i first came to know of Viggnesh from a coffee-class he taught in Chennai. since then, i have understood more about the world of coffee and how there are many more such true blue coffee fanatics out in the world.
this International Coffee Day, i wish to bring to you, snippets of our conversation all of which revolves around coffee.
say hello to mr.viggnesh – the coffee enthusiast
let’s get right to it, what does coffee mean to you?
Coffee, is just everything. From starting the day to make a cup for my wife based on her mood till i end the day cupping a new Indian bean it just takes part in every minute of my day. Coffee is not just a drink for me, it is a part of my life where i reinvent myself everyday.
wow, so are you a coffee snob? what is your opinion on Instant Coffee?
I am on the right path to becoming one and i believe there is long way to go. I understand the finer intricacies of a cup, a bean and the brew but there is so much to learn and i am in the initial pages. Instant coffee is where a thick syrup of coffee is extracted from lower grade beans and crystallized. It does give a strong taste but you never get to enjoy the variety of flavours like you do in a freshly brewed cup of coffee.. Instant is not healthy as well and it is not a coffee that i would drink at any given day in my life even i get withdrawal symptoms from coffee 😀
that makes sense! how did this start? how did you become a coffee enthusiast?
I started experimenting different methods of brewing from my kitchen to get a nice espresso flavor. This was out of whatever is there in my kitchen and no fancy stuff. The experiment still has not come to a stop. Throughout my journey of experimenting, i came across people like @heritageblend, @bilihu, who helped me initially to understand more about the bean in itself. On March 23 2014, is when i tried my first brew from an Indian bean that was not available in a supermarket store. From using heirloom methods of brewing, flavour infusions, roast profiling, cold brews, espresso pressure profiling and manual extraction method all followed through and i did not want to call myself anything other being just an enthusiastic person over coffee!
that’s just you being humble! you have great coffee skills!! how did you develop them? esp the taste skills required for cupping coffee?
Coffee cupping or tasting is a skill that we all have. Basically in the initial stages when you cup coffee, you would not notice all the flavors. It comes out of consistent practice but with also the fact that you might end up on the threshold of flavour saturation soon. I never wanted to take the path of certifications or going by what was already prescribed. I went to few cupping sessions to understand how people do it. When i first started cupping coffee i did not think of anything else except me having an open mind and an empty page in my notebook to write the flavors and notes. I felt that You have to try the same coffee umpteen times till your notes are the same over multiple readings. This is just to make sure my process of manual grinding and taste profiling reached the point where i was able to constantly repeat the same exercise and bring out consistent results.
is coffee all you do? do you have a day job like the rest of us mere mortals? if so, how do you balance your love for coffee with your everyday work and life?
I work in IT and so far i have been really bad at balancing it. I try to give equal time to both and end up with just 3 hours of sleep. I brew coffee at work everyday using minimalist brewing methods off an office desk. I get all my beans, hand grinder, brewing equipment to work daily and when i get a solid 15 minutes off work, i make sure to craft a brew and enjoy tasting it along with work. Back home after my wife goes to bed i take over the kitchen for the rest of the day. Cupping, trying a new brew method, adjusting brew ratios, pressure profiling my espresso and using the coffee pucks to make bath scrubs happen at night 🙂
you brew at work!!! WOW! you should win an award just for that!!
speaking of awards, we recently saw you participate in an AeroPress Championship in Delhi. did you win? tell us more.
events like the one at The Farm, Chennai. Tell us a bit more about how coffee has taken you places!
add me to the notification list! so we could see viggnesh- the coffee enthusiast become viggnesh – the coffee-preneur soon! where do you see your relationship with coffee in 5 years?
what advice would you like to give someone who is interested in coffee and wants to understand the world better?
Buy an Indian bean, grind it fresh with a usual stone mortar at home, boil the grounds in hot water, write down your own proportions, understand the taste, vary the factors – grind size, water level and temperature till you get your perfect cup. You will understand coffee in a much better way when you get your hands in brewing it. This cannot be a daily ritual but people can spend an hour in their weekend by doing this as an activity. This would spark conversations, reading and of course a wonderful cup of coffee. Coffee is one among the most Indian things that we should start appreciating.
Okay, let’s bring this home with some rapid fire questions!
Current Favorite Coffee – Monsoon Malabar
Favorite Coffee Equipment – Manual Hand Grinder
Favourite Way to have Coffee – Black – Manual Extract
Favourite addition to coffee – Vanilla Pods or Vanilla Cream
i cant not thank you enough for doing this, Mr. Viggnesh! it’s been an absolute pleasure and honor!
happy international day of coffee, folks!
please do leave comments and questions for Mr. Viggnesh down below. i am also linking below his social media handles, where you can bug him about coffee (he is super nice when it comes to coffee questions!)