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Ways to Make Coffee & Coffee Jargon

There is no single best way to make coffee; each of us prefers one method to the rest. Coffee is an everyday part of our lives and it must, above all, fit our lifestyles and our pockets. Making coffee is both a ritual and a practical part of life. Unlike tea or cocoa, coffee lends itself readily to many different ways of making the infusion. All these methods share the basic principle which is to use hot water, to extract from the ground beans the natural essential oils, the caffeol, that give coffee it's wonderful aroma and flavour. The resulting brew, or liquor, is a coffee infusion.

Although the coffee bean spread from Arabia to the rest of the world, the Arab method of making coffee did not. There is a fundamental difference between the Arab and other methods: the Arabs boil their coffee, traditionally, three times. Boiling coffee boils away the most delicate flavours, but it is a romantic way to make strong tasting coffee. Arab coffee is made in an ibriq, a small copper pot with a long handle. Two teaspoons of finely ground coffee plus one of sugar are added to a cup of water and the mixture is brought to the boil. The ibriq is taken off the heat as it comes to the boil, usually three times, and then it is poured out and drunk. A cardamom seed can also be added for flavour.

The drip or filter method is possibly the most widely used method today. Finely ground coffee is placed in a paper or reusable cone shaped unit and nearly boiling water poured on top. For best results, a small quantity of water should be poured on first to wet the grounds and speed up the release of caffeol. The resulting brew filters through the unit into a pot or mug and is ready to drink. The coffee grounds remain in the cone. There are electric versions which automate this process, including heating the water, and in general make a better or more consistent cup of coffee than the manual version. The filter method is used especially in Germany and the USA.

The plunger method, said to have been invented in 1933, extracts the most flavour from the ground beans. The pot is warmed, coarsely ground coffee is placed in the bottom, hot water is added to the grounds and stirred, then it is allowed to steep for three to five minutes, before the plunger is pushed down to separate the coffee grounds from the coffee infusion. This method is only slightly less convenient than the filter method and is today one of the two fastest growing ways to make fresh ground coffee. Cheaper pot models have nylon rather than stainless steel mesh to separate the grounds from the infusion, but they do not last as long.

The jug method of making coffee is the simplest of all. The coffee should be quite coarsely ground and then the hot water added. It is somewhat like the cafetiere method, but without the convenience of the cafetiere's plunger to separate the coffee grounds from the infusion. The jug is not now widely used, although it is always a serviceable stop gap method.

Today, espresso and cappuccino, which were invented in Italy, are the fastest growing methods of making coffee. All the other methods involve a 'natural' form of infusion, and for a small cost you can have a system that will make acceptable coffee. But not with espresso. Espresso machines force the hot water through very finely and compacted coffee and then into the cups below. Good espresso is expensive to make because in order to extract the greatest amount of flavour from the coffee, a high level of pressure is required and thus a high specification machine. Yet when making espresso, it is important not to over  extract the coffee, which means the machine should be switched off soone rather than later. While the coffee is still coming out as a golden brown liquid, it is perfect. This liquid is the 'crema', which lies on top of the black coffee underneath. The crema will dissipate a few minutes after the coffee is made, but in those few minutes it will tell you everything about the quality of the espresso. Too light, too thick or too thin: all mean that the espresso is sub standard. Espresso can become like a religion to some people. And there certainly is a big difference between a really good espresso and a not so good one. How much we spend in terms of money or energy in seeking out the best is one of those lifestyle choices we all make for ourselves.

Espresso is the foundation of cappuccino; it is the coffee upon which a luxuriant structure of frothed and foamed milk is ladled and poured. A good espresso is less obvious under it's head of frothed milk, but the quality of the coffee underneath is still an important factor. The milk, ideally semi-skimmed, is poured into a jug, into which a steam spout is placed. The steam control should not be turned on until the nozzle of the steam spout is under the surface of the milk. Once the steam is gurgling and bubbling under the milk, the jug should be moved around, or the milk will spoil. The aim is to aerate the milk and give it the consistency of whipped cream without burning it. It is essential that the cups are warm when the milk is poured in or the froth will deflate. They are normally stored upside down on top of the espresso machine. The combination of frothed and steamed milk is then poured and ladled onto the coffee in the cup, gently as though folding it in. The small amount of remaining milk is poured in also. And there we have the perfect cappuccino.

