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  • Its fair to say we like coffee in Australia we spent $750 million on the stuff in 2008. And were not just drinking it in cafes Harvey Norman reports that we spent more on espresso machines than any other small appliance in the past three years. So, to make sure you get the best DIY coffee experience possible, we roasted some top baristas for their expert knowledge

    keep it fresh Buy beans fresh if theyre vacuum-sealed in a bag you dont know how long theyve been on the shelf, says Karlee Slater, barista at Melbournes St Ali and Sensory Lab. She recommends you look for a roasted on date, rather than a best before date. Ground coffee deteriorates quickly, so If possible, grind beans just before you use them, says Slater.

    store it rightBeans should never be kept in the fridge or freezer. These are wet environments; as soon as beans get moisture on them they start self-extracting and lose flavour, says Slater. Store yours in an airtight container on a dark, room-temperature shelf.

    Make like goldilocksWith an espresso machine, the amount of coffee you put in the filter basket needs to be just right, says Will Young, director of Sydneys renowned Campos Coffee. Overfilling will give a burnt, sharp taste, and itll taste hollow if you underfill. So fill it up, tamp it down until firm and about three-quarters full, then twist it into the grouphead if it knocks the surface off the coffee, youve overfilled.

    dont over-extract Next, hit the switch to run hot water through the coffee. It should come out a reddish auburn colour, says Young. Stop when it gets to a yellowy colour thats the secondary oils coming out. You only want the primary oils in the crema [the light-coloured layer on top]. Aim for around 30 seconds and 25-30ml for a single shot.

    Milk it fastTilt the jug so the milk rotates without frothing too much. The ideal temperature for the milk is 68C, but on the off-chance you cant tell when that is, Young suggests holding the milk jug by its base when it gets too hot for comfort, its ready.

    pour, youYou need to get milk into the shot within about 30 seconds, otherwise the crema dissipates and thats where all the flavour is, says Young. But dont rush: pour slowly and carefully into the middle of the crema, tipping the cup the shot is in. Youre looking for a brown colour all over, says Young. If it goes white and grey that means the cremas broken up.

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    122 yahoo7.CoM.aU/woMenshealth June 2010

    Beans there, done that

    Take your coffee making to higher grounds

    espresso yourself

    Natalie Street, assistant to Manu

    Feildel, of Sydneys Manu at LEtoile

    when cooking live crabs, put them in

    the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes before

    cooking. this is more humane, and will also

    prevent the claws from falling off

    during cooking.

    chefs tip

  • Its not a clean machine a good barista will wipe the steam wand (the thing that heats the milk) every time.

    You can hear hissing when the milks being heated, it should make a t-t-t-t noise, not a wet, loud pfffff noise, which means too much air is going into it, says young. If your coffee feels light, thats another sign of too much foam.

    Its white on top It should be brown and have a gloss finish.

    Its too full It needs to be 1mm below the top of the cup, says young. otherwise, when the lid goes on, the crema (and all the taste) ends up on the lid.

    Got a $3-a-day coffee habit? Use our checklist to ensure youre getting your moneys worth, instead of a big cup of what the?

    If youre short on time

    AutomAtIc mAchIne

    these grind beans and produce a cup of coffee at the push of a button. all you need do is remember to top up the coffee beans and water. with this model, you can choose your preferred strength (from a choice of five), temperature, amount of milk and water, then save it into the programmable menu, so you can have your perfect coffee ready in an instant while youre still half asleep. DeLonghi Perfecta Cappuccino Machine, $2299, harveynorman.com.au

    If you take your coffee seriously

    mAnuAl mAchIne

    you do all the hard work with one of these, making your coffee just like a barista would. sure, its more hassle, but youll get a much better coffee at the end of it. the silvia Manual coffee machine, $849, is for home use, but is made by the company Rancilio, which has made espresso machines for cafes since the 1920s (so they obviously know their stuff). youll also need to grind your own beans. try the Rocky Grinder, $480. Both from grinderscoffee.com.au

    If youre out for the next big thing

    SYphon

    a technique from Japan that brews coffee at the ideal temperature (91-95C). Fill the bottom bulb with water and heat. the water travels up the glass tube where it meets the coarse-ground coffee. let it brew for 40 seconds, then take it off the heat the coffee travels back down into the bulb. easy, impressive, and perfect for black coffee drinkers you get great flavour without the bitterness that comes from boiling water. Hario Coffee Syphon, $140, sensorylab.com.au/store

    What is third Wave coffee?yep, coffee is officially a movement. Instant, freeze-dried coffee was the first wave, the second wave of coffee came about with espresso and crema and now? In australia were just heading into the third wave, which means we consider coffee as a fruit, says barista Karlee slater. In a wine there are 80 flavour notes; in coffee there are 800. third wave coffee is focused on flavours and textures, and we use lots of different brewing methods, like cold-drip and Japanese syphon (see left). want to see/taste for yourself? head to the sensory lab on little Collins street, Melbourne, which is spearheading the movement.

    home delivery

    the cups/glasses are hot If coffee goes into cold cups it loses about 5 to 10 degrees and that can ruin a perfectly well-made coffee, says young.

    the milk isnt reheated If your barista chucks out the milk dregs after each coffee, thats a good sign.

    they pay attention when theyre pouring no one wants a broken crema, now, do they?

    You can learn from them ask questions, says slater. If you go to a restaurant and want to know where your steaks from, thats reasonable, so why shouldnt it be the same with coffee? Good point.

    Barista-ometer

    June 2010 woMens health 123

    Wh cooks

    Made from light, flexible silicon, the Byo coffee cup withstands heat up to 200C, which is handy if you like your coffee with a dash of molten lava. $10.95, hookturn industries.com.au

    the KeepCup is made from food-safe polypropylene. Plus you can individualise it with your coffee preference! From $12, keep cup.com.au wh

    If you buy a takeaway coffee every week day,

    yours will be one of 500 million

    disposable cups used in australia

    every year, with most ending up in

    landfill, according to a nsw government

    sustainability website. a greener

    option is a reuseable cup. Bonus: some

    baristas will charge you less.

    Bring your oWn

    Bon ApptIt!

    Wh cooks