Thursday, 27 October 2011

How hot should coffee be?

How hot should coffee be?

We occasionally get requests for coffee hotter than usual, but what is usual?

I'll restrict this discussion to coffee with milk - cappuccino, caffé latte and that peculiar Australian invention 'flat white'. At Cactus we aim to produce foamed milk that is at 67˚C. This is poured over an espresso shot extracted into a warm glass or cup. This is the ideal temperature for milk based espresso coffee. The milk is still luxuriously thick and full, and you can start to drink it almost immediately.

If you ask for your coffee 'very hot' we aim for 72˚C.

You may wonder why not a higher temperature? Milk boils at roughly the same temperature as water 100˚C, but the difference is that milk begins to deteriorate at around 75˚C. This is because at over 75˚C the proteins in the milk begin to curdle and this affects both the flavour and the fineness of the foam. A second effect of overheated milk is that the fats become much thinner, just like when you heat olive oil in a pan it gets thinner. The thinner the fat, the less it coats your tongue, what you will miss is that luxurious creamy feel that correctly heated milk provides to milk based coffees. Aiming for 72˚C gives a little latitude so as to avoid ruining your coffee.

For those that want much hotter coffee try a long black with milk on the side. A long black (also called, caffé lungo and caffé americano) can be served at up to 95˚C.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Cactus recommends - Gary Abkin - new paintings showing at 'the Swich Contemporary Art Space', Ipswich

Highly recommend a visit, Gary is a remarkable painter - his work is vibrant, colourful and full of life. These newer works are less figurative and more abstract. There are references to the landscape, or more accurately the artists views of the landscape, but here it is a landscape obscured. The colours are rich, heavy mustard yellows and deep blacks. They are neither sombre nor bright, presenting as even, almost matter of fact statements of the artists view.

The works reminded me of Paul Cox's film 'Man of Flowers'. In the film an eccentric old man loves to paint and play music, he attends an art class where a nude young woman is posing for the students. He paints in a very concentrated manner and it is obvious that his teacher is annoyed because the old man is painting flowers, the teachers says 'why don't you paint what you see?' The old man replies 'I am.'

The photograph shows Gilbert Burgh opening the exhibition.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Cactus recommends - Henri Cartier Bresson - The man, the image & the world

Now showing at the Queensland Art Gallery. A comprehensive exhibition of one of the worlds most influential photographers. If you are familiar with his work then you will not be diassapointed, all his iconic images are present. I find the french and spanish images the most compelling, but there is so much great work on show that it is hard to choose. One of my all time favourites below.