In How Tos

You got the coffee machine and now can’t wait to start making barista grade coffee from home, impressing your guests no end. Here are a few of our favourite tips for making better coffee at home.

1.All about the coffee- from origins to storage

If you want the best flavours, choose single origin coffees for an amazing array of flavours. Experiment to find your favourite.

Fresh coffee is key when it comes to taste. While there is nothing wrong with year old coffee, it’s just not going to taste as good as fresh. Ideally you want to be drinking your coffee a month from roasting.

Buying beans and grinding fresh is also better when it comes to taste. Storing your beans the right way will go a long way in keeping the flavour. Coffee is porous so it has the ability to absorb traits from its environment such as moisture and smells. So you want to keep your beans, or ground coffee, in an airtight container. Keep the ambient temperature fairly consistent so store in a cupboard well away from external walls or heating sources. Also store your coffee away from direct sunlight.

Only add as many beans as you need to the grinder rather than leaving your grinder topped up so that your coffee’s taste and aroma stays intact right up to the point of enjoyment.

Never store your coffee in the fridge.

2.All about the grind

For top quality, café style coffee at home it is vital that you only grind your beans just before use. Finer or more course grinds have a major effect on the taste and quality of your espresso. To find the right grind amount for your machine you need to experiment for a bit. Coffee grinders feature a pair of blades called burrs. The top burr can be adjusted to change how coarse or fine your ground coffee becomes. When changing the grind settings on your machine, do so in very small increments until you find your sweet spot.

Generally, it should take about 25 seconds to make an espresso, so if you are not hitting that mark consistently you may need to adjust your grind.

Something as small as a three millimetre movement could change your shot extraction time by about three to five seconds, so don’t make major changes unless you feel it necessary to do so.

3.Tamping coffee and extraction

Tamping is important as it compresses the grinds into an evenly distributed puck. During the extraction process – when hot water is forced through the coffee grinds at high pressure – the water will always seek out the path of least resistance, so it’s integral to ensure that the grounds are tamped well and tamped evenly so we achieve a proper extraction.

For a good extraction you want to make sure the amount of coffee in the basket (your dose) and the amount of liquid that comes out (your yield) are consistent.

4.Frothing and texturing your milk

Top tip: Always use fresh, cold milk.

Heating and frothing your milk will automatically improve both taste and texture.

There are differences in how you use your textured or foam milk. For a cappuccino you will spoon the foam into your cup but for a latte or flat white you want to be more reserved with the foam, going for the denser textured milk.

To froth your milk, pour it into your milk jug, filled up a third of the way, at most halfway – it needs room to expand.

Purge the steam arm for a few seconds to remove any standing water and help build up the pressure.

Position the tip of the steam want just underneath the surface of your milk and turn on to full power.

Listen to the sounds: A high-pitched noise means you have hit the right spot. A splattering sound means you are too high and no sound means you are too low.

As your milk froths lower your jug to keep the tip of the wand just underneath the milk’s surface. When your temperature gauge reads between 40-45°C, switch to texturing the milk.

Raise the jug up a few centimetres and position it so that the steam wand is near to the jug’s side and below the milk’s surface.

Then, angle the jug slightly. This should cause a whirlpool-like effect inside the container that will break down bubbles and create denser, smoother foam.

5.Keep a clean machine

This is a crucial step. The cleaner your machine, the better your coffee will taste. You can now buy special coffee machine cleaning tablets for this task.

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