If you are a close follower of our social media accounts, you will be aware that last week we were invited to Riverhead Coffee shop in Grimsby to master the art of a great cup of coffee. And of course we are all now qualified masters of latte art (well, some more than others – mine just ended up looking like a slop of milk in the cup!). The top prize went to Becca for her incredible bear-art, here is the proof!
Science behind the coffee
It wasn’t just about how to make a pretty cup of coffee though, you would be amazed about the level of ‘scientific’ detail that goes into making the perfect cup of coffee.
We all finally learnt what a macchiato actually consists of – did you know it is an espresso, topped with milk foam and then filled up with boiling water? And that there is actually two ways that you can make an americano? The normal americano is espresso topped up with water, however there is also something called a ‘long black’ (we dare you to ask for that next time you are in a coffee shop!).
Anyway, I digress. A long black is where you fill a mug up with boiling water, and then put the espresso on top. Trust me, if you are into your coffee you have to try it. So much flavour.
It’s official, we are all now coffee connoisseurs – you can expect the very best cup of coffee if you are visiting the office for a meeting. We all took a quiz on how to make every different type of coffee imaginable, so you name it and we can make it! Although Becca is the official expert – she was the only one who scored 6/6 on the quiz. So she can make you the perfect coffee!
Of course the main aim for all us coffee lovers that took part in this coffee making evening was to drown ourselves in caffeine. It is common knowledge within the office that myself and Joe are the true caffeine addicts. Well, we had to prove them right didn’t we?
The night started with us all tasting some filter coffee, and comparing the taste of that against an espresso. It has been some time since I last had a filter coffee, but I couldn’t believe how much more of the coffee bean flavour I actually tasted in comparison with the espresso. And the filter coffee actually has a higher caffeine content than espresso (surprising, right?). So that completely won me over. Next stop filter coffee machine for Laser Red!
Then, we moved onto latte vs. flat white. I don’t think there was anyone sat around the table that didn’t appreciate the amazing lattes that we were served. I have had many lattes in my time, and I have to admit Riverhead’s lattes are the best I have ever tasted (trust me I am not just saying that). Yes, even better than big chains like Starbucks and Costa. Apparently the secret is in the milk, of all things!
What surprised us all the most was how tasty a properly made flat white actually was. Yes, it didn’t have the typical latte foam, but I personally think the foam gets a bit too much sometimes – you often end up with a mugful of milk and no coffee! A flat white is typically served in a smaller cup, making it stronger (less room for the milk), and when the milk is being frothed less air is pumped into it, hence the term ‘flat’.
Mastering the coffee machine
After our lengthy tasting session, we were invited to actually make our very own coffee. This was the scary part. We had to get the temperature right, and the timings spot on. From inserting the coffee into the machine, Nic (the owner of Riverhead) told us that the coffee should take between 22 and 30 seconds to pour out into the mug. Challenge accepted by the Laser Red team! I think in the end it was only Tomasz who managed to get it spot on at 26 seconds. Better luck next time for the rest of us! (well I hope there is a next time).
Then we moved onto heating and frothing the milk. You may think this sounds easy, but trust me when I tell you it is not. The nozzle used to blow air into the milk has to be at a specific height, to ensure the milk has enough air pumped into it. Then you need to consider the temperature – too hot and you lose the froth, and end up with a milky mess. Too cold and well, you just end up with a milky coffee!
Time to get arty
Once we we grasped the technique behind the perfect coffee, and had perfecting our milk frothing, we then moved onto the fun bit… latte art! Well it was a combination between fun and stressful. A few of us are definitely perfectionists – I think we ran the Riverhead dry of milk by the end of the night with the amount of attempts we made. Here are all of our ‘artistic designs’ put together in one picture…
Along with some of the latte art created by Nic and her lovely team, you will see some of our creations mixed in there too. The overall winners were Becca – for her amazing bear, and Liam for his octopus-looking foam! They received amazing prizes for their efforts – Becca received a £10 Riverhead Coffee voucher for 1st place, and Liam in 2nd place went home with a Riverhead mug (which he was ecstatic about). This now takes pride possession on his desk!
Bringing the fun to a close
Our fun-filled night of learning about the science behind coffee, and excessive coffee consumption ended with a real treat. We finished the night with a selection of espresso martinis, which were just amazing. Honestly, if you like coffee as much as I do you really should give one a try. And the way Nic served them was stunning too. They were just the cherry on top of a perfect evening.
We want to take this opportunity to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Nic and the team at Riverhead Coffee for putting on such an excellent evening, and for providing us with the cutest mini buffet too! I am definitely popping into Riverhead next time I fancy a coffee… I doubt that will be too far into the distance!