The coffee puck (whats left in the coffee basket after an extraction), can give you an insight into how tasty your coffee will be before you take your first sip. A wet and sloppy puck, best described as 'muddy' could mean that your coffee grind was too coarse, and that your coffee espresso will be under extracted and taste watery. On the flip side, a coffee puck that is too dry can mean that your coffee espresso will be overextracted and burt in flavour.
When examining your coffee puck, you should be able to hold the puck in your hands (excepting that it will be hot), and break it in two. Take a look at the cross section of your coffee puck for an indication that it has extracted uniformly, suggesting that your coffee ground distribution technique and tamp is okay. My technique is to;
- Grind 5 grams
- tap the portafilter twice to settle the grinds
- grind another 5 grams
- tap again
- grind another 5 grams
- tap again
- grind another 5 grams
- tap again
- Scrape the portafilter basket with an edge to remove excess grind
- (this is based on a 21gram triple basket. For 14 grams, I will reduce the steps to three grind applications).
A uniformly dry coffee puck after extraction.
A uniformly dry coffee puck after extraction - snapped in half.
Are you sometimes questioning the difference between a flat white and a latte? are you unsure of the difference between an espresso shot, a short black and a long black? Its not just you, some of the confusion comes from different regions in the world naming the same coffee beverage differently.
One that I was surprised at;
- If you ordered a Latte in Italy, you'd get a glass of steamed milk, and no coffee! You need to ask for a 'Caffe Latte' if you want your regular Latte.
So, here is a description of each of the popular coffees that you would see on a blackboard at a cafe in Australia. These descriptions are my survival guide only, and are open to interpretation depending on the cafe etc.
- Espresso Shot - a 30ml shot of espresso coffee. made from 7grams of coffee, straight from the machine served in a 60ml porcelain cup
- Short black - exactly the same as a Espresso Shot
- Double shot Espresso - exactly the same as an Espresso shot, but two shots are made into the one cup - doubling the size to 60ml
- Long black - 120 to 180mls of water with an espresso (or double espresso) shot poured on top of the water. Its incorrect to add the water to the espresso shot for risk of dissipating the crema.
- Caffe Americano - same as a long black, but the espresso shot is added first, and the water on top to intentionally disipate and disturb the crema
- Flat white - start with an espresso base, in a 250ml porcelain cup, add steamed frothed milk, but hold back the froth.
- Latte - same as a flat white, but more milky (ie: less coffee). served in a tall glass (not ceramic) and topped with a small amount of foam
- Cappuccino - as for a Flat White, but introduce some extra froth and dust chocolate powder on top for presentation and flavour.
A few that you might not see too often;
- Single Origin espresso - same as an espresso shot, but using a single coffee bean origin, rather than a expertly blended coffee from various regions. (can also be ordered as a double shot machiato)
- Picollo Latte - an espresso shot with 90ml of steamed milk (can also be ordered as a double shot machiato)
- Machiatto - an espresso shot with a teaspoon of milk froth to 'stain' the espresso. (can also be ordered as a double shot machiato). Some people refer to this as simply a 'mach'
- Ristretto - same as a espresso shot, but only using the first half of the espresso shot (15ml) which is sweeter. Can be ordered as a double ristretto totaling 30ml.
NOTE: A single shot is 30ml of espresso coffee extracted from a single basket of coffee holding 7g and etracted in 30 seconds. A double shot can be acheived by repeating the single shot, or using a double basket (holding 14grams of coffee) but extracting in the same timeframe (30 seconds) and producing 60ml of coffee. Same with a tripple shot - repeat a single again, or use a tripple basket (21grams of coffee). Generally, I never ever use the single shot basket and standardise on the double shot basket.
Serve great coffee at work
New Premium Reserve available from April 26th. Origins: Nicaragua, Indonesia, Colombia, Costa Rica, India.
New Premium Reserve release available from: 26th April 2013Premium Reserve
is a special time-of-year creation of a single coffee bean variety, offered until sold out (and then replaced with the next Premium Reserve variety). Premium Reserve is created by my testing, sampling and blending different coffee beans until I hit on a creation that makes me smile - I will then offer my new creation here as the Premium Reserve variety
. Availability is limited, so if the current variety interests you, get in quick.
