9 Rules for How to Make the Perfect Coffee
20th June 2019
When it comes to making a stunning espresso using a traditional coffee machine, there are some rules you need to follow. We can help you become a coffee guru with these simple tips for creating the perfect cup of coffee at work.
1. Buy Fresh Coffee Beans
It will come as no surprise that having fresh coffee beans comes top of our list, of rules for how to make the perfect coffee. Without coffee beans, we wouldn’t have coffee! Using fresh coffee beans can make all the difference when it comes to making quality tasting coffee. Fresh coffee is rich with flavours and aromas offering a satisfying premium coffee experience.
Single origin coffee beans are the ultimate game-changer in the coffee industry today. They are sourced responsibly from unique locations across the globe, have distinct flavour profiles, and are made for ultimate espresso experience in any workplace environment.
2. Choosing the Right Equipment
To make the perfect coffee you will need fully functioning coffee machine equipment. This means investing in either a traditional espresso or bean-to-cup machine that can cater for large groups of people at a time and ideal in a workplace environment.
A bean-to-cup machine can manage 30 to 150 cups a day depending on the make and model of machine and are perfect for high output locations like offices and schools to cater for staff. You can always choose from a selection of beverages on screen, including latte and cappuccino and have your drink made for you at the press of a button and within 30 seconds.
A traditional espresso machine comes with full installation and barista training, and ideal for all kinds of environments including coffee shops and restaurants, where you can enjoy barista-style coffee.
3. Keep Your Equipment Clean
Avoid any risk of contamination when it comes to making your cup of coffee. This involves cleaning your drip trays, group handles and filters. You can do this by:
- Wiping the grinds off your drip tray, pulling it out and draining it.
- Cleaning the tray of any remaining grinds and leaving it to dry overnight.
- Wash all the group handles and filters in warm, soapy water if needed and soak them in a commercial coffee cleaner overnight.
4. Grind Your Coffee Beans
Once you have a new batch of fresh coffee beans, you can learn the grinding process, crucial for making the perfect cup of coffee. Working out the best grind for the perfect shot of coffee involves a lot of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to experiment and adjust the grind slightly each time, until you get a perfect shot of coffee with a beautiful, golden crema.
Once you have gotten use to your espresso machine and grinder, you will be able to tell a good shot of coffee by looking at the consistency of the grind. Too fine a grind will produce a harsh, over extracted coffee. On the other hand, an overly coarse grind will produce a weak, watery tasting coffee. It is important to get the grinding process just right, with a resulting crema on top.
5. Getting the Coffee Extraction Process Right
The extraction or pour should take between 23 and 28 seconds. There should be a layer of crema, also known as a golden-brownish foam that covers a freshly brewed cup of espresso, created by the high pressure of water being forced through the coffee grinds.
The correct ratio of water, the precision of your grind, the roast of your coffee and the temperature of your water is just some of the things involved in the coffee extraction process. Take the roasted coffee and grind it into small pieces, then add water. Once the water hits the coffee, it will start to extract out the flavour compounds. The first compounds are the acids and fats, then sugars and plant fibers.
Under-extracted coffee tastes sour and sharp, whereas over-extracted coffee tastes bitter and thin. This is because the water extracts out all the available sugars and has broken down the plant fibres that make up the coffee. For a better tasting coffee, find a ratio that produces the strength of coffee you enjoy.
6. Stretching and Spinning Your Milk
Milk steaming should happen in two stages: stretching and spinning. Stretching the milk out is done by introducing air into the milk using a steam wand on your espresso machine. This helps increase the volume of the milk for making lattes and cappuccinos. Here is how to stretch your milk:
- Cover the steam wand with a damp cloth and turn it on for three seconds to make sure it is cleared of water.
- To begin stretching, sink the tip of the steam wand into the milk about halfway to the bottom.
- Bring the top of the wand up to just below the surface of the milk. Stop immediately if you hear a screeching sound as it means the steam is hitting the side or bottom of the jug. Bring the steam wand back up to the surface introducing some air.
- Stir the milk as it expands up to 1.5 times its original volume and serve.
The second stage is spinning the milk into the desired silky, thick texture. Here is how to spin your milk:
- Start with a clean jug and some fresh milk.
- Sink the steam wand into the milk on one side of the jug, and tilt slightly.
- Move the steam wand in a circular motion to achieve the whirlpool effect to achieve micro-bubbles that give you a silky textured coffee.
- Continue until the milk reaches about 70 degrees and turn off the steam wand before removing the jug.
7. Using Fresh Water
Water is another essential ingredient that determines the quality of your coffee beverage. Water with a high mineral concentration can ruin the taste of your coffee, whereas filter water is clean and fresh by taste, smell and look and is free from contaminating substances like chlorine, chloramine and hypochlorite. As a cafe or restaurant, it might be a good idea to install a water filtration system to prevent high carbonate hardness water levels.
A Billi water filtration system is a primary example of a cutting-edge smart, energy saving system, leaving you with fresh, clean water. This is the ideal setup if you want to invest in clean, filtered water and even has waste heat recovery technology, known as Heat Exchange Technology. It is a very eco-friendly way of saving water, and having quality coffee all year-round.
8. Water Temperature
Once you have fresh water at the ready, you will need to be mindful of the temperatures you brew at. Your coffee machine should maintain a water temperature between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction. Cold water will result in an under-extracted coffee, while water that is too hot will ruin the taste of the coffee.
Coffee cools rapidly after being served especially when adding cream or milk. There will always be a personal preference for the temperature at which coffee drinkers prefer their beverage to be at. But, you must always allow your coffee to reach a comfortable temperature before drinking.
9. Brewing Time
The amount of time that water is in contact with the coffee grounds is another important factor for your flavour profile. If you are making coffee beans using a French Press, then the contact time will be 2-4 minutes. However, when using an espresso machine, the contact time will only be 20-30 seconds.
It is important to watch out for the risk of over-extracting, where the brew time is too long, or under-extracting, when the brew time is too short.
Enjoy your Coffee!
Prepared coffee begins to lose its taste if left too long so only make as much coffee as you are planning to drink at one time. Take in the aromas and flavours with each sip and enjoy.