November 03, 2021
Your favourite brew is very much a personal thing. What one considers the perfect cup, may not seem perfect to everyone else. As long it's perfect for you, that's all that matters.
More and more people are investing in an espresso machine for home. We often get asked questions about the 'best' way to make espresso on your domestic machine. It's a difficult question to answer given the number of variables to consider. How does one create the 'perfect' cup of coffee when we consider the most broad of all variables, the fact that we all have a unique set of taste buds?
Here's a sample of our most frequently asked questions.
1. Why is my coffee running so fast?
There are several reasons. The 2 most common are either because your grind size is too course or your dose (grams) of coffee being used is too small. Or both. Ideally, no matter what type of machine you use, you'd love to be able to extract an espresso shot in around 25-30 seconds.
To do this, you'll need to grind as fine as possible and ensure you have enough coffee in the portafilter (handle with basket) leaving just enough room to allow the coffee to expand and then extract.
Find the perfect balance between dose and grind that gives the perfect extraction for you.
2. Do I really need to adjust my grind?
Absolutely. Question 1 answered this. Always look to extract in 25-30 seconds if you can. If your coffee is too course and runs too fast, you're essentially leaving all the flavour behind and missing out on the true flavour experience. The water just passes through the coffee rather than being absorbed by the coffee and extracting the oils.
Grind your coffee as fine as you can, then work your way back with small increments to the course side until you find the extraction your looking for.
3. Why does my coffee taste bitter?
There may be a few reasons for this. Usually it's because you're extraction is too slow (grind is too fine) and the coffee has essentially been burnt by the hot water.
It may also be because you’re using a dark roasted coffee. This is ok if you're always adding milk, but if you're a black coffee drinker, a dark roast will always taste like it's bitter and burnt.
The other common reason is that you may be buying coffee beans from a supermarket. These beans are ALWAYS old and stale. Coffee beans should be consumed within around 4 weeks from roasting, yet supermarket coffee can sometimes show a 'use by' date that's 12 or even 18 months away! Don't buy from a supermarket. Always buy from a local coffee roaster. BUY Coffee beans here.
4. Why does my coffee suddenly taste different?
A slight change in your method can alter the taste dramatically. Grind size, dose size, tamp pressure etc.
It can also be that your coffee beans age. As they age, the flavour profile changes. In the first week after roasting they can taste 'too fresh', giving a green taste that seems almost under developed. As they settle they begin to take on the beautiful flavour you want in your coffee. Usually in weeks 2 and 3 after roasting.
By week 4 and beyond, they're like any natural product that loses moisture. Coffee will start to go stale and taste old. Keep an eye on the roast date and purchase small amounts more often.
Remember also, that your taste buds are always changing. Even from morning to afternoon. It's not always the coffee that tastes different.
5. What's the best way to store my coffee?
Coffee should always be stored in an ambient temperature with little or no humidity.
There are 3 main things that will reduce the life of your roasted coffee. These are air, light and temperature. Keep your coffee in an ambient temperature in an airtight container away from natural light.
Don't store your coffee in the fridge. It will dry out and taste terrible. It's also extremely difficult to extract coffee when it's cold.
6. How often should I clean my coffee machine?
Quite simply, a coffee machine can never be too clean. It's better to be cleaned too often than not often enough.
Just like any other cooking, your food or drinks will always taste better if you've used clean equipment. Most machines nowadays, will usually let you know that it's time to do a cleaning cycle. If not, the rule is pretty simple...
Clean regularly. Not only will your coffee taste better, but it will extend the life of your machine.
We hope that this post has helped answer some of your coffee brewing questions. Please be in touch with any pressing questions and we’ll answer them on our next FAQ Blog.
In the meantime, happy brewing!
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