To grab a bag of Premium Reserve
, you can get some delivered fast, here
. Available from:
26th April 2013Characteristics:
Produces a rich strong infusion, full body.Origins:
- Strictly High Grown E.P. "Pola" - Country Nicaragua
Flavour Sweet florals and soft citrus fruits, light chocolate.
An exotic flavoured, high grade quality cupped coffee, overall mild and balanced with unique origin characteristics. This bean is delicate, but complex, it has body and brightness, without being overpowering. This produces a fine single origin bean with excellent outcomes in the cup
- Mandheling 'Kuda Mas' - Country Indonesia
Roast caramel and spiced fruits
This is the best of the best Sumatrans; definitely one of the worlds tops beans. The 'Kuda Mas' Mandheling should rate in everyone's top 10 choices perfect qualities abound, with great cup presence. This is a bean born to be presented as a single origin offer, with so much complexity to be enjoyed in its own right. Quite naturally, it makes a perfect addition to a top-grade blend
- Colombian Pitalito Supremo - Country Colombia
Berries, caramel with residual sweetness. Rich and intense
Located in the far south of Huila, Pitalito is a renowned region of high quality coffee. The average farm size is slightly smaller that the Huila average at 2ha and therefore the coffee plants receive the complete personal attention needed for high quality coffee. The coffee is nearly 100% shade grown, and predominantly caturra variety. Grown at around 1,700mts the climate is slightly cooler which ensures the cherries develop at a slower rate and are able to absorb all of the sugars and acids of the fruit, which are then transferred to the cup.
In the past few years there has been a large amount of investment in infrastructure on the farms to improve the processing, which can now be demonstrated in the cup
- Colibri 'Tarrazu' - Country Costa Rica
Rich, Strong, Rounded
This is a high grade Costa Rica, which produces a rich strong infusion. Superb cup characteristics, with floral and honey flavours. Crisp clean and rounded with rich quality, suits single origin espresso, whilst making for a high grade blend enhancer.
- Arabica Monsoon Malabar AA - Country India
Nutty, caramel and tobacco
This is a totally unique bean, sweet, musty, aggressive flavours, pungent, nutty roasted tones, and subtle caramel and tobacco notes. Exotic and complex, this is a great bean for espresso blending, building flavour profiles that are unique due to its infusion.
Roasted fresh for you on the day you place your order. Notes by James:
Only a limited quantity of this bean available. Roast Date:
Roasted fresh for you on the day you place your order.
To grab a bag of Premium Reserve
, you can get some delivered fast, here
. Learn more or read reviews about Premium Reserve coffee beans >>Save up to 20% by subscribing to regular deliveries >>Save 30% extra by purchasing 10kg >>
Blind filter coffee basket
Cleaning your espresso machine is both rewarding and good for your machine. Like cleaning your coffee grinder, the process will depend on your specific make and model, but generally you want to clean the group head and the valves inside the machine by back flushing.
With my Rancillio Silvia, I will give my machine a general clean after each use as good practice, and will then give it a through clean every month - you might want to extend that to bi monthly, quarterly or every 6 months, depending on your usage.
After each coffee making session, I will do what I call the 'portafilter shuffle', which is basically wiggling the portafilter with the group head water running through the group head. That will assist in removing any coffee grounds between the coffee group head and the group head seal. also cleaning the shower screen while giving the portafilter and basket a nice rinse. If I use the steam wand for milk, I will give the steam wand an extra blast (to clear out any milk inside the wand, then clean the wand with a cloth warmed from the steam (be careful). Other than wipe the machine down, that's pretty much all I do out of habit.
On a monthly cycle, I also give my machine a back flush by using a back flush blanking plate for the portafilter and back flushing powder. Use just a quarter teaspoon of powder, backflush according to the directions, repeat a few times and then follow up with a backflush series of just water to clean out the pipes from the backflushing solution. Empty the drip tray and your done. (I will generally give the group head seal a clean using a stiff group head seal brush, while the backflush solution is still in the system and then continue backflushing).
Coffee Grinder burr set with coffee oils and grounds
Depending on the variety and make or model of your grinder, the precise method of cleaning your grinder will vary, but the general idea is to remove coffee grinds from the moving parts of your grinder to prevent coffee and coffee oil buildup.
