We are happy to announce the launch of our new service for a trial period which provides you with an alternative option for getting your coffee machine to us after our opening hours, and it takes away the worry of using a courier.
We know your time is valuable, so our flexible Coffee Machine Drop Off service is an excellent solution for customers who don’t have time in working hours to get their coffee maker personally or can't wait for the courier to collect their coffee machine.
From 1st of September 2016 you can simply drop off your coffee machine to our neighbouring shop:
Metro Food and Wine shop
150 Greenford road,
Their Opening hours
Monday to Sunday: 6:30am - 11pm
General maintenance of your coffee machine is essential as it reduces the possibility of any malfunction. Only a well-working and well-maintained coffee machine can produce a perfect coffee.
Maintenance is a very important part of the home made coffee culture. You can find this topic in several places on our website and in our blog posts, but we decided to make a totally new blog post about this topic in order to emphasize the importance of it.
We will be having a look at the suggested scheduling of different maintenance tasks in the followings.
If we have manual machine, we need to rinse out the filter holder and the basket after every finished coffee brewing. If we have used the steam wand on the coffee machine for frothing milk, we should clean out the frother in order to remove all milk residue from it. After steaming we have to cool off the boiler by letting the water through the steam wand, until we have continuous water flow.
If we have an automatic (bean to cup) machine, we should take out the brew unit from the machine and clean it out under running water.
We should lubricate the brew unit of the bean to cup machine at least once a month.
In the case of manual machines we should remove and clean the shower disc and the shower disc holding plate. Never use needle to clean out the holes on the shower disc or the basket. Use toothbrush or wire brush to clean them.
Two months time
If you live in a hard water area, you should use a water softener cartridge to prevent the building of limescale in your coffee machine. The filter should be replaced every 2 months.
Two-three months time
This is the most important part of the maintenance, because 90% of malfunctions is caused by limescale. The limescale gradually builds up in the water system of the coffee machine eventually causing a blockage. Please make sure to descale your coffee machine with Gaggia descaler once every 2 months’ time. Do not use vinegar or descaler which contains formic acid. Those can damage the internal parts of the coffee machine, especially the seals and the rubber gaskets.
You can read more about the process of descaling here >
Two-three years time
A full service is very important every 2-3 years time. It should be entrusted to professionals, because the machine is taken apart during this process and all elements are inspected to look for excessive deterioration and malfunction. The complete machine is cleaned out and the worn out, broken parts and all gaskets are replaced. All moving components are lubricated as part of the full service.
You can read more about the full service here >
If you are interested in the topic of maintenance, you will find more details about it here >
If you have further questions you can find answers and ask professionals here >
Enjoy your coffee...
We have already discussed a lot of factors concerning how to make a perfect espresso, and now we are in the home stretch.
The time has come to combine this knowledge, and try it out step by step:
Choose the right size filter basket according to the number of cups you would like to brew (1 or 2 cup basket). Put the chosen filter into the filter holder and attach it to the group head.
Turn on your machine and wait for all components to heat up (the boiler, the group head, the portafilter and the filter basket).
The constant water temperature is very important during the coffee brewing.
You can put hot water into the cups to help preheat them. You should use thick-walled cups, because these can keep temperature better.
Remove the portafilter from the group head. Make sure it is dry and clean. If necessary you should use a dry towel to wipe it clean. Put the right amount of fine ground coffee into the basket. A single espresso is made from 7-11 grams coffee, the double is made from 14-22 grams.
Try to distribute the coffee as evenly as you can in the basket.
Tamp the preground coffee. The tamper has to be horizontal and you have to push it with about 15-20 kilograms of force. You did it well if the surface is totally flat. A little twist at the end of the tamping can help you to achieve the perfect result. If some coffee remained on the top edge of the filter basket, you should carefully remove it.
Remove the water from the cups and dry it.
Replace the portafilter to the group head and put the cup(s) under the spout. The hot group head can burn the ground coffee so you should begin the coffee brewing quickly. If you did a good job, a cup of espresso (25-30ml) will be brewed under 25-30 second with mouse tail thin coffee flow and a rich crema will appear at the surface of your coffee. Should this value differ greatly, then a little practice and our previous articles can help you acchieve the right result.
Enjoy your espresso while it’s fresh.
You have to clean your coffee maker after every brewing. The systematic cleaning and maintenance are very important factors, so we will dedicate a separate article for this process. If you are interested, you will be able to read it here soon.
