Coffee & Classics

By Luisa Aha und Annette Zerpner April 5, 2022

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Around the world, we drink about half a trillion cups of coffee a year – our French horn player Yu-Hui Chuang doesn’t manage quite that many, but his is home-roasted, brewed with utter calm and decorated with latte art. We talked to him about his favourite hobby.

How did your passion for coffee get underway?

It started when I came to Germany and discovered so many different types of coffee. They all taste different – iced coffee, for example, has a sweet vanilla note in addition to the bitter one. During my trial year here, I wanted to do something creative besides music and bought my first coffee machine. Then my passion for latte art really took off. It’s an art form that’s designed for both the eye and the tastebuds. When I’m served a coffee that not only tastes good but also has beautiful latte art, it puts me in a doubly good mood. That’s the greatest pleasure of all!

Of course, when Yu-Hui makes his own latte art, the result is quite musical!

In all honesty, does your day really start after the first coffee?

I’m not really addicted to caffeine and wake up quickly in the morning. For breakfast, for example, I like to drink tea. For me, a cup of coffee is part of the afternoon, when I need a bit of time to relax.

Is it possible to drink too much of the stuff?

Sure! The daily dose of caffeine should not be too high. But basically, coffee is healthy. It contains antioxidants and can reduce the risk of diabetes. Most importantly, coffee makes you happy!

Which preparation method do you like best – and which is best for playing the French horn?

I enjoy drinking flat whites – with a nice latte art motif. If the coffee has a balanced consistency and a mature aftertaste, you’re always sure to play the horn well afterwards!  

Yu-Hui shares his coffee creations on Instagram under the hashtag #mrchuangcoffee.

Why do you roast your own beans?

For the fun of it! Latte art and coffee roasting is something you can spend a lifetime doing. I usually get high-quality beans from South America, Africa or Asia. The harvests vary from year to year, and there are different roasts – it’s so diverse and exciting!

Do you have any tips on how to make coffee a little better at home?

Make sure you use freshly roasted beans. It’s also important to have a scale to measure exactly how much water and how much ground coffee to use. Patience is also important, of course. And you should enjoy the time you spend making coffee. Then your creations will definitely turn out better!

For all those who would like to follow his example, this is how Yu-Hui makes the perfect coffee.

What’s still missing for the perfect coffee experience? Music!

The perfect coffee soundtrack consists of music that I love – for my instrument, the French horn, of course, as well as other instruments that I like very much. I chose the order of the pieces so that you move from tension to relaxation: Schumann’s Adagio is incredibly delicate music for preparing the coffee. Then things get exciting with the Allegro. As the coffee brews, the energy increases. Rachmaninoff’s Espressivo brings the full flavour. The fabulous aftertaste is then enjoyed in peace with Bach. Afterwards, the music gets a little more adventurous, with Mahler’s Nachtmusik. Chopin’s surprising Waltz gets you fully in the mood, until you refill your coffee with Glière’s emotional Horn Concerto. Coming in at the end is the beautiful Estrellita. Now the evening can begin.

Photos: Yu-Hui Chuang

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