Daily grind

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making the perfect coffee

Creating a perfect cup of coffee is an art form and Dr Alex Goichman of Malvern Family Dental in Victoria is a master.

“I really got into coffee midway through my university degree. I started reading about the history and chemistry of coffee and the ways it affects our bodies. Even though there’s a lot of research on the subject, I don’t think we’ve discovered all the benefits coffee has on our physiology. 

“Towards the end of uni, I bought my first proper coffee machine. I remember it vividly—a friend came over and we started experimenting. There was a lot of trial and error and after a couple of hours we were buzzing due to all the coffee we had consumed.

“In 2010, I completed a barista course in Melbourne and that really opened my eyes to all the possibilities. I was consistently making good coffees so the obvious next step was to roast my own beans. I investigated the different levels of roasting that range between a city roast and a dark roast. You can buy a commercial roasting machine but things are much more interesting if you do it completely manually.

“I started by using a frying pan but that’s very messy and smoky. I tried a popcorn machine but it burned the beans. Eventually I improvised my own roaster. I purchased a small tin bin from Bunnings, made some holes in it and added a door. I attached the drum to an old electric drill so the speed it turns can be controlled. It took several attempts to get the drum exactly in the middle and balanced so it didn’t vibrate and fall apart. I placed the drum in the rotisserie brackets on a barbecue and started roasting. It’s crucial to listen for the beans cracking and to watch for the smoke. It’s very much a gut feeling when you think the beans are done.

“I can only roast about a kilo of beans at a time but there’s nothing better than spoiling myself with my own roasted coffee. I purchase my beans from The Coffee Company in Balaclava [VIC] and have come up with my own blend which I’m told you can now buy if you ask for Alex Blend. To create a perfect cup of coffee is a challenge because it’s a combination of art and science that morphs into instant gratification or frustration. If my first coffee of the day doesn’t come out perfectly because of too much moisture, an incorrect milk ratio, or too much or too little pressure, then I need to have a second one. This is my morning challenge—a good cup of coffee gets the day started right.” 

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