Offering to make the after dinner coffees on your espresso machine is
only natural. It's not much fun if it takes you 20 minutes or so to
produce half a dozen cappuccinos, though, so the first one is stone
cold and flat as a tack by the time the last one is made. Below is a
guide to producing 6 excellent coffees in less than 6 minutes.
|Start by turning on and priming your machine before
dinner. Stack your cups on top to warm up and lock your portafilter
into the group.
will need 500ml (about a pint) of milk, so you'll need a 1.5 litre jug
for frothing, like the one on the right. (A$29.00.)
things up, grind enough coffee for 6 shots (about 50g) before dinner
and store in an airtight container.
Fill the double basket, strike & tamp, lock and brew 30ml per cup.
Knock out the portafilter, wipe with a bit of kitchen paper, repeat and
repeat. This should take about 2 minutes for the 6.
|As soon as
you've finished the last shot, open the steam valve for a couple of
seconds and let a few ml of water out. The "headspace" gives you extra
|Turn on the
"Steam" switch and pour 500ml of ice-cold milk into your 1.5l jug. Wait
till the "Heating" light goes out, submerge the tip of the wand in the
milk and open the valve right up.
|Your milk will
just about triple in volume as it's frothed. When you have enough froth
submerge the wand a bit and hold the base of the jug with your free
hand. When it's too hot to touch, it's ready. Close your steam valve.
||Fill your cups
(these are 200ml, probably a bit big for cappuccino) and serve. Elapsed
time from starting to fill the portafilter was 5 minutes and 38
seconds. Don't forget to clean the steam wand, turn OFF the steam
switch and refill the boiler.
Note that one of the reasons I recommend a machine with a 300ml brass
boiler as a "minimum" when you're buying a machine is that
smaller boilers just don't have enough steam to froth 500ml of milk in
On a slightly different subject, one of the things I get asked fairly
often is how to produce a "Cafe Crema". This is basically a long coffee
(about 150 - 180ml) produced as a continuous espresso shot. The
important thing to note is that the shot TIME should be 25-28 seconds,
and that I recommend using 14g of coffee (a double).
after pressing the "brew" button.
|About 180 ml
after 26 seconds, and it didn't taste too bad at all.
Note that the "water debit" on most
espresso machines is probably around 200 - 250ml in 25 seconds. This
means that the grind of the coffee needs to be very carefully adjusted
to JUST above the fineness needed for 100ml in 25 seconds; a single
"click" on most grinders is usually enough. You are actually trying to
slow the flow down just enough for decent extraction. If you get the
grind right the results are pretty good, see the photos below.
machine used in the photos above was an Imat Mokita Combi, and the
coffee was Espresso Meridionale (100% Arabica.)