Seductive aroma, stimulating effect! Gerd Ripp, host and barista at the Romantik Hotel Schloss Rheinfels and Nicole Ruß, coffee roaster at the Romantik Hotel Scheelehof, tell us what makes perfect coffee enjoyment.
t’s a process involving dry heat, special aromas and good hearing. The goal: in a gentle process, to release the over 800 aroma compounds in the coffee beans that make the beverage so sublime. Coffee roasting – a craft that requires lots of experience. Nicola Ruß is an expert and explains how a hard coffee seed is transformed into a luxury product through roasting. “Green coffee smells like freshly cut grass. After about 20 minutes at 200 to 215 degrees, it becomes a brown coffee bean that smells more like fresh toast. We keep a close eye on the beans throughout the entire roasting process and also listen carefully. With the first crack, the beans let us know that it’s getting too hot. The temperature needs to be adjusted.”
Roasters refer to the “first crack” as the moment when water inside the coffee bean starts to boil and is released as steam. The temperature and the duration of roasting determine whether the coffee can unfold its full aroma. If roasting is too fast and too hot, the coffee burns, retains acidity and becomes bitter. Nicola Ruß says, “Our coffee has a sweeter note. The beans contain fructose. When they are gently roasted, the sugar caramelizes and acidity has time to break down.” Ideal conditions for perfect coffee enjoyment.
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Interview with Gerd Ripp
Mr. Ripp, what exactly does a barista do – besides latte art?
Gerd Ripp (laughs): A barista is an expert on coffee, through and through. Baristas know the product from the source to quality and taste characteristics, to perfect coffee preparation.
What’s the secret for a great coffee?
The basis is good coffee beans that were gently roasted. What’s important when preparing coffee: Whatever you do, don’t pour boiling water over the ground coffee. This burns the flavor compounds; the coffee becomes bitter. My tip: Let boiled water cool down to around 85 degrees – perfect.
What equipment do you prefer to use for making coffee?
A lever espresso machine makes the best coffee. But I’m also a big fan of the French press and filter coffee.
What coffee trends do you currently find most exciting?
My guests enjoy draft coffee. Coffee is gently cooled and poured into bourbon barrels. We also currently offer an avocado latte, among other things. My personal favorite is the advocaat espresso, a cooled, double espresso macchiato with a shot of advocaat – a heavenly treat.