And again, enjoy your coffee...
Nowadays making a perfect espresso is a real art. Several special events are organized where the best baristas can compare their knowledge. We try to give you a piece of this knowledge in this article series in order to help you to make the best coffee possible at your home. Our aim is to guide you through the traditional Italian 5M rules. We have already completed 2 articles in this topic , as follows:
- the coffee blend
- the coffee grinder
In this article we will meet the appropriate coffee machine, which is essential for brewing a really tasty Italian coffee.
The coffee machine (macchina from the 5M) has two main features:
-It has to provide the appropriate and constant water temperature, below boiling-point, at 92-96 degrees and the pressure of 9 bars.
It does not seem too difficult, although several coffee machines on the market are not capable of satisfying these criteria; therefore they are unsuitable to make a real espresso.
The boiler of the machine has to be big enough to provide continuous temperature during the coffee brewing.
The machine should not boil the water as it would burn the grounds and extract too much tannic acid.
Some coffee machine boilers are under-calibrated, so they keep pressing colder and colder water through the coffee during the brewing procedure. The primary sign of the inconstant water temperature is if the crema is not uniformly brown, instead it contains light brown stripes.
The coffee machine must contain a big mass, good heat-retaining, copper or aluminum boiler which will provide the consistent temperature around 92 Celsius. The boiler should have one or two high performance heating element(s) to avoid long waiting time while the boiler is heating up.
The other factor, mentioned earlier, is the pressure. Entry-level machines boil the water to increase the pressure, so the boiling water goes through the ground coffee, resulting in burnt and bitter beverages with high tannic acid level.
Good coffee machines generate pressure of 9 bars by using water pump(s) and valve(s). This technology is based on an invention from 1946, when Giovanni Achille Gaggia built a spring-loaded valve into an old-fashioned machine. This valve made it possible to push water, below boiling temperature, through the coffee. As a result the coffee has become softener and lighter, and the hallmark of the perfect espresso appeared, namely the crema.
To be continued...
This concept is based on the traditional Italian 5M, and we have already examined the first main element, which was the proper coffee blend (Miscelanza).
In this article we will look at the coffee grinder (machinadosatore). The right grinder also contributes to the perfect homemade espresso coffee.
To produce a decent espresso, water needs to be pressed through the coffee at a high pressure, so you need a thick puck of fine ground coffee, so that the water won’t just run through the puck. According to the Italian traditional rule, the coffee brewing time should be between 20 - 30 seconds to achieve the right result. That is why the right fineness and density are essential.
Buying preground coffee is not the best solution. First of all it is quite difficult to find a proper fine ground coffee in a shop, secondly the harmful chemical effects start to appear immediately after grinding which quickly starts to diminish the aroma and flavour. The coffee manufacturers keep these effects in mind, and for this reason they immediately hermetically seale the ground coffee after grinding. If you open a bag of whole coffee beans, you should not keep it longer than 1 month, and pre-ground coffee is good for only 1 week.
So the best method is when you buy whole espresso beans and you grind it with an appropriate macinadosatore (grinder). You should only grind a small amount of fine coffee, that you use immediately. At this point we should mention that the spice and nut grinders are inadequate to grinding coffee beans, because these machines don’t grind, but crush the beans unevenly. We are not able to prepare a good coffee from these crushed beans. A good coffee grinder works like a mill, and it has fineness adjustability. The stepless adjustability is useful for the perfect settings.
Tamping is an essential step in the perparation of espresso, because it distributes the coffee in the filter basket and compresses the ground coffee. We have to push the tamper with 15-20 kilograms of force. Tampers are available in different sizes and shapes, depending on the handle and the filter basket. You should pay great attention to use the proper size and shape, which fits your filter basket perfectly.
New machines mostly come with cheap plastic tampers often not even in the right size, but proper metal ones are widely available. An elegant tamper can also be an eye-catching part of your kitchen, beside your coffee machine and your coffee grinder. The coffee must be ground to the appropriate grain size, and tamped in order to achieve the perfect density. If the water is running through the coffee, then the end product will be week. It means your ground coffee is too coarse and you have to readjust your grinder to grind it finer. If the ground coffee you use is too fine, your coffee machine will not be able to press water through the puck. In this case you have to readjust your grinder to grind coarser. The aim is the mouse tail thin coffee flow into the cup. That way the time of coffee brewing will take long enought, so that a type of gas production (mainly carbon dioxide) can start. Crema is a product of this process. The crema is the most basic recognizance of the perfect espresso. The crema can be characterised by a reddish-brown foam, which does not contain bubbles and it adheres to the wall of the cup. We need to have a well set grinder, a suitable tamper and a lot of practice to create the perfect espresso with rich crema. Experimentation can help to achieve the good results.
