15 October 2020
Q&A with Coffee Professional, Sierra Yeo
We speak to Sierra Yeo, freelance coffee writer, Q-grader and founder of The Kore Directive on all things plant-based milk ahead of her Global Coffee Festival Fringe event!
Tell us about yourself and how you got into coffee?
Entirely by accident and out of a need to pay my rent! I started working as a waitress in a dinky little deli in my university town of York, North Yorkshire and the rest is history. I started bugging people to let me on the machine more and eventually picked up barista skills on the job, so that when I graduated with a BA in Linguistics, the choice was obvious. Coffee it was.
What are your top tips for creating latte art with plant-based beverages?
On the bar, one quick tip I use is to drop a dollop of ambient, or room-temp, m*lk into my espresso first, before commencing to pour and pattern with my steamed m*lk. This lowers the temperature of the espresso so that there's a larger temperature and acidity buffer for your steamed m*lk, which reduces the chances of the steamed product curdling on contact with freshly pulled espresso. We've all had that happen before!
What's your fave plant-based drink to use for coffee?
I enjoy the neutrality and light maltiness of oat as an ingredient in general, both for its fullness of body when paired with espresso and its natural sweetness. Alternatively, coconut performs well in coffee too — its fat content, sweetness and nuttiness can complement certain coffees well, but the key is that the espresso needs to be able to stand in coconut.
Most specialty places tend to avoid coconut on principle because of the potential for its distinctive taste profile to overwhelm the more delicate flavour notes in specialty coffee, but arguably it's down to selecting the right coffee, perhaps a well-curated blend, and recipe to complement an equally robust ingredient.
Do you have a favourite coffee city?
I do. It's Manchester, despite calling London/Singapore home! It's got one of the best independent coffee scenes anywhere, and the tightest community — it's made up of some fantastic individuals and companies. And every cafe has its own unique selling point and looks completely different place to place, with some incredible ethos and cafe cultures.
What are you most looking forward to at The Global Coffee Festival?
Being able to virtually experience different coffee cultures at the click of a button! I'm also looking forward to showcasing Singapore's coffee scene too.
Join Sierra for The Global Coffee Festival Fringe where she gives us an inside look at Singapore's coffee scene. Stay tuned for details!