Brew and Review: Nanopresso Beach Day!

Tuesday, 20 February, 2018

Coffee at the beach has never been so simple and so much fun! Seen the Nanopresso around, but don't know how it works? This little gadget is so intelligently designed that even though this was our first time using the nifty Double Espresso Adapter and 16g basket that comes with the Barista Kit, it produced a delicious coffee. Come hang out at the beach with us and the Wacaco Nanopresso (in yellow!) to bring some sunshine into your day. Big thanks to Moreflavour for swinging this bad boy our way. We are thoroughly impressed by this tiny gadget!


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Let's get technical: What's the benefit to weighing your coffee when you brew?

Thursday, 15 February, 2018

Let's get technical: What's the benefit to weighing your coffee when you brew?

Words by Daniel Erasmus


The base question behind this article is "why should I care about weighing my coffee?" a question I only asked myself about three years ago. My most simple answer would be, because weight translates directly into flavour. So if you want your coffee to taste better, you need to weigh it. I was demonstrated the importance of this when I implemented using a scale in the cafe, and got an overwhelmingly positive response from the customers. Over the past two years we have seen a major focus from manufacturers, on integrating weight measurement into their products. Even phasing out volumetric machines in favour of gravimetric. Why? Weight is a necessity in the world of specialty coffee, where an extra five grams of water could spoil the cup, ruin the customer’s expectations, and waste very expensive coffee. Small examples are: weight is more reliable than volume, volume changes with temperature. Weight will give you a consistently good cup when working with a changing product like coffee, which may have a different level of solubility from one roast/day to the next. Which leads us to your next question, "how do I do that?". 

First you need to understand what weighing your coffee encompasses. Then a prerequisite is being familiar with taste, and knowing what you want to taste in your cup. Whether it be espresso, or alternate brew, you will have three weights to measure during any brew: coffee dosage, end yield, and water. For me, time as a factor in brewing, is slowly losing relevance. Volume is obsolete. I have found that weight is a more reliable parameter to work with. I will not be addressing time at all in this article. Neither will I be addressing grind size, although it plays a large part in flavour, we will work on one concept at a time.


Dosage is your dry coffee weight; the amount of coffee that you grind into any type of filter, before extraction. Your yield calculations are based on this dose weight. All brew methods have a recommended weight that you will start with. You can alter this either up or down to get your preferred weight. But once it is set, do not change it. Keeping in mind that for something like espresso, there is a fairly strict minimum, and maximum weight that you need to be dosing. In general, I like to stick to manufacturer's recommendations, but there are exceptions to the rule, for example, I generally push it, and dose 20.5g into the LM 17g baskets. This also depends on coffee density, and is mostly applicable in espresso.



Yield is your wet coffee weight, post extraction. Yield is the espresso in the cup, or the drip coffee in the glass jug. Explaining yield and its effect on what you taste, can become quite lengthy, but here are the essentials: The longer you extract for, the more yield you will have. The shorter you extract for the more strength you will have, and vice versa. Once you understand how the two work against each other, you can begin to control what you get in the cup. 

You would typically work out a dose to yield ratio, which would determine your yield weight. This could be as simple as 1:2, or as you begin to get more specific, something like 1:1.75 Then it is as simple as putting a scale under the coffee receptacle, taring it, and starting your brew. stop your brew just before it reaches the required weight. In order to work out how early to stop it, you will have to work out the delay of in-air espresso weight, from porta filter to scale. (based on what you want to taste)



I might garner some criticism for including water weight as a major factor, allow me to put forward my reasoning. If you weigh your water before you brew, you can subtract that weight from the final yield weight. This will give you an approximate total dissolved solids (TDS) weight. Your TDS determines the amount of flavour in your cup. I say approximate because there will be a small amount of water left in the coffee you used, and even if you subtract that weight from your original water weight, the dry coffee you used has also lost weight as it extracted. To be 100% on the mark, you need a refractometer. But for the 95% of us who can’t afford that kind of equipment, this method is a fairly good way to do it.



The amount of scales out there are endless. They range from amazing to terrible. The bottom line is; a scale that is not perfect, is not going to give you a perfect reading, therefore is not going to give you a perfect brew. So you may as well stick with a shot glass or a beaker. My preference lies with Acaia scales. They are waterproof, super accurate with negligible lag, charge via usb, have extremely long battery life, and are quite indestructible. If that's not in your budget, then the Hario and Brewista scales are also excellent options at a more affordable price point.



This is a fairly lengthy disclaimer, and here are the reasons why. Because coffee is such a subjective product. Because there are many more variables than just weight, that affect how your cup tastes. Because each individual enjoys a different style of cup to the next. Last but not least, because weight encompasses, dose, yield, and in my case TDS (which ties into yield - so hard not to be ambiguous), which are all subject enough for being articles themselves. What I have aimed to do, is give you a better understanding of one facet, of what happens when you combine water and coffee in the hope that this information, coupled with more knowledge, will manifest itself as a tastier cup of coffee. Whether it be in your coffee shop, or at home.


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Coffee Tip of the Day: Grind your way to better coffee!

Thursday, 18 January, 2018

If there's one tip we probably give the most to people to improve the quality of their coffee at home, it's this: start buying whole beans and buy yourself a burr grinder.

Why a burr grinder, specifically, you may ask? 

Well, any coffee professional will tell you that in coffee, to get the best out of your brew, consistency is key. This can get very technical and include using scales to weigh your beans and water, but in this instance, if you choose the right equipment, you don't have to do any of the hard work.

