Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Your Profile

  • Location
  • Interests
    Coffee, video content creation, building businesses
  • Occupation
    Head Barista/Bar Manager
  • Twitter Account

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

SeamusMcFlurry's Achievements

Senior Member

Senior Member (7/8)



  1. Hey! Thought I'd jump in an give my two cents. First, I feel I should point out I've been a professional barista for eight years, so while I know an awful lot, I'm used to using commercial machines and so some of what I say might need tweaking for home machines. However, the principles and science remain the same. Grind. So, there is no set grind you need to use. Pre ground coffee will almost always be something called 'omni-grind', which is basically meant to be used for everything from french press to espresso, but is useful for none of them. The grind you use will depend on all of your other variables, which I'll go into in the next section. Weight Weight will depend on what is referred to as a brew recipe. This is the weight of your coffee dose, the weight of the espresso, and the time it takes to extract. For example, my starting point when dialling in a grinder is almost always 18g in, 36g out, over 30 seconds. I recommend this recipe as it's usually not too far off, and you can play around with it from there. Now, dialling in a grinder. First, weigh every dose. When it's exactly the amount you want to use (for this example, 18g), then you move onto the next step, which is to brew it, and time how long it takes to brew. If it takes too long, or comes through too quickly then you need to change your grind; coarser if it's slow, finer if it's fast. Finally, if you have a semi-automatic machine (the water flow automatically stops) then brew weight won't be an issue, as you can pre set that. If it's a manual machine (i.e., you have to stop the espresso pouring yourself), then have a set of scales under your espresso cup and stop just before you hit your target espresso weight. The most important things. Only ever change one thing at a time, and when you change anything start the process all over again. Tamping The guys are right, tamp pressure doesn't make a whole lot of difference. You are trying to create a flat, level bed of coffee so that the water travels through the coffee puck evenly, thereby extracting all of the coffee evenly. If the tamp is at an angle, or is badly distributed, then you risk over extracting one area of the coffee, which will make your coffee bitter and thin. Use your finger to evenly distribute the coffee around the basket, then tamp your coffee, careful to keep the tamp level, about as hard as you'd put a key into a keyhole. Make sure to keep your wrist in line with your elbow, with the pressure coming from your shoulder. This eliminates the risk of RSI in your wrist. Milk Milk is my favourite subject, so excuse me while I get scientific (and trust me, the science really helps the way you steam milk). Your aim in steaming milk is twofold. 1) You aim to heat your milk to a comfortable drinking temperature. 2) You aim to give your milk texture and sweetness through the addition of air. Usually the most difficult bit is part two, so we'll start there. Microfoam is what gives texture to milk. We create microfoam by 'aerating' milk with a steam wand. The trick is do do this quickly, when the milk is still cold, and not to add too much air. On a professional machine I find a couple of quick 'hisses' (for want of a better term) are sufficient. The quicker you're able to do this the better, and for a very good reason. Aeration is the creation of small bubbles, which are then broken down into smaller bubbles. These bubbles are created and held together by a combination of whey proteins and fats. Up to 40 degrees these bubbles are small, soft and easily broken down into smaller bubbles by spinning the milk. Beyond 40 they create larger harder bubbles. Beyond 70 the proteins denature and the foam will split and become meringue-like, and the milk will feel thin and taste burnt. So, in summary, aerate quickly , and stop when your jug becomes warm to the touch. At that point spin your milk (using the steam wand, rather than moving the jug at all), careful not to add more air. When the jug becomes too hot to hold, stop your steam wand and pour your milk. Also, on't bother with thermometers of any kind. They lag, and your hand will ALWAYS be a better judge of how hot your milk is. Anyway, I hope this helps. Any questions, or anything I haven't explained very well just let me know! Ta.
  2. Welcome to the forum dude! There's a tonne of experienced people on here, from home baristas to professionals. All very willing to help
  3. In my experience people will walk into the shop, ask if you serve food, then walk out if you don't. it really is worth having even a small offering of sarnies, especially if you want to grab people on their lunch breaks.
  4. When I dial in a grinder I usually have a start point. As a general rule this is 18g in, 36g out over 30 seconds at 93 degrees. I'll taste that, and go from there. If it tastes like it needs more coffee then I'll up the dose to 19, and pull the same shot. If it has too much I'll lose a gram and pull the same shot. For me, brew ratios in espresso are much more of a guideline. I've pulled long espresso shots from low doses, and vice versa. It's all about individual coffees, how they're processed, and how they're roasted. To be honest, it doesn't even take that much coffee to get right, then you can write your brew recipe somewhere and pull a great shot every time! Anyway, just my two cents from working a bar for a few years. I only make espresso at home during Christmas at my parents' house, so take everything I say and make it work in your context! Also, in terms of temperature, if you CAN change that, I wouldn't recommend going above 94 degrees for anything other than black teas and oolongs. Coffee works best between 88 and 94 depending on roast, and to be honest, in the last four years, working exclusively with light roast coffees, I've never strayed lower than 92 or higher than 93.5.
