Too cute!
and I love stovetop coffee:

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Coffee Makers Cafe - In the works

Coffee Makers Cafe has been a little neglected over the past year. Occasionally I have added articles, but not nearly as often as I should. From this point forward, articles will be added much more regularly.

Having added a brief overview of barista training yesterday (click on title of yesterday's post to view), this coming week I will write in more detail about certain facets of barista training. I will be focusing on how to adapt techniques for use with home coffee makers and home espresso machines. The first article will be on milk frothing - and the difference between microfoam and dishwasher foam.

As always, I'll post here when new articles are added to the main site.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Barista Training

Interested in the finer skills of espresso making? There's a lot more to espresso than meets the eye. Did you know there are entire training courses devoted to "tamping" the grounds? Now that's obsession!

I'm most interested in free-pour Latte art training courses. It's nice to practice espresso skills as a hobby. I don't know if I'd ever want to be a professional barista - too hard!

Check out the new article: Barista Training - Espresso Skills for Aspiring Baristas and the Best of Barista Training Courses

Great Barista Training DVDs you can buy from


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Home roasting in a popcorn popper

For all my complaining, home roasted coffee (even bad home roasted coffee) is mostly much better than pre-roasted coffee. If you want some instructions to start home roasting yourself... check out the link (title) on this post.


Lazy home coffee roaster

Well, a couple of months ago I never thought I'd feel too lazy to roast up a new batch of coffee. Given the benefits of home roasting (fresh taste, cheap green beans, fun times for all!), I thought I was hooked. A couple of weeks ago, I went away for a weekend. Upon returning home I began to use up some pre-roasted beans I had stored in the freezer. The taste was acceptable, so I took some time off from the popcorn popper.

When I finally began craving the taste and aroma of a fresh roast (last week), I decided to start home roasting again. Only now my coffee doesn't taste so great. I've over-roasted, under-roasted, not stirred the beans enough... blah, blah, blah. Just can't seem to get it right. This is really discouraging!

So now I'm thinking I should go and buy one of those expensive home roasters... gee, when I get something in my head!!! I'll try to distract myself and see if I can put off spending the money for a few more months. I've lasted since January already.

I'm going to roast another batch of green today. It had better come out nicely or I might go and buy some pre-roasted beans! It's a threat!


Monday, March 27, 2006

More home roasted espresso frustration!

I can't believe it! The last few days, I have made the worst espressos ever. I can't get the milk to froth at all and I can't get the grind right. Either pouring too fast or too slow.

Add to that my sad attempt at roasting decaf. I tried to stop the roast just after the first crack, but it must have been too early. The coffee tastes very 'bready' and, well... yuck! I didn't even finish it. This is only my second attempt at roasting decaf. The first I roasted too long and it tasted very burnt. It's frustrating not to get it right - the dacafeinated green beans are almost twice the price of the others.

Here's hoping tomorrow's more exciting on the coffee front.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Home Espresso Woes

Being cold, I want more coffee... but it took me three goes to pour a good espresso this morning. There's been a drastic change in the weather lately. On monday it was air-con weather - today it's cold, rainy and I'm all rugged
up! The weather air is quite humid - I don't know if that is affecting the grind. I had to crank the dial up much coarser than usual. Such a waste of coffee. The first two attempts didn't even manage to squeeze any juice into my cup *sigh*.

Actually, its one of the things about espresso that has really surprised me... just how much a coffee grinders grind varies with the weather and day to day. I attended an espresso course earlier this year. I learned that its normal to change the grind 50 times a day in an espresso bar! Add to that the fact that they dial-in the grind with a few test-shots every morning. We home espresso makers don't have the luxury of that... even with home roasted beans, it's still too expensive to throw all that coffee away.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Cinnamon Flavored Coffee

Just poured an espresso with a dash of ground cinnamon in the portafilter... really nice. The flavor integrated better into the cup than just sprinkling cinnamon on top of a pre-poured espresso. Unfortunately the cup was a but overextracted - the grind was out (I think due to the change in weather here lately). I'll have to try it again.


Adding things to my espresso - flavored coffee

I'm not adding milk to my coffee for a week!!! Ok, ok... this Latte art is really peeving me now! I can't *&*^&^ do it! I've got my eye on a course that I want to attend - just gotta find the time. It's hard to get even close to an apple or heart when I'm only pouring two espressos a day. Excuses, excuses!