At home, I use a domestic Sunbean burr grinder and will generally clean my grinder after every 5 kilos of coffee I put through it. As you can imagine, my grinder gets quite a good work out and that will usually mean I clean my grinder every fortnight. You might want to clean your grinder more in line with a monthly or bi-monthly cycle - it all depends on how fussy you are and how much coffee you consume.
To clean my Sunbeam EM0480 grinder, here is what I do;
- turn off the power at the wall and disconnect the power plug for safety.
- empty the coffee bean hopper (that's usually not a problem as the hopper is always 'near empty'. You can dump your unused coffee beans into a container for use later).
- Depending on your grinder configuration, separate the top burr from the bottom burr.
- Since the hopper is completely plastic, with no metal parts, I will dunk it into warm mild soapy water and give it a good gentle clean, to remove any coffee oil build up.
- Be careful with moisture and water around the burr set, since depending on the grade of steel used, it could be open to rust if it gets wet. Under normal use, the coffee oils will provide protection from moisture (that's my opinion and possibly not fact).
- Clean the burr set with a dry toothbrush. Pay attention to the underside of the top burr set, as any built up coffee grinds will affect your grind sensitivity settings, generally givving you a finer grind than you expected at a particular setting.
- Give the burr set housing a good general clean with the toothbrush and shake as much coffee grounds out of the housing that you practically can.
- Dry the hopper and reassemble the burr set and hopper.
- fill with coffee beans
- enjoy a coffee from a fresh clean grinder - it almost always feels better with a feeling of accomplishment.
Depending on your finances, you may decide to replace your burr set with a fresh burr set. My burr set is 4 years old and would have seen approximately 500 kilos of coffee, and while it grinds slower now than it probably should, I have not replaced the burr set with a new set. A replacement burr set for the Breville EM0480 runs at $100, of which I would prefer to put towards a new grinder at year 5 (which is when the factory warranty expires).
Bay Beans coffee delivers Nespresso compatible fillable capsules
bundled with fresh roasted Bay Beans coffee preground to Nespresso machine specifications (or Wholebean if you have a grinder and prefer to grind on demand).
Benefit by enjoying fresh roasted coffee rather than pre-packaged commercial coffee, save money on your coffee, plus get Free Delivery anywhere in Australia. Would you like to support a local Australian coffee roaster, providing a fresher and tastier coffee for your Nespresso? Would you like the opportunity to purchase delicious and full flavour coffee capsules for your Nespresso like Fair Trade and Organic coffee?
To enjoy your Bay Beans Nespresso coffee capsules (instructional video) -->
- Order your Bay Beans Nespresso pack containing fillable Nespresso compatible capsules PLUS Bay Beans coffee preground to Nespresso machine specifications (or Wholebean if you have a grinder and prefer to grind on demand).
- Fill Nespresso compatible capsule with Bay Beans ground coffee
- Apply foil seal
- Insert capsule into your Nespresso coffee machine and extract as normal.
Bay Beans coffee capsules for Nespresso are compatible with all Nespresso machines including the Pixi, Latissima, Maestria, Essenza, Le Cube, Maistria, U and Citz. Take a look at Bay Beans Nespresso compatible coffee machines
for much less than you would expect. Your Bay Beans coffee capsules for Nespresso order is sent directly to James, who sends a personalised confirmation of your purchase. He then roasts your coffee beans fresh and arranges delivery to your door. Confirmation of your coffee capsule for Nespresso order is generally within 6 hours. Bay Beans offers the most competitive coffee prices for your Nespresso, with no hidden surprises at checkout. Delivery on all orders is free to anywhere in Australia."It's the personal touch and great customer service that makes Bay Beans online shopping experience unique".Free Delivery is fast by courier or Australia Post anywhere in Australia. Delivery time estimates are here.
I made this video of an extraction using a Rancilio Silvia domestic coffee machine with a bottomless portafilter, Sunbeam grinder and Bay Beans Espresso Master coffee beans.
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The Pour - Premium Reserve coffee bean from Vanuatu, Costa Rica, Vanuatu and Ethiopia
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