13 steps to great coffee in your pub or restaurant
The golden rules to make great coffee
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Keep Portafilter HOT
Having cold portafilters will kill the shot, they will cool down the shot as it is extracted and the full flavour of the coffee will not come through, as well as making a lower temperature espresso. The coffee will also stick to the inside of the head. Make sure that all residue coffee is cleaned from the portafilter before fresh coffee is added, having spent coffee residue mixed with freshly ground coffee makes a poor espresso.
Look after your beans
Storing your beans before using them is critical for a good espresso. Storing them on the machine or in a hot kitchen will ruin the beans and give a bitter taste to your shots. Keeping them in a cool dry place and only decanting as much as you need for a few hours, rather than filling the hopper to the top will ensure the beans are as fresh as possible. Keeping the hopper clean as well is important, as stale oil residue can build up and spoil the beans while they sit in the hopper.
Grind coffee to order
Use an on demand grinder if possible or if you have a grinder with a ground coffee holder then keep this empty and grind to order using the on off switch rather than the internal automatic switch.
Clear coffee stuck in the head
When you take off the portafilter handles press the extract button to clean the coffee from the filter head.
Clean steam wands, inside and out!
Purging the steam wands, turning them on and letting some steam through, will clear out any milk residue from the last drink, rather than deposit it into your fresh milk! Cleaning the wands after every drink will stop bacteria building up on the wand and again going into your next drink.
Coffee hates cold cups and the shot will be ruined before you start if you put it into a cold cup.
Don’t reheat milk
Only heat as much milk as you need for each drink, never reheat or mix cold milk into hot or preheated milk. Heating the milk splits the proteins to create the smooth texture of correctly steamed milk, steaming the same milk twice will produce a watery latte or cappuccino.
Keep the milk in the fridge
Milk steamed from cold will make a better drink, milk left at room temperature will start to sour quickly and ruin the drink.
Always hold the milk jug when steaming
Correctly steamed milk is the difference between a terrible or a magnificent latte or cappuccino. Leaving the milk under an unattended steam wand while doing something else will never ever make great textured milk for your drinks.
The final visual check for quality
A great espresso will look like a mini pint of Guinness when in a shot glass and have an even crema on the top. This is the final quality control for your drink, if it doesn't look good, it won’t taste good - simple!
Clean the machine daily
Follow the manufacturers cleaning guidance, using the correct chemicals and brushes - no excuses. Leaving the machine longer between cleans will give you poor quality coffee and the machine will break down.
Calibrate the shots and grinder regularly
Have a scale and shot glasses to hand to ensure that the weight of coffee per shot and volume of water are both correct. Having either of these wrong will produce a bad espresso.
Filtered water will taste better and will protect your machine from scaling up. Every coffee machines nemesis. Make sure your filters are changed regularly.