So, I'm sick of adding milk to my coffee. For a few days - no milk! Instead, I'm going to try adding other things... not that the coffee needs it mind you. The espresso is just fine - but I love playing with flavours in my coffee. (Note: here in Oz we spell flavor with a 'u' - flavour!)

Here's some flavouring I'm going to try:
1. Honey
2. Cinnamon
3. Cardamom
4. Vanilla (hmmm, not sure about that one!)
5. ... send me some suggestions.

I've been wondering about actually adding the spice to the portafilter with the ground coffee - so the spice is extracted with the coffee, rather than added at the end. Can't wait to try that... stay tuned!


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Beautiful Latte Art - Decorated Espresso

After watching Luigi Lupi on the Paul Bassett DVD, I've been looking at pictures of Latte Art on the internet... you can see some here at the Vivace Espresso Art Gallery and some video demos here at Luigi Lupi's Latte Art page.

Even more extraordinary... check out this link to Netherlands Latte Art Championship. This barista art ( etching art and free pour Latte Art ) is absolutely amazing.

So inspiring! I wish I could do it. *Sigh*.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Coffee Latest News

I've just made some mods to the coffee makers cafe main site. These include an updated "Learn More" page as well as a new Coffee Blog headlines page and dedicated coffee articles section. Pretty pleased with that hour's work!

Planned articles include:
  • Latte Art
  • Home Roasting
  • Bar Pressure and the Espresso

If you have any suggestions for articles, leave a comment here, or use the Coffee Makers Cafe Feedback form to let me know.

Latte Art Notes - Paul Bassett's Coffee Crazy DVD

I recently bought the "Coffee Crazy" DVD from Paul Bassett. It was originally a 45 minute TV-special. I really enjoyed the special features- especially the Latte-Art by Luigi Lupi. Some of the things I noted from the DVD:

  1. Luigi froths his milk before pouring the espresso. This is something I do simply because the home machine takes minutes to froth the milk - by this time the crema has dissipated. Best to pour the espresso afterwards. Luigi was using a commercial machine, so not sure why he froths first.

  2. It helps to have a prominant pouring spout on the milk jug and wide mouthed cups to pour into.

  3. Dusting the crema with chocolate powder before pouring the milk will give more definition to the art.

  4. Milk pouring should be done quite quickly.

  5. and a couple of other things that I can't remember right now! I think I'd better back to this later :-}


Friday, March 17, 2006

Feed me coffee

I've been drinking less coffee this week, but working on the site more... you can get your full feed of coffee by subscribing to my feed (click on the feedburner icon on the left of screen).

I've been slack on the home-roast front this week. I remembered a bag of beans I had stored in the freezer a while back. I was really surprised at how fresh they've stayed! Got decent crema out of them and still tasted better than any Perth cafe!

Another nice surprise today has been Feedburner's 'Publicize' features. I've been super-impressed. I managed to add my blog as html content to the "Learn More" page of the Coffee Makers Cafe website. Check it out by clicking on the title of this post.

Feedburner will also automatically notify ping-o-matic for me. How cool is that!? Now all I have to worry about is the posts!


Coffee Basics: Espresso vs Regular Coffee

It amazes me that many people still don't know the difference between an espresso and a non-espresso coffee. Sure, they can see the machine used in the Cafe is different from their home-brewer... but what makes the coffee taste so different?

I decided that this month's Coffee Makers Cafe "light reading" article should answer that question.

Check it out Coffee Basics: Espresso vs Regular Coffee

Monday, March 13, 2006

Yummy Coffee

As I've written more than a few times... home roasted coffee tastes great! Most of my home coffees are really good, but every now and then, I make a cup that my better-half classes as 'Yummy'! This morning's espressos were just that... Yummy double-shot flat whites. The roast was from yesterday afternoon - probably about 18 hours old. It was 50/40/10 Lington/Brazil/Columbian (see archived post for full names). I stopped the roast it just before the second crack.

