The Craft of Coffee: Creating the Perfect Cup
Coffee was supposedly discovered by goats, and subsequently thrown into a fire, because religious monks deemed its stimulatory properties evil. However, instead of being destroyed, it turned brown and armoatic and became even more appealing to the senses. The truth of the myth is questionable, but there is no doubt coffee has evolved over the years to become what it is today. A seemingly simple bean, coffee, is actually so complex it is still not fully understood. In the modern day, it is essentially a brown, liquidized meausure of quality. Every process, every step along its way into a cup of coffee, drastically alters its qualities of taste, smell and colour, making it crucial to carry out each procedure with meticulous care. During filming and beyond, I encountered and observed baristas, scientists and ordinary individuals and their interactions with this revered beverage. It made me question the intricacies and meticulously detailed nature of preparing a cup of coffee. How could it be manipulated in so many different ways to create such variety from a couple of humble coffee beans? This thesis aims to use a combination of academic research, observation, and personal communication with individuals involved with the filmmaking and academic process of this thesis. The introductory chapter goes through the history of coffee, from its origins to the modern cafe. The second chapter looks at the botanical aspects of coffee, what the plant is, where it is grown and its stimulatory properties. The third chapter covers the painstaking processes of preparing a good green coffee. Chapter 4 goes a step further, looking at the process of roasting, grinding and choosing the appropriate extraction method to make a 'perfect' coffee. With a substantial overview and appreciation for the humble bean from the chapters thus far, Chapter 5 unravels and attempts to explain the science behind the problems the main character in the film faced, when working with real coffee, applying the basics to a real-life situation. I conclude that making the perfect, satisfying coffee is a far more complicated process than I ever thought possible.
Advisor: Fleming, Jean
Degree Name: Master of Science Communication
Degree Discipline: Zoology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: coffee; science; filmmaking
Research Type: Thesis