Do you know what's in your cup?
The Oak House partners with other local businesses to create one-of-a-kind experiences in every drink. How?
Let’s start with the coffee…
Where does coffee come from?
How is coffee grown?
How is coffee processed?
How are coffee drinks made?
Coffee is only grown in certain climates and elevations. This area of the globe is known as:
“The Bean Belt”
Coffee cherries are harvested at least once a year. In many countries, this is done by hand and can be very demanding. On average, a picker can strip 100-200 pounds of cherries from their branches in a day. This is then processed into about 20-40 pounds of coffee beans.
The traditional way to begin processing coffee cherries is to dry them in direct sunlight. Cherries are raked to prevent spoilage, and covered when raining.
If machinery and water sources are available, cherries can be processed by removing the pulp from the bean, then held in tanks filled with water. Ripe beans will sink to the bottom of the tank, and these beans will be sorted and dried.
In the milling process, the coffee beans have the outer layer layered removed. This layer is known as the parchment layer.
Polishing the coffee beans removes any remaining pulp that the hulling machines missed. The imperfect beans are then sorted out by size and weight. Defective beans are often sorted out by both hand and with a machine.
The coffee beans are now processed and ready to be shipped around the world. However, the beans still need to be roasted, ground, and brewed to perfection before it reaches your cup!
Roasting coffee beans brings out the familiar smell and taste we all know. Beans are roasted at a very high temperature and carefully monitored. When finished, the beans are quickly cooled down to stop the roasting process.
Several things happen to the coffee bean as it roasts. Darker roasted coffee beans are roasted for a longer period of time, so the oils of the coffee have come to the surface. Darker roasts typically have lower levels of acidity than light roasts, but a higher level of bitterness. Light roasts will have higher caffeine levels and maintain the natural flavors of the bean.
One of the keys to the perfect coffee drink is to achieve the perfect grind. The perfect grind depends the particular brew method. Some brewing methods require more time than others - a shot of espresso is extracted in less than 30 seconds, while a french press takes around 5-6 minutes to produce a drink.
The size of your coffee grinds has a direct effect on the flavor of the coffee. Because each grind is specific to a brewing method, it is important to know how you’re making your coffee before you grind the beans. Freshly ground beans are always the best bet for the most delicious cup!
Regardless of the style of coffee drink, in order to achieve a great tasting beverage, all coffee drinks require a proper ratio of high quality water and freshly ground coffee. The general rule of thumb is about 1-2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water. This is known as “The Golden Ratio”.
Because there are a wide variety of drinks and brewing methods, there are many variables that go into making different types of coffee. Some require special equipment, ingredients, and training. Tap the espresso machine to pull a shot!
Drinking a latte or cappuccino?
Espresso-based drinks can be complicated, so keep scrolling to learn more!
What is espresso?
Espresso is a small drink that uses really hot water and a lot of pressure to extract coffee from tightly packed coffee grounds.
If you've ever been to a coffee shop, you've probably seen many types of drinks on the menu. All of these drinks have different ratios of espresso, milk, and foam. Here are some common drinks!
What are some common drinks?
2oz of espresso
< 1 oz of foam
2 oz of espresso
2 oz of steamed milk
Thin layer of foam
2-3 oz of espresso
3 oz of steamed milk
3 oz of foam
2-3 oz of espresso
8 oz of steamed milk
Thin layer of foam
First, coffee beans are ground to a powder-like texture.
Then, the grounds are packed into a portafilter. This process is known as tamping.
Next, the portafilter is locked into the espresso machine's grouphead, creating an airtight seal.
The boiler in the espresso machine creates steam from really hot water. The steam and hot water is captured in a pressure chamber inside the grouphead, then forced through the portafilter with 9 bars of pressure. The result is a perfect shot of espresso!
Cold milk is poured into a steaming pitcher, and a steam wand is used to simultaneously heat up and aerate the milk.
The steam wand is placed just off-center of the pitcher to create a spinning vortex. The tip of the wand is just below the surface of the milk to ensure air is incorporated.
When the milk reaches about 140 degrees, it's ready to pour!
Basically, milk is made up of water, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. All of these components contribute to the taste and texture of milk.
If you were to watch milk being steamed under a microscope, you would see the proteins unwind and attach to the air bubbles coming in from the steam wand. This keeps the foam from dissolving too quickly.
Milk that is higher in fat content will have a silky foam texture that is perfect for latte art!
Where does The Oak House source their coffee?
To learn more about Joe Van Gogh, the coffee provider for The Oak House, and where you can find their award-winning coffee,
Coffee beans come from the pits of coffee cherries. These cherries are grown in shaded areas and harvested by large machines or by hand.
Grinding for Different Drinks
Where does The Oak House source their milk?
To learn more about Homeland Creamery and all their products,
Keep scrolling to make your own Oak House Latte!
You now know what goes into every drink at The Oak House. Don't forget to share this on social media and support your local coffee shop!
Meet the creator of Locally Sourced
Michael Hemstreet is a former barista and graduate student at Elon University in North Carolina. "Locally Sourced" was inspired by his time working in the coffee industry and used to fulfill the Capstone Project requirement in Elon University's MA in Interactive Media program.
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