Coffee Express

Providing great service to coffee houses and other specialty retailers in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana

Monthly Archives / February 2009

Degrees of Roast

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A word on degrees of roasting. The popularity of coffee houses brought with it a taste toward dark roasts. Prior to the 1990s, the preference for dark roast was limited. Espresso brewing changed that, and the Starbucks Phenomenon has popularized even darker roasts. Read More

Better Espresso

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Fresh ground coffee, clean water, and a clean running espresso machine are key for a good tasting espresso-based drink.  A few simple steps will ensure you are getting the most out of your coffee, and your equipment.

Keep espresso beans in stock for no more than 3-4 weeks and try to keep them away from heat generating appliances. Heat destroys flavor. Grind just enough beans to last a shift. Once ground, coffee quickly loses flavor. A proper grind is important.  Rub the grounds between your thumb and forefinger.  It should be ground fine with a slight grit.  If it is powder with no grit it is ground too fine. Your shots should pour slowly, thick and syrupy.  If you are not sure, ask one of our delivery or service people.

Proper machine maintenance ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ will enhance both your coffee’s flavor and your pocket book.

DO:
–After each drink empty and rinse the brew basket and clean the steam tip.  During a lull
clean the loose grounds under the group head with a head cleaning brush.
–At the end of the day back flush and rinse the group heads and soak the baskets in
Cafiza, flush the drain tray, and clean the machine with a mild soap or a water-vinegar
mix.
–Weekly: Take the steam tips off, clean holes with a pin or paper clip, and soak
overnight in Cafiza.   If you are not using tea water regularly drain and refill the water
tank—you might want to  ask a service tech about this.  Soak the diffuser screens
overnight in Cafiza.
–Monthly: Very important—Charge the Softener.
–Yearly: Change the brewhead gaskets.
–Whenever you notice bad tasting coffee and cannot figure out why: Call a service tech.

DON’T:
–Leave the steam arm sitting in milk.  The milk could back up into the system and create
rancidity.
–Leave the basket with used grounds in the group head.  The spent grounds tend to
contaminate the brew head, resulting in a stale taste.  You should leave an empty rinsed
basket in the head.  This will help the taste of the next drink because the espresso is
being brewed through a warm basket which results in better flavor extraction.

A History of Coffee, Part I – The Legend

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The Legend
There are several legends concerning the origins of coffee, but they all seem to include Kaffa, an Ethiopian goat herder who was seen in a meadow dancing with his goats by an imam from a nearby monastery. Finding that both Kaffa and the goats had eaten red berries from a small tree, he gathered some of the berries and took them back to the monastery. After some experimentation, parching, and boiling, the imams came up with a palatable drink. Read More