Below are a selection of frequently asked questions related to the area of coffee and coffee making.
Which coffee is the cheapest to use.
Ground coffee, dollar for dollar, normally works out to be the best value for money . Calculations have shown that it is possible to extract an espresso made from ground coffee for as little 9 cent per cup. Coffee beans are a little more expensive at 13 cent per cup. The most expensive type of coffee is that which is found in coffee capsules. For the Dolce Gusto brand the cost ranged from 24 cent to 29 cent per capsule. Although more expensive, the advantage with capsules is they are easier to use and there isn’t as much aftercare involved in terms of cleaning.
Which coffee gives the better taste: beans or ground.
If your priority is drinking the freshest coffee possible then you would be better off buying coffee beans. However, if you did choose coffee beans you would still have to carry out your own grinding. The reason for this is when you buy cheaper machines they tend not to be sold with a grinder. More expensive models do come with this option. However grinders can be purchased separately.
When buying a grinder be sure to place the grinding setting to extra fine; and, as you will be using the grinder regularly, be sure to clean the filters constantly to prevent them from becoming clogged.
How often should I clean my coffee maker?
This will depend on how often you will use the machine. As a rough guide you should clean the machine every 10 to 15 shots. In doing so follow the instructions that come with your espresso machine.
When cleaning the espresso maker please pay particular attention to the coffee grounds deposited after extraction in the filter. These fine grounds can block the filter holes resulting in the coffee being served with a sour taste. However, more worryingly , the long term effects can mean the machine becoming so clogged you will be unable to use it again.
The other factor to be mindful of is that hard water can lead to a build up of limescale which can block pipes ,filters and frothers. Is is important then ,over time, to descale your machines. To do this use the documentation that was supplied with your machine when you purchased it.
Why is it important to tamp your coffee correctly
The purpose of tamping is to evenly distribute the coffee ready for brewing. Don’t push down too hard when you tamp your coffee. If you do press too hard the water will not go thorough to the grounds, resulting in leakage in the portafilter. This will result in a very small cup of coffee, with nothing more than a few droplets entering the cup.
In addition, exerting too much pressure during tamping results in a build up of pressure inside the portafilter. The only way this pressure can be expelled is by detaching the portafilter from the machine. Once you’ve carried out this procedure you will hear a large banging noise within the machine which can potentially send hot water and coffee grounds shooting into the air.
What is the best way to store my beans
If you wish to store coffee beans do not put them in the freezer as their aroma can be left on other foods. Freezing can also have a detrimental effect from the point of view of breaking down the cell structure of the beans, forcing them to lose freshness even more quickly.
The best alternative is to keep your beans in air tight containers. Keeping them in air tight containers will allow the beans to be kept at peak freshness for up to 2 weeks
One of the beauties of using coffee beans is the wonderful gasses they give of. Once the beans have been ground the gasses will go away and will not return. This is why it is important to keep your beans whole, right up to the point where you will use them.
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