In response to customer requests, this week we expect to receive our Swiss water process decaffeinated coffee from Costa Rica. As soon as it arrives we will add it to our product collection for you.
Why choose Londinium Espresso for your coffee beans? Well, as a mail order coffee roaster the only opportunity we have to influence your opinion of us is through our product. We have no elaborate shop where the aromas of the world’s exotic coffees waft paste your nose as they are ground, no ornate brass ware to measure your beans out in front of your eyes, no attractive sales staff to make you feel as though you will join the social elite if you buy our product. You see, we very much stand or fall on the opinion you form about our product in the privacy of your own home or workplace, uninfluenced by what the ‘expert’ in the shop might be suggesting that you should be able to detect in the roast. And so, there is no room for us to employ puffery or indeed any other claim that is not going to measure up when you first taste our product. Londinium – you be the judge.
Today’s blog merely underlines how serious we are about great coffee. Our promise is that our coffee will give you a better cup of coffee out of your equipment than anyone else’s. Fullstop. Otherwise you get your money back. This isn’t mere puffery. If we didn’t believe this was the case we never would have started Londinium Espresso as we wouldn’t have had a unique selling point. We are incredibly fussy about the beans choose to stock, buying a single bag to test, before ordering a larger quantity. The household brands in coffee have a finished product cost that is considerably less than the price we pay for our raw green beans. The only thing our products have in common with theirs is the name. In all other respects they are entirely different. Then we take a lot of care with the roasting process, much of which we have custom built oursselves, as we could not find satisfactory solutions in the market place. Finally we carefully inspect the roasted beans to remove as many defective beans as possible. People who just want a cup hot, bitter-burnt liquid will not see the point in paying a premium for our products. People who would like to discover what coffee tastes like just might. So if you are looking to differentiate your independant cafe from the high street chain cafes, are a business who understands the impression that fine coffee creates with your clients, or a connoisieur purchasing for your private consumption, please try Londinium with confidence. We will be more than happy to return your money in full, in the unlikely event that we do not meet or exceed your expectations. We have travelled the world extensively prior to establishing Londinium Espresso, and are confident that we are purveying some of the finest coffee in the world to our discerning customers.
You simply won’t believe how good this is on the hot afternoons that are forecast to continue all this week. If you can make a great espresso, you can make a great affogato. Take a cappuccino or similar sized cup & place a very generous scoop of fresh creamy vanilla ice-cream (the full cream Devon ice cream is ideal). Then grind your favourite Londinium Espresso coffee, place the cappuccino cup with the ice cream under the group head of your espresso machine, and draw two shots of espresso over the ice cream. Then leave for 2 minutes before eating so the espresso softens the ice cream & the ice cream chills the espresso. Enjoy! We bet you won’t be able to resist a second one. They are the ultimate summer treat.
Today we received from Italy our sample cups. We will be placing an order next week, so look out for them on our website in the not-too-distant future. Espresso just isn’t espresso without the proper thick walled porcelain cup. Yes, there are numerous cheap, thin-walled versions available that we think are simply a corruption. Also have a look at the glaze where the handle is joined to the body of the cup – cheap cups will almost always exhibit pitting in the glaze in this area where air bubbles have formed when the cup has been fired in the kiln. We think these will also make a great gift for the coffee connoisseur in your life. They will also be available in cappuccino and latte sizes, as shown in the photograph.
you might like your coffee strong, but please trust me on this; if you take the finest coffee in the world & make it too strong the delicate, unique flavours that you have gone to so much trouble to acquire will disappear & it will taste like a heavy caramel concoction.
so if you are looking for a starting point, and perhaps it is slightly on the weak side but at least it is an unambiguous measure, i would suggest 3 level desert spoons of freshly ground coffee beans with the isomac grinder set to position 6 (i.e. with the ‘6’ at the front of the grinder) for a cup that will hold 250mL of water.
obviously a finer grind means you need less coffee & vice-versa for a coarser grind.
hope this helps. if you are having trouble, please call & we’ll try & sort it out over the phone
One of my goals in this blog is to de-bunk a few myths about coffee in general, and espresso in particular.
