Milk wizards mas­ter the art of cof­fee

We pi­o­neered the flat white and many of us can’t get through the morn­ing with­out one. Reporter Kelly Den­nett finds out what goes into mak­ing the per­fect cup of cof­fee and whether we re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate it.

Central Leader - - NEWS -

30ml cof­fee

There’s a story be­hind ev­ery cup of cof­fee you drink.

Cris Fuzaro can tell you not only where your cof­fee beans are from but the name of the fam­ily that grew them and in which South Amer­i­can vil­lage.

It turns out the in­flu­ence of cli­mate and grow­ing tech­niques isn’t just ex­clu­sive to the taste of your wine.

Cof­fee beans also bear sig­nif­i­cant hall­marks of who has grown them and how.

That’s why the bar­ris­tas at Par­nell’s Espresso Workshop can be more than a lit­tle sad when the last of their sack of favourite beans is gone.

They im­port them from the likes of Cen­tral and South Amer­ica and roast them daily in a small room out the back of their espresso bar.

Each sack is unique to the par­tic­u­lar cli­mate of the re­gion and the vari­ances in their sea­son that year.

In short, no bean is ever re­pro­duced ex­actly the same again.

Even how long they’re sit­ting in the sun wait­ing to get loaded on to the ship can have an im­pact on their taste.

Many of the coun­tries owner An­drew Smart or­ders from rely on sack­ing to pack- age the cof­fee and are yet to jump on the sealed pack­ag­ing band­wagon.

Here at Espresso Workshop they are se­ri­ous about their cof­fee.

Lo­cated be­hind the main street and down a lit­tle al­ley the bar is easy to miss.

They rely on word of mouth and a true cof­fee lover’s nose to fol­low the aroma to their lo­ca­tion.

Tast­ing notes are sup­plied for each of the beans and cus­tomers can re­quest a cup of cof­fee from their favourite re­gion.

Dif­fer­ent brew­ing meth­ods are also on of­fer and Ms Fuzaro says she’s con­stantly tast­ing the cof­fee to en­sure the grinder is pro­duc­ing the best flavour.

She adapts ac­cord­ingly.

Does the gen­eral pub­lic ap­pre­ci­ate what goes into their cup of cof­fee?

Mr Smart and Ms Fuzaro both say no.

Peo­ple just know what tastes good, they say.

Un­less you’re tast­ing dif­fer­ent types of beans side by side it can be dif­fi­cult for the


speed av­er­age con­sumer to dis­cern var­i­ous fruity, nutty or even flo­ral flavours in cof­fee.

You can’t un­der­es­ti­mate the im­por­tance of first get­ting the flavour of the bean just right, oth­er­wise the cof­fee is doomed from the be­gin­ning, they say. 100ml whole milk

Sorry skimmed milk fans, full fat milk is best for a silky smooth cof­fee.

Takahito Koy­anagi only picked up the steam­ing wand and milk jug for the first time a year ago.

He moved to New Zealand from Ja­pan 18 months ago and be­came a full­time bar­rista at Auck­land City’s Grind on High.

Af­ter watch­ing the skill in­volved in etch­ing a leaf or flower into a flat white or latte he de­cided he wanted to learn.

He bought him­self his own cof­fee ma­chine and prac­tised at home for hours. The hard work paid off.

In Novem­ber he was of­fi­cially crowned the New Zealand Bar­rista Guild’s Best Milk Wizard in Auck­land.

Yes that’s right, milk wizard.

What you need to do to be­come a milk wizard is pay at­ten­tion to the milk you’re steam­ing.

Con­stantly check the tem­per­a­ture with your hand, lis­ten to the hiss­ing noises and it will tell you when the milk is get­ting too bub­bly.

You don’t want it to be too frothy. Then the pour. Mr Koy­anagi im­ple­ments a tech­nique not un­like mix­ing muf­fin bat­ter.

Too quick and the crema be­comes too thick.

Too slow and the crema isn’t thick enough.

Mr Koy­anagi knows how to draw a tulip but con­fesses to not be­ing able to con­jur up a leaf just yet.

The wizard is work­ing on it though.

Bean mas­ter: Cris Fuzaro can tell you all you need to know about your cup of cof­fee.

Per­fect pic­ture: Takahito Koy­anagi can draw tulips in his cof­fee.

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