It’s kind of mesmerising watching a barista work their stuff, from the right coffee, grind, tamp to texturing the milk just so. They make it looks so easy and one of the reasons they can get it perfect time after time is their industrial style coffee machine. So does it mean that home coffee connoisseurs can’t make great coffee at home? Not at all. There are a few handy hints the pros use with their fancy machines that will help you get cracking coffees time after time on your own machine.
1. Quality Machine
You don’t have to go too crazy with this step but do your research and find a machine with a really good reputation, longevity, reliability – all that kind of jazz. Once you have really solid coffee machine, then you know you’re on the right track.
2. Quality Beans
Whatever field you work in you know that if you get the foundation right then the rest of the project, building, recipe – you name it – has more potential for success than if your base is a bit dodgy. Coffee is no different. If you choose a generic style of coffee for your awesome machine, then I’m afraid you won’t get a great outcome. Of course we recommend Sacred Grounds coffee beans not only because we’re a tad biased but because we are passionate about quality organic Fairtrade coffee that will never let you down. Great coffee beans = great coffee. No brainer.
3. Great Grind
For the freshest of fresh coffee, we recommend you buy coffee beans, measure them out and grind them yourself at home. This means you need a capable grinder that can be set to suit your machine and measure out your grounds coffee -20g (or around 2 heaped tablespoons). Get it wrong and your extraction may be hindered which will impact the resulting awesomeness of your final product.
4. Tamp Baby, Tamp
Once your coffee beans are beautifully ground, then it’s time to pop them in your portafilter basket. Try to get all the ground coffee even before grabbing your coffee tamper to firmly push them down. There’s a bit of a knack to this – press down and twist slightly as you remove your hand.
This part is beauty in motion. If you’ve got your beans, grind and tamp right then the extraction will be a piece of cake. You’ll see the coffee flow through like a little mouse tail or two creating a lovely crema in your coffee cup. This ‘tail’ should happen after the first 5-7 seconds of extraction followed by a speedier flow at the 15 second mark. Once you reach 28-32 seconds then it’s time to stop.
6. Texturing Milk
Once you have your coffee base, then it’s time to get creative with your milk frothing skills. It can be a tad tricky but as with all things, practice does make perfect – or near enough! Choose the right jug for the job then fill it about 1/3 full. Now you’re ready to stretch that milk… how? Follow these simple directions:
- Place the steam wand 70ºc-80°c while keeping the jug fairly flat.
- Ensure the wand is halfway between the jug’s edge and its centre
- Steam away
- Gently move the wand near the top of the milk – you may hear a slight hiss! If you get big bubbles then you’re too high so just lower the wand.
- Heat the milk to 40ºc then plunge the wand deeper into the milk (don’t touch the bottom of the jug) to finish heating it through. It should be really hot to the touch around 60ºc-65ºc.
7. Clean Away
Don’t rush off to down your amazing coffee just yet. Make sure you purge your machine by letting off steam, clean your wand off with a damp cloth and empty out your used coffee grounds. A clean machine will always give you the best results. Or if you want to give it a really great clean read this post – How to Clean Your Coffee Machine.
Then sip away, put your feet up, read the paper if it still exists and enjoy a quality, barista-style coffee in your own home.