Fad or rad?
Coffee trends tested - your taste buds saved.
Why make boring old coffee that is easy and no fuss when you can over-complicate things, amirite?
Dem old social medias (or ‘sosh meds’ as the kids say) is full of the latest and greatest coffee trends. Stunt coffee. Coffee that is made more complicated than it needs to be. Just for the clicks.
(Dem old social medias are also full of crypto-bros loosing their minds over their stupid apes becoming worthless. It’s 2022 and that sentence actually makes sense. Sigh.)
Turns out I love clicks as much as the next ape, so I’m hopping on that bandwagon (just like a few weeks ago when the Warriors won a few games. Before they were PUMPED and then lost against a team that had NO PLAYERS. NB - this reference goes to my boy Tom).
So, somewhat inspired by boredom and a few weeks of COVID-19, I tested some of the latest (and not so latest) coffee trends to let you know if they’re fad or rad, smack or whack, chronic or bubonic.
Coffee is lovely. Orange is lovely. But do two lovelies make a right?
I ran a pretty scientific test where I made two coffees using two different brew methods but using the same beans (for control - like a science), and tried them with the same orange juice.
I did espresso using a domestic espresso machine, and also a moka pot (so people at home can give this a hoon. Hi Tom!).
Here’s my method:
Brew your coffee!
Pour over ice to cool it down - no one likes warm orange juice!
Add a scientific amount of juice. I used two fingers for the first one, and half of my 3rd favourite mug for the second one. BUT WHICH ONE WAS WHICH? Right?!
Drown your mouth bones with that sweet sweet nectar.
Contemplate life choices (?)
Was it good? Well, yeah. It was. Not just good, it was awesome.
I sort of hate to say it. On the face of it, it’s a waste of excellent coffee and excellent juice. But the sugar from the juice mellowed out the bitterness of the coffee, and the overall taste was just awesome.
It’s not an everyday thing, but would make a great hangover cure.
Fad or rad?
This super viral trend is like super old now (like old in social media terms) but it is seemingly ‘coming back’.
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Simply, this is a sugary coffee syrup made with instant coffee and sugar, whipped forever into a thick ‘foam’, served in cold milk.
Looks rad, looks mad, it’s it all fad?
It’s all fad.
I like coffee, sugar and milk and this thing works on paper.
But I also like my face, my teeth and my heart. It’s two parts instant coffee to two parts sugar to two parts water. If the sugar doesn’t kill you the MASSIVE CAFFINE INJECTION will.
In a smaller serve? Maybe. In different ratios? Maybe. Are there easier ways to get cold sugar coffee inside of you? Yeah.
And on top of that, you have to whisk this like a MF from Hell. I had to use my drill.
If you want to hear more about this monstrosity, check out this video from James Hoffman. Otherwise, do yourself a massive favour and LEAVE THIS ONE ALONE.
If you haven’t come across nitro coffee, either in a café, supermarket, or the interballs, then you must be hiding somewhere. It’s seemingly everywhere now, and for those who just like a normal coffee, it’s pretty weird.
Nitro coffee is cold coffee with nitrogen gas infused into it. The resulting coffee has the same taste as normal cold brew (IMO), but an amazingly full and smooth texture. It’s almost like a stout in terms of it’s body and texture.
And it’s totally rad.
Nitro coffee isn’t just for the nerds. It’s for people who just want to chill out and spend some time savoring their cold brew coffee. Like taking the time to drink a nice stout, or a red wine. Time to think about how amazing life can be, before returning to reality.
Well worth trying and well worth trying to make it at home. It’s super easy and pretty cheap if you already have a cream charger at home.
Now here is a bit of a left field one - and one that most home brewers or street café cats wouldn’t have come across.
This deserves its own post, but I’ll give you a short snapshot of this bad boy.
Did you know, you can play with your water chemistry to make your coffee taste different.
This trend in coffee probably feels weird to Kiwis, as we have great water here in New Zealand (don’t read this, or this, or this - it undermines my previous statement). In other countries, tap water can taste pretty poos (not pretty like a dressed up poo, just generally yukky).
As your morning cup of coffee is 98% water, it’s important to have great tasting water.
Water is made up of a bunch of different chemicals, like chloride, manganese, calcium, and scarily, arsenic! Some of those compounds can make coffee taste terrible.
DID YOU KNOW? Most councils have a breakdown of the chemicals in your drinking water so you can see what you’re drinking? Check out the one for Wellington.
So some smart people came up with an idea. Add different minerals to water to overcome the crappy water and get better tasting coffee. In places like the States and the UK, this can make a massive difference.
So, thanks to some help from Instragram (thanks Scott!), I got my hands on a few packets of Third Wave water - a mineral supplement to add to my tap water.
Inside the packet is a bunch of minerals designed to make your water awesome for coffee.
To really have a good hoon at this, I did a side by side cupping of a new coffee I hadn’t tried before. In one I used boiled tap water, and in the other I used boiled Third Wave water. The coffee I brewed was this amazing gesha from Vangaurd down in Dunedin.
While both coffees were pretty similar, the treated water was ‘softer’ and ‘drier’ than the tap water. Yeah, it had a noticeable impact on how it felt slushing around my mouth bones.
The smell of the treated coffee was sweeter (like more stone fruit smells) and the taste was a little bit sweeter as well. Really subtle but enough to be noticed.
Surprisingly, they looked different… I don’t know why, but this was the pic about 6 minutes into the ‘brew’:
It didn’t necessarily make the coffee better, but it was different (both coffees were excellent).
DISCLAIMER: This wasn’t a blind test, and I’m not an expert in tasting stuff. Something that tastes bitter to me, may taste sweet to you - so rather than focus on the descriptions, I was really looking for difference.
Is it fad or rad?
I’m going to have to say both… Hutt tap water is pretty great, so I don’t need to be ‘fixing’ my water to have a great time with coffee. But others around the country might get great results from this, so I have to say that I won’t be buying any myself, but won’t dissuade people from getting their own.
Fence sitting for sure.
It’s a public service
So there you have it, some coffee trends that are worth a hoon, and a miss.
I do this so you don’t have to!
Until next time - peace.