This is what burrs look like (conical on the left and flat on the right):

The two parts lock into one another and the beans are crushed between the two plates. This results in a much more consistent grind than you would be able to achieve with a blade grinder (one of those ones that doubles as a spice or nut grinder, eek!). A burr grinder also allows you to adjust your grind size for the method of coffee you've chosen to brew. So if you want a coarse grind for a plunger you adjust the burrs to be further away from one another to increase the particle size and if you want to pull an espresso shot, you move the burrs closer together to get that powdery consistency needed to extract all the goodness under immense pressure.

Recently conversation in the coffee industry has highlighted that even the best grinders in the world can't ensure complete consistency in particle size. So contraptions like the Kruve Sifter have found a niche in the market to separate the different sizes, look out for our review on that soon, we've been playing around with one!

But I digress, the point is that freshly ground is best and the best way to achieve that at home is to invest in a burr grinder, either a hand grinder option or an electric one. We've listed a couple of our favourites below.

We haven't even mentioned the magical aroma that will hit you when you start grinding at home! You will never regret making the move to freshly ground.

Hand Burr grinders:

Porlex Mini - We've had ours for years and it has yet to let us down.
Rhinowares Hand Grinder - Also a fantastic option for coffee on the go.

Electric Burr Grinders:
Severin Coffee Grinder - Great starter grinder for home use
Baratza Sette 270W - If you're really serious about your coffee at home!

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World AeroPress Champion Recipe with The Coffee Magazine

Tuesday, 5 December, 2017

Paulina "Panda" Miczka - WAC winning recipe

35 g of coffee for 320 ml of water.
0-15 s pour 150 ml of 84°C water.
15-35 s stir 35 times.
Put a lid on top with a pre-wet filter.
1:05 min flip the AeroPress and start pressing.
1:35 min stop pressing, you should have 90 ml of the brew.
Add 170 ml of hot water and enjoy!

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Coffee Tip of the Day: How to Perfect your microtexturing without wasting milk

Friday, 27 October, 2017

Steaming your milk for the perfect cappuccino can be one of the most frustrating skills to master on your journey to home barista extraordinaire! There are lots of tips on how to do it better, but the thing that will ultimately take your milk to the next level is practice as you get to know your machine.

Especially at home, you only get to practice a couple of times a day.

But there is a trick, that we originally heard from professional barista trainers, that help you practice without massive wastage. It's a little dishwashing liquid in some water, simple as that! This helps you get used to the angle of your steam wand, the depth it should sit in the liquid and the sound you need to listen for, without even using milk! Try using cold water from the fridge so that it doesn't heat up as quickly and you have time to play around.

This solution mimics the texture of milk and you can easily see if your technique needs tweaking by checking out the size of the bubbles. 

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Summer Loving: Choc Hazelnut Iced Coffee

Friday, 20 October, 2017

This idea is amazing for when you're entertaining, because you can do all the prep beforehand. Just add some flourishes at the end and you have a summer crowd pleaser.

Thanks to the team at Online Beverage Store and Monin for this great recipe! We can think of some fun variants to this: how about some cream liqueur (we're thinking Amarula!) as a substitute for milk for a party cocktail. And if you're not a dairy drinker, you can use an alternative like Almond Breeze (now that would be an almighty nut punch!).

What you will need

Ice tray
Monin Choc syrup
Monin Roasted Hazelnut syrup
Whipped Cream - Cream gun would be awesome so we could do a flavoured cream

Ingredients (to make 2)

60 ml Espresso
50 ml Water
25 ml Chocolate syrup
100 ml Milk

Cream gun for final flourish!
Add 250 ml fresh Cream
50 ml Monin Roasted Hazelnut syrup
Charge with cream bomb


Extract espresso shots, add Monin Chocolate syrup and water into cup. Pour into ice tray and freeze.
Once frozen place ice cubes into glass and top with milk.

Garnish with a dollop of Monin Roasted Hazelnut infused cream. 

We know you'd love to try this at home! All you need to do is like this post and tag a friend in the comments below. If you win, we'll contact you via social media by 31 October 2017. 

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Exclusive: The Oomph Portable Coffee Maker

Tuesday, 3 October, 2017

The Oomph Portable Coffee Maker
is the latest coffee brewing device to hit SA through the Moreflavour company (for those who don't know Moreflavour, they are the folks behind the wonderful Aeropress, Baratza grinders, Brewista scales, Minipresso and other wonderful coffee goodies!)

The Oomph arrived at the Coffee Magazine offices and we were intrigued by the white cannister, the simple branding and the very intricately moulded 3-part device inside.

We immediately wondered what the best way to showcase this little beauty would be, and after one attempt at making coffee, the answer was clear - to simply to video the fun and let you see for yourselves.

So here is our esteemed Editor, Ms Melanie Winter brewing delicious coffee on the Oomph! Enjoy.

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VIDEO: How to Brew an AeroPress

Thursday, 28 September, 2017
The AeroPress is one of the most successful coffee inventions in recent times. It has gained its position within the coffee world by being SO accessible. Anyone can make a good coffee with an AeroPress. It is made of virtually indestructible plastic and it so light and travel-friendly.

So yes, we love the AeroPress. All the same principles to make a good coffee apply, the right water temperature, the right grind size, the correct ratio of coffee to water, but don't take our word for it, just listen to the wisdom of All Africa Barista Champ and Franke Ambassador, Craig Charity of Lineage Coffee. He's the expert!

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