So we can keep this blog entry focused, let’s assume you already have a suitable grinder & machine & coffee.
Firstly, unless you have some magic machine that I haven’t had the opportunity of using yet, dump the first espresso out of the machine, whether it is the first cup when switching on or if the machine has been sitting unused for an hour or more (again just a guideline)
The golden rule I want to establish in this blog is ‘the crema tells you everything’.
The crema on an espresso will tell you whether it is fit to drink without placing the cup anywhere near your lips.
The crema should be light golden colour. I recognise that it is slightly difficult to describe in words & publishing photos leads to chaos as everyone’s screen shows colours slightly differently, but the following guide lines will at least get you into the ‘zone’ of espresso satisfaction, well on your way to nirvana.
Perhaps the easier way to describe the colour of the crema is what it shouldn’t be.
Think of all the possible colours that the crema can adopt as a spectrum, ranging from whitish through the light golden colour already mention then on to the chocolate tones.
This colour spectrum is the espresso’s built-in instrument panel telling you where in the range your espresso lies, all the way from chronically under-extracted (very light whitish tones) to chronically over-extracted (very dark chocolate tones). All you have to do is learn to read it by paying it a little more attention.
Once again, I am reluctant to dish out absolutes as my experience suggest that people’s taste vary a little, but the key thing is to take note of the appearance of the crema before you taste the espresso, then taste it. If you like it, pause & take another good look at the remaining crema & commit it to memory. This is your target for next time.
Before we dive into under & over extracting, and what to do about it, lets talk about keeping the ‘tail’ out of your coffee. What’s the tail I hear you ask?
The tail is just a word I have assigned to the light coloured splodge that will corrupt an otherwise perfectly drawn espresso right at the end. It will also be foamy/bubbly, unlike the extremely fine bubbles of the crema up to that point.
OK, great I hear you say, ‘I have seen that bubbly white splodge on my otherwise perfect crema’ but what can I do about it?
Well if you observe the stream of coffee as it flows from the bottom of the porta-filter you should see that it flows in a fairly continuous shape and then at some point just before the end of the extraction the stream will quaver or change shape. At this precise moment you need to quickly & carefully remove your cup out of the stream (by the time you have turned the button off it will be too late & the tail will still end up in your cup!)
But be careful – don’t stick your eye so close to the machine that you are at risk of hot coffee spurting into your eye. Similarly when you deftly move the coffee out from under the stream do so in a smooth manner, not violently or you will most likely end up with hot coffee on your hand.
So, back to under & over extracting.
ANY WHITISH colour tones in your crema & you are under-extracting. What to do about it? Well, if you are only slightly off try tamping the coffee into the porta-filter with a little more vigour, or possibly place a little more coffee into the porta-filter. If this isn’t enough, then set your grinder to a finer setting & try again. Yes, its trial & error, but not the rocket science that some would want you to believe.
ANY CHOCOLATE colour tones in your crema means it is over-extracted. What to do about it? The opposite of under-extraction. Possibly you have put in too much coffee, although you will usually be aware of this as you will struggle to get the porta-filter to locate onto the machine. More likely you have packed the coffee in with too much vigour. This is the most common scenario when you change to a Londinium coffee for the first time, as the coffee is so much fresher than most other coffee that there is a lot more oil still present in the bean which helps the grinds to stick together, unlike a stale coffee where the oils have long since departed and you are trying to force dry grinds to stick together. Failing that you might have to back your grinder off so it grinds slightly coarser.
...time is up for the moment, but those simple rules should get you well on your way to coffee nirvana.
Trolling around the internet I found this informative profile on Galapagos coffee published by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Agriculture, which might be of interest if you are considering placing an order for our first shipment of this fabulous coffee. In stock now.