What is your favorite Brew Method and why?
For competition, I tend to use the Hario V60 for the clarity and cup quality it yields, but my all-time favourite brewing method is the Aeropress. Not because it gives a perfect cup every time, but because it allows complete freedom in how I want to approach my brewing.
With conventional filter methods, the grind size, brewing time and extraction are all interlinked, and changing grind, for example, will affect everything else. With the Aeropress, if your brews lack sweetness, you can decide to extend the brewing time by one minute, without having to change the grind or recipe. This freedom to experiment with one variable at a time makes the Aeropress my favourite brewing method.
What do you recommend a Home Brewer should think about if they want to make competition quality coffee at Home?
In my experience, what keeps people from making great coffee at home are common mistakes that are very easy to remedy. To mention two: keeping all brewing equipment clean – meaning not just rinsing everything in water after use, but also proper cleaning once in a while – and grinding coffee fresh in an adequate burr grinder, will yield remarkable results in cup quality.
Competition quality beans are also necessary, but these will not taste as good if brewed into a brown-stained decanter and ground on a ceramic burr Porlex grinder. If you´re already doing the above, then asking your favourite barista for recipe suggestions and beginning to brew more consistently using scales, timers and temperature gauges will also help elevate the cup quality in time.
What's the best coffee you ever tried?
The most memorable coffee I´ve ever tried was a Best of Panama, natural geisha lot. It was so far away from my experiences with coffee at the time that it blew me away. It simply didn´t taste anything like coffee. In retrospect, though, I´m not sure I would have drunk an entire cup of that sweet, cloying nectar. I don´t think I can pinpoint one exact «best coffee» but I deeply appreciate when I am served balanced, well developed and well-extracted coffee. It´s not as common as one might think to have those three factors line up in a specialty coffee shop, but when it happens, it is pure bliss, regardless if it´s a Colombian geisha or a pulped natural Brazil.