Category Archives: Coffee Videos

I’m Trying out a new Aeropress Recipe

I’m the type of person that needs change and ever so often I’m looking for new ways to experience things with food and drink. Sometimes I think that my taste buds are so used to good coffee that I wonder what I’m tasting and if all coffee doesn’t taste the same. Well! that misconception is usually short lived until I go to a “typical” coffee shop or spot and they offer me coffee and I think “how can they get this so wrong”. I’m still intrigued by the on-going debate about how world class restaurants serve you fantastic food but when you ask for that espresso at the end of a great meal, you think “why did you get this wrong?”.

Ok, I digress. I was looking through the flipboard (apple app for news update), which naturally I subscribe to coffee news and came upon this recipe on thecoffeecompass by Michael Butterworth, who is a coffee educator, who cofounded the Coffee Compass and is a two-time USBC Competitor, licensed Q Grader, and was once the 4th best Aeropresser in America (source: the coffee compass). Since finding the recipe I’ve tried it thrice – once verbatim, second, when I didn’t break the crust but took it out to give a cleaner cup and today with a slight adjustment on temperature and steep time.

In summary, it is;

15g freshly ground coffee

225ml of 95C hot water

Using two filter papers

Pour almost boiling water into the aeropress and place plunger on – this will create a vacuum

Steep for one minute

Take plunger off and break crust but giving it a quick stir

cover again and steep/leave for about 4 minutes, then plunge.

For my slight variation today; I used 15g of coffee but about 240ml of 91C hot water. Followed the same plunge and break the crust, but for the final steep, I left for about 2 minutes.

What did I notice taste wise using Kenya AA Plus Gicherori, SL28-SL34 Ruiru 11 ? For Michael’s version, definitely more fruity. I was excited by this new recipe and fruitiness and medium acidity tickling my tongue.

For my second variation (removal of crust for a cleaner cup) – medium acidity with a light citrus taste. For my third variation (lower temperature and reduced brew time) – whilst not as fruity as version one, but more balanced.

What did I learn also ? Using 95C hot water and pouring in straight away creates a vacuum – I actually thought that coffee would start dripping straight away but it didn’t. I was also fascinated by the breaking of the crust concept. I tried this coffee on the Hario V60, but it wasn’t as fruity as on the aeropress.

I’m quite excited by this new version and I’ll probably use it until I am intrigued by another simple to use recipe. Please share any aeropress recipes with me and perhaps I’ll feature them too.



Making Espresso: Take 2, The Serious Edit

Ok, so, let’s go into more detail on making espresso – let’s slow it down and take it step by step. For this, I’m going back to the origins of espresso. As espresso is an Italian mainstay, let’s check out what they say about making espresso. In summary, the Italians refer to  the 5 Ms when making espresso –

Mescla (coffee type or blend),

Machina (the type of coffee machine),

Machinadosatore (the grinder that grinds the coffee),

Mesura (the grammes of coffee used per espresso shot) and

Mano (the hand of the barista)

So, for me this means…

Mescla – I’m using an espresso blend from a recent Colombia Cup of Excellence lot, so it’s expensive, but the most important point is that it should be a coffee roasted for brewing espresso. Some professionals, brew using different blends, but for the vast majority, an espresso blend is used.

Machina – I’m using my newish espresso prosumer (a merge between professional and consumer) machine, a Profitec700, dual boiler machine with a rotary pump and a PID (i.e. I can change the temperature of the espresso boiler) and a whole lot more, but let’s say it costs more than $2,000.

Machinadosatore – I’m using a top of the range prosumer espresso grinder, a Macap M4D, yes, a grinder just for espresso

Mesura – I’m using approximately 18 grammes of freshly ground coffee for a double espresso. Most experts recommend always brewing a double shot – a single just doesn’t taste the same.

Mano – Well, mine of course – I will never participate in a Barista competition, but I’ve been making espresso, practically almost everyday since 2007, so I think I have a good idea how to make espresso.

Next, the process;

  1. Make sure your espresso machine is warm enough – mine’s is set to 93C and takes about 7 minutes to warm up.
  2. Pour your beans into the bean hopper of your espresso grinder and grind away.
  3. Make sure the setting is correct, whereby previously you checked that when you grind the beans, approximately 45ml of coffee comes out in 20-28 seconds – if it doesn’t, then keep playing around, trying not to waste too much coffee.
  4. Grind your beans right into the portafilter
  5. Flatten the ground coffee. Tamp with about 30 pounds or pressure
  6. Let water run through the espresso machine for about 5-9 seconds
  7. Then place into the portafilter into brew holder
  8. Extract your espresso
  9. And hopefully what comes out, is espresso. Too watery and coming out after 2 seconds, the grind is too loose, tighten it, so that if your grinder is set on 8, move it closer to 7, like on mine and try again
  10. If the coffee starts coming out after 10 seconds, the grind is too fine and coffee will be over extracted, bitterness.
  11. So keep playing around until you get that sweet spot – I must confess it is a lot of hit and miss, and can be quite expensive, excluding the cost of the machine and grinder (together over Euro2,000), but the beans, especially if you’re like me and buy really expensive stuff.

and here’s the video…

Making Espresso @ Home: The Video

So, I’ve been asked many times “how do you make ….. coffee” and then when I start explaining and for the who know me, I get kind of all geeky. The next question is “do you have a video on how to make this ?”And of course, I’m like “erm! no!” – looking all embarrassed. So, here’s a time lapse video of how to make espresso, BUT, I’ve got to go over the geeky bits first. What is espresso ? For this I’m going to revise my definition of espresso, which is;

In general, nine grammes of freshly ground Arabica coffee, tamped with 30 pounds or pressure, ground to a precision and brewed around 93-94.5C between 8 and 10 bars of pressure on an espresso machine that allows about 45ml (1.5 US fl ounce) of coffee to drip through into a cup in about 23-25 seconds, resulting in dark coffee with crema on top.

SOUNDS COMPLICATED DOESN’T IT ? The most important thing however, concerns the preparation; such as the type of coffee, the grind and the machine – if any of the essential elements are missing then you won’t get espresso but some mutant of it, which unfortunately you will get in most coffee shops.

So for my video, I used JB’s Kaffee espresso blend, with about 18.5 grammes of coffee for a double espresso, brewed at 93C. Enough talking, watch the vid;


My Coffee Videos on You Tube

My First Video, shot at Origins Coffee Roasting, Cape Town, where the barista poured two hearts into a latte. Check it out; Two Hearts Latte   

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