If you've ever wondered why one plunger of coffee has a rich crema and tastes delicious yet the next is flat and bitter, Selena Hurndell Bulled may have the answer.
She has just finished updating Cafe L'affare's guide to coffee - How To Make Really Good Coffee.
The new edition pulls together every popular method of preparing coffee and provides simple, detailed instructions for getting it right every time.
Hurndell Bulled said plunger coffee is her own favourite, and the best she has ever had was at home on a Saturday morning using a filter chemex coffee maker.
"The first cup is the best coffee."
The book is a go-to guide that makes it as easy as possible to make great coffee at home. It walks the line between being something aimed at baristas and the general public, she said.
Not just a guide to preparation, it details the sources of coffee beans, there's a glossary to demystify the jargon, and detailed descriptions of all the processes and equipment involved.
It also covers what different kinds of "sustainable production" descriptions mean, without endorsing any particular fair- trade brand.
"We wanted to make sure people knew about these programmes," Hurndell Bulled said. "We didn't want to tell them what to do."
There is also a short section on "latte art". Who knew there were competitions to find the barista who could create the most imaginative art work on your latte or flat white?
It's all part of the barista's craft.
"With any sort of presentation in the food environment, you eat with your eyes," she said. "Having something beautifully presented in front of you automatically makes the coffee taste better. There's a perception that if it looks delicious, it's going to taste delicious."
The guide uses some of L'affare's own products to illustrate the equipment.
The Rocket R58 home espresso machine costs more than $5000 and the Anfim grinder costs $1000 - between them about 1200 cafe coffees even before the home barista buys beans. Are they worth it?
"Definitely," she said. No-one can make good coffee at home without the right equipment and these machines represent an investment.
"It's a premium, luxury item, yes, but it's the craftsmanship as well."
People like to craft things, and being the best coffee-maker in their social set, she said.
"It's mastery and wanting to make the best coffee ever, and the sophistication that comes from that."
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO L'AFFARE
Warm the plunger, or French press, before putting in the ground coffee.
Allow the water to go a little off the boil before just wetting the grounds. When they have finished bubbling or "blooming" - the time when the rich aroma is released - gently pour in the rest of the hot, but not boiling, water and leave it to extract. Pour into a warmed cup within four minutes, before it over- extracts and becomes bitter.
- Kapi-Mana News