THE PERFECT COFFEE
The wide menu of coffee drinks you find in a café all start off with a good espresso. You are looking for an espresso with a 2 - 3mm crema and a rich, dark brown colour underneath (the exact colour will depend on the bean you have chosen).
• It should have a taste that is full of flavour (whether mild and subtle or rich and strong), and not overly bitter. It should stay hot to the bottom of the espresso.
• A espresso shot should be 35ml extracted from 7g of ground coffee.
• A cappuccino should comprise an espresso topped with steamed milk and a head of froth. The proportions are roughly equal.
• The milk should be steamed for long enough to ensure the cappuccino (or latte) is hot when served.
• A caffè latte contains one-third espresso and nearly two-thirds steamed milk, the milk should be fully frothed, giving the latté a more velvety texture.
There are 6 components to making a great cup of hot coffee.
1. THE RIGHT CHOICE OF COFFEE BEANS
There are two main types of bean; within each type there are numerous varieties that are usually identified by their geographical region.
ARABICA: Wide-ranging flavours, often sweeter with aromatic, fruity notes. Higher in acidity. Generally shade grown at higher altitudes.
ROBUSTA: Earthy flavour with more caffeine, which gives a slightly bitter taste. Helps produce a good 'crema' in espressos. Generally grown at lower altitudes.
The roast will affect the strength and flavour of the coffee. Generally the darker the roast, the stronger the coffee will be.
Try beans from around the world. As with wine, the soil, climate and cultivation methods all affect the taste of the coffee, producing anything from a mild, mellow blend to a rich, dark roast.
Dualit's range of single origin capsules show how climate, altitude and geographical variables affect espresso flavour. We hand-picked each blend not only for their excellent taste, but also for the diverse flavours they offer as a range.
Whole beans will keep for fourteen days in an air-tight container or 45 days in the freezer. Divide a big bag of beans into several smaller containers before freezing so you only open what you require.
2. THE GRIND
Use beans that have been as freshly roasted and ground as possible, as coffee quickly goes stale. Espresso machines need coffee with a fine grind as a coarser grind will affect the rate of extraction. You'll know when you've got it right because you'll have a dense 2-3mm crema on the surface of your coffee.
Too coarse: this will under-extract, giving you brown water but no flavour.
Too fine: this will over-extract, giving you a bitter flavour.
Dualit Burr Coffee Grinder crushes beans evenly, instead of cutting them, and preserves the natural oils and coffee aromas for better flavour.
The perfect temperature for brewing coffee is just below boiling point. Boiling water will burn the ground beans and the coffee will taste bitter. A lower temperature won't extract the oils or flavour from the bean.
Your Dualit coffee machine will heat the water to the perfect temperature every time you make an espresso.
4. DOSING AND TAMPING
Compacting the coffee firmly and uniformly (but not too tightly) forces the water through the coffee grounds in a way that extracts the best flavour. Tamping too hard will stop water flowing through the ground coffee.
A good barista will tamper by pressing the grounds gently without tapping the filter holder, then twisting slightly to 'polish' the surface of the compacted coffee.
Your Dualit 3 in 1 Machine comes with a 7g measuring spoon/tamper.
5. FROTHING OR STEAMING
Steaming or frothing introduces tiny bubbles of air into the milk, giving it a velvety texture.
Cappuccinos and lattes both use frothed milk, but a latte has a more velvety texture as the milk is frothed from the bottom of the jug - only the top 1cm of a cappuccino comprises frothed milk.
You will produce better, hotter frothed milk if you use a stainless steel jug. Make sure there's enough milk in it to allow the steamer to do its job properly.
For best results use cold milk - full-fat, the higher the fat content of the milk, the lighter the froth will be.
Don't let milk boil - ideally it should reach 70-75°C. Once it reaches 79°C you will lose the froth. Listen to the sound of the frothing; when it is ready the sound of the frothing will become quieter.
Dualit's Barista Kit includes a stainless steel jug, thermometer and chocolate shaker.
If you want barista results, without the hassle, try Dualit's Milk Frother for effortless frothed milk. Simply pour in the milk, press the button, and you'll have frothed milk ready by the time you finish making your espresso.
6. THE CUP
Coffee should always be served in a warm cup, this will keep the coffee hotter for longer and enhance the aroma.
An espresso shot in particular will get cold very quickly if poured into a cold cup. For this reason your cups must be pre-warmed before EACH use.
Enjoy testing out your barista skills!