Harrogate barista shares tips for making the perfect cup of coffee
Last updated Mar 31, 2024

It’s fair to say we’re a nation of coffee drinkers in the UK – in fact, a 2021 survey conducted by the British Coffee Association found we drink 98 million cups per day.

But not all coffee is created equal, and the difference between a hastily made instant coffee and one presented by a barista can feel worlds apart.

Ezra Henry, from Heal, a wellness spa and café in Montpellier Quarter of Harrogate, has shared some top tips for ensuring your next cup is your best caffeine fix to date.

Start with fresh beans

Instant coffee certainly has its place – but if you’re looking to discover more types and flavours, according to Ezra there’s a clear place to start.

“The most important thing is to buy fresh beans. No matter what type of coffee you’re making, if you get pre-ground the coffee goes off really quickly.

“I’d recommend people get a cheap hand grinder to grind their own, as it’ll help everything taste really fresh. No matter which method you’re using, that’s highly recommended.

“I try to get single origin coffee where I can – Ethiopian is a good place to start. Lots of people think coffee is very bitter but Ethiopian and Kenyan can be very fruity, so that’s a good place to start getting into drinking it.”

Texturising milk is key

(Image: Pexels)

To achieve a silky-smooth texture for speciality drinks like flat whites, cappuccinos and lattes, Ezra recommends learning how to properly texturise the milk. Normally milk in these drinks will always be foamed, and introducing air and heat enhances the texture and taste.

“It can really change the way you drink the coffee and taste it – getting the milk just perfect is the best thing for me.

“Fill up your jug with milk, prep your steam wand and put the tip of the wand just at the top of the jug to create the foam. Then lower the wand into the jug.

“That’s how you can create more foam, by steaming the milk just at the top. It’s also important not to make the milk too hot. If the milk jug is too hot to touch, that’s when you can run into problems such as burning the milk or making it too frothy.”

The right temperature for this is generally considered between 60-65°C – but it’s a balancing act, and this technique can be one of the hardest barista skills to master.

Practice makes perfect – and that includes drinking it

Heal is located in Harrogate’s Montpellier Quarter

Youtube videos detailing step-by-step methods to grinding, texturising, pouring and more are an invaluable part of honing barista skills – and even caffeine aficionados can still learn something new.

But trying different types of coffee is also key to understand what your preferences are. This is something that Ezra feels is an important part of appreciating the drink, especially for those who still aren’t sure about the taste.

“I’d recommend trying a flat white first – it’s got milk in but it’s a shorter, stronger latte so you can taste the coffee a bit more.

“Once you feel like you’ve got used to the strength, drinking espressos is a great way to really experience the flavour profiles. Coffee is an exciting industry to be in – there’s so many different varieties.”

Heal is located at 6 Montpellier Gardens, Harrogate.

(Lead image: Pexels)

Read more:

Download the FREE Stray Ferret app here to access the latest news, competitions and offers.