I’m a coffee drinker. Thus, to be invited and be one of the lucky few was a pleasure. It was an afternoon of learning and appreciating coffee, how it was started before we can actually drink it. The difference between the fragrance and aroma, the acidity level and which is stronger, is it the brewed or espresso? All of this happened on a cloudy afternoon sometime last last week at Alessi, Bonifacio Hight Street in Taguig.
But first let me tell who Conlin is. Eric Conlin is one of the Q Grader in the country, Philippines. (Well, we only have two!) A Q Grader is a professional cupper certified by the Coffee Quality Institute, an international organization that regulates the system of grading specialty coffee according to its quality. It requires more than just a sharp, defined palate, necessitating a deep knowledge of the entire art of making coffee. With that said, Eric decided to fly to Hong Kong to undertake the Q Grader exam — one of the most difficult tests for anyone in the coffee business. The distinction, however, more than outweighs the cost, and becoming one would help Conlins immeasurably, as Eric would be able to grade their coffee while being able to use his knowledge to educate other people about the craft.
More so, The Q Grader test subjects examinees to 22 trials over the course of six (6) days. From grading different levels of bitter, sweet, and salty; to triangulation tests; to identifying the origin of coffee and preparing your own cups — the Q grader challenges both the skills and the patience of each participant.
Now, Eric is the Chief Operating Officer of Conlins and Alessi Philippines, having helped Harris build the brand in the years that he’s been back. Since then, Conlins has grown and expanded, bringing in high-grade coffee makers from Europe and high-concept household items from Italian design company Alessi. But before that, Eric had been a dog washer, then he managed indoor playgrounds, then he worked in door-to-door sales, going up to random people and asking them to buy whatever he was selling at the time — all sorts of things. Eventually, he began to work in the espresso bars in Vancouver, before finally becoming the manager of a chain of toy stores.
|inside ALESSI store|
Coffee cherry is being carefully picked one by one then dries it up by using the natural (sun) or mechanical (machine). A process of sorting the good from the bad comes after. Why they need to sort it out? Well, the bad coffee cherry can affect the taste of the coffee. It has a tendency to make it sour, better or can be more acidic. The process of drying can also affect the taste of the coffee. Thus, being knowledgeable with the process is the key to make a good one. Panama coffee is one of the most expensive coffee in the world with its price of P20,000 per kilo. Well, I was so lucky then that I was able to smell and taste it. Did I like it? Without creamer and sugar, hmm not that much, it has a sour taste at first sip and a bitter after taste and less acidic. But I can say, it is more perfect and I’ll appreciate it more if there’s a bread bun with cheese on the side. Ha-ha. I’m thinking of a great breakfast already. Panama has an exceptional taste.
|different coffees for tasting - Colombia & Ecuador|
Comes next are Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and El Salavador. I like the four coffees, having El Salvador on my top list. For rainy and emotional days, I’d rather have Colombia or Ecuador for their smooth taste, it was relaxing and calming.
|Yeah, I tried to make one!|
Fragrance is the sweet and pleasant smelling such as the smell of a perfume or a flower. For me, the smell that only passed by on my nostrils and can be described by comparing to other things is fragrance. Hence, Aroma is the smell that lingers on me which is a smell from substances like food and spice. When I smell the raw Robusta Coffee, used by Nescafe, it was like an awakening fragrance. But when I tasted it, its aroma awakes my senses right there and then. And if you really wanted to stay awake then I suggest you take brewed coffee as it is stronger than espresso. Espresso is light and less acidity though. For now, espresso for me, please!
|how it looks like when water is poured. This set of coffee maker, except the coffee, is for only P1,300.|
During the coffee master class, Conlin also taught us how to make our own coffee without using coffee maker, what you only need are coffee, dripper with paper filter and hot water. You can buy this mechanical coffee maker package in Alessi for P1,300 only.
|random design in ALESSI store|
|cute tissue holders and condiments holders|
|Coffee Maker worth P200,00ish|
Basically, learning and knowing the right coffee for you is the best thing to make your day productive and energetic. Plus, drinking coffee may lower risk of death and it make your reproductive system happy are just few of the many advantages. Make it a habit! Cheers!
|Alessi in BGC|
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Alessi is available at the following stores:
Alessi Concept Store
‡ Bonifacio High Street in Taguig (856-4452)
Conlins Elements Stores
‡ Greenbelt 5 Makati (729.9698)
‡ Trinoma, Quezon City (900-0668)
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