How to brew the perfect cup of coffee

How to make the perfect cup of coffee: Use water that hasn’t quite boiled, a 1:16 ratio of coffee to water and NEVER use distilled water, claims expert

  • The secret art of the perfect brew was revealed by coffee expert David Castillo 
  • Mr Castillo is the head of training at independent New York chain Joe Coffee
  • He says ideal water temperature should be between 202 to 208°F (94 and 98°C)
  • The equipment you use and size of your grounds can also have an effect on taste 

There’s a fine art to brewing the perfect cup of coffee but one expert claims to have the secret recipe to getting the best taste out of your beans every time.

That ranges from your choice of water, which should be hot but not boiling and never be distilled, to the right ratio of coffee to liquid.

That’s 1:16 according to David Castillo, who trains baristas at independent New York chain Joe Coffee and was a finalist in the 2018 United States Barista Championship.

The equipment you use and the size of your grounds can also have an effect on the overall taste, he says.

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New York-based coffee expert David Castillo revealed his tips for brewing the perfect cup of joe, sharing advice on everything from the kind of equipment needed to water temperature

Mr Castillo, who made the comments during an in-depth interview with Newsweek, says that water should be very hot but not boiling.

He recommends a temperature of between 202 to 208°F (94 and 98°C). That’s because if the water is too cool, the natural acids in the coffee won’t be released, and if the water is too hot, the resulting brew will be too bitter and could taste burnt.

Distilled water should not be used as the minerals needed to extract flavor from the coffee have been removed.

This means that the resulting cup won’t taste particularly pleasant, Mr Castillo says. 

Any regular drinking water is fine to make coffee with, however, despite some connoisseurs insisting bottled or filtered water is essential.

‘The conventional wisdom is, if the water is good enough to drink on its own, it’s good to use for coffee,’ Mr Castillo told Newsweek. 

With regard to ensuring that the 1:16 water-to-coffee ratio is exact, the barista explained that he and his colleagues measure all grounds used in grams for a more ‘precise’ result, rather than relying solely on estimated tablespoons as some other chains do.

Mr Castillo noted that the size of the beans can have an impact on the flavor of the coffee when it is brewed (stock image)

Mr Castillo noted that the size of the beans can have an impact on the flavor of the coffee when it is brewed (stock image)

In terms of equipment, Mr Castillo says that everything from a manual French press to an electric coffee machine can be used to make the perfect cup of joe, as long as it is clean and you’re familiar with how to use it properly.   

However, one of his top recommendations is buying your own fresh beans and grinding them yourself – preferably with a manual ‘burr’ style grinder, rather than an electric one.

He says that the resulting grounds will be of a more consistent size and will lead to a better flavor in your cup.

As far as the beans themselves and how well they should be roasted, the coffee expert says this is down to personal preference, much like a fine wine. 

Your choice of filters can also affect the final result, Mr Castillo claims, with paper filters removing natural oils from the coffee and resulting in a cleaner and more complex flavor.

However, a permanent filter – as used in some coffee machines – gives a fuller bodied flavor, albeit less complex.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DRINKING COFFEE?

Caffeine has been deemed safe for consumption in doses of up to 400 mg per day for the general population. 

Studies suggest it can have a variety of health benefits, including combating liver disease and type two diabetes.

Research has even suggested it could even help people live longer.

It is the world’s most widely consumed stimulant and reports show it can boost daily energy expenditure by around five per cent.

Researchers have said combining two to four daily coffees with regular exercise would be even more effective at keeping the weight off.

A 2015 study showed just a couple of cups a day could help millions of dieters stay trim once they have achieved their desired weight. 

Old people who lift weights ‘live for longer’

Older people who lift weights ‘live for longer’, study finds as researchers urge doctors to start advising pensioners to take-up power training

  • Scientists tracked the muscle power of 4,000 people aged between 40 and 85
  • Each participant was assessed for how many times they could lift weights 
  • The study, by Brazillian experts, was presented at a cardiology conference  

Older people who lift weights in the gym will live for longer, if new scientific research is to be believed.

But they will only have lower odds of being sent to an early grave if they lift weights quickly and in moderation – and they must avoid heavy ones.

Brazilian scientists tracked the muscle power of 4,000 people aged between 40 and 85 over the course of six years to make the conclusion.

