An Intimate Coffee Conversation

I just wrapped up a coffee brewing class in Jakarta, Indonesia for a small group of enthusiasts. The small size of the class (six attendees) lent itself to a very intimate and relaxed conversation about coffee.

My goal for the class was to teach the basic principles of brewing that can be applied to nearly any brewing method. We talked first about how we experience coffee (aroma, taste, mouthfeel, etc), the complexities of flavor and we also touched on cultural biases that get 'baked in' to our palates. We also talked about coffee freshness, water quality, proper grind size, etc.

But it was at the brewing table where the magic began. As they each started brewing coffee, possibly a bit differently from each other, they started sharing their coffees around the table, talking about what they experienced in their coffee and why it turned out like it did. We all brewed the same coffee so the only difference from person-to-person was their individual brewing technique. Through unintentional brewing differences, like pouring a little too much or too little water, they got to see how that affected the flavor of the coffee.

That spontaneous and impromptu conversation was exactly what I wanted to happen as a result of the class. I just thought it would happen at home, not in the class (this is a good thing). This may sound corny, but empowering a curiosity in coffee is very rewarding for me. Spending time with a group of people like this, who really want to learn more about coffee made my day!


Michael C. Wright

Michael is a licensed Q Grader, licensed Q Processor Pro, an Authorized SCA Trainer (AST), and most recently, a graduate with a degree in horticulture and a concentration in horticultural business management. He has over ten years experience in the coffee industry operating on both the supply and demand sides of the value chain.