Essential Coffee Tips
Need some tips to help produce a 'barista' like espresso or cappuccino? Still think your coffee is best kept in the fridge? See below some great coffee tips you may find useful.
- Use Fresh Coffee
- Water for Espresso
- Tamping Coffee
- Good Crema
- Frothing Milk
- Filter Coffee
- ‘Hot’ Tip
- Buying Coffee
- Storing Coffee
- Cleaning Your Coffee Machine
Use Fresh Coffee
Rule number ONE, always use fresh coffee, whether beans or ground coffee. The worse enemy of your favorite drink is the air that we breathe which will be generate chemical reactions making your coffee go stale very quickly. The result is stale beans and lifeless coffee that will produce a very dull and woody flavoured coffee drink.
Water for Espresso
Use the correct amount of coffee and water with your espresso machine. An espresso, only needs 25 – 30 ml. of water, anymore and you will be pulling the remaining bitterness left in the coffee. Always use fresh coffee, fresh water and do not use boiling water straight out of the kettle. The ideal temperature is between 88 and 92 degrees depending on coffee and taste. See our great selection of coffee recipes if you need help or inspiration.
For the perfect cup of espresso, ensure your coffee grinder is set correctly to provide the ideal grind that will run through the coffee for 25 seconds. Too coarse will give you a light and weak coffee with no crema and too fine will deliver a strong and bitter coffee. The tip is, experiment, tweak and experiment some more. To produce a fine grind for espresso, you will want to use a burr or conical grinder , blade grinders are only to be used for coarser grinds (filter and cafetiere).
You see baristas doing this every time they start preparing a fresh espresso. Once they’ve filled the porta-filter (or holder) with fine ground coffee they’ll then gently tap the top of it, to level off the coffee. Then they’ll tamp with approx. 30-40 pounds of pressure, too much ‘tamping’ and the water will take too long to filter through. The operation of ‘tamping’ evenly compacts all of the coffee giving the water a uniform bed to percolate through.
To obtain good Crema, you will want to use fresh ground coffee from an espresso Arabica / Robusta blend as 100% arabicas tend to produce less Crema. We suggest your try our Haute Culture Noir de Noir espresso blend. The Crema is the pure coffee golden colored ‘head’ that can be seen on the top of a freshly brewed espresso. The best way to check if you have made good ‘crema’ is to sprinkle a little sugar on the top of it, if it takes time to fall to the bottom of the cup, then you’ve produced a ‘barista’ quality espresso!
When frothing you may use any type of milk (full cream, semi-skimmed or skimmed milk). The protein that makes the froth diminishes after 4 days, so always use fresh milk. It is better to use a stainless-steel jug (conducts heat better) which needs to be filled with cold milk to just under half full. When the side of the jug is too hot to be touched, the froth is ready. Give it a couple of taps to get rid of the bubbles, then gently spoon the froth onto your espresso to produce a perfect cappuccino! An other ‘easy’ way is to use the Dualit cordless Latteccino that heats and froths the milk to the correct temperature.
Brewing times for filter coffee. Whether you are using a French Press or an electric cafetiere, the correct brewing time is 4-6 minutes, this starts when the first drop of water hits the grounds. Remember to always use fresh coffee for better taste, quality and results, ground coffee goes stale very quickly!
Always use pre-warmed cups, mugs or glasses, cold cups will take all the warmth from your drink and will get cold very quickly, especially in the winter months. Remember, the ideal temperature for the perfect espresso shot is between 88 and 92 degrees depending on coffee and taste.
When it comes to buying coffee, unless you are a heavy user, we recommend taking multiple 250 gr. bags rather than kilo bags, as coffee loses its freshness and aromas very quickly. As a rule we’d say it’s better to buy lower quantities, more often, if possible try to find re-sealable pouches, for example our Haute Culture coffees that will help keep your coffee fresh for longer.
Store your coffee coffee beans or grounds in a glass or container in cool and dry place, away from bright sunlight. Remember the worse enemy of your favorite drink is oxygen, so if possible try to find re-sealable pouches, like our Haute Culture coffees, or store your coffee in an air tight box is recommended. Try not to keep it in the fridge as this could alter the oils and the taste.
Cleaning Your Coffee Machine
Again, use fresh water as it has more oxygen and never use detergent products. After use make sure you clean it thoroughly as residue of bitter coffee oils may affect your next drink. It is advised to descale your coffee maker 2-3 times a year, depending on how much and how often you use it.