Cafe Secrets. 


“… ask the barista the secret to brewing…” 

We’ve all done it before. You go to a café and drink one of the best cups of coffee you’ve had this week. When leaving, you are compelled to ask the barista what beans they used, then say you must buy a bag. The next morning your aim to to recreate that same cup from yesterday. Your do your usual process, just like every morning, then you take the first sip, you study the cup (like the answer’s written on there), take a second sip and let out a groan. After that you pick up the bag of ground coffee off the table, question whether they sold you the same beans, while looking at the label with a confused expression across your face. However admittedly, it tastes better than your usual cup, but far from what you were expecting. This happened to me last November, since then, I’ve been on the search for the answers.

So what went wrong?

The other day I went to a café in Shibuya called, The Local. I’ve been following their Instagram account for a few months now, and was really keen to get there. It was an 8 minute walk from the station towards Omotesando. I rarely go to that area, hence why I it took me so long to get there.

The name is very fitting, not only does this place feel like a café that I’d be proud to call my local, but it’s also a hub for a subculture of the coffee scene here. The coffee menu gets rotated frequently with beans from small roasteries from all over the world, which I thought was quite cool. I ordered a single origin from Guatemala that was delicately roasted by Rokume down in Nara.

I sat at the counter overlooking the space where the coffee is brewed. I’m not sure why, but given the opportunity, I’ll always choose a counter or a bar over a table. I like to watch how things get made, and how a place works whether it be a café, bar, or restaurant.

I’m still working on brewing better drip coffee at home. Because for years I used a Moka pot or a French press, so therefore I thought I’d take the opportunity to ask the barista the secret to brewing the perfect drip coffee, and this is what she said…

“Put 15 grams of ground coffee into the paper filter. Then pour the water (86 degrees celsius) slowly, with short breaks and in a circular motion. The finished weight of the coffee should equal 225 grams (if you don’t have scales, like me, then 150 ml of water is a close enough equivalent), and that brewing process needs to be completed in 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Did it work?

Yeah it did. I wasn’t far off before, but the timing of the pour changed everything. My morning coffee has improved dramatically, in fact, I’d really like to get some scales soon, to edge that little bit closer to perfection.

Thank you.

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