Brewing tasty espresso on a manual machine. When all the stars align and you pull that perfect tasty shot, it's what any coffee lover's dreams are made of.
It's so special for a couple reasons. Obviously number 1, the taste and the experience of having that delicious coffee. Number two, because it takes practice, to get all the variables right. A reward of your labours, if you will.
Creating a simple repeatable workflow with the BRUA, will make life easy and your brews consistent. Follow along with our blog series to help you, the coffee enthusiast, make amazing espresso.
One of the key elements to creating that delicious coffee with a manual lever machine, starts before you even think about the coffee, preheating.
We have two methods for doing this - traditional and the "Speed Preheat" method.
Today we are going to learn how we preheat our BRUA consistently every morning using the traditional preheat method. With some practice, this process will become second nature and fits into the workflow for the whole brew quite seamlessly.
Following these key steps will have you brewing at the perfect temps for your espresso roast.
- Position the handle down and your cup underneath.
- Boil kettle.
- Fill the chamber - leave for approx 30 sec. - express water out.
- Refill and wait 10 seconds, lift handle then press slowly to express water.
- Remove basket and empty water from cup, then replace cup under the brewer.
- Position handle back in downward position and fill chamber with boiling water, to keep the heated brew chamber warm.
- While water remains in the brew chamber, complete your puck prep and tamp.
- Express water and keep the handle in the downward position.
- Refill and express once more to ensure correct temp.
- Empty water from the heated cup.
- Replace basket.
- Fill the chamber with fresh boiled water and start pulling your espresso immediately.
This process will get you to the optimal brew conditions and maintain temperature consistency by keeping water in the chamber while you are completing your puck prep (something we will be getting into detail about soon).
Doing a double pass of water for the initial warmup and just before the brew, helps ensure that you are reaching target temps, no matter the climate or the time you spend perfecting that coffee puck.
Always use boiling water with the BRUA.
For simplicity and consistency, the BRUA's design works by pulling the heat from water at around 100c. This means there is no need for temp probes and other gadgets to make sure your water is at the correct temperature. Leaving you more time to concentrate on other variables in your brew.
This will get you ready for brewing from cold in any ambient environment. Making coffee for you and a friend? Jump back in from step 7. Pulling multiple shots is quick and easy - especially when using additional coffee baskets.
I find the BRUA works best with medium to darker roast coffee. These are sometimes referred to as traditional espresso roasted coffee (coffee's that are optimised for brewing at 88-93c temps). Chances are if you love that rich full bodied espresso, this is what you are currently drinking and if not, maybe it should be!
Now we know how to preheat the BRUA, it's time to learn what temperatures we are aiming for and why. Don't worry, if you are more of a set and forget person, that's ok! Just follow the steps above and all will be tasty.
The chart above shows key compounds in our coffee. We can see optimum brew temperature for these flavour elements in coffee are around 90-93 degrees. This is the temp that we recommend brewing at to get the most out of your medium roast espresso. The BRUA has been designed to make hitting these temperatures easy and consistent.
Using Boiling water and a thermocouple linked to a temp logger, we received the following data.
Some notes and results from testing for this process:
- Testing from ambient temp of around 20c, boiling water used for each step.
- First pass chamber water temp ranged from 60-77c
- Second pass ranged from 65-88c
- Third pass ranged (Water kept in chamber while completing puck prep) 65-95c
- Fourth pass ranged 65-94c
- Brew water immediately pressed starts at approx. 90 - 94c.
- Water debit temp approx 84-88c (expected heat loss after passing through group, basket and contact with air).
The design of the BRUA makes it very easy to heat up, the flip side to this, it cools down very quickly too. This just means it's crucial to follow these steps correctly and when you are ready to brew, you add the water and start pulling the shot straight away. If you leave water used for your extraction in the chamber for longer than 30 seconds before pulling the shot, it will result in your brew water losing heat and not getting all you can out of your coffee.
Now you know how we get a consistent, hot temperature in our BRUA without any fuss. It's your turn. Get the water boiling and that coffee grinding, you will have this preheat method on autopilot in no time.
Keep an eye out, we will be covering everything espresso and how to get the most out of this awesome piece of kit.
We absolutely love hearing from you all. If you need more help with preheating or any other topics, don't hesitate to send us a message. Or feel free to suggest topics you want us to cover in the future.
Bye for now.