The setting of the grinder is not a one-time process. A new coffee brand, a longer keept coffee and the humidity can make infuence on the quality of the ground coffee. Once you experience that the coffee flow is not optimal, you have to change the settings of the grinder. The hardest part of brewing great espresso is to learn about the grinding procedure. It takes a lot of experimentation to gain the necessary experience. You can not expect to become an excellent home barista overnight, but practice will make you better day-by-day!
We will carry on with the coffee machine…
We would like to introduce you how to prepare the perfect, homemade coffee. Our first goal with these article series is to help those of you, who do not have any barista experience, to become a perfect espresso specialist at home. The second purpose of our articles is to give you a deep insight into the main factors that influence the whole complexity of coffee. According to the Italian traditional rule, the 5M factors must be present in order to make the perfect coffee. 5M consists of the followings:
- Macchina – coffee machine
- Macinadosatore - grinder
- Mano – hand (skill of the person)
- Manutenzione - maintenance
- Miscelanza – (appropriate) blend
At first we will examine the „Miscelanza, namely, the appropriate coffee blend.
The coffee plant (genus: Coffea) has several species, but only two main species are commercially cultivated, these are the arabica (coffea arabica) and the robusta (coffea canephora). The coffea arabica the most highly regarded species, a nobler and better coffee commodity, but the growing of arabica coffee is more difficult than robusta, because it is more suspectable to diseases, warm and pests. In spite of this fact, about three-quarters of coffee cultivated worldwide is arabica. The coffee robusta is a more resistant species. It can be cultivated atlower altitudes and warmer climates. It is more acidic, contains more caffeine and is more bitter than the arabica. Although the robusta is undemanding, the great quality robusta beans are the source of traditional Italian espresso. These beans provide full-bodied taste and better crema ( foam on the top of the coffee).
Brazil is the world's largest coffee-producing nation. Vietnam, Columbia and Indonesia are the next in the row. Every piece of coffee berry is picked by hand. This process involves the selection of the red, ripe crops. After the picking of berries, the processing starts immediately, which can be different based on the technology and the tradition. In every case, the goal is to separate the coffee beans and the fruit pulp from each other. The next step is when the beans are treated, cleaned and sorted in order to gain only the best coffee beans, because these beans will be spread all over the world. The last step of the process is roasting, which is also different by the type of the coffee, the country and the tradition. The robusta and arabica coffee beans are roasted differently. The robusta is usually dark roasted, and arabica lighter roasted.
The coffee blends are increasingly widespread besides the old fashioned, 100% arabica coffees. The 80% arabica and 20% robusta blend is harmonious, because both species characteristics prevail. Espresso lovers who like the full-bodied, strong coffee taste usually choose to drink blends with higher robusta percentage. The world's most exclusive and most expensive coffee is the Kopi Luwak, which is also robusta, although it’s producing process is very unique. In order to find the perfect coffee taste, you should try out differently roasted and differently mixed coffee blends to decide which is the perfect for you. The soft coffee lovers should try out the 80-20 rate mixture with smoothly roasted, lighter beans. If you like the more bitter, full-flavored coffee with hard crema, we recommend to taste coffee blends with higher robusta rate.
Remember that choosing the right coffee blend is just the first step on the road to perfect coffee experience. There are a lot of other factors (that we are going to examine later), that have significant influence on the taste, the aroma, the consistency, the colour and the caffeine content of your perfect coffee.
To be continued…
Pepermint Hot Chocolate Coffee
Spiced Irish Coffee
Can you imagine the amount of coffee what the greatest artists consumed at the birth of new songs? Some of them have written songs about coffee because they were so grateful for its refreshing effect.
Have a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy this list of our favourite coffee songs:
Ed Bassmaster – Coffee Coffee
Squeeze - Black Coffee in Bed
Bob Marley - One Cup of Coffee
Frank Sinatra – The Coffee Song
Alice Cooper with Orianthi - Caffeine live 2012
We can benefit from healthier lifestyle if we find our optimal coffee intake and the ideal times to drink it. Coffee lover`s needs may vary but there are some very important rules that everyone should keep in mind before have a cup of coffee.