Saturday, 4 May 2013

Tips for a great Espresso Coffee.

(Of course start with great coffee!)

Grata Espresso.

Keep group handles hot.
If you would not put a cake into a cold oven, don’t expect to brew sweet coffee in a cold group handle.

Don’t leave coffee in a hot group handle.
Commence pouring immediately.

The fineness and quality of grind is CRITICAL.
The best espresso comes from coffee brewed no later than 20 minutes after grinding. A coarse grind will produce a faster pour, meaning the coffee particles are less likely to cook thoroughly in the elapsed time, making the drink sour, astringent, bitter, or thin, visually, evident by a yellow (not brown) crema.
Finer grinding produces a slower pour, which develops more flavour & sweetness in the cup. The crema will be darker (meaning the natural sugars have caramelised), and will be thickened.
Coffee ground too finely may burn or become over-extracted too soon. 

Ideally  look for crema that resembles thick brown paint. If you can’t achieve this, and the grinder is set correctly, then your machine is probably not running at the correct temperature.

Not all coffees are the same.
Forget the theory of 7 grams of ground coffee per shot. Some coffees taste better when ground more finely, and others, when more coarsely ground - the amount of ground coffee used per shot should be gauged according to the fineness of grind - which is gauged by the taste in the cup. Usually, more than 7 grams is necessary.
Once the correct grind and dose is achieved, the correct tamping pressure can be applied. For finer grinds tamp more lightly, and coarse grinds more firmly.

Don’t flush the group for longer than two seconds.
Or sourness may result from the altered brewing temperature.

Look for a slow extraction.
That falls STRAIGHT down from the cup runner, with no horizontal aspect at all. The ideal pour commences with a few drips, which then become a “mouse tail”. 

Do not over-extract the coffee.
This is evident when the “brown” colour of the pour turns pale. Stop the extraction if the colour becomes too pale. Dark colour is sweet, pale is bitter. 
We recommend no more than 25ml per single shot – with a slow pour, this should afford plenty of flavour with out bitterness.

Keep the machine pristine!

Of all the call outs we attend to, 18 out of 20 are because of a pour cleaning regime.

Coffee oil is the flavour in the coffee bean, and Grata coffee is loaded with it. Coffee oil turns rancid quickly. Rancid oil erases the soft, sweet flavours and leaves an ashy, bitter aftertaste. The espresso machine should be back flushed WITH CHEMICAL at least once per day. (yes that’s right - once per day – not once per week!)
The group showers should be removed at least 2 times per week for cleaning. Don’t forget to soak the group handles in chemical at least twice a week.

Do not store your fresh coffee in the fridge or freezer.
          Artificial cooling of fresh coffee upsets the volatile compounds on the molecular level,      resulting in low sweetness and aromatics. 
         Store in a cool dark place.

This information can be downloaded as a PDF with pictures here.

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