Coffee is trendy. New stars are being born: baristas, experts in making coffee based recipes.
Coffee has always been popular but it has now become a worldwide phenomenon. It is now a more elaborate drink and the quality is much better too. The consumers are also much more difficult to please than before. The professionals have helped to make coffee such a popular drink. The Italian brand Illy has become one of the world leaders in industrial quality coffee.
Illy was born in 1993 and since then it has done all that was possible to improve its coffee. The company from Trieste, Italy, is more active than ever. Just an example: it has asked famous baristas to elaborate its blends in order to offer customers a range of exquisite coffees resulting from a real “blendology”.
Barista? The name comes of course from Italy where coffee more than a tradition is… A barista is an expert in making coffee. In Italy, making an espresso or cappuccino is not a joke… It is a very serious matter. The rules are strict. The professionals pay attention to every tiny detail.
That Italian tradition has created a new competitive spirit. There are now very talented baristas all over the world. The new generation is very creative. A world championship of baristas has even been organized. The goal is to create an ultimate coffee experience. Professionals as well as amateurs can compete. The competitor has to prepare an espresso, a cappuccino and a “signature beverage” (an original blend of espresso without alcohol). The problem is that the baristas have become so good that it could soon be necessary to organize training sessions for the judges…
Fritz Storm is probably one of the most talented baristas in the world. The former Danish accountant started his career in 1994 in the well-known Café Europa in Copenhagen where he learned to make a good coffee. “Some days, I had to prepare up to 1,000 espressos! That’s the best training you could dream of!” In 2002, Fritz wins the baristas’ world championship. “My technique was good at the time, he says, but thanks to my title, I got the opportunity to visit the best coffee plantations in the world. That’s where I got the practical training that I had been missing. When you realize that you need 5,000 coffee beans for a kilo, you think twice before wasting one single bean. A good barista is the one who knows the way from the plantation to the cup.”
Fritz Storm has now his own consulting company. He helps bars and restaurants that want to offer their customers an exquisite coffee that is prepared according to the rules. He organizes workshops where you can get the necessary know-how. Fritz also works with famous coffee brands. The Illy Company relies on him to train its staff and to develop new products, new flavours. The young Dane creates hundreds of new recipes in his lab experiencing all kinds of associations and new flavours.
Another quality of Fritz Storm is that his technique is very good. He can draw wonderful figures in the froth of a cappuccino: foggy landscapes or floral compositions… True masterpieces.
A good coffee is a question of balance between acidity and bitterness, he says. Your technique must be perfect if you want to improve. According to Fritz, it is a shame to serve an espresso in a large cup. It is also completely ridiculous to add lemon to fight its bitterness. Some also say that the darker a roasted bean is, the better it will taste. It is false! If a bean is nearly black, it means it has been roasted too long and has lost its complex aromas. It’s the same kind of mistake when people think it’s better to keep their espresso coffee in the freezer. If your coffee is frozen, it means that the oils that are contained in the coffee coagulate and won’t be able to express the full flavour of the espresso coffee.
Success depends on 4 things: blending, grinding, machine and technical ability. The blend is a question of choice: you must choose an excellent coffee. The grinding must be fine enough. The machine must always be perfectly maintained. The technical ability? That’s what makes the difference! There is no secret. You have to train a lot and repeat the same gestures again and again. That’s the price to pay for a unique coffee experience.