No Italian home is without one or more mocha jugs of varying sizes, and no matter what you think of the coffee, their visual appeal is undeniable. Wonderfully designed double beaded stove top pots, they combine the characteristics of espresso and percolator coffee. They force the water, which has come to the boil in the lower chamber, up through a tube and then down through the finely ground coffee. Handled expertly they can satisfy coffee cravings and produce an adequate 'espresso type' coffee in under a minute.

The coffee percolator was a civilising influence in the American wild west; it was certainly widely used throughout the USA, where, until the recent coffee 'revolution', it was a standard piece of equipment in most homes. The percolator heats the coarsely ground coffee and cold water so that it boils and bubbles up into the top of the unit. It is an excellent way to have the relaxing sound of the coffee liquid burbling and gurgling, and to waft the aroma of coffee through the home, as all the volatile wonderful flavours go out of the percolator and into the air! There is possibly no worse way to make fresh coffee than this.

The first soluble 'instant' coffee was invented in 1901 by Japanese American chemist Satori Kato of Chicago. It was not marketed commercially until the launch of Nescafe in 1938. The quality and diversity of instant coffee have grown dramatically over the years, and we can make a good cup of coffee from today's products. Instant coffee has a number of advantages over fresh brewed coffee, including ease and convenience. It stays fresher longer, it is hard to damage the flavour, however hard you try, and most of all it is fast, cheap and clean. Instant coffee is manufactured, just like any other coffee, from ground beans. The first stage involves the preparation of a coffee concentrate from which the water is removed, either by heat, known as spray dried, or by freezing, to produce a soluble powder or granules. During the process of dehydration, the coffee essences may be lost, but these are captured and returned to the processed coffee.

An interesting and fast growing area of the market is flavoured coffees. Today there are over 100 different flavoured varieties available. While coffee connoisseurs may turn up their noses at the idea of spoiling the flavour of their sacred brew, there are definitely moments when a chocolate or cinnamon flavoured coffee is just right. Coffee is a wonderful taste itself, but also acts very well as the platform for many other flavours. Flavouring coffee is actually an old trick. In the Middle East it is traditional to add cardamom to coffee, while the practice of adding cinnamon has been widespread in Mexico for many years. The growth in popularity of flavoured coffee is proof of coffee's versatility and strength. The flavours are added directly to the beans by roasting them, then spraying them with a carrier oil and then the particular flavouring. Another way to make a cup of flavoured coffee is to add a syrup to hot brewed coffee. This makes an ideal summer coffee drink, which can be served cold, as can iced coffee: pre-made coffee which has been chilled with either ice cubes or crushed ice added. By far the most important flavouring added to coffee over the world is milk. Although milk is not added to Arabian coffee, and coffee purists tend not to add milk, most people find coffee more palatable with its addition.

We supply a large range of Coffee Machine(s). We have various makes and styles to suit most budgets and lifestyles. A coffee machine can become an essential part of any home. Coffee Xclusive can supply your coffee machine with sameday shipping so as to get you your coffee machine as quickly as possible.

A Coffee Maker is more than just a coffee maker. It has become an essential piece of kitchen equipment. Browse our collection of Coffee Maker(s). With brand names like Bodum, La Cafetiere, Bialetti, and many other makes of coffee maker. Whether you are looking for the home or an office environment, Coffee Xclusive can help.

An Espresso Machine is a traditional coffee machine which uses a pressurised boiler to force steam through finely ground coffee into the cup. A Commercial Espresso Machine can be seen in most café’s and restaurants. There are many smaller Espresso Machines that will fit neatly into any modern kitchen. Browse our Espresso Machine section and own your very own domestic Espresso Machine.