  5. I love the idea. The things you need to nail down are how your customers flow around the shop, how your baristas work flows, and whether or not the customer feels under the spotlight when they're ordering. 1) Do your customers know where they're meant to be going? It sounds simple, but a lot of people get it wrong. When I worked at Pumphrey's we had a great set up, but it confused some customers. We had one queue on one side for food, then another pretty much opposite for coffee, then till at the end. Not only that, but we had counter top on four sides, so customers could theoretically order from any side. Then we had a retail space at the end of the bar, further complicating things. Make sure the design is simple, and easy for customers to navigate. Also, bear in mind, no one EVER reads bloody signs... 2) How does your bar flow? Nothing slows down service quite like things being a little too far away, or not having enough space to work in. If you want a circular bar with multiple order points, and a more paid back feel, then make sure that the space is flexible, and your baristas know how to communicate. If ou want a single order point, then make sure the rest of your bar as a purpose, and that it flows efficiently and comfortably. 3) The customer should feel as comfortable as they can when giving you their cash. Make sure they don't feel like the eyes of the room are on them when they're ordering. All of this said, one of the things I loved at Pumphrey's was the fact that the back area, while pretty much only being used for regulars to sit, dirty dishes to wait, and staff to eat lunch, was fantastic for talking to customers as they left, or to demo stuff to people, or to have a longer retail patter with people, with samples, etc. I love the idea, but make sure it's done well, and is properly thought out.
  6. BLK is a great coffee shop. Alison's got some of the best coffee knowledge in the area, and has GREAT relationships with a tonne of really good roasteries. I used to work with her. Good lass. If you're in the area, give the place a go. As for Colour, Anth knows how to roast. Not always the most consistent, and sometimes they get a bit lazy with their branding, marking roast dates on bags and putting info on bags, but he wouldn't let a dark roast go out. I know he roasted a little darker for a couple of their pub accounts, but aside from that they're all well roasted light roasts. (Also, he roasts in Sandyford now, not at his house.)
  7. A lot of the people I know who work with the Mythos don't rate it. After chatting to people I'd go K30 (though in reality I'd rather go with something like a Robur). K30's good kit, tried and tested. My mates all say the Mythos feels like it has to be dialled in almost constantly. They are NOT, however, a busy London bar, so a lot of the criticism I've heard might be purely contextual.
  8. Honestly, I've become so used to bad coffee in restaurants that I just don't care anymore. I quietly judge the entire restaurant industry for it's blind ignorance when it comes to coffee, but on an individual level I try and level my judgements at the food, and leave it at that. Just another excuse to get a cocktail at the end of the meal I suppose
  9. Having used a few different filter methods in my time, my personal preference is the Kalita. It's really easy to use, really consistent, and so long as you have your grinder set up and dialled in properly, is as close to a fire-and-forget pourer as you'll find. Wonderful clarity, good body and flavour. Solid choice, in my opinion.
  10. Link is fixed! Cheers guys; forgot the blog is under FortySixBlog, not coffee. Grrr... But sorted now. Ta guys!
  11. Hey guys! I'm not really new here, but it's been so damn long since I posted here that I may as well be! My name's Seamus (or Chris, I go by both), and I've been a barista since '07. I've meandered through the industry up here in the North and have found myself helping to set up, and now to run, a dedicated filter bar on Newcastle's Quayside. We operate on the first floor of a design shop called Whosit and Whatsit, and it's the first coffee job I've had in years where I've been genuinely excited to go to work. Aside from work, I used to run a blog called Third Wave UK, which unfortunately petered out as my passion waned. Now, my passion has matured, my perspective changed and my experience shaped me, so I have set up a new blog; Forty Six Coffee. The idea is to move into YouTube and Instagram video before the end of September/start of October! Anyway, it's lovely to be back, and I really look forward to getting to know you all! Any questions, I'm more than happy to help where I can! Cheers, Seamus.
  12. Well, maybe dropping to bits is a little over dramatic... The shop I manage at the moment is using a ten year old, three group Brasillia. Currently it is dripping from both steam wand tips (both of which steam constantly) and from the hot water tap. I was wondering if anybody had any techincal advice Cheers, Seamus.
  13. I use an Uber at work every day . It works well with pourover. For coffees such as Yirgacheffe, which work best at a certain temperature, it ensures that the temperature at point of contact remains consistant, rather than beginning too high and ending too low. Compared alongside a pouring kettle, the pouring kettle begins around 93C, and ends around 87C. The Uber pours at the temperature you set, with a measurable temperature drop as the water falls from the font, ensuring that the coffee extracts at the same rate throughout the pour. Hope that helps
  • Create New...