Every Saturday my husband and I start the day with a discussion on who’s going to get out of bed and make the coffee. Whilst I don´t really have a problem with it being me, Nick’s argument is that I have a coffee blog and so there’s no question about who the coffee maker is in our house.
My latest coffee discovery is White Americano (aka ‘white amo’) but I used to be a huge fan of flat white. My goal is to learn about the many different styles of brewing coffee, and so far my skills cover Latte and Americano. I thought it would be a good idea to keep moving towards my caffeine-centred goal so this week I went to a Flat White Masterclass run by Costa Coffee.
But just before we move on – ‘what is a Flat White?’ I hear you ask (as do the local baristas in my home country of Russia). Let me explain… Flat white is an espresso with hot steamed milk which gives the coffee a very smooth texture. There is no froth hence it’s known as ‘Flat’ and it’s actually one of Costa’s signature drinks.
My first encounter with Costa Coffee was in Budapest where I lived for a year. I fell in love with their delicious coffee and cosy chairs and used to go there every weekend to spend a few hours reading Spanish textbooks. Then they opened their coffee shop in Saint Petersburg right in the city centre and I would often go there for ‘coffee dates,’ knowing that I would always get a cup of really good coffee. Today they have thousands of coffee spots in 29 countries around the world – amazing! So I decided to give the Costa Coffee Masterclass a try, and initiate myself further into the world of coffee blending and drinking.
At the class, I met a bunch of really friendly staff that were passionate about coffee. They explained everything about their coffee journey – from the moment it’s planted up until it reaches the customer’s lips. The beans mostly come from Vietnam, Brazil and Columbia and give a perfect blend of Arabica and Robusta. I was really shocked to find out that a coffee plant only starts producing coffee cherries after five years!
The masterclass was split into two parts:
- a detailed introduction to the brand how Costa Coffee started, and where it is right now
- how the flat white coffee is made
The class was really friendly and we chatted, asked a lot of questions, and made jokes. I had the chance to see coffee beans at every stage of roasting – something I have never experienced in my life. It’s true what they say – coffee is not just something we drink in the morning, but something that involves a long process before it gets to our breakfast table. It’s so fascinating!
Ok, let’s get to the actual coffee making. For a Flat White first, you steam the milk at 120 degrees in an espresso machine and then leave it for some time while you grind the beans and prepare a shot of coffee. There is a special technique for preparing the milk which takes only a little practice. When the espresso shot is ready, you swirl the milk into it until it becomes smooth, then pour half of it into another container so you get the best part for your flat white coffee.
The hardest (and most fun!) part was trying to draw a design on my coffee. The trick here is to hold a cup at 45 degrees and basically ‘wiggle-wiggle’ the milk. By doing this you should get a standard ‘leaf’ pattern. What I got was something reminiscent of a shamrock, but honestly, I was happy!
Then it was time to try my creation. Thanks to the clear guidance and help of the Costa professionals I ended up with a really tasty Flat White. I shared it with my friend who is a tea drinker and she said she may now begin to love coffee. It’s such a rewarding feeling to be able to prepare a good cup of coffee and I’m considering switching to drinking Flat White all the time and mastering it at home.
And I’ve got some fantastic news for you! Costa is running the free masterclass in 170 coffee shops across the UK this coming Wednesday 21st September from 7-8pm. Sign up for free here.
I promise you a lot of fun and an interesting experience, and if you’re a coffee lover it’s a great opportunity for you to learn how to brew your favourite drink.
P.S. Now I don´t have any excuses not to make the coffee for my husband at the weekend…