Review: Right Side filter coffee course
Right Side Coffee Roasters is one of the most famous roasters in Barcelona, and in Spain in general. When they published the new filter coffee course, it was a great moment to get my AeroPress skills to the next level, so I signed up.
The course has been developed and is presented by Miguel Lamora. Miguel has taken multiple awards at Latte Art championships, and has built up his experience by running one of the most advanced coffee shops in London.
The course took place at the Right Side roastery in Castelldefels, 30 minutes by train from Barcelona. The place is located very close to the train station and has quite a bit of space. Of course, when thinking of a place where all the amazing coffee I have been drinking throughout all these years is actually roasted, I have been imagining an industrial warehouse and some magic in it, but in reality everything was much nicer and neater than what I expected.
Besides the brewing tools themselves, Hario V60 and the Aeropress, we worked with Mahlkönig EK43, which I fell in love with on the spot. One of the best grinders I have used in my life.
The inverse osmosis water system installed in the roastery is quite amazing as well—alright, appropriate for the level of stuff that is getting brewed inside.
The main points Miguel was covering included:
- the coffee itself, specifically growing, identification, processes, structure of the bean
- the tools, starting from brewing tools and ending with grinders, water boilers and other parts of the microsystem
- water—a lot of attention was dedicated to the water, its characteristics and properties
- extraction, going in-depth on the variables involved in the process, differences between how the process goes on in different brewing methods
- logistics around making filter coffee at coffee shops
Before coming to the roastery, I have never really worked with such top-level equipment, and seeing those tools in action would alone be a worthy experience. In addition to just seeing a proper workflow and using the Mahlkönig, a few things resonated with me powerfully during the course.
The testing mindset is something everybody talks a lot about in marketing circles, but I did not realise that this mentality is precisely what allows you to make better coffee. I definitely understand that this is the process every barista goes for when testing new beans, but Miguel presented the concept in a very clear, approachable way. We even spent some time hands-on, testing both AeroPress and V60 brews on the spot.
After the number of samples we tasted at the roastery, I might or might not have been sleeping well at night.
Consistency is king
To be able to test out different variables, it is important to fix all other factors that are within your control. For example, while tweaking the grind, you should keep the ratio, the timing and the temperature of the water stable, up to 0.1g of coffee and 1ºC of water temperature.
The technique matters, but it also is a variable
I have been a fan of AeroPress Timer for a long time, and I loved the different techniques the app suggests. While using a distinctive technique each time is great, it alone will not make or break your coffee.
Miguel suggested that we only use a single technique at a time and not change it while testing other variables. His approach actually makes total sense: the technique is just another influence, like water temperature or the grind, and varying it might get you off the track.
From the coffee shop point of view, keeping the technique stable within your team allows you to keep making consistently good coffee at all times, independently of whether you have experience with these particular beans you are using or who in your team is preparing the coffee.
Instead of choosing between specific techniques or recipes, Miguel suggests focusing on getting the grind right. During the course we have been able to completely change the taste of the cup by going though different grinds, and then finally settling on a single grind level that allows for optimal extraction and full balance.
This has been one of the deeper dives into coffee making for me. Miguel poured a lot of raw experience over us, and I might have missed a lot of what he was saying. Even so, I learned a ton.
The course is densely packed with theory, on all topics from the importance of the water to the extraction process and beyond. For me, in addition to that, the practical part turned out to be very applicable and insightful.
If you are a professional and are intending to make high-quality filter coffee in your store, I definitely recommend attending Miguel’s course—in addition to being a great starting point for deeper investigation of the topic on your own, you are going to get a lot of experience-based insight into building the right workflow, adopting the testing mentality in your team and striving for both great coffee and optimal business sense.
There has been some practical change in my skills as well, for sure. When I made a cup of AeroPress right before writing this and tasted the result, I was smiling very, very widely.
Right Side Coffee Roasters, their coffee is served across the country.
Miguel Lamora (look out for his new venture in Barcelona soon!)
Mahlkönig EK43—definitely an amazing grinder.
Café de Finca—good coffee place to visit if you are in Castelldefels.