As with anything the key to making the perfect cup of coffee is starting with the best ingredients. All our Miami blends start with 100% Colombian Arabica beans. Then we combine them with the finest beans from around the world to create our distinctive house blends. Our best-selling Long Island espresso bean includes an Ethiopian Mocca bean giving it a smooth caramel texture. All espresso beans are packaged in kilo bags.
To prepare an exceptional cup of coffee, two essential prerequisites are necessary:
Roasted coffee is an item of food and as such it is a perishable product. Exposure to air and moisture will accelerate the decomposition of the flavours. Store your coffee in an airtight container. Do not store coffee beans in the refrigerator or freezer.
The second key ingredient is milk. Despite an urban myth to the contrary, all milk froths equally well. Having said that, milk with a higher fat content produces a thicker and creamier texture than low-fat varieties. Additionally, the fat in milk has a mellowing effect on the coffee, smoothing out any acidity or harshness inherent. The result is a richer and rounder brew.
Milk should be stored in the refrigerator and removed immediately before use.
There are four keys element in making a great espresso-based coffee:
Having the correct grind is decisive in the flavour of the coffee that is produced from the machine. What you are looking for here is to avoid under or over extraction of the coffee.
Start with the grinder set the way you usually have it and pull a double shot (approx 14gm) of freshly ground coffee into a double basket and firmly tamp.
Attach the filled handle to the group head on the espresso machine.
Remove the handle and check for signs that the shower screen was touching the grounds. If you can’t see it, the handle is under filled – adjust grinder gram throw to change how much coffee is dispensed. Unless you get this right nothing else matters.
Return the full handle to the group head and start the pump. As soon as you see the coffee stream emerge pay particular attention to the thickness of the stream. Now recall the appearance of the stream from the espresso machine and note the crema in the cup. Compare your results with the following chart:
|Brewing Time||< 18 seconds||18-25 seconds||> 25 seconds|
|Stream Appearance||Raging torrent||Half cm thick||Breaks into droplets|
|Crema Colour||None to blond||Golden||Brown to burnt|
|Crema Thickness||None to thin||Thick (4mm)||Thin to none|
|Crema Fragility||Breaks apart easily||Heals quickly||Doesn’t heal|
|Aroma & Taste||Soft, weak||Strong, complex||Acrid, burnt, bitter|
If your results are the same as the middle column, well done, if not you need to empty the grinder, adjust the mill collars and repeat the test as follows.
It is necessary to rotate the mill collar in order to increase or decrease the size of the coffee grounds. Some grinders rotate left while other rotate right so you need to look for some indication as to which way to turn the collar. Some grinders show a + or – sign. Turning towards + will coarsen the grind (allowing the liquid to flow more quickly) while towards the – will fine it up.
If these symbols are absent, look for an arrow with a point at one end and a fat tail at the other. Turning toward the point fines up the grind.
Also, commonly seen are two arrows pointing in opposite directions. One is likely to have a - or the word Fin (fine) at one end and the other a + or the word Grob (coarse). Many grinders have a mill-collar locking device in the form of push down button. This button needs to be depressed before the collar will move. Ensure the button returns fully to its locked position before starting the grinder.
The most important thing to remember is that coarser grinds produce a weaker taste as the water runs through quicker, while finer grinds absorb more water making the coffee stronger. Aiming for something in the middle is usually best.
Periodically it will be necessary to completely remove the whole bean hopper and mill collar, say for cleaning or removal of a foreign object thereby upsetting your perfect setting. Simply make sure the threads are perfectly clean and wind the mill collar down till it touches the lower grinding surface. Now wind it back a quarter turn and grind a little coffee until it is the size of table salt grinds (or sand). Adjust as previously described.
Tamping the coffee in the handle helps impede the flow of water through the grounds and assists with the extraction process. It also greatly assists with the production of crema; the golden cream of aerated coffee oils found atop a great espresso. Choose a tamper with a flat bottom, press down on the coffee, rotate and then tap the side of the handle with the back of the tamper to dislodge loose grounds and re-tamp. Wipe the handle face before inserting in the group head. Tamping is one of the great ceremonies in the production of espresso coffee.