A Jura Coffee Machine is considered by many the Bang & Olufsen of Coffee Machines. Swiss engineered to brew top quality Espresso Coffee. Lattes, and Cappuccino’s. We can supply domestic or commercial Bean to Cup Jura Coffee Machines.  We currently offer either installation on the larger commercial coffee machines and a telephone set up service on our domestic range of Jura Coffee Machines.

We stock and sell a complete range of Gaggia Coffee Machine(s), Gaqgia Commercial Machines, Gaggia Espresso Machines, Gaggia Coffee Machine(s) and their new Cappuccino Machines like the Gaggia Cappuccino X Two. We also stock and sell Gaggia Coffee’s and a full range of Gaggia accessories and Gaggia cleaning products, Gaggia descaler powder or solution, Gaggia milk cleaner and degreasing tablets.

Cappuccino Machine(s) draw milk from a milk container and then froth it straight into your cappuccino cup.  Some of the top of the range Automatic Cappuccino Machines can make one or even two cappuccino(s) and even layered latte drinks at just one touch of a button.
These fully Automatic Cappuccino Coffee Machines still use whole fresh coffee beans stored in a hopper within the machine and grind on demand but have the addition of these extra features.

Pod Machine(s) and Capsule Machine(s), Coffee Machine(s), use a pre-set dose of ground coffee in a pod or capsule. The water is forced through the pod by an electric pump under pressure in the same way an espresso coffee machine. 
The advantage of this type of coffee machine is that the coffee dose and tamping is always preset so a greater degree of consistency is usually achieved by all but the most skilled coffee maker.
With Pod Machine brands like Ascaso, Francis Francis, Gaggia, La Pavoni and Capsule Machines like the Gaggia Caffitaly range and soon the new Illy Capsules to name but a few.

Espresso served over Gelato ice-cream.

Espresso and hot water mixed equally, the term is thought to have come from WWII when American GI's were only familiar with drip coffee.

A coffee bean type indigenous to Ethiopia, also known as the coffee shrub of Arabia. It is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated. Considered to produce better coffee than the other major species but it's all down to personal taste.

Automatic Machine
A type of espresso machine which provides the water pressure and brew volume automatically. These machines still require manual grinding dosing and tamping of the coffee.

Italian word for bartender meaning the professional operator of an espresso machine.

Bean to Cup
Describes espresso machines which automatically grind the coffee beans, brew the coffee and prepare themselves for the next use, also referred to as super automatics.

Black Eye
A cup of drip coffee with an added espresso shot, also known as Depth Charge, Shot in the Dark, Red Eye, Hammerhead or Slingblade.

Blade Grinder
A coffee grinder using blades to chop coffee beans to a ground consistency. These grinders can never produce the accurate fine ground coffee required by espresso machines. Burr Grinders that produce an even and controllable coffee grind are required to get the best out of any machine.

Brew Temperature
The water temperature used to make the espresso should be between 88C (190F) and 95C (205F) for optimum results.

Brew Time
From the moment the pump is activated until it is finished the guideline is 18-23 seconds for the optimum espresso.

Brew Volume
The amount of water used to brew a single espresso shot, normally 30ml (1oz) - 45ml (1.5oz)

Brewing Group
The combination of the water diffuser, brewing group head and a portafilter. This is the brewing unit which holds coffee, takes pressurised water in and produces espresso.

Brewing Process
A metal filter basket is loaded with 7-10g of ground coffee (12-18g for a double shot) the ground coffee is tamped into a firm puck of coffee. The portafilter or group handle holds the filter basket and is then locked into the group heads diffusion block. Pressurized water at 85 - 95 degrees and about 900kPa is forced into the group head and through the coffee puck in the portafilter producing a rich beverage. An ideal shot of espresso should take between 20 - 23 seconds to arrive unless a pre-infusion stage is used which may add up to 7 seconds.