Yesterday we went out for breakfast to a place in Subiaco called "The Coffee House". You'd think with a name like that the coffee would be good. It was awful! Really far from Yummy. The food and service were fine and it was obvious the 'barista' took pride in his work (even a touch of Latte art). The coffee was just old and stale and therefore very bitter with rancid overtones. YUK! On top of that, I ordered a long macchiato - I was served a Latte! I'm feeling the urge to go on a crusade to transform the Perth coffee scene - or I could just eat brekky at home! :-)

Needless to say, we went home and had one of my Yummy espressos.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

What kind of coffee are you?

Today's post is a bit slack - but fun! Try this cool little quiz for coffee lovers by clicking on the link underneath. This is my quiz result!
You are a Black Coffee

At your best, you are: low maintenance, friendly, and adaptable

At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty

You drink coffee when: you can get your hands on it

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Chim Chimeny Chim Chim Coffee

Remember a previous post where my makeshift Golden Circle popper chimney fell off mid-roast? Well it taught me a lesson! The particular beans I was roasting at the time were "Indonesian Arabica Lington". I had not liked the previous batches of this bean. They always had a flavour that didn't appeal to me. I guess it was because I was roasting too dark... actually about 1 minute into the second crack. The lighter roast - about 2 minutes after the first crack - is really nice with this bean.

So, I'm glad the chimney fell off. Now I know to try lighter roasts with any new beans I buy.

That said, I'm about to tin-snip away at the Chimney in an attempt to make it fit more securely. I don't want it falling off again. Those beans are hot!!!


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Electricity In My Coffee Beans

Following up on my last post, I did a Google search on "statically charged coffee". Seems I'm not the only one with flying coffee beans! Click the title of this post to read the whole article.
Electricity In My Coffee Beans
Have you ever rubbed your head really fast and watched the hair on your head standup? Perhaps you have walked across the carpet in your socks dragging your feet and when you touch a doorknob you get zapped. This is static electricity and it will be present almost any time two objects or elements move past each other. In the winter when the air is cooler and dryer, static electricity becomes more prominent.

Our guide will talk about the different types of coffee grinders giving most of the mention to burr grinders. Static electricity can be a problem when using some high-speed burr grinders because they will produce “statically charged” coffee grounds, which cause them to literally leap out of the grinder onto your counter, or at least stick to the inside of the coffee grounds catcher. The good news is that you never have to worry about getting zapped by your grinder because the amount of static is so low, it only affects to coffee grounds. Moisture and warmer climates typically reduce static electricity. Statically charged coffee grounds can be an annoyance, but the reward of good coffee makes it worth the hassle.

There are a couple of remedies that will reduce the static problem if you are becoming annoyed by it. First consider using darker roasted coffee beans because the added moisture will help dissipate the static causing electrons more quickly. Some folks suggest moistening a few beans (with water or a spray bottle) and throwing those in the mix of beans before grinding. Yet others suggest taking a dryer sheet like Bounce or Snuggle Soft and rubbing the outside of the grinds catcher before opening. Moistening the grounds was really the only thing that worked for us, but I suppose the dryer sheet is worth a try.

The bottom line is that static electricity is a problem for a lot of coffee grinders, but we find it to be less of a problem with higher quality grinders.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Statically Charged Coffee - My Electrified Coffee Grinder?

Well, I don't know what's been going on with my grinder lately. The problem seems to be with one particular batch of beans... so it could be the roaster (popcorn popper). Anyway, every time I grind these beans the grounds speed out of the chute and fly everywhere. They seem to be statically charged. They repel each other and fly all over my benchtop - %^%^$#%$% mess!

I cleaned the grinder and roasted up a new batch of beans just yesterday and these seem better.

Weird? Please explain!


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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Missing my coffee and caffeine withdrawal

It's been a while since my last post... and, for that matter, my last roast! I've been away on a short holiday. I chose not to drink coffee whilst I was away. Nowadays, any coffee I have away from home is just awful. I'd rather drink awful tea! I sure missed the caffeine... had quite a sore head for two days and dosed up on paracetamol.

I've just finished a roast this morning. My makeshift Golden Circle chimney fell off (@#%&^!!) about 3 mins after the first crack, so this is a lighter roast than I have made before. It looks nice and even and a deep brown colour. I normally always let the roast reach second crack. It will be nice to try something different. I might try this roast in a plunger. Hmmm...