wanted to write a book was as a response to what he sees as a lot of “absolutism” around coffee brewing from coffee pros. Delicious coffee, in Pete’s view, can be brewed in a variety of ways, and it’s up to the person making it to decide how to bring out the best of a particular coffee. “I truly believe that coffee, being the dynamic product that it is, needs understanding and care to brew to its fullest potential.”