Step by step to complete coffee enjoyment
New manual from the Schaerer Coffee Competence Centre provides support with extensive knowledge from bean to cup
The Schaerer Coffee Competence Centre (CCC) strives to support customers and partners with extensive expertise in all aspects of coffee preparation and machine setting — both in the modern training facilities at the headquarters in Zuchwil and directly at customer and partner sites. Within the last year, Schaerer Coffee Competence Centre trainer Monika Oeggerli has done expensive development work on the digital manual entitled “The Perfect Setting”, which is used in many courses. “Having a very good coffee machine is not enough to serve delicious coffee. Unfortunately, a lot can go wrong on the way to complete coffee enjoyment. I am pleased that, with the new manual, we can now support our customers and partners even more in serving their guests the perfect cup of coffee”, says the coffee expert. In the first part, “The Perfect Setting” manual shows step by step what is important for a perfect coffee beverage with countless examples and practical tips. Parts two and three are devoted to coffee machine settings, taking into account the various parameters for coffee beans and milk. The extensive setting options of a Schaerer coffee machine are also clearly explained using the Schaerer Coffee Soul with the “Select” concept as an example. The manual is available in a free PDF version on the company website www.schaerer.com. Oeggerli has this to add: “Our goal is to share our extensive knowledge with as many coffee enthusiasts as possible. Anyone who would like to download the PDF after the “online taster” is welcome to contact us directly”.
Step by step to the perfect coffee beverage
Only when hoteliers and restaurateurs are able to optimally set their coffee machines can they provide their guests with complete coffee enjoyment. There are some challenges to overcome when doing so. Before you start actually setting the machine — usually together with a Schaerer service technician or partner – Schaerer recommends answering some important questions. The desired flavour profile, the coffee blend, the water quality and the setting options for coffee and milk should be examined step by step and in a systematic manner:
Step 1: Definition of flavour
The first and certainly most important step in making the perfect cup of coffee is to decide which flavour profile you want. A flavour profile is the combination of the sensation of the flavour on the tongue, the perception of the aroma and the mouthfeel. The optimal flavour profile is made up of the right balance of aromas/fragrances, flavour components — especially acids and bitters – and a pleasant mouthfeel, which together create the perfect coffee experience. That is why an in-depth tasting should always be the first step.
Step 2: Selection of the coffee
No machine or machine setting can make up for “bad” coffee and create flavours or aromas that are not contained in the roasted coffee. So if you want to achieve the highest level of coffee enjoyment, selecting good coffee is essential. In addition to variety, origin and processing, it is not least how the coffee beans were roasted that influences the flavour and aroma of the beverage. As the visual, aromatic and flavour differences of the various roasted coffees are very versatile, the coffee machine must be adjusted to fit the individual elements. Also: As soon as coffee comes into contact with oxygen and heat, the aroma begins to fade. This means the coffee beans should always be stored in their original packaging in an airtight, cool and dark place for as long as possible. It is also advisable to only fill the bean hoppers of the coffee machine with the beans needed for that day. The roasting date, or in other words the roasting age of the coffee, also influences the quality of the beverage. Freshly roasted coffee beans release large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), even after several days. Coffee therefore needs a certain resting time after roasting for so-called “degassing”. With dark roasts, this takes around two to three weeks; with lighter roasts, on the other hand, it takes somewhat less time for the flavour nuances to develop optimally.
Step 3: Considering the water quality
Depending on the brewing method, coffee consists of up to 99 percent water (filter coffee). With espresso, it is still 90 to 94 percent. This is why the quality of the water used is almost as important as the quality of the coffee beans. The ideal water for brewing coffee has a balanced mineral content, including calcium and magnesium, as well as a sufficient total hardness and alkalinity. This is the only way that a coffee can develop its full aroma. For example, water that is too hard accentuates the bitter substances in the coffee, meaning the aromas cannot develop properly. In addition, water that is too hard has negative effects on the machine. Among others, it reduces the service life and can increase downtime as well as service and repair costs. After a water analysis, the use of water filters or adding various ingredients turns good tap water into the ideal water for coffee.
Steps 4 and 5: Basics of coffee extraction and milk dispensing
In order to achieve the balanced flavour profile of the end product as described above, a carefully attuned and executed brewing process is very important. The middle and last parts of “The Perfect Setting” are devoted to this topic in great detail for this reason. The brewing process in a coffee machine is influenced by five main criteria: Pump pressure, brewing temperature, brewing ratio, compression pressure and grinding level. Each of these parameters must be precisely matched to the respective roast (blend or single origin) and the desired coffee beverage so that the taste and aroma can fully develop. Even the smallest deviations influence the coffee quality. The golden rule: Adjust and taste until you are impressed by the quality. Once the defined flavour profile for café crème and espresso, for example, has been achieved, the milk is the next topic for preparing coffee specialities such as cappuccinos or latte macchiatos. Protein content, fat and temperature are of major importance here. Whole milk, pasteurised and homogenised with a protein content of 3.2 – 3.5 percent and a fat content of 3.5 percent, is ideal. Many aromas are lipophilic, meaning the milk fat takes on the role of flavour carrier. The ideal milk temperature for the perfect foam is 3 – 5 degrees, or a maximum of 6 degrees for the milk in the milk container. UHT milk should therefore also be refrigerated for the best results. Background: The milk takes a certain amount of time to run through the entire milk system, and it warms up in the process. If the starting temperature is already higher than 6 °C, the milk will end up too warm.