Macchiatos to Mocha-frappa-babyccinos - What YOU Need to Know About Coffee

It's fair to say that coffee is no longer just coffee. Leaving its poor mate tea behind in the hot beverages category, coffee has practically ascended to semi-religious status, taking with it a cult following of hipsters, know-alls, and those who just can't start the day without it. 

It's surprising then, that so many of us are still baffled about coffee in its many varieties. Recently we were amazed to find out that many of the incredibly sweet delicious drinks on your average coffee shop menu, surprise surprise, have a s**t load of sugar in them. Then there are the almost daily articles circulating Facebook telling us that coffee drinkers either live longer, or we're all going to die next week from excessive caffeine consumption. What the hell are we meant to believe? 

As someone who's relatively new to the club as a lifelong tea fiend, I sought out a crash course in the art-isan of coffee (see what I did there?), so I can offer a little more than just my opinion on the milk in first/last debate, should I find myself in a conversation with some bearded hipsters. 

I could have asked one of the greasy teens working Saturdays in Starbucks for some advice, but wheres the passion, maaaan? So I called upon Clapham's resident coffee-expert Mat Mittelheuser, aka Bump & Grind and the guy who grinds his beans in a giant lego head, for some some real talk coffee chat.

Mat founded Bump & Grind in 2014, serving South London's best coffee weekdays out of Clapham High St's 64th and Social, and weekends out of Venn Street Records. He starts off with a lesson in Aussie slang before we get to business - a 'morno' = your morning beverage, which sounds far less cool when spoken in an English accent.

My first question, something that has perplexed me for some time is what is the difference between a Flat White, Latte and a Cappuccino? 
'It's all about ratios' says Mat, 'a Flat White consists of a double shot of Espresso, with 6oz (never 8oz, this doesn't exist with a Flat White) of carefully textured or 'stretched' milk that creates a 'microfoam'.' So it's much more than just hot or frothy milk - who'd have thunk it?!

'A Latte is typically a single shot of Espresso,' he adds, 'with more steamed milk, up to 10z depending on the cafe.'

Finally, the Cappuccino: 'this is made up in a ratio of thirds - a third Espresso, a third steamed milk and the other third foam. It's usually served with chocolate on top but it can also be added mid-pour for a more chocolate-y liquid.' Sounds dreamy.

And what the heck does Macchiato mean? 
 'Macchiato' literally means 'stained', and is basically an Espresso with milk added (i.e. Espresso stained with milk). 

While we're on the subject of lattes - how does latte art work and is there a knack to doing your own insta-worthy creations at home?
Unfortunately it seems there is no easy trick with this one: 'Latte art relies heavily on the ability to steam milk properly.' says Mat, 'Over-steamed milk creates more air and thus bubbles, turning it into foam which is useless.' 

'Learning how to create textured milk well takes time and practice - it's about creating the right balance of texture that gives the milk more body and to 'float'/be suspended in the Espresso. Milk not being 'stretched' correctly is what causes the milk and coffee to split.'

Why does my coffee sometimes taste crap, depending on where/when I go and what can I do about it?

'The most common reason for bitter tasting coffee is over extraction or a result of the coffee being burnt by prolonged contact with the hot water - it's totally avoidable and you're within your rights to ask to ask for another one.'

Not stopping at the basic stuff, Mat tells me about some of the more edgy varieties that promise to do more than just keep you awake:
'Bullet Proof Coffee is the next big thing - it consists of an Americano blended with 1-2 tbsp of MCT oil (Medium Chain Trigylceride).' Sounds suspiciously like something concocted by Walter White from Breaking Bad, but combined with 1-2 tbsp of grass fed unsalted butter, it's claimed to boost both cognitive performance and weight loss. Now, where can I find a blend that gives me superhuman strength too...?

You can get yourself one of Mat's majestical coffees and catch him for a chat every morning (he's much friendlier than your average Starbucks barista!), Monday to Friday at 64th and Social, Clapham High Street and Saturdays at Venn Street Market (Clapham Common is the nearest tube) - I'd personally recommend a white chocolate mocha or a very pretty flat white. 
Bump & Grind is also teaming up with Athlete Lab, an indoor cycling training facility on Cannon Street, to provide banging coffee out of the infamous lego head while you train, what more could you want?

You can also follow @bumpinangrindin on Instagram and search 'Bump & Grind' on Facebook for latte art inspo and other coffee-related lols. 

Note: this is not a sponsored post

1 comment

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