Quality, our top priority

Interview with Michael McCauley, Coffee Expert

Quality, our top priority
Quality, our top priority
Ιστορία Εταιρείας

What are the varieties of coffees that Cafés Richard provides
for its customers?
We offer an extensive selection of pure Arabica origins as well as a
collection of exclusive blends in order to satisfy all kinds of tastes.
We import about thirty different origins, which makes our
range very rich with a broad pallet of aromas. Customers
who are looking for a well-balanced coffee might prefer a blend.
The acidity, the intensity and the flavours are harmonious and the
complexity lends itself well to diverse types of preparation (espresso,
cappuccino, coffee with milk, americano, strong coffee). 70% of the
volumes that we deliver are 100% Arabica blends, mainly under our
Perle Noire and Florio labels. However, more and more restaurant
owners are attracted by coffee menus that highlight the terroir of the
pure origins and their specific characteristics.

You are a recognised expert and an international judge for the
world coffee competitions, what is your role at Cafés Richard?
I have to call on many different skills in my job, each one plays an
important role in the final quality of the product.
The first stage, which relies a lot on expertise and experience, is the
selection of the beans and the choice of the origins. Before becoming
a good chef, you first have to know your ingredients inside and out!
With coffee it’s the same thing… It being an agricultural product
which can vary according to the period, the terroir and the climate,
we have to be extremely careful in the selection in order to guarantee
consistent quality. We have to guarantee that each origin corresponds
to its aromatic criteria in order to ensure that it plays the expected
role in a blend or when tasted pure. Once certain of the quality of
their ingredients, chefs have to then choose their cooking method…
For us, this is the roasting process, which is the crucial stage in the
development of the aromatic qualities of a good coffee. Slow roasting
using a gentle curve will focus on the transformation of aromas while
keeping the characteristic softness and fruitiness of an excellent
coffee. Afterwards, the professionals have to take over. At this stage,
the coffee is considered to be a semi-finished product! The way in
which the barista prepares the coffee accounts for about 50% of the
success once the beans are transformed into a drink in the cup. That’s
why my job goes as far as training to teach our customers about the
important points necessary in order to always serve a quality coffee
and thus make their customers loyal. My team and I are in some way
the “quality guardians” of Cafés Richard.

So, what is a good coffee?
There are several answers to this question! Obviously, it depends on
individual taste, drinking habits and also the time of day.
Nevertheless, as with wine, we can instantly recognise a
good coffee … and a bad one! However, there are some golden
rules to follow in order to have the best chance to succeed. To start
with, a coffee is ideally freshly roasted and ground just before use.
The grind has to be adapted to the coffeemaker that is going to be
used. That’s why “standard” grinds that we find in supermarkets are
not suitable for all preparations.
For those who prefer a lighter coffee, gentle filtration methods will
bring out the refinement and the subtle aromas. Several coffeemaking
systems allow consumers to vary aromatic intensity by also playing
with the body or the texture of the final drink. For example, a coffee
prepared in a piston coffeemaker (Bodum type) with its metal filter
will have more body and texture than a coffee prepared with a paper
filter, which will be lighter and more crystalline.
Espresso lovers must distribute and tamp correctly the grind so that
the water runs through slowly and evenly. The resulting nectar will
be concentrated and aromatic and, as opposed to preconceived
notions, will contain less caffeine that a cup of filter coffee, which is
Of course, the cleanliness of the machine and the quality of the water
are also important to be able to make a good coffee.
All that seems simple, but it is really a kind of alchemy that is acquired
through discovery, training and experience.

And you say that with this alchemy, we can reveal a limitless
number of nuances and tastes?
That’s the magic of coffee tasting. Roasting develops up to 700
components and volatile aromas that are conveyed into the
cup by many notes and nuances…
A Moka Yrgacheffe from Ethiopia will have hints of citrus with a floral
nose. A monsooned Indes Malabar will be reminiscent of a good old
whiskey with its peaty and woody hints. The discovery goes on and
on … And that’s why the profession of “coffeeologist” is so passionate
and exciting; because we are on a constant voyage of our senses!