International coffee days comes but once a year – so why not celebrate the only way we know how: a really, really good cup of coffee. IBTimes UK went down to Workshop Coffee's roastery to learn all about what makes a great cup of Joe and try our unsteady hand at a little bit of latte art.
Head of quality at Workshop Coffee James Bailey talked us through the process from bean to cup and a little before that. When asked what a good coffee is, he said: "It's incredibly subjective... everyone will have their own preference, just like with wine."
"You can get very body-driven, low acid coffees or you can get very high acid, slim, fruitier coffees. Sweetness is a great goal with good coffee, if it has a natural sweetness to it and you can bring that out with how you roast and brew it, that's often a sign of good quality."
As for the country of origin, Bailey says it's mainly about the season: "There is usually a particular flavour associated with a country of origin and depending on what you like you might have a favourite but there's also the element of what time of year you're talking about.
"Right now, we're really enjoying Ethiopian coffees and central American coffees, in a few months we'll be roasting coffees from Rwanda and from Brazil. It all depends on when the particular country has their harvest season and ultimately the shorter the time between it being fruit and being in your cup is a good thing."
Temperature is also important but there isn't a perfect one for all coffees – darker roasts would need a lower temperature; standard espresso would need around 94 degree water. If you're just using a cafetiere? "When your kettle clicks off just start brewing." But over-heating your coffee can lead to over-extraction, meaning you'll get more bitterness.
When it comes to storing coffee, Bailey tells us that a sealable bag in the freezer is fine but "ultimately the best thing to do is buy a small bag of coffee that you're going to use in a week or two weeks with a resealable zip lock style pouch."
And for the most contentious question of all: what does the expert think of the hot-selling pumpkin spiced latte that is taking up chalkboard space the country over? "I've never had one."
That's maybe an answer in itself.