Storage of Roasted Coffee Beans to Maximize Flavor

The thing that makes espresso unique amongst all coffee brewing methods is its use of CO2 in the extraction process. Under the conditions of temperature and pressure encountered in pulling a shot, the CO2 from the coffee dissolves in the water forming carbonic acid which lowers the pH (acidity) of the water. This in turn affects the relative solubility of the hundreds of components that reside in the coffee grounds and it changes the profile of the compounds that are extracted. As the extract starts to pour from the basket and it returns to ambient pressure, the dissolved CO2 boils off and creates that honey-like crema which lets us know that we are in the sweet spot. Not too different from popping the cork on a fine bottle of champagne!

Bob Barraza wrote much more on the subject… very enlightening on the subject of getting the biggest bang out of your beans… and pocketbook.

Coffee beans on brown background.


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Espresso with a touch of other flavors

I’m not actually big on adding all kinds of flavoring to Espresso drinks. Maybe a dash of chocolate from time to time, but that is about it.

It doesn’t mean my guests think the same way though. So, I started by adding flavors found at specialty stores. Here is a couple mixes I came across online to try out first… before I play too much on my ‘own’ creations:

Pumpkin Spice White Chocolate Mocha

1/4 oz White Chocolate Sauce
1 oz Monin Pumpkin Spice Syrup
2 oz espresso
8 oz steamed milks
Sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon (optional, for garnish)

1. Mix the white chocolate sauce and pumpkin spice syrup together in the bottom of your mug.
2. Pull your shots, add them to the sauces and swirl around a bit.
3. Pour in your steamed milk.
4. Garnish with a sprinkle of ground nutmeg or cinnamon.

White Chocolate Macadamia Latte
Serves 1

1 ounce Ghirardelli Classic White Flavored Sauce
1/4 ounce macadamia syrup
2 ounces brewed espresso
8 ounces steamed milk
Chopped macadamia nuts, for garnish

1. Combine sauce, syrup and espresso in 12-oz. mug. Stir until well combined.
2. Pour steamed milk into mug; stir to combine.
3. Top with froth from steamed milk.
4. Drizzle with Ghirardelli Classic White Flavored Sauce.
5. Garnish with chopped macadamia nuts, if desired

Chocolate Raspberry Cappuccino
Serves 1

1/2 ounce Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa Flavored Sauce
1/2 ounce Ghirardelli Classic White Flavored Sauce
1/2 ounce raspberry syrup
2 ounces brewed espresso coffee
8 ounces steamed milk

1. Combine sauces, syrup and espresso in 12-oz. mug. Stir until well combined.
2. Pour steamed milk into mug; stir to combine.
3. Top with froth from steamed milk.
4. Garnish with Ghirardelli Cocoa or drizzle with Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa Flavored Sauce.

These are all from SeattleCoffeeGear.com . They have many more Recipes to try and things to buy.

chocolate rasp capp final


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How To Look and Act Like a Professional Barista

Have you ever dreamed of a ‘going places’ career in the coffee industry as a Barista?

I have to admit, when I saw the headlines to this article the above is what flashed into my head. Then reading it through, I discovered many great points. From dress, attitude, customer management and producing a great product. I did learn some great bits I will take and use in my current day job. Read the full article here… it’s worth a look.

If you are going to be working as a professional barista (or as a professional anything), here are some words of advice that you should heed above all else: “What is crucial to your success is your ability to get along with your customers, your co-workers, and your managers. Having outstanding technical skills will not bring outstanding success. Having outstanding interpersonal skills is even more important.”

Most interpersonal skills are merely common sense, but many of us haven’t spent much time thinking about them at a concious level. You should focus on your interpersonal personal skills and work daily to improve them, just as you focus on your barista techniques and think about how to improve those. And there are a few interpersonal skills that are not automatic, and do not come naturally, but they can be cultivated.

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Creating art in your Espresso

A talent I desire is to make fun art in the milk foam when I make espresso for my visitors. It always looks so easy, but mine never turn out quite so perfect. To get better, I went in search of professional help. The pros at the local espresso spot just chuckle and explain nothing. Option two (should have been my first…) is to look on the internet. Books wont really do this skill justice. You really need a video. Hello Google and their YouTube.

Today, let’s start with the basics. How to get the milk just the right constancy so when you pour into the espresso it will hold it’s shape. Here is a quick vid that is a great entry into the fun. I will be posting links to vids rather than have it stream through the site. I hate sites that load slowly as the video cue up even if you aren’t going to watch them. Enjoy!

espresso art 1

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Blend beans for the perfect Espresso

From my youngest days, I remember going to a roasting spot with my folks. We would have to make a special trip to a little building just on the other side of town. It was on a main road, yet you could easily miss the whole building. It was small brown wood sided building. Up the few steps and through the front door, you were greeted with an aroma that was smooth yet bold. The first thing you saw inside was a counter that went from the front of the store to the back. Under the counter was many small square glass faced cube containers of beans. Every bean was brown, but not all the same shade of brown.

What made this the place for the insiders to visit was that you weren’t buying coffee of a particular type, grower, or from a place in the world. They mixed beans from multiple locations to come up with unique flavors. Every time my parents went in, the Roaster would come out with a new brew he had come up with.

These experiences gave me a different view on what made a great espresso. The actual cost of buying small quantities of beans and mixing is relatively small so it’s a bit of fun anyone can enjoy. Till I get time to post up my logs, visit this article on Coffee Blending to get started – we’ll catch up later on your successes mixes.

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