Di Bella Coffee provide a range of coffee education courses, we were fortunate enough to join the Coffee Appreciation course. They are run Saturday mornings at the Di Bella warehouse in Bowen Hills. We were in an intimate group of six with the benefit of two trainers hosting us.
To begin we went on a tour starting at the crop of coffee trees growing in a small garden of the car park. We got to pick some ripe cherries, taste the sweet pulp and learn where green beans come from. On average, the cherries take nine months to develop and be ready for harvesting. Our trainer recalled the regions all over the world producing coffee and that the origins in Di Bella blends are like the Colonel’s secret recipe, only Phil Di Bella and the head roaster know them.
From crop to roasting, we entered the warehouse that contains three coffee roasters, machines to clean and de-stone, eights silo’s full of green beans. Di Bella roast on 60, 120 and 240kg roasters. No roasting going on today so the trainer had to re-enact.
We moved around to the packing and distribution area and marvelled at the machine used to pack roasted beans into bags. We were given coffee tips such as waiting at least five days to consume beans after roasting. Too fresh means too gassy! Di Bella Coffee have roasting houses in Melbourne and China and more are opening around Australia soon. The tour lasted twenty minutes.
With the tour over it was time for the training. We split into two groups on the espresso machine, one to learn how to pour shots, our group learnt the art of milk texturing. We discussed the importance of jug sizes and to use the correct sizes based on the order placed. The milk has to be cold as it performs better in the jug and gives the most desired texture. Before every texture we needed to clean the steam wand. We then each got time to practice texturing milk, learning that screeching sound means to give it more air and lifting the steam wand up in the milk. The technique will differ depending on the drink, for example a cappuccino requires more air. We learnt the concept of sealed or broken (undesirable) coffee and tasted the difference. We tried our hand at latte art and learnt how to create a heart. Some were better than others and the garlic bulb was a nice touch. The groups swapped and it was time to pour espresso shots.
We familiarised ourselves with the tasting notes for the Arnika Reserve blend. We were to look out for spicy and complex flavours in our shots. Our trainer then poured under, over and perfectly extracted shots for us to see and taste. We explored the technique of dosing, collapsing and tamping the coffee. We then had the opportunity to pour our own shots, adjusting the collapse and tamp to extract the perfect espresso. We appreciated the skill of a barista, because small adjustments can have a big effect at the cup.
The course ran for two and a half hours, the trainers were great communicators and we left informed … and caffeinated. We got to take home a goodie bag with our choice of 250g bag of beans, a crop to cup booklet and a freshly brewed coffee. If you appreciate coffee and want to pour better espresso at home contact Di Bella Coffee.
Thank you to Di Bella Coffee for providing three complementary tickets to experience the course. Thanks also to Chie Dahms for joining us and taking the super photos.
For information on coffee education visit the Di Bella Coffee website.