Each participant was assessed for how many times they could lift weights that were gradually getting heavier in the ‘upright row’ position in a certain time frame.

Older people who lift weights in the gym will live for longer, if new scientific research is to be believed. But they will only have lower odds of being sent to an early grave if they lift weights quickly and in moderation – and they must avoid heavy ones

The upright row position involves the participant holding a weight at hip-height and lifting it up to their shoulders with elbows pointing out.

The experts at the Exercise Medicine Clinic in Rio de Janeiro said it is a common movement used in daily life, such as for picking up shopping bags.

Researchers found that at a follow-up after six-and-a-half years, 247 men – or 10 per cent – and 75 women – or six per cent – had died.

Their results, presented at a cardiology conference, showed those with the ability to lift weights at speed lived longer.

But gym-users who lifted the heaviest weights – defined as having the most muscle power -were up to 13 times more at risk of dying.

Study author Professor Claudio Gil Araújo said: ‘Doctors should consider measuring muscle power and advise more power training.’

Muscles get gradually weaker as people age and it’s a common contributor to death in people over 40.

The average age of the participants was 59. Five per cent were over 80, and just over two-thirds were men.

Professor Araújo said: ‘Rising from a chair in old age and kicking a ball depend more on muscle power than muscle strength.

‘We now show that power is strongly related to all-cause mortality.

‘But the good news is that you only need to be above the median for your sex to have the best survival, with no further benefit in becoming even more powerful.’

The research team are currently examining the link between muscle power and specific causes of death including heart disease and cancer.

But the new study is the first time that muscle power has been assessed. Previous research has focused only on muscle strength, primarily using the handgrip exercise.

The researchers said the best way to increase muscle power is to choose multiple exercises for the upper and lower body.

Choose a weight that isn’t too easy or hard to lift, they added, and said to do up to three sets of six to eight repetitions moving the weight as fast as possible.

The findings were presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a congress of the European Society of Cardiology, in Lisbon, Portugal.

IS BALLROOM DANCING GOOD FOR ELDERLY PEOPLE?

Elderly people are advised to take up tango and ballroom dancing to cut the risk of falling and injuring themselves.

In June 2017, dance scientist Dr Emma Redding, from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, said dance classes could help prevent falls, which are the biggest cause of emergency hospital admissions for pensioners in Britain and kill almost 5,000 people every year.

The slower, structured dance styles of tango and ballroom provide ankle and core strength for older people, helping them keep their balance.

Older people are more at risk of falling because of muscle deterioration and a loss of balance that comes with age, as well as sight problems and the side effects of medications.

Elderly people are advised to take up tango and ballroom dancing to cut the risk of falling and injuring themselves

Elderly people are advised to take up tango and ballroom dancing to cut the risk of falling and injuring themselves

Dr Redding also said dance classes can help widowed people who are lonely, while the traditional music they waltz to can bring back valuable memories for those with dementia.

Speaking before giving a talk at Cheltenham Science Festival, she said: ‘Dancing, you take physical risks you would not on your own. You shift your weight from side to side, from front to back, as you would not do when walking.

‘This helps with ankle and core stability and makes people much more confident when moving in everyday life. 

‘The postural alignment is very important in preventing falls in older people and could help keep them safe.’ 

Dancing burns off six calories a minute in the average person, compared to 10 calories a minute for football.

This is particularly good for older people, who typically fail to achieve their guideline 150 minutes of moderate exercise and two of more days of strength exercises a week.

Actor who is just 3ft 7in tall, becomes one of Britain’s shortest dads

Actor who is just 3ft 7in tall, becomes one of Britain’s shortest dads after his 5ft 8in wife gave birth to a baby girl

  • James Lusted, 30, used a stepladder when he married wife Chloe, 25, last year 
  • At 3ft 7ins, the actor from north Wales has become one of the UK’s shortest Dads 
  • The couple have welcomed daughter Olivia Nevaeh, who weighed  8lb 3oz
  • James was born with a type of genetic dwarfism called diastrophic displasia 

A man born with dwarfism has become one of Britain’s shortest dads after welcoming his first child. 

Actor James Lusted, 30, from Wales, who is just 3ft 7in, had to climb a step-ladder to marry his wife Chloe who towers over him at 5ft 8in.

