Q. Why does my coffee taste bad?
- Check the roast date. Any older than 3 months and the coffee wont taste right.
- Check the roast. We take quality very seriously here and will do our utmost to ensure that no batch is over-roasted. If somehow this happened, we would want to know. The way you can tell is if the beans are very dark or black. Also over-roasted coffee will have an oily sheen on them. This will also taste bitter.
- If the coffee is acidic and intense, change the grind to make it finer.
- If the coffee is dry, empty and dusty you’ll need to change the grind to make it coarser.
- Observe your shot times. Under 25 seconds will likely taste acidic and astringent. Over 40 seconds will taste dry, bitter and empty
Q. How long can coffee beans be left in the hopper?
A. Coffee doesn’t like light, air or moisture. If you don’t use your kilo bag in a day, then bag it, put an elastic band round it and keep it somewhere dark, dry and cool until the next day.
Q. How long does coffee stay fresh for?
A. As beans, well stored, your coffee could last up to 3 months. You will likely get through it a fair bit faster than that. Once ground, well stored, i.e. air-tight container or really well sealed up bag, we say 2 weeks maximum. Quality will dip fast if the coffee isn’t looked after. Commercially, once the coffee is ground, it should be brewed immediately.
Q. Does the grinder need to be adjusted throughout the day?
A. Absolutely. The grinder is where the flavour lives. We’re not saying adjust it every shot, but observe the extraction times and if they begin to change, a grinder adjustment is needed. If the extraction times fall below 25 seconds, you’ll need to make the coffee finer and if the times go over 40 seconds, you’ll need to go coarser. If you have a good eye on your times, it will be very small adjustments every hour or so. We suggest observing a shot in detail from start to finish every 2 hours and adjusting accordingly then.
Q. Will the grinder need adjusting if I use a different coffee?
A. Yes it will. Different coffees will have different profiles and in some cases, totally different make-ups. Every coffee needs due care and attention initially to work out the tastiest recipe. They won’t all love the same recipe. We allocate time at the start of every day to ensure the recipe is on point.
Q. Will the grinder slowly perform worse over time?
A. Sadly yes, however, have no fear. It takes about 500 kilos of coffee to wear down the grinder blades. If you replace them every 6-9 months, you won’t have any issues.
Q. What is a double shot and a single shot?
A. What we refer to as a whole espresso is commonly known as a double espresso. If you split your recipe into 2 cups, like we do for small lattes, these are known as single espresso lattes. We find it more comfortable to think of it as either a whole espresso or 2 halves of an espresso but traditionally these have been known as double espresso and 2 single espressos. Confusing eh?
Q. Should I use the single spout for a single coffee?
A. You can, yes. Bear in mind however that these have different sized baskets and therefore will need a different yield, confusing matters, if you’ve programmed all your pre-sets for your double basket. Also to get the best results, you’ll need to change your grind, which takes loads of time and energy. We suggest splitting your shots for singles and either using the other half to check quality or equally you could ask the customer if they want it in their drink. It is very rare that you waste loads of single shots. We ran an experiment in our roastery café and kept aside unwanted single shots. At the end of an average day we had about 100mls of espresso, which we froze and turned into espresso ice cubes, great with bourbon.
Q. Should I leave the machine on overnight?
A. You can do, yes. The downside is that it will use up some, not a huge amount of, power overnight. The upside is that you don’t have to wait half an hour in the morning for it to heat up.
Q. Why do some milks work better than others?
A. Lots of milks are processed in different ways and that can lead to inconsistency. Full fat milk carries coffee’s flavour very well and leaves you with a long finish. Semi-skimmed milk is a little thinner so coffee flavours come through better but the finish is shorter. Skimmed milk lacks the proteins and fats that bind it together when heated, so texture is very hard to create. Non-diary milks have the same issue as skimmed milk and texture is hard to achieve. Also hot, non-dairy milks react badly to the acidity in coffee and have a tendency to separate. This looks bad. The best way to get round the issue is to steam the espresso and non-dairy milk together.