Deconstructed Coffee Is Not Good Coffee – A Barista’s Perspective

If you haven’t seen it by now the Internet has lost its mind over the “deconstructed coffee” severed from a café in Melbourne, Australia.

“The hipsters have gone too far” is the collective uproar. But does it actually make sense to serve a coffee this way?

It’s time to give my barista perspective.

Deconstructed Coffee

The infamous deconstructed coffee. Source: Jamila Rizvi.

The Short Answer: It’s Not Good Coffee

The deconstructed coffee is an example of how not to make a good coffee.

The drink is severed on a wooden platter with the three core elements of a coffee deconstructed in beakers: steamed milk, hot water, and espresso.

The manager of the café said she came up with the idea after customers became increasingly picky about how their coffee is made.

Although serving a coffee in this fashion is novel, it’s actually detrimental to the taste profile of the drink.

This is because a well-made coffee is all about balance. Making sure each core elements is mixed in harmony. By leaving it up to the customer to create the beverage there is a high risk of this delicate harmony going a mess.

For example below is a diagram on how cappuccino should be made:

cappuccino diagram pic

Notice how there is an exact ratio of one part espresso, one part steamed milk and one part textured milk. Making your beverage any other way will result in your coffee tasting too milky, too strong, or just plain awful.

However let’s say for arguments sake the customer is always right. It’s their choice on how their coffee should be made.

The main issue about the deconstructed coffee is the espresso being left to out to deteriorate longer than usual. This is a big problem for milk based drinks as you want to mix the espresso with steamed milk immediately to get the best tasting beverage.

Espresso starts to deteriorate mere moments after it’s extracted from an cappuccino machine. By time the espresso is extracted, placed carefully in a beaker, presented on a wooden platter, and the customer has taken a picture for their Instagram, the espresso would have deteriorated beyond anything reasonable and will result in a sub-standard drink.

In short deconstructed coffees are good for Instagram but not drinking.

*Note: This was a troll post. Make your coffee how you like. Coffee is not that serious ;-).

Would you order the deconstructed coffee?

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  • Shaqed

    Love this article. Indeed , it’s pretty funny that only coffee is a drink that most of the people drink it the way they like it. And get the definitions of coffee making out of the way.
    In my country this is super common, some like strong,some weak and u come up with something even worse than deconstructed coffee, u change the espresso shot, by making a fast exctract, and they like it!
    In addition, deconstructed coffee is ordered by people who mostly like weak coffee drink, which they pour a little bit of espresso to the milk.

    • I’ve had a lot of fussy drinkers while working as a barista. I can understand why the cafe did (even if it was for a gag) as people can super picky with their coffee. Good point about the weak coffee.

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