A brief word from the brewers:

With the recent launch of this - our new website - we are looking forward to actively updating and adding Black Drum updates & newsletters, new brew methods and opinion pieces. While for now we decided to have the site active with with just our take on the Espresso process. Look for new brew methods to be released through our instagram feed and facebook!

Stay caffeinated.

 

ESPRESSO BREW GUIDE

What you'll need:

  • Coffee Beans 5-21 days off roast
  • Espresso Machine
  • Grinder
  • Set of scales
  • Timer/Stopwatch
  • Milk Jug(s)

Lets not kid ourselves, brewing espresso has become a monster of measurements and geekiness - and we LOVE it.. However, we also get that you just want a no fuss option before you run out the door to work.. With the following super simple guidelines, we are certain you can land that perfect extraction time and time again. However, if you want more information on any of the steps, just click the link provided and it'll take you to a greater, in depth post about the selected step!

 

Some Pointers:

  1. Know the weight of coffee your basket will comfortably hold
  2. Figure out the grind setting that will pour a good extraction in 25-30 seconds
  3. Weigh everything. But most importantly, weigh your dose of coffee. 
    • That which can be measured, can be controlled!

Step 1: Weigh your Beans

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23 grams

Weigh out your beans, on our commercial equipment, we choose 23g. But depending on your equipment, anywhere from 18g-24g is acceptable.

Step 2: Grind & Distribute

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EVENLY spread the dose

When the machine is hot and ready to brew, grind your beans on the finer end of the spectrum. Using either your fingers or a tool, evenly spread the beans across the surface of the basket.

Step 3: Tamp

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Keep it FLAT

With the correct size tamp for your baskets, tamp your coffee evenly and firmly. Don't tamp too hard! It should be firm but gentle at the same time. 

Step 4: Extract

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25-30 Seconds

Purge some water (about 2-3 seconds) through the group head, insert handle and start your timer.


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Finish:

The extraction should come out in 25-30 seconds. From a 23g dose, we shoot for 36g extracted espresso (this would generally be a visual 50-60mL)

 

Now let's move on to steaming that milk!


STRETCHING MILK

Possibly the most difficult and frustrating part of the whole espresso process should you want to make the coffee look pretty, but good milk can be accomplished with ease should you save the latte art for later.

Some Pointers:

  1. Only draw air into the milk while it remains below room temperature.
  2. Work on good milk and basics of pouring technique - save the artist in you for later down the path. Rome wasn't painted in a day.
  3. Practice, practice, follow latte art hashtags, practice.

Correct Temperature: 60-70 Degrees Celsius
for the most sweetness to exist in your milk, you don't want to go any higher than 70 or else the milk will start to lose sweetness and will begin to scold. The milk temperature should be hot to the tongue, but warm over the back of the palate.  

Correct Aeration: 30% Volume Increase
When stretching the air into the milk, look to have a volume increase of about 30-40% in the jug. 


Step 1: Prepare yourself

Fill your appropriately sized milk jug to be just under 50% full. Wrap your steam-wand in a damp cloth and engage the steam to purge any water out of the pipes. 

 

Step 2: Insert and Engage

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Place your steam tip just below the surface of the milk. Standing in front of the machine, have the steam wand at an angle that leaves it pointing roughly toward your feet (not straight down), slightly off centre in the jug. Turn on the steam and slightly adjust the jug to create a whirlpool

 

Step 3: Stretch it

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While the milk is still below room temperature, lower the jug toward the ground slightly, exposing the tip of the wand. Gently draw in some air, their should be a slight sucking sound as this occurs. look for the milk to increase in volume by about 20% then raise the jug back up submerging the wand to be just below the surface.

Step 4: Heat it

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Now you just need to bring the milk to temperature. Use a thermometer and you can always know for certain, from there you can figure out ways to tell the temperature is correct by touch, sight and smell. Shut off the steam and remove the jug from the steam wand.


Step 5: Pouring

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Now that your milk is at temperature, you simply need to address any bubbles and start practicing technique. Tap on the bench once or twice and that should pop any bubbles.

Keeping the milk ready to pour can prove difficult, and entails some varying, slightly different hand movements. swirling the milk and jiggling the milk. We will be posting short videos up soon to show the 'Jiggle & Swirl' in action. 

Tip a small amount of milk down the drain, this helps to prepare the jug to pour, and gets rid of any excess foam. The milk and Froth should be well integrated and have a shiny, smooth texture. Find a grip that gives you control then practice the following:
 

  1. Pouring slow 
  2. Pouring fast
  3. Throwing froth into the cup 
  4. Holding back the froth,
  5. Gently moving the jug clockwise around the cup while keeping a constant flow
  6. Same as 4 but anti-clockwise

Mastering the art...

Our suggestion, once you've got the basics down, jump on instagram, begin following people like our friend @coffeebysamtaylor and searching hashtags like #latteart #latteartgram. Youtube can be good (but also bad) for instructional videos.