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Barista pouring coffee at Food Sorcery coffee lovers class, Didsbury, Manchester

Coffee Lovers Barista Class

Coffee Lovers Course

We hope you found the coffee class with Gavin useful, no doubt you’ve got a full shopping list primed.

Here are a few helpful reminders, recipes and tips to help you on your way to making great coffee at home.


First off, let’s talk about coffee. It’s a wonderful thing that can taste amazing!

Search out coffee you like. We discussed how where the coffee is from/processed/roasted affects the flavour so find your favourite and buy as fresh as you can get. Remember, no roast date means you cannot guarantee its freshness

I recommend whole bean coffee and grind it fresh to get the very best out of it

For best results grind your coffee fresh, immediately before brewing. On average, pre-ground coffee is 70% less fresh than coffee that has just been ground (these numbers are pretty arbitrary, but you need them for the exam!)

Roughly 60% aroma is lost 15 minutes after grinding for filter

Roughly 50% aroma is lost 15 minutes after grinding for espresso

Grind size impacts how quickly the coffee goes stale. The finer the grind, the faster it deteriorates.


Grind size – the right grind size for the brew type

–  Espresso – fine (home grinders tend not to grind fine enough for this unless you want to spend in excess of £1k)

–  Gravity Drip – medium

–  Immersion – coarse

The Smaller the grind the less time its takes to extract the flavour, Remember, if you grind too small it can result in the coffee being over extracted, too big can result in under extraction. It’s about finding that sweet spot where you extract the right flavours for a well-balanced tasty cup. On average with espresso it will take 25-35 seconds, a one cup Gravity Drip will take 1 – 3 minutes and immersion 4 – 6 minutes. This will change depending on exact method and to taste

Freshness of the coffee is important ideally 1-3 months from roast date. Remember if there’s no roast date don’t spend your hard earned money on it

Storing your coffee – you need to store it in an airtight container, so oxygen doesn’t get to it and also prevent moisture and other aromas affecting the coffee. Ideally at a cool temperature. As I mentioned on the course, if you can store it in the bag it came in and it is airtight this is very good for the coffee.


Water quality is very important. Low quality water will always yield a lesser brew quality than high quality water. What does this mean? Water, which is too hard, will struggle to bring out the acidity and sweetness in your coffee. You need some Salts (calcium, magnesium) in your water to help enhance the sweetness and acidity

Water is your biggest ingredient in coffee, about 32 grams of your typical espresso is water and 98% of filter coffee

So, in conclusion, filtered water is the best. If you don’t have filtered water Tesco Ashbeck water is as good as it gets for the price. Generally, the more expensive the bottled water the worse it is for brewing coffee, go figure!

The Three T’s

When making a coffee follow this general guide.
  1. Brew Ratio (55g-70g per litre for filter 17-19g for espresso)
  2. Time (espresso 25-35 seconds, Filter see recipe’s below)
  3. Temperature 92-96C
  4. Turbulence (Stir, pour, pressure)
  5. Grind Size


On the course today we used whole milk. Whole milk is great because of the fat and protein. When you heat the milk to 55°c it releases the natural sugars and brings a creamy sweet taste, which balances well with the espresso for a tasty drink. As you continue to heat the milk, the sugars will start to reduce and you lose the creamy sweet taste. Go above 75°c and you start to burn your milk. To create milk for pouring latte’s etc there are two steps; stretching and texturing. Stretching is when you create the amount of foam you need for your drink (paper tearing noise), texturing is when you create the vortex (whirlpool) this is mixing the foam and milk. To texture the milk, tilt your pitcher slightly to the side, this will help create the vortex. Remember to keep the pitcher still to ensure the tip of the wand is where it needs to be.

Tips for steaming milk:

  • Always use fresh cold milk, in a clean pitcher
  • The tip of the steam arm should sit just under the milk, to stretch bring the pitcher down very slowly ensuring the tip is always under the milk
  • You can overstretch milk, the most you should attempt to stretch is half of the volume of milk you started with
  • Use the right amount of milk and sized pitcher for the drink you’re making
  • No bubbles should be in the milk when finishing steaming, if there are you can swirl the pitcher to help burst the bubbles, or give the pitcher a gentle tap on the counter.

Brewing Recipes


AeroPress Brewing Guide

  • Heat your brewing water
  • Grind 15 – 18g of fresh coffee
  • Insert filter into holder & rinse with heated brewing water
  • Attach filter cap to AeroPress & place device onto cup/carafe
  • Add ground coffee carefully into the chamber & tap device gently to settle it level
  • Place everything on some scales & tare/zero the scales
  • Start a timer. Add 250g water into the chamber. Stir once clockwise and then anti-clockwise
  • Insert the plunger into the chamber evenly & level
  • After around 1 minute 30 seconds, plunge down vertically through the coffee. Position yourself so a straight line would pass up through the   device & your forearm up to your elbow
  •  If there is a lot of resistance when plunging, you may need to use less coffee or grind slightly coarser

1-Cup Pour-Over Brewing Guide

  • Heat your brewing water
  • Grind 15-18g of fresh coffee
  • Insert filter into dripper & rinse filter with brewing water
  • Add coffee carefully & evenly into the filter paper
  • Evenly distribute & settle the coffee dose in the filter
  • Place dripper onto cup & on some scales, then tare/zero them
  • Start a timer & slowly pour water evenly & gently onto the coffee
  • Aim to pour double the weight of coffee that you used within the first 20 seconds. Ensure you pour evenly over all the coffee, with a  repeatable & consistent method
  • Once any bubbling ceases or the coffee begins to pit slightly, continue adding water regularly to top up the level in the dripper until you reach 250g water added
  • Proper grinding usually allows for a continuous thin stream of coffee from the dripper ending in under 2 minutes. The higher-grown the coffee, the longer it may take to brew. Enjoy!

Cafetiere Brewing Guide

  • Heat your