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Coffee Experimentation

December 31, 2013
By

Experiments with my new coffee maker are going well. Initially, I had some issues with the temperature of the coffee coming out of the machine – fine if you drank it immediately, but it quickly went luke warm. I was almost considering returning it for a refund.

The machine came with scant instructions, other than the most basic operation and safety notes. But after an extensive Google, I am now producing good-tasting, and hot, coffee.

What was I doing wrong? I was pressing the brew button, and then relying on the machine to stop the brew, which it did after a (normal-sized) cup was served. What I didn’t realise was that this automatic stop is merely intended to prevent an overflowing cup of coffee, not to make an optimum cup.

What I should have been doing was pressing the button once to start it, then the same button again to stop it, after an expresso shot (30-40ml) had been served. This gives a strong, nice-tasting, and very hot expresso. Letting the machine run on was only adding cooler water and bitter oils to the brew.

To make an expresso into a long coffee (an Americano), you can use the hot water spout, which bypasses the pod. This means it comes out hotter and avoids flushing stuff you don’t want out of your pod. But while the machine is in my kitchen, I find it easier to simply top up from the kettle.

However, I have also learned how to foam milk using the steam wand. It is surprising how hot you can make the milk this way, which means the coffee doesn’t cool when you add the milk. The foam looks pretty cool, as well.

My final tip is to use the steam wand to warm the cup before you start the brew. It makes a surprising difference.

3 Responses to Coffee Experimentation

  1. Janet M on December 31, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Although not at all relevant to coffee, I discovered a hotel we stayed at recently used the steam wand to heat up mulled wine by the glass. That also worked surprisingly well.

    • Chris on December 31, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      I love it! I don’t have any wine in the house, but I do have some port. Might be experimenting with that around midnight tonight.

    • Chris on January 2, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      Mulled port was brilliant, and easy to do.

      More obvious, but equally good, was simply using the steam wand to make steamed milk for bedtime drinks. Wonderful cocoa!

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