And two-and-a-half years after their dream wedding, James, 30, and teacher Chloe, 25, have welcomed the birth of daughter Olivia Nevaeh.

Actor James Lusted, who is just 3ft 7in, has welcomed the birth of daughter Olivia Nevaeh with his wife Chloe, who towers over him at 5ft 8in

James said: ‘Holding my daughter in my arms is definitely in the top two of the best things I’ve ever done. Marrying Chloe was the other best day of my life.

‘There are no words to describe the love we feel for Olivia. We are both overwhelmed by emotion and have never felt love like this before.

‘When Olivia was first born I was just blown away by it all. I can’t really describe the moment in words. 

‘When the nurses placed her in my arms I’d have died for them both, that’s all I can say. We are both utterly smitten.’

James, 30, had to climb a step-ladder to marry his wife Chloe, 25, two and a half years ago

James, 30, had to climb a step-ladder to marry his wife Chloe, 25, two and a half years ago

Olivia – who arrived weighing a healthy 8lb 3oz – was allowed home with mum and dad in Colwyn Bay, North Wales just 24 hours after being born.

James was born with a type of genetic dwarfism called diastrophic displasia but has not handed the condition down to his daughter.

James said: ‘Olivia is just perfect. The paediatrician discharged her and said she was a perfect little baby and she really is.

James (pictured with Olivia and Chloe) was born with a type of genetic dwarfism called diastrophic displasia but has not handed the condition down to his daughter

James (pictured with Olivia and Chloe) was born with a type of genetic dwarfism called diastrophic displasia but has not handed the condition down to his daughter

Olivia - who arrived weighing a healthy 8lb 3oz - was allowed home with mum and dad in Colwyn Bay, North Wales 24 hours after being born

Olivia – who arrived weighing a healthy 8lb 3oz – was allowed home with mum and dad in Colwyn Bay, North Wales 24 hours after being born

Doting dad James (pictured on his wedding day to Chloe) said: 'Olivia is just perfect. The paediatrician discharged her and said she was a perfect little baby and she really is'

Doting dad James (pictured on his wedding day to Chloe) said: ‘Olivia is just perfect. The paediatrician discharged her and said she was a perfect little baby and she really is’

James said that being a dad is 'the best feeling ever' and that him and Chloe (pictured together) are 'cherishing every single moment'

James said that being a dad is ‘the best feeling ever’ and that him and Chloe (pictured together) are ‘cherishing every single moment’

‘Chloe feeds her and she goes to sleep at midnight and wakes up at 5am. I am guessing she is so relaxed because Chloe and I are so laid back and she senses that.

‘We’d love more children in the future but for now we are just fine and are enjoying every moment with Olivia. 

‘Being her dad is the best feeling ever and we are cherishing every single moment.’

Chloe's ultrasound: James said that his wife has a 'very easy pregnancy' and craved 'everything orange'

Chloe’s ultrasound: James said that his wife has a ‘very easy pregnancy’ and craved ‘everything orange’

James (pictured with wife Chloe) - who is also a Tory councillor - is currently rehearsing for a role in the Wizard of Oz with former glamour model Linda Lusardi where he is playing the wizard

James (pictured with wife Chloe) – who is also a Tory councillor – is currently rehearsing for a role in the Wizard of Oz with former glamour model Linda Lusardi where he is playing the wizard

James says Chloe had a near perfect pregnancy and her only cravings was for anything orange – especially Capri-Sun drinks.

Baby Olivia arrived three days late and Chloe’s labour lasted just over seven hours.

James says: ‘It was all going well but then Chloe needed an emergency assisted delivery. 

‘The doctors gave her a spinal block and soon after Olivia was born. She had her first feed within 40 minutes of being born. It was wonderful and amazing.’

James – who is also a Tory councillor – is currently rehearsing for a role in the Wizard of Oz with former glamour model Linda Lusardi where he is playing the wizard.

James Caan reveals six secrets to writing a great CV

James Caan CBE was an investor on BBC Dragons Den for three years from 2007-2010 

As someone who has been investing in the recruitment industry since the mid-1980s, was the co-founder of corporate head-hunter Humana International and was an investor on BBC TV series Dragons’ Den for three years, James Caan has seen more CVs than most,  writes George Nixon.

Which means when he reveals secrets to what you should put on yours, it will be worth reading.

