Inside a Father’s Day exhibition at New Town Plaza in Sha Tin – “A Son’s First Hero. A Daughter’s First Love” – there is an area named Coffee Journey. This is divided into six zones: tasting, roasting, appreciation, brewing, deeply tasting and machine. After going through all six zones, you should have a good understanding of coffee.
More than just a useful drink
You may think that coffee is just a yummy drink which can keep us awake. However, after taking part in this workshop, I had a new impression of it.
The tasting zone showcases around 100 kinds of coffee bean including Geisha, which is one of the most expensive varieties in the world. It also illustrates the origins and growing areas of each kind of bean.
The roasting zone shows how coffee beans are picked, and explains ways to identify coffee beans with flaws. The appreciation zone teaches you how to identify coffee of different qualities using the Coffee Taster’s Flavour Wheel and the Aroma Kit. In the brewing zone, you can learn how to brew coffee using different methods, such as hand-drip and Aeropress.
In the deeply tasting zone, you learn about mocaccino and explore what flavour combinations can be created by bringing coffee and chocolate together. Finally, the machine zone showcases the history of coffee machines dating back to the 1980s.
My journey began by learning about more than 100 kinds of coffee bean. The guide for this section, Day Ng from Barista HK, explained four different treatments of beans which can affect the taste and value of the coffee. He told us that before roasting, bad-quality beans should be removed. He said most of the chain coffee shops just skip this step to save time and effort.
#Throwback: Trying to be a barista for a day
After we were familiar with coffee beans, we stopped at the brewing zone. Although I think of myself as a coffee lover, I’ve never seen it being brewed before because I always drink canned coffee, so I was quite excited to see it happen. The tutor, Polly Tong, showed us the process.
“From the temperature of the water to the method of brewing, the technique is the key to controlling the taste of the coffee,” she said. “Different kinds of coffee have different optimum brewing temperatures. If we use water of the wrong temperature to brew coffee, the drink may become too sour or bitter.”
She then gave each of us a cup of coffee which had just been brewed. I was so surprised: with a slightly bitter taste, it was so different from what I usually drink.
As well as learning about making and drinking coffee, the workshop gave us ideas for a creative Father’s Day present. Artist Yanki Hui discovered that instead of using paint to create art, you can use coffee.
“When you use coffee to paint, you have to be more patient, because you have to draw the picture layer by layer so you can control the colours,” Yanki said.
I thought this was a really interesting idea. As well as creating a cool image, using coffee to draw makes your picture smell great. This makes the creation unique. Why not draw a card using coffee for your dad? This way, he will think of you whenever he has a coffee.
The exhibition runs until June 19