So having spoken to a few people recently, I thought we'd give a little run-down and some guidelines to pulling shots at home and a few very simple steps.
Ultimately, we want everyone to enjoy amazing coffee by coming to Coopers. Of course, getting it from us saves all the hassle and cleaning up etc that I often do not want to do either. But sometimes, you are at home and wanting to get on with your work day or just kick about in your pants and not worry about having to be out in public (though we would never judge if that is how you want to turn up at Coopers!) Our commercial, sexy Kees Van Der Westen, Spirit Triplette, is a masterful piece of engineering and provides stability and consistency needed in a busy environment but you can get a decent cuppa at home.
Here is a little run through and picture guide to espresso making shown using a little Rocket R58 and Mazzer grinder.
One of the most important things I first say to people is, you can have a good quality coffee out of most machines providing it is clean! Always wipe and clean your machine regularly. More so the more you use it. Make sure you have espresso machine cleaner - We use Cafetto - evo espresso machine cleaner. It is Organic so ultimately ok for the environment and should you ingest any through not rinsing thoroughly it will not harm you. If you don't clean the machine and equipment regularly the oils from the coffee will build up. This will end up in your cup and will become more and more bitter no matter have fresh and tasty the coffee you purchase is.
Second top tip is to have a decent grinder. More so for commercial purposes to keep consistency but a decent grinder - particularly for espresso will allow you to have good control over the size of the grind.
4 key areas to focus on to get a good shot:
1: Dose (amount of coffee you grind into portafilter.
2: Time (speed the shot pours)
3: Volume (amount that ends up in the cup
4: Grind (Depending on results on points 1-3 will show how to adjust your grind, if at all, to reach the guideline parameters. In brief, if the shot is too fast you will need to make the grind finer, too slow and you will need to go more coarse on the grind setting. Espresso grind tends to be pretty fine, with light clumping due to the pressure put on the coffee during the process)
*** Temperature (water temp - ideally about 92-93 degrees - just off boiling so you)
Measure out 18 grams.
I don't have a bigger set of scales to fit portafiler but at Coopers it's direct into portafilter and measured on our Hario or Acaia scales. You can purchase one of these and they have timers too. Though small scales and whatever watch or clock you have works just as well, as seen here.
In this picture you can see 18 grams, and the texture of the grind. This is our seasonal house blend - Jabbajaws.
Here the coffee has been added to the portafilter. A nice clean, flat and level application of pressure is ideal. If not level, what you will find is one side will extract faster - meaning it will over extract versus the other side under-extracting. This will have, albeit minor, an affect on the taste. Under-extraction can lead to the more acidic flavour, while over-extracting leads to a more bitter edge. This might seem picky, but it's all in the details.
Measure volume of coffee added to the cup.
I tend to stop on 28 grams which will then tick over to about 30-32 grams. This is how I tend to enjoy my coffee.
Ideally this will happen in about 28 seconds. However 24-32 seconds normally produces a quality cup espresso shot.
Once shot is pulled, remove portafilter and purge the group head. A couple of seconds is fine, but important to clear any grounds left behind. If not using again for a while but not giving a full clean using cleaner, give it a quick wipe as well. Cleanliness is key! :)
The three pictures show the stages on this particular machine. The first picture shows the purging of the steam wand. Wise to do as it clears a small bit of water that often gets in the tip, heats it up and of course you can check it's working.
Next milk is being heated (stretched). Here we want to create a swirling around the jug, it create a great and consistent microfoam which is great to drink and can allow the pretty latte art seen at Coopers. Hold the jug and heat to between 60-70 degrees for a perfect, drinkable coffee. You should be able to hold the just for a few seconds before it feels too hot. Or get a little thermometer.
The thrid picture is swirling the milk once steamed - it helps get rid of any bigger bubbles, finish off to create teh perfect microfoam consistency and keep the milk mixed - allowing to settle the air will rise and all the foam will sit on top, meaning when you pour into the cup all the milk will be added leaving most of the foam in the jug. Not such an issue if you are not interested in making latte art ;)
Add milk - Here I have a 4.5 oz cup which is a very similar size to our cortado glass. Personally this is the most milk I enjoy as I love the punchy flavour you get from this. Much more milk just dilutes the espresso shot flavour - but of course it is all personal preference. Also the quality of the milk makes a big difference and adds the final flourish - Lacey's milk produced locally to us is perfect for coffee. Top quality, tasty and actually better for you as due to it's limit on processes. My previous blog goes into more detail about Lacey's milk and why we use it.
Ultimately you want to enjoy your coffee and this is a guide - play around with the parameters and get your perfect coffee!
Bottoms up... James & Cooper