For a special entry in our interview cheat sheet series, This is Money is delighted to bring you six top tips from James.

He says: ‘Like them or loathe them, CVs are an essential part of landing a job. 

‘An excellent CV can be a ticket to lots of incredible opportunities, while a poor CV may do more harm than good. 

‘When an employer scans over a CV, they’ll decide within a few seconds if they’re going to invite the candidate for interview. 

‘Because of this, it’s vital that your CV sends the right message. 

‘You need to show them you’re the right candidate for the job – at a glance.

‘That’s not all. The internet has made it much easier to submit job applications, but because of that, many top jobs attract hundreds of applicants, making it even harder to get noticed.’

Here are James Caan’s top six secrets to make your CV stand out: 

1. Make a bespoke CV for every application

James says: If you really care about getting a job, it’s worth tailoring your CV to their needs. 

No two jobs are exactly the same, and therefore each CV you send should be optimised to show your prospective employer exactly what they’re interested in.

When you describe your prior experiences, draw out specific details and relate them to the skills described in the job spec. 

Make sure your best and most relevant experience is at the top, and be aware that what is “best and most relevant” for one application may not be the same for another.

Ultimately, your prospective employer has put out a job ad because they have a problem. Try and understand what that problem is. 

If you use your CV to present yourself as the ideal solution, your chances of success will be much higher.

2. Take the old-fashioned approach

My mantra has always been ‘observe the masses, and do the opposite’. 

While many people restrict their job hunt to the internet, you can make a great impression combining your online job hunt with a more old-fashioned approach.

If you have the name of the decision maker for a job, rather than a generic HR executive, and you want to send them your CV, send it by post (alongside any formal online application you are asked to make). You’ll be one of the few who do.

That’s a good step forward, because it automatically picks you out, but if you are able to easily travel to a company’s HQ, you can set yourself apart even more.

3. If possible, deliver your CV by hand 

When you walk into a company’s reception area and hand deliver a letter, what happens? 

It doesn’t get put in the post tray with the letters. It gets hand-delivered in turn to the person it is addressed to.

Imagine you have decided to hand-deliver a CV to me. The point is not hand-delivering it to me personally; the point is you want to get my attention. 

So, if you think about how to do it, you will not deliver the CV first thing in the morning. 

If you do that, you have blown your chance, because the letter will be mixed in with my post tray. 

However, by 11 a.m. I have already received my post, and that makes your CV stand out even more.

4. Using the web? Hone in on specialist job boards 

The internet may make job-hunting more crowded, but it is also full of opportunities for those who know where to look.

A lot of people spend time uploading their CVs to online databases, without any real benefit, because they never get looked at by anyone. 

Others take the easy route, thoughtlessly applying for online jobs on sites like LinkedIn because it only takes a few clicks, without tailoring their application for the specific role and company. 

When job hunting online, I advise you to seek out specialist job boards which cover your particular niche – whether that’s for a specific kind of job, like secretarial work, or a particular sector, like the finance industry. 

On sites like these, you will find the most appropriate opportunities for your skillset, and it can be a much better use of your time than sending out applications on more general job boards.

Top tips: Writing a good CV is essential when it comes to getting a foot in the door

Top tips: Writing a good CV is essential when it comes to getting a foot in the door

5. Use CV to showcase high profile in your industry 

If a candidate’s CV demonstrates that they are well-known and respected within their industry, then my view of them is immediately more positive. 

Include a link to your LinkedIn profile or an article you have written in an industry publication.

Not only is this a good way for candidates to stand out, but there’s an added benefit. 

I know that a high-profile applicant will be visible to my competitors, and that incentivises me to act quickly if I decide to give them an offer. 

It may even affect the salary I’m willing to pay: I know my competitors could be interested, so I need to ensure the applicant’s remuneration is in line with the market.

6. But remember, the CV isn’t everything

Lastly, it’s important to remember that your CV is only part of the process. If your CV has helped you land an interview, that’s great. But you haven’t landed the job yet.

In my mind, it’s a good thing that there’s more to a job application than the CV. The interview allows you to prove yourself in ways that a CV doesn’t. 

And if you don’t have the perfect CV, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do the job. Use the interview to showcase your passion, and you’ll be well on your way to landing that job.

