Maria Canales

Updated Wednesday, February 21, 2024-00:15

James Hoffmann

(44) has been immersed in the world of coffee for almost half his life. It is his passion, his work and his way of life. He started selling machines 21 years ago, although he did not like the drink at all, but a book about the history of coffee came into his hands and he was instantly fascinated. He was captivated by the diversity of its universe, the importance of it in different cultures... and began to research, study and travel.

More than two decades later, English is

a world eminence

when it comes to coffee. In addition to being a speaker, consultant, barista, businessman and professor, he feeds his

YouTube account

almost daily ,

with more than two million followers. His videos about anything related to coffee, from machines and types of beans to ways to prepare it, immediately receive millions of views.

Hoffmann has been in Madrid these days participating in talks at the


the International Coffee Festival that has just celebrated its second edition in Madrid and has brought together professionals in the sector with the most gourmet consumers. By his own admission, it has been an exception to come to the capital, because right now he is very focused on his social networks and on his coffee company, Square Mile Coffee Roasters, which he founded in 2008 in London.

"I usually make four or five trips of this type a year, because it takes me a lot of time, but I wanted to come here and take a look at what's going on


Madrid. Spain has a very important coffee culture and Madrid is now seeing a


of openings of spaces around a more exclusive, better, more expensive, different coffee... which, in addition, is having great acceptance among the public".

He has also come to present his new book

The Best Coffee at Home

, with all kinds of clues and recommendations so that his fans can make the best coffee without major complications. We chatted with him about this topic and also about the myths surrounding one of the most consumed drinks in the world.

How many coffees do you drink a day? Less and less, as I get older. It used to be four, but now I drink between two and three a day. What are they like? The first one in the morning is usually filtered, because I like it to be softer. The espresso is good but it is more intense, it is drunk faster and in the mornings I like to take my time for the first cup. Then, whoever is good. Today, for example, I drank a pistachio with milk in a cafeteria that was delicious. Do you have a preference for any? I am very curious and I love trying new products, but for me, the best is black coffee. I like to take my time drinking it because its flavor changes as it cools. It's a fun journey and also a good way to explore any type of coffee while drinking it. So is this just how a purist should drink coffee? It's a difficult question because the global coffee industry got in trouble for suggesting this. I believe that if you want to savor and enjoy everything that coffee has to offer, it's just the way you drink it. If you don't like the taste, it's normal to add milk. I drink it only because I want to taste it completely. What do you think of these places that have so many options for choosing a coffee that, in some cases, it is almost impossible to drink it alone? Yes, it is something that frustrates true coffee lovers a little. My only defense towards these venues would be that they have been very successful in attracting young people. The normal thing is that young people begin to become fond of coffee in these places and from there, progress to more exclusive ones.

What do you think of the latest generation coffee makers? Do they make coffee as good as they claim? Nespresso is for me like frozen pizza, because it is very expensive for what it really is. Anyone who really tries can make very good coffee; It's so easy, and without the need for very expensive machines. I don't complain about these types of coffee makers because they solve the problem for people who believe that making coffee can be a hassle and difficult. But I believe that it is not necessary to spend thousands of euros on a machine. From any simple coffee maker that infuses coffee you can get a great one, from the typical Italian one that is put on the stove to any one with a traditional filter. But I understand that people are busy and it's easier to press a button and that's it. And you, which one do you use for your coffees? My favorite is the typical French press coffee maker. It is very easy and fast. In addition to the fact that the more expensive the machine is, the better, what other myths are there about coffee? Many people keep it in the refrigerator and it is not good. If it is going to be stored for a long time, it is best to put it well sealed in the freezer. If not, in a closet. Another myth is the issue of caffeine, which is greater or less depending on the coffee and, the truth is that the amount of caffeine is the same in all coffees, except for decaffeinated ones, of course. What do you think about decaffeinated? The idea that decaffeinated coffee is not good is also a myth. There are excellent ones. I love it, and now I drink it more. It is also said that the best comes from Colombia. It is an incredible coffee, but I can give you 20 other producers just as good or better than Colombia; For example, Uganda, Congo, Kenya, Costa Rica, Burundi, are countries that did not make it before and now do. Even China is making very good coffee. Coffee is very diverse and you don't have to cling to the ideal flavor.

Is the exclusive Kopi luwak the best coffee in the world as they say? That's not a myth, it's usually a fraud. It is obtained from grains that have been eaten and digested by a species of Indonesian cat, which after being defecated and washed, is supposedly in an optimal state of maturation. It's not the best coffee, far from it, and the way it's made is animal cruelty. Consuming it is boosting its sales and production, which is why I encourage everyone to avoid buying it. Does coffee expire? It can be preserved for a long time, but the flavor is lost. The grain is fresh food and its optimal moment is in the first 15 days after roasting, but once it is ground, it is like cutting very fine fruit, it poaches quickly. After 24 or 48 hours, the difference in flavor is enormous once it is ground. That's why I'm a big fan of grinders, it's a good investment. Freshness is the key to good coffee and the later it is ground, the better. Furthermore, the smell of freshly ground coffee is one of life's pleasures. What is the best food to accompany a good coffee? Coffee is difficult as an ingredient. It doesn't work very well with other things. It goes well with chocolate and with pasta and buns, but outside of that, I think it doesn't work as a pairing, because it overshadows the other food or vice versa. It is increasingly more expensive to have a good coffee. Do you think it will end up being a luxury product? This is one of the most difficult questions that the industry faces, because it does not want coffee to be so expensive that it cannot reach everyone, but, on the other hand, there is no to make it much cheaper because it has an impact on the human cost. Someone suffers to make cheap coffee. The reality is that it is going to be more expensive... We have been making coffee as cheaply as possible for hundreds of years and it was a good thing. That it goes up will also be good because it will reach more to the producers, who are more sustainable.