Best espresso descalers

If you want to keep your machine in top condition the single most important thing you can do is descale it regularly.

When water is heated up the solid particles in the water separate and form over the heating element and inside the coffee maker.

In hard water areas this can happen at an alarmingly quick rate. Continue reading Best espresso descalers


Frothing Milk: A Guide

How To Froth Milk For Coffee Like Cappuccino And Flat White

Frothing milk is key to making many coffee drinks such as cappuccino, espresso, mocha, Americano, Latte, Macchiato, Flat White and others.

If you’re young, enthusiastic about coffee and do not have the equipment for making these more complex and sophisticated kinds of coffees and frothing milk for them, then you need a simpler, do-it-yourself guide. Continue reading Frothing Milk: A Guide


Descaling an espresso machine

If you live in a hard water area it is a good idea to descale your espresso maker frequently as the build up can eventually cause a blockage and descaling becomes incredibly hard.

A scaled machine makes poor coffee as flow and pressure are affected and in bad cases the heating element is almost ineffective.

Using filtered water can help to minimize the limescale build up.

Bear in mind that most descalers take around 20 minutes to properly work.

How often should you descale an espresso machine?

Hard water areas with 6 uses per day should be done monthly.
Soft water areas with 6 uses per day – every 3-4 months.

Hard water areas with 12 uses per day should be done every 3 weeks.
Soft water areas with 12 uses per day – every 2-3 months.

Some espresso makers have a special descale program where they pulse water through at regular intervals to keep fresh descaler on the heating element. Ideally this will take a full reservoir of water and take the full 20 minutes.

If you do not have an automatic espresso descaler option you’ll have to do it manually.

Don’t run extract hot water from espresso maker continually for more than  a few minutes – most are designed for occasional use and you’ll burn them out if you are not careful.

The aim is short bursts over 20 minutes. Heat is not important for most descalers but do read the instructions, some require heat and a few will react violently if heat is used.

  1. Remove the portafilter so you can see what is going on more clearly. Ideally water will pour from the entire outlet but as machines silt up you’ll often end up with a single or double jet. This is a sign your machine needs descaling.
  2. Pulse a short extraction through the machine until it comes out of the portafilter feeder and then shut the machine off and allow it to cool for 4 minutes.
  3. Then pulse hot water through the machine for 2 minutes and wait for 4.
  4. Remember to include the steam wand in the hot water pulses every now and then for a few seconds.
  5. Turn off the machine and allow to cool for 4 minutes.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 until the water is running clear and from the entire water outlet or for at least 20 minutes.
  7. Flush the machine with two full reservoirs of water, in short 2-3 minute bursts.

If your espresso maker has a hot water option it is better to use this than continually run short burst through the portafilter. Switch the machine from time to time to flow through the portafilter and steam want to fully descale the machine.

 

Your machine is now ready to use again.

It helps to run a shot of water through the portafilter after every days use so it isn’t sitting overnight with coffee residue which will harden. Some users do this after every use but Coffee Revolution do not think this is necessary, unless it will be left to sit for a while.


Alternatives to milk for coffee

A few weeks ago I found myself the proud owner of a milk allergy. I never realized how much it limited my choice when it comes to coffee leaving me with an Americano or espresso.

I really like my Flat whites and Cortados, and sadly due to the amount of milk in them I am unable to order them so this page explores my foray into milk alternatives for all you like minded milk allergy sufferers. Continue reading Alternatives to milk for coffee


Coffee consumption trends

The world loves coffee, so much so, that over 2 billion cups are consumed per day. In the United States and United Kingdom, overall coffee consumption has increased dramatically in the past 10 years, and show no signs of stopping.

In the United States, the daily consumption of espresso based beverages has tripled since 2008, with a 45% increase in third-wave branded coffee.

This has partly to do with the widespread growth of places to get quality coffee, such as third-wave cafes, and the ever-present blossoming of Starbucks’ Reserve line stores. Continue reading Coffee consumption trends


Tamping coffee

Being able to pull perfect espresso shots is a skill every barista needs, but in order to pull such shots, one must perfect the art of tamping ground coffee in the portafilter.

Note that this article is mainly for those not using super-automatic espresso machines that do the grinding, tamping, and pulling, all in one button push. Continue reading Tamping coffee


Instant vs fresh coffee

While many coffee aficionados tend to stay away from instant coffee, it make up around 13% of all coffee consumed.

And with there being over 100 million daily coffee drinkers in the United States alone, that 13% is quite substantial.

Though, when comparing instant coffee to freshly ground and brewed coffee, there are tons of pros and cons. Continue reading Instant vs fresh coffee


How Instant coffee is produced

First invented in the 1770’s in Britain, instant coffee wasn’t able to easily be produced in mass quantities until much later in 1910, when the instant coffee business started to really take off.

There are two main ways that instant coffee is produced, the first uses dry hot air to absorb the moisture in the coffee, and the other uses a freeze drying process. Continue reading How Instant coffee is produced


FAQ’s

Here is a list of our most frequently asked questions, in one easy reference page. The site expands on most of these topics further so please use the search function for more information. Continue reading FAQ’s


Which bar pressure espresso machine

When shopping for an espresso machine, among the millions of features advertised is the bar pressure rating of the machine, meaning how much pressure is used to force the water through the coffee grounds in the portafilter.

Bars are a measurement of atmospheric pressure, so one bar of pressure is equal to the amount of natural pressure at sea level, meaning 10 bars is 10 times the amount of pressure at sea level. Continue reading Which bar pressure espresso machine


10 espresso myths

Let’s take a look at some commonly held myths about espresso and put some facts out there.

1. What is the crema, and why is it so obsessed over?

Crema is the lighter cascading portion of an espresso shot, that slowly dissipates the longer the shot sits.

