We've all been working from home for what feels like forever now, and if you're anthing like us you're proabably at the stage where you've nailed banana bread, probably tried making your own pizza dough and have well and truly surpassed your own expectations in the 'make a meal from these odds and sods' game. However, if there's still one thing missing from lockdown life, it's got to be the perk-up-your-morning deliciousness of a frothy coffee.
We asked La Marzocco, the people that make the espresso machines that sit on the bars of our favourite coffee shops all acoss the country, to take us through the steps that go into making our drink of choice – a flavoursome flat white. Whether you have an espresso machine at home and you’re looking to up your coffee game or you’d just like to know what goes into each cup, hopefully this masterclass will help you!
Step 1: Choose Your Ingredients
Coffee: It always helps if you use a speciality grade arabica coffee, and here at LM we are lucky enough to work with lots of amazing roasteries across the globe. This time, we’re plumping for the Allpress Espresso Blend from Balance Festival partners, Allpress Espresso, which is sweet, complex and beautifully balanced. If you're not sure what coffee to choose, their team have put together a handy guide for what type of coffee to use for different brews...
Milk: You’ll also want to consider what type of milk you choose and how it’s been stored. If using cow’s milk, always make sure it’s fresh, cold, and ideally from a local farmer. If you’re using a milk alternative, such as oat milk or almond milk, always look out for the “barista style” as these steam slightly closer to dairy milk.
Water: That’s right – even the water you use can make a difference, so it’s always best to use filtered water or bottled water when making coffee. Not only does it prolong the life of your equipment, it also helps to bring out the best flavours in the coffee. For example, hard water can cause havoc on the inner workings of your machine but can also dull and mute all the amazing flavours that are packed within speciality grown, sourced and roasted coffee.
Step 2: Choose Your Equipment
We’re proud to feature the Linea Mini and GS3 as part of our La Marzocco Home range, which was launched so that coffee lovers could enjoy professional quality coffee at home. Our Linea Mini has been inspired by the Linea Classic machines that you'll find in cafés, so it's perfect for a job like this!
As well as a quality espresso machine, you need to pair it with a great coffee grinder. For espresso coffee, we suggest the Lux D. Like the Linea Mini, this is a commercial quality grinder but made smaller for home use.
You’ll also need some accessories to really step up your home barista game. The Linea Mini also comes with a double and single portafilter, a milk pitcher and a tamper. That said, you may also need some scales, a knockbox, barista cloths, and of course, some cups. A flat white is traditionally served in a 6-8oz coffee cup.
Step 3: Grind and Dose Your Coffee
When brewing espresso, we’re looking for a finer grind size than other coffee brewing methods (such as cafetiere). Generally, espresso coffee grind should resemble a mixture of powdered sugar and fine beach sand. For comparison, Allpress created this helpful explanation...
Just as when you’re baking, it’s important to use a recipe when you’re making coffee to ensure consistent results that bring out all the desired flavours and taste notes of the roasted bean. If in doubt, check the packet - often a roaster will include a recipe with their coffee to give you some guidance on how best to brew it.
In this case, we’re going to dose 18g dry coffee into our portafilter basket, and extract 36g of espresso, in about 27-30 seconds. This is called a 2:1 brew ratio.
So, our recipe looks like this...
Time: 27-30 seconds
Step 4: Tamp and Extract Your Espresso
Level the ground coffee with a swipe or tap motion and firmly tamp your coffee in the portafilter evenly, then put the portafilter into the machine and then switch the machine on to brew.
We’re looking to see the espresso start dropping after about 6-7 seconds, it will start dripping before moving into a steady flow, we want to see it looking nice and golden like honey.
Step 5: Steam Your Milk
To whip up the perfect froth, place the tip of the steam wand just below the surface of the milk and off centre. Activate the steam wand and aerate the milk to create microfoam, then as the milk stretches and swells in size, submerge the tip of the wand a little bit more.
Stop when the jug is hot to touch (or 160F if you have a thermometer).
Step 6: Pour Your Flat White
Okay, so you’ve got this far – now it’s time to pour.
Give your jug one firm tap on your counter to get rid of any surface air bubbles and follow the tap with a repetitive swirl of your jug, until the milk looks shiny and glossy. Think shiny meringue mix!
Now give your espresso a swirl and pour the milk into the espresso in a circular motion. Once the milk is near the top of the cup, bring the milk pitcher closer to the cup to pour your latte art.
Next stop: admire, sip, and enjoy. Repeat? That’s up to you!
If you want to talk all things coffee, espresso machines and all things hospitality, please feel free to contact the La Marzocco Home team on firstname.lastname@example.org and 0808 129 0170, or visit their website or Instagram