Interview: Peter Primrich’s book Brew Tool Coffee Culture.

Brew Tool Coffee Culture – The South African Coffee-Lover’s Bible by Peter Primrich with Jennifer Steyn is the ideal gift for the discerning coffee drinker. It’s a comprehensive overview of the history, religion and politics of the magical coffee bean and how it’s impacted our lifestyles today. Brew Tool Coffee Culture will convert coffee Philistines into a official cofficionados. A great job by Mr. Primrich that is possibly only surpassed by the perfect cup of coffee!

JoziStyle was very fortunate to catch up with Peter to learn how do we brew the perfect cup of coffee- or where to order it.

JoziStyle: Peter, JoziStyle knows you as a whiskey connoisseur, what inspired you to write about coffee?
I was asked by Map Studio, the map and travel guide publishers, if I would be interested in writing a coffee book for them. As they are a mapping company, it was decided that we would review coffee shops around the country. I also wanted to add in some background information on coffee: the history, how to make it, how to taste it etc.

JoziStyle: How do you make the perfect cup of coffee?
It depends on which brew method you want. They are outlined in the book. I hope that’s not a cop out.

JoziStyle: Where do you go in Jozi for the best cup of coffee?
I prefer coffee at home, first thing in the morning. It’s my little meditation. And I love the smell of brewed coffee in the house. If I go out, in Braamfontein it would be at Father Coffee or Rosebank Exclusive’s Café.

JoziStyle: What is your pet hate when people serve you coffee?
In the café context, it would be a disinterested barista… a dirty steam wand and a grinder filled with coffee that was ground last week, you just know it will be bad. Or when a waiter asks me if i want cream or foam in my cappuccino. Spray cream is NOT a cappuccino – I call it a Boere-chino, as you find it in rural areas mainly. Also getting a mountain of dry foam (omo) with sprinkles on the coffee. Am I going on too much here, There are more…

JoziStyle: So many restaurants serve their coffee blisteringly hot, doesn’t that affect the flavour?
Edward, I’m glad you brought that up. Yes it’s bad for the coffee and for the taste. The coffee gets a “generic” taste as you can’t taste the subtleties in the roast. Coffee should be served so that you can start drinking it immediately. At one of the cafés I visited. The coffee was hot and tasted bland, once I left it to cool down to a drinkable temperature, I could taste cherries, cream and chocolate, like a black forest cake! Amazing. I wonder how much flavour was lost before I even tasted it.

Another factor is air, particularly oxygen. It negatively affects coffee quite quickly, this happens after about three minutes after it’s ground. So if you have to wait for it to cool down, you can just imagine what is happening to the flavours.

I think this trend started with the Americans “super sizing” coffee. I would obviously get cold before you were halfway through it, so they started making it hotter.

JoziStyle: Your wife must love you because we assume that you serve her coffee in bed every morning?
You are right there, she gets her first cup in bed every day. 🙂

JoziStyle: It’s quite an accomplishment to be published, please elaborate further about the process …
Thank you, Edward. It was a big thing, but I was under a lot of pressure to do it in time, so I did not have the time to reflect on it. It’s only in looking back on the process does one realise what went into the book. We (Marilyn came along on most of the journey) drove around 10 000km around the country! I visited every café featured in the book and a whole lot more, around 250 in all. The rest were not good enough to be in the book. I drank 20 coffee in a single day! On that day I could not see properly and was seeing patterns around objects! I realised that I had to stop for the day.

Another part of the book was having to drink so many bad coffees, not always enjoyable.

This book was also some I have always wanted to, if not as formally, but travel around South Africa trying the coffee. I had been keeping a list of coffee shops around the country, making little pilgrimages to visit them when nearby.

Unfortunately, Peter isn’t available to make you a cup of coffee, but he is offering one JoziStyle reader

us a copy of Brew Tool Coffee Culture to give away to a lucky

To win a copy- simply tell us how do you enjoy your coffee?


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