Crema is responsible for a ton of the espresso shot’s flavor, and is relied upon by those who make latte art. While striving to pull shots with perfect crema, there are a ton of variables that one should try to account for, such as the roast of the beans, how fresh they are, the kind of beans being used, and also the machine itself. Continue reading 10 espresso myths


Cleaning a drip coffee maker

Drip coffee makers come in all shapes and styles; from inexpensive models up to models up in the hundreds of dollars.

One thing these different machines have in common though, is that they need to be descaled and deep cleaned every so often to ensure the quality of coffee is always high.

If a coffee brewer isn’t cleaned, it runs the risk of negatively impacting the flavor of the coffee, or just flat out breaking if the heating element is clogged with hard water buildup. Continue reading Cleaning a drip coffee maker


Thermoblock vs Heat exchanger

When looking for a home or commercial espresso machine, it’s best to find one that suits your needs.

And while a lot of the features that espresso machines offer can seem like complete jargon, understanding that jargon can be the difference between buying what you need and want, and buying something not suited for you. In this section, we’ll go over what thermoblocks are and how they work when compared to a heat exchanger and broiler configuration. Continue reading Thermoblock vs Heat exchanger


Bottomless portafilters

For anyone looking to up their espresso without spending a ton of money, a bottomless or naked portafilter is one of the best ways to do so.

A bottomless portafilter is essentially a normal portafilter, but without spouts, leaving the brew basket completely exposed.

While it might not seem very different, the lack of spouts actually has a greater impact on the espresso shots than one would think. Continue reading Bottomless portafilters


Effects of Humidity on stored coffee

Keeping coffee beans and grounds fresh is imperative to the overall flavor yielded by the desired brewer, meaning that fresh coffee is usually the best. One of the biggest threats to all kinds of coffee is humidity.

When it comes to green coffee beans, too little humidity will cause the beans to dry out too much, but too much humidity will cause mold growth. Continue reading Effects of Humidity on stored coffee


Coffee without a coffee maker

Camping coffee – cowboy coffee brewing!

Making coffee yourself while traveling, especially while camping, is no easy feat. Either you have to travel light to avoid paying extra fees at the airport, or you lack the electricity to use a standard coffee pot. In any situation, here are a few ways you can make coffee using a minimum amount of stuff.

First off, in all of these situations, the option of freshly ground of pre-ground coffee is up to you. If you are somewhere that does not have electricity, the Hario Skerton hand coffee grinder is a popular choice for many. Continue reading Coffee without a coffee maker


Coffee canisters and containers

Coffee is expensive, especially good coffee. While it may not cost as much as a diamond ring, or put a hole in your wallet equivalent to filling the gas tank of a Hummer, everyone wants to have their coffee beans last as long as possible.

Storing coffee is not as difficult as it may seem, though, there are some caveats. Just what do you do after opening that bag of freshly roasted coffee beans? Continue reading Coffee canisters and containers


Coffee Tasting

Here is a step by step guide to drinking coffee! To fully appreciate the coffee and assess it quality an expert will adopt a methodical approach and some of this method will allow you to fully appreciate every sip of coffee you take.

Coffee tasting, or cupping as it also goes by, is the art of trying to taste and smell everything about a specific type of brewed coffee in order to build a flavor profile for it. When cupping, there are numerous things people look for, including aroma, taste, and mouthfeel. Continue reading Coffee Tasting


Avoiding sour or bitter coffee

If your coffee has a very sour or bitter taste it could be down to the following factors. So if you are struggling to work out why your coffee tastes bitter or sour read on and take note.

However if you like lemons, vinegar, bitter greens and sour sweets then you can use this information to make your coffee even more bitter or sour!

Coffee is very much a matter of personal preference and taste. Some people appreciate a hint of bitterness in their coffee whereas others prefer a nice smooth taste. Our aim here is to help you to adjust your coffee making method to produce the taste you prefer. Continue reading Avoiding sour or bitter coffee


Guide to making good coffee

We often get asked how to make a good coffee. There is a wide variation on opinion as to what a good coffee actually is.

However there are some priorities that you should pay attention to if you are serious about the quality of your coffee.

For good coffee we recommend you focus on the following priorities (in order of importance)… Continue reading Guide to making good coffee


Frothing milk for coffee

Foamed or frothed milk is a crucial part of some espresso based drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos, seeing how it is often the only other ingredient involved. While just about all coffee shops steam their milk using an espresso machine, there are a few ways to do it at home that can yield steamed milk just as good as an espresso machine.

As far as frothing milk on an espresso machine, there are two different styles of steam wands offered by manufactures. One being the standard manual steam wand that requires proper technique, and the other being known as a Pannarello wand, which will automatically aerate the milk to perfection, without any input from the user. Continue reading Frothing milk for coffee


Cleaning Espresso makers

Espresso machines are the heart and soul of the professional and home cafe world. But, much like cars, espresso machines of all makes and models require preventative maintenance to be done on them to ensure their lifespan.

Be it the tiny steam powered espresso machine that can be purchased at any supermarket, or the kind seen in professional cafes that cost thousands upon thousands of dollars, all of them need some love now and again. In this article, I will focus mainly on semi-automatic machines, as they are some of the most common ones used. Continue reading Cleaning Espresso makers


How to do a leaf design on a flat white

Latte art: the beautiful designs made in espresso beverages that highlight the contrast between the white milk, and the dark espresso.

The trend started around the 1980’s and 1990’s, and latte art has been a growing trend in the professional cafe business, and home barista. Chances are, if you frequently go to a cafe, you’ve had one of these masterpieces perched atop your latte at one time or another. Continue reading How to do a leaf design on a flat white