What to do next: If you’re stuck, This is Money’s cheat sheet series has covered multiple aspects of the interview process, from how much research you should do beforehand, to how to answer some of the more difficult questions like ‘tell me about yourself’.

 

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Wedding spread is being slammed online for being ‘pathetic’

A couple’s wedding catering has been slammed online after a guest secretly photographed the ‘pathetic’ spread and shared it on Facebook.  

‘A wedding feast for your eyes,’ the anonymous guest, believed to be from the US, captioned the photos which were posted in a ‘wedding shaming’ group.  

The images reveal hundreds of slices of ‘plastic cheese’ laid out in rows, trays of celery and carrot sticks, cubes of melon, oranges slices with the stickers still on them, and a tray of rather sad-looking iced brownies.

‘This is basically what we served at my three-year-old’s birthday party. Except we had quiche and strawberries,’ a baffled commenter wrote.

An American couple’s wedding catering has been slammed online after a guest secretly photographed the ‘pathetic’ spread, particularly the rows of unwrapped ‘plastic cheese’ 

'A wedding feast for your eyes,' the anonymous guest wrote along the photos which were shared in a wedding shaming Facebook group and revealed bizarre dishes like cubed melon

‘A wedding feast for your eyes,’ the anonymous guest wrote along the photos which were shared in a wedding shaming Facebook group and revealed bizarre dishes like cubed melon

Criticism: Facebook users were quick to bash the spread, insisting it looked more like food from a toddler's birthday party than a feast for wedding guests

Criticism: Facebook users were quick to bash the spread, insisting it looked more like food from a toddler’s birthday party than a feast for wedding guests

The poster’s mocking tone sparked debate among fellow members of the group, with some joining in to poke fun at the low-cost spread, while others chimed in to defend the couple, noting that they may well have been unable to afford anything expensive.

Poll

Would you serve this food at your wedding?

  • Yes 796 votes
  • No 5148 votes

Many comments were made about the lack of professionalism involved in both the preparation and the presentation of the food, with one writing: ‘This is what happens when you ask your family to cook for your wedding.’ 

A number of comparisons were drawn between the budget spread and other events were such food might be more appropriate. 

‘This makes more sense for toddlers than a wedding, in my humble opinion,’ another added. 

One simply blasted the food as ‘pathetic’ before going on to say: ‘This looks like a catering spread for work – a low budget one.’

Others were baffled about the decision-making that went into the spread, pointing out that the caterers, whoever they were, had chosen to spread their time in a rather odd way. 

‘They took the time to unwrap hundreds of slices of fake cheese but couldn’t be bothered to take the sticker off the fruit?’ one questioned.  

Chopped up carrot and celery sticks also featured as part of the humble spread

Chopped up carrot and celery sticks also featured as part of the humble spread

Some pointed out that while the cheese had been unwrapped those prepping had forgotten to remove stickers from the fruit

The catering also came with something sweet in the form of these iced brownies

The catering features chopped up oranges, which still had stickers on the skin (left), and iced brownies (right) that had an odd-looking lemon decoration on the top of them

‘I don’t even know how they cut orange that way. It must have made it harder as usually, you cut in half then into quarters. That looks like a third,’ said another. 

Commenters also wanted an explanation as to why a pile of napkins had been left unfolded, with one picture showing a stack of them that had simply been thrown on top of one another.

Commenters also wanted an explanation as to why a pile of napkins was left unfolded

Commenters also wanted an explanation as to why a pile of napkins was left unfolded

According to Wedding Wire, couples in the US spend an average of $4,000 on catering for their wedding, with a majority opting to splash out anywhere between $1,800 and $7,000 to ensure that their guests have a delicious feast to enjoy on their happy day. 

Meanwhile, figures show the average Australian couple spends AUD $9,100 on catering for their wedding, which includes a full sit-down meal for each guest.

In the UK, Bridebook suggests that couples should plan to spend around £3,100 on catering for the wedding, noting that this fee will get you a three-course meal for around 100 guests at a manor house-style hotel. 

While this type of catering is generally the expectation, according to Easy Weddings there is a trend toward serving food in a banquet style.

‘Serve food on large platters that are perfect for sharing, and serve finger food where appropriate,’ they suggest.

While this can reduce the cost, it was recommended that the function be catered by professionals who are across contemporary culinary trends.