Archives for posts with tag: crema

Making coffee can take different directions depending on which kind of coffee and methods are used to get that great fresh cup.

We aren’t talking about instant coffee but only about fresh roasted beans. Coffee is a science, not an art.

1/ A grinder is needed; either manual or electric. But the setting of the grinder is also important.

The ground will differ if it is for a french press or a V60 filter. Too coarse or too fine, it could ruin the beverage.

2/ Dosing is about having that right amount of coffee to make the drink perfectly balanced. Too much ground coffee and it could be bitter/dark and not enough will then produce a watery and weak espresso.

3/ The extraction time:

… obtain the perfect amount of dissolved coffee solids (flavour) from the finely ground coffee. Not too little (under extraction), and not too much (over extraction)… Source

4/ Ratio (coffee Vs water) – 18g to 20g of coffee should be used for a double shot. Ideally, the use of a brewing calculator will be able to guide you and then decide if you wish to change your recipe.

5/ Water quality and temperature – Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood at Tamper Tantrum Birmingham 2014 explains it all HERE.

6/ Milk quality and texture when starting the steaming process. This is applicable for drinks such as cappuccino, latte, flat white. It is important to stretch the milk, and give it that required texture to get the right drink. A latte shouldn’t have that foamy top and same thing for the flat white.

The average temperature should be around 65℃ (slightly less for a flat white). Having a cappuccino extra hot will just burn the milk and ruin the overall aroma and flavour of the coffee.

Adding syrup or sugar would be like pouring lemonade in wine or cordial in beer. Why changing and destroying the original taste?! Paying a good price for a cup and spoiling the barista’s work could almost been seen as disrespectful.

Cappuccino latte art and milk texture

Cappuccino latte art and milk texture

Of course, coffee can be bitter with a lemon/citrus taste but this is how that particular bean is.

Coffee bean is like a grape. Again, there are several types of white wines going from dry, medium, medium try to sweet. Coffee works the same way and the darkness of the roasted bean will deliver various types of espresso.

This is why cupping sessions/courses can educate the drinkers and make their taste buds aware of all these delicate notes.

Coffee Cupping Session

Coffee Cupping Session

There are also various tools available to purchase to improve your coffee making experience too.

Some espresso bars or coffee shops have the entire set including: refractometer, scales and other useful gadgets to test and analyze the coffee quality.

Making coffee is all about getting the right ingredients, dosage and temperature and respecting the variables.

All this to say that coffee shops are expanding and it is important to pick the right one. It doesn’t need to have a big sign and comfortable sofas.

What is essential is in fact a skilled barista with a welcoming attitude and the eventual magazines, newspapers available to customers with a few coasters around to put your mug/cup on and avoid staining the entire place with eventual spillage.

The WiFi connection won’t make your coffee taste better.

Coffee espresso extraction

Coffee espresso extraction


When going to a local (and preferably) independent coffee shop there are sometimes little details which don’t seem important to us – as a customer.

Usually, we look at the board/menu to see which kind of hot drinks are available and the price (regular, large, drink-in, take-away). This is in general what matters when you are on one side of the counter and need an intake of caffeine.

However, for the barista the price for a flat white, mocha or latte is about the specific milk texture (which is a real skill) and the quality of the coffee beans. The way the bean is roasted can change the entire taste of the shot from the coffee machine.

For a lot of coffee fans, it is all about the way the hot drink looks with the nice crema on top of the espresso. This is certainly a sign of quality but the taste is another part, which shouldn’t be neglected.

Coffee roasters are playing a major part to supply “la crème de la crème” in the world of coffee shops, where the competition is high.

The beans are initially green then the process of roasting –  also called torréfaction – needs to be done carefully as you wouldn’t like to get an over-roasted and consequently burnt beans, which wouldn’t be useable.

Coffee Roasting stages

Who thought that coffee culture would become so big…especially in the United Kingdom…the country where the cup of tea is a real iconic symbol throughout the rest of the world.

As an example Origin Coffee located in Cornwall started with almost nothing in 2008.

…In 2011 our roaster is roasting 20 times more coffee than what we started off with and we’re pretty happy with that. We’ve moved in to a brand new building in Helston, we’re a team of 17 people, and we’re not yet full grown. We have direct relationships with farms we buy from and everything we sell we are 100% proud of… Source

So, the price for a brew reflects the work involved to get the right roast. This is why there are no deals or bargains in respectable coffee shops such as 2 for 1 present in some chains who buy everything in bulk from a supplier who doesn’t actually care about the quality but is just money driven.

Always remember, that quality is not cheap and of course, you can get a coffee from a vending machine, but the taste will be nothing like “the Real McCoy“.

Coffee cup with raosted coffee beans

Getting the right beans directly from the farmers/plantations will be the winner and it is not by sending an executive headhunters in Switzerland that this will happen. It is about being at the right place, at the right time and going to the source rather than working from an office on the other side of the globe.

…We visit the farms we buy from and then spend a long time roasting small coffee samples with different profiles to make sure we’re roasting our beans to get their optimum flavour…Source

Coffee facts and trivia infographicLarger version on

Origin coffee roasters now have a Vimeo channel full of great visual tips.

Enjoy the one below titled “How to brew a flat white“.