There are only 4 rules to pulling the perfect shot of espresso:
Milk that is frothed correctly greatly enhances the appearance of the coffee and adds to the flavour by toning down some of the natural acidity of the bean. With the milk you aim to avoid two things. The first is not to scald the milk and the second is to avoid large air bubbles in the jug. Both are easily avoided with a little practice.
If you don’t have a thermometer in the jug to measure the temperature you can use the touch method. Hold the jug by the handle using the hand you write with and place the fingers of your spare hand on the jug bottom away from the steam nozzle. When it gets too hot to hold, count three and remove it from the steam. Is the temperature right? Make yourself a coffee using the milk just frothed. If it is too cold simply increase your count until you get the temperature correct. There is no need to burn your fingers.
Start pouring the milk into the espresso – see the enclosed table card for different drink measurements. You may wish to use the flat edge of a spatula for ease of pouring at first but this is not necessary with practice.
To create a flower pattern: pour the milk about an inch (2 cm - 3 cm) away from the bottom. Once the cup is about half filled, gently shake the pitcher back and forth while slowly moving it backwards. The flower design will move forward, filling the cup. Do this with a shaking motion originating at the wrist instead of moving your hand back and forth.
To create a heart pattern: Shake your hand as you would in making a flower. However, instead of moving backwards, keep your hand in the same general area, focusing on making a ringed circle.
Continue until the foam reaches the top of the cup. Then, sweep the rest of the milk up the centre of the newly created pattern. Use a minimal amount to avoid sinking the pattern.
You can embellish the design using stencils, powder, and milk foam. This step is optional, as many prefer to limit their latte art to "free form" methods, but you may want to experiment with the possibilities added by "etching."
To write a word, melt milk chocolate and using a pin as a paintbrush drag the melting chocolate over the foamed milk. More commonly this is done by dipping the pointed object into the cream of the drink being decorated, and then transferring that cream stained foam to the pure white foam to 'draw' a design.
Espresso machines are remarkably robust pieces of equipment and will continue to give excellent service with the simplest of maintenance. The things to be avoided here are the blocking up of the group head and boiler contamination.
At the end of every day the machine should be back-flushed. Back flushing involves the use of the blind filter in a handle. First though you need to brush under the group head to remove loose grounds of coffee, particularly those that have stuck to the neoprene seal. A build-up of grounds here will cause the handle to seal incorrectly and water will be forced over the top rather than through the pipes behind. Introduce the handle to the head and push the continuous pour button for a 10-second pour. Empty the contents and repeat until clear.
Twice a week use a detergent to backwash the group – we supply several suitable products. Simply follow the same procedure as back flushing but add the detergent to the blind filter. Thoroughly rinse the group with water before pouring the first coffee. The back-washing procedure is very important because it assists in dissolving coffee oils that accumulate in the group head and clog the fine filters.
At the end of each week (or sooner if necessary), soak the filter handles and their cups in back wash detergent to remove the black coffee stains
You should periodically refresh the water in the boiler by pouring off a litre or two via the tea-making tap. This not only refreshes the water but is also a check on whether you have spore contamination in the boiler. Spore contamination will show either as black “crud” in the poured off water and or the water will have a white appearance and smell like sour milk. If the boiler is contaminated so is your coffee. These spores are a fungus growth caused by milk being siphoned into the boiler via the steam wand because the wand has been left in water. Boilers contaminated with spores can be cured but at considerable cost.
If steam wands must be soaked in water to remove caked on milk, blow out the holes by releasing some steam. Under no circumstances turn the machine off with the wand in water.
On a weekly basis remove all the beans from the hopper and wipe the hopper clean of oil residue. Clear any obstruction in the opening to the grinding discs. If grinder is fitted with a magnet then remove any object clinging to magnet. Do not use detergent on interior of grinder. Do not use water on interior of grinder
Do not use water on interior of grinder.
The grinder blades eventually wear, and require replacement.