Frequently Asked Questions

Coffee Grinds

The following notes on ‘different grinds’ is only a guide as each grinder has its own characteristics, settings and capacities. We provide this information as the most probable scenarios from our own experiences.

  • Course: Plungers, Napolitanas
  • Medium: Plungers (mostly), Dripolators (filters), Percolators (some)
  • Medium/Fine: Plungers (for stronger tasting), Dripolators (filters), Percolators (mostly)
  • Fine (espresso): Domestic Espresso Machines
  • Finer than espresso (commercial espresso): Commercial Espresso Machines
  • Pulverised: Turkish/Greek style coffee, Stovetop pots

Storage of Coffee

Beans

  • Store in a cool, dry area and in an airtight container
  • Not necessary to refrigerate beans unless the environment varies in humidity
  • Beans can be frozen, especially in remote, high humidity environments where fresh coffee beans are at a minimum
  • Best stored for a maximum of 4 weeks

Grounds

  • Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry area
  • Remember that once ground, coffee deteriorates. Its best used within a week of them being ground
  • Try to minimise what you purchase to about one week’s supply
  • Can be refrigerated or frozen if the environment is high in humidity

Other Tips

  • Coffee is served best when the beans have just been ground
  • Aeration of coffee grounds will reduce the aroma, flavour and longevity of the coffee
  • Only grind enough for the coffees you are about to produce

Domestic/Commercial Coffee Making (Bold Body Text)

Coffee does not flow

  • Shower disk or filter plate is clogged and requires cleaning
  • Filter basket is clogged because coffee is either too fine or pressed/tampered too firmly
  • No water in the tank/reservoir

Coffee flows too quickly

  • Coffee is ground to course for specified machine
  • Coffee not pressed/tamped firmly enough

Pump makes a loud noise

  • No water in tank/reservoir
  • Pump not primed; check priming instructions as per machine

Water leaks from handle/portafilter

  • Handle/portafilter not properly inserted into grouphead
  • Filter holding gasket worn or residue built up on gasket

Little crema in espresso

  • Coffee ground too coarsely
  • Coffee not pressed/tamped correctly
  • The coffee is old or the oils have dried out
  • Machine has not yet reached the desired espresso making temperature

Espresso temperature

  • Espresso from a pump-driven machine comes out at between 85C and 90C
  • To ensure the espresso remains hot, heat up your filter baskets and crockery/glassware before you start the coffee making process

There’s not enough froth produced when heating the milk

  • The air intake hole is of the steam nozzle is clogged
  • The milk is too hot
  • Too much milk is being frothed at once - eg. a standard domestic (600mL) stainless steel jug should only contain about 200mL (or 1/3 full) of milk to produce 2-3 cappuccinos

Milk frothing can a be difficult process which depends on several factors Tips for milk frothing:

  • The type of milk being used
  • The temperature of the milk – always use cold milk and re-apply for further coffees
  • Allowing the milk to settle – this allows the froth (which sits on the surface) and the hot milk below to separate
  • Aeration – keep the steam nozzle on the surface of the milk, this allows for aeration and enhances the formation of froth
  • Drainage of steam nozzle – the nozzle should be drained of excess water as much as possible, particularly before
  • In a domestic situation or an espresso machine where frothing and espresso making cannot be achieved simultaneously, frothing is best done first. This allows the milk to separate (see above) whilst the espresso part of the production is done. In this way, the espresso doesn’t reduce in temperature too much and you can regulate your milk flow/froth more competently

Descaling your coffee machine

Purpose of descaling

  • To descale accumulated mineral salts
  • To remove salt build-up and reduce undue pressure build-up in your machine
  • NOTE: Mineral salts consist of magnesium, calcium and other undesirable material

How to descale your coffee machine

  • BEFORE turning on your machine, add one sachet of decalcifying agent into water tank (approx. 1.5L of water)
  • Stir to dissolve contents for approx. 5minutes
  • Turn on machine
  • Place a clear glass under brewhead and run the water through the machine in 3 separate stages. Continue topping the tank with fresh water
  • Continue this process until the water that filters through the brewhead is clear
  • Machine is now ready to make espresso!

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