Burr Grinder
Features two disks, one rotates which slice away at the coffee bean producing very fine particles. Produces the proper consistent fine grind of coffee for espresso machines.

A feature on bean to cup machines allowing pre ground coffee to be used bypassing the automatically ground beans. This is a convenient way of for example making a cup of Decaff rather than using the bean supply or vice versa.

Bypass Doser
See Bypass

Cafe Bonbon
A shot of espresso served in a small glass filled with condensed milk, these remain separate forming 2 layers.

Cafe Cubano
Made by adding sugar to the ground coffee before brewing.

About 1/3 espresso 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 froth. Often served with a dusting of cocoa powder.

A coffee pod in a sealed capsule. Each capsule is individually sealed for a long life. The cleanest and simplest way of making espresso. Types of capsule differ across manufacturers and some restrict coffee purchase to themselves, Gaggia use the Caffitaly System (with a full 8 gram coffee dose) that is open to any coffee maker and is available through some retail outlets ensuring a good variety of coffee and good availability.

Commercial Machine
An Espresso Machine where high volume and durability is required such as in a cafe or restaurant.

Espresso with some sort of liqueur added (corretto is the Italian word for spiked).

Crema is the reddish brown foam which floats on top of an espresso. An essential indicator of a good espresso and considered by many to be the true sign of good coffee.

Cup Warmer
The part of an espresso machine that warms cups, espresso should be served in warm cups or due to the small volume heat loss is very rapid and there is little worse than a cold espresso! Cup warmers can be passive (heated indirectly by the boiler) or active where an electric element is normally used.

A posh word for a 3oz cup holding a shot of espresso. Many materials can be used but porcelain is often preferred for heat retention.

Two shots of espresso in one cup.

The amount or dose of ground coffee used to make an espresso, typically 7-10g using 1-1.5oz of water for a single shot. Dose is also used to describe the volume of water used to make the coffee. Where the espresso machine takes pre-ground coffee in a portafilter then the coffee dose is set by the amount of coffee placed in the filter basket and the description of dosage controls refers to the water volume. Automatic dose machines allow operators to pre-set a number of coffee doses for differing coffees or different cups. In Bean to Cup Machines the coffee dose and the water dose are usually separately adjustable.

Found on many grinders it releases a measured dose of coffee with a lever pull. On Gaggia MDF Grinders the dose is released directly into the coffee portalfiler.

Drip Tray
Sited below the brewing group to catch any spillage, it is also used on solenoid valve machines as a drainage area for the expulsion of excess water from the portafilter once brewing is complete.

A standard of coffee capsules used in Gaggia Coffee Machines.

Easy Serving Espresso as standard for coffee pods 44mm in size. New double pods are now available for double shot espresso (requires a special filter basket).

A concentrated coffee beverage made by putting high pressure water (around 9 atmospheres) through fine ground coffee. The defining characteristics of espresso are a thicker consistency due to the higher amount of dissolved solids and a crema, a reddish brown foam on the surface. Espresso is chemically complex with around twice the caffeine content of regular coffee.

The act of forcing the water through the coffee to "extract" the oils, flavours and others from the coffee.

Filter Basket
A metal perforated basket used to hold the ground coffee puck, these may be in different sizes for single or double shot, or to make multiple cups at the same time.

Flat White
About 1/3 espresso and 2/3 steamed milk, however the milk is prepared differently to a latte with the volumised milk at the top folded into the lower layers leaving only a very thin layer of froth at the top.

The coarseness of the ground coffee. The grind is important as if too coarse the water will pass too freely through the puck reducing the brew time and leaving the essential flavours of the espresso behind. If too fine the water will not be able to pass through the coffee resulting in a longer brew time and an over brewing of the coffee.

Knock Box
A box or drawer used to knock out the used coffee puck from the portafilter and contain the used grinds ready for disposal. Normally has a rubber or wooden bar to knock against.

About 1/3 espresso and 2/3 steamed milk with a layer of foamed milk about 1cm thick on the top. A latte can be distinguished between a cappuccino and a flat white by the proportion of milk to froth.

Latte Macchiato
Almost the reverse of a macchiato itself, this is foamed milk with just a little espresso in it.

Lever Machine
A type of espresso machine where the water pressure is generated by a manually operated lever pushing on a piston. Also called Manual Machines and Piston Machines. These machines require a level of practice to provide the pressure required to make an espresso.

Long Black
See Long Coffee (below).

Long Coffee
A double shot of espresso pulled into hot water. The order here is important - the hot water goes in first or the crema is destroyed and may burn the espresso.

About double the amount of water is used to brew the espresso yielding a higher volume but a weaker taste.

An espresso with a tiny amount (about a teaspoon) of foamed milk.

Manual Machine
See Lever Machines.

Milk Frother
The steam wand can come with attachments to make them quicker and easier to use, most machines include the Pannerello which draws in air to make frothing simpler.

See Cappuccinotore.

A device that aids the production of milk froth using the steaming wand. These draw air through small holes and mix it with the milk to froth it.

Pre-ground pre tamped coffee in a paper capsule (espresso in a teabag). Made to a standard sizes these are a simple clean way to produce espresso.

Portable filter - the removable handle and filter basket holder which is filled with the ground coffee. This locks on to the brewing groups head to brew.

Where the coffee puck is moistened with heated water for a few seconds before the brewing process begins.

Prosumer Machine
Implies a machine for the high end consumer which incorporates features normally found on commercial or professional machines. These are normally suitable for light commercial usage.

The packed coffee in the filter basket.

Pulling a shot
Making a shot of espresso, originally all espresso machines were lever operated.

Pump Machines
Espresso machines where the required water pressure is provided by an electric pump.

Prepared with 0.75oz of water (rather than the 1 to 1.5 oz water for a regular espresso). A true Ristretto will require adjustment to grinder settings to achieve the 20 - 23 second brew time to reach the proper result.

The description of the coffee beans after roasting, any coffee bean may be used to make espresso. Relates to the colour of the beans after roasting hence dark roast, light roast etc.

A coffee bean type originally from Western Africa. Considered inferior to Arabica but easier to care for and so is cheaper to produce. Used in espresso blend to promote the formation of crema and for higher caffeine content.

Semi Automatic Machines
A machine where the pressure is automatically controlled but the operator determines the length of the brewing time. These machines still require manual grinding dosing and tamping of the coffee.

Short Black
A half sized Long Black, a single espresso pulled into a little hot water.

A single brewed espresso.

Slush Drinks - Our sister company is SlushCo. Slushy iced drinks in various different flavours.

Solenoid Valve
Normally found on professional machines it diverts excess water at the end of the brewing process to the drip tray leaving a much drier coffee puck to knock out so less cleaning

Steam Knob
A manual control knob operating a valve to release steam from the boiler. Used to control the steam used to froth and steam milk or release water or steam for tea.

Super Automatic Machine

See Bean to Cup Machine.

The device used for tamping down the coffee in the filter.

The process of compressing the ground coffee in preparation for brewing an espresso. Along with the grind the tamping pressure controls the water flow through the puck.

Temperature Stability
Describes how good an espresso machine is at maintaining an even temperature from the boiler to the group head.

Twin Boiler
A machine in which two boilers are used. One for coffee production operating at 88 to 96C and the other to produce steam for the frothing of milk. The use of a single boiler makes for a less expensive machine but causes a slight delay in the process change from coffee production to steaming whilst the temperature rises or falls to the required level. The twin boiler therefore reduces the delay between the two processes.

Water Diffuser
Or dispersion screen part of the brewing group which ensures the water is spread evenly across the coffee puck ensuring complete and even saturation.

Water Reservoir
The water tank or container used to feed the boiler to brew espresso and feed any steaming devices on machines that include a separate steaming ability.

Water Volume
See Brew Volume.


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