Local coffee identity Sean Edwards has just finished his second book, which will help readers make the perfect espresso – at home!
> Sean, congratulations on your second book, ‘Home Coffee Machine Review – The Complete Guide to the Perfect Home Espresso. It’s a beautifully produced book; tell us a little about it.
The Home Coffee Machine Review was a project I wanted to complete since the Home Barista book I co-authored 3 years ago. When I did Home Barista, the Australian consumer was just starting to get into home based espresso beverages, but the equipment at the time was pretty basic. Home Barista was well received by a market that was hungry to learn more about the science and art of great coffee.
I have also had more time to study the consumer market and now understand where the coffee scene is heading in Australia. The Home Coffee Machine Review looks closely at fresh coffee and how the home coffee consumer can get to really understand the process, so they can produce a café quality beverage in the home.
So many people buy home espresso equipment and are not happy with the results they are getting from the process. Often they blame the machine and shove it in the shed with all the other fad appliances. In reality, the problem often lies with them not fully understanding the complete cycle of espresso coffee making.
> What sort of work goes into testing over 20 different coffee machines?
It’s hard to do honest reviews when you get pressure from the corporate manufacturer wanting their machine to come out on the A list. This is why I have not really commented on what are the best machines in the marketplace.
All machines work and make reasonable coffee at their own pace. Coffee machines are like cars … the more you spend, the better they normally are.
> And what was your personal favourite home espresso machine?
I like the heat exchange machines with the E61 group heads and a boiler. They are quite expensive, around $3,000 for a system, but they make coffee like a commercial coffee machine and will last for years.
The cheaper machines are a good stepping stone, as the consumer can see where they want to go with their coffee quest: become a professional home barista, or go back to the local café for that perfect fix.
> Where did your passion for espresso come from?
I actually did not like coffee that much, mainly due to the fact I’d never really experienced a great cup. It was when I started a café in Comboyne 12 years ago, I knew I needed to learn more about coffee.
So I went on a bit of a journey on the why and how of this mystical but popular beverage. I soon learned that there were many interpretations of espresso making.
Most concepts did not fit in with the way we drink coffee in Australia – which is mostly milk based coffee drinks. I decided, with some other industry professionals, to write a system that all cafés could follow. These course notes ended up becoming a standard – Prepare and Serve Espresso Coffee.
I now firmly believe our industry has grown very strong due to a high level of care factor that the industry is showing in its approach to coffee presentation.
> Tell us a little about the coffee industry in general …
The coffee industry in Australia spends over eight billion dollars a year on consumer and café coffee. Over one million home espresso machines exist in houses around Australia. This is a big part of why I have written this second book.
I believe the consumer market is far more sophisticated than the coffee industry can imagine, and most people want café quality coffee at home. The way the industry is going to grow is by educating the consumer to enjoy fresh coffee and get away from the bland taste of instant coffee.
People are starting to want more from their coffees; in cafés they now expect latte art and the barista to know the origins of beans that they are serving.
> If you had to give one piece of advice for the budding home coffee enthusiast, what would it be?
I would tell people to keep learning and don’t get arrogant about your coffee making abilities. Coffee making is like cooking – you never stop learning.
The other tip is source fresh coffee, preferably from your local roaster, as coffee is best around 10 days from roasting.
> Where can our readers get a copy of the book?
The book is available from most coffee roasters in Australia. Here in our area, Peak Coffee in Jambali road have a good supply. We are selling the books also on our website at www.cafebiz.net
> Thank you Sean.