Before I left for Brazil I thought I was a true coffee aficionado. I always chose coffee brewed with freshly roasted fair-trade, organic beans and only used a touch of cream to round out the bitterness of my favourite dark roast. However, in São Paulo, a city that not only drinks 16 million cups of coffee each day but has a rich history of growing coffee, I quickly discovered I was an amateur. Luckily I went to the right café to teach me more about coffee and the best way to brew it.At the industrial-chic Coffee Lab in the trendy neighbourhood of Vila Madalena, coffee lovers flock to enjoy Brazilian beans roasted in limited micro lots on site. When The Boyfriend and I arrived we were greeted by one of the barista's fitted in coveralls, looking like he was about to tell me the damage of a car repair instead of explaining the subtle differences between coffee roasts. With his help I chose a cup of Catuai Vermelho while The Boyfriend, not a fan of coffee, ordered a hot chocolate.
After selecting your coffee you get an option to choose how it’s brewed – drip, French Press or AeroPress. I chose AeroPress because it was the only method I hadn’t tried and the coffee mechanic said it was his favourite way to experience coffee (Did I mention he had a cute accent?). He quickly brought out the hot water and cylinder press containing the filter and grounds and before he added the water to the grounds to steep he let us smell the coffee - chocolate, dried fruit and a hint of citrus - even The Boyfriend had to admit it smelled wonderful. Water was added, then a quick stir and steep and the press was placed over my mug while he applied two handed pressure to extract the wonderful dark liquid. Before adding my usual cream I took a quick sip and was overcome by flavour but not the pronounced bitterness I was used to. I liked it so I drank it black.
The first cup didn't last so I ordered a second cup of a different roast, Bourbon Vermelho, and The Boyfriend ordered the cold version of the hot chocolate. The press ritual was repeated and again I was treated to a cup that needed no additions. Feeling a third cup was pushing my caffeine limit I bought beans to take home and put a reminder in my calendar to search for local AeroPress vendors (Bytown Beanery - $35+tax). Thank you Coffee Lab and the coffee mechanics for rekindling my interest in coffee! Now where can I buy some coveralls..
Rua Fradique Coutinho, 1340
Vila Madalena - São Paulo/SP
CEP: 05416-001 - Brasil
What is your favourite way to brew coffee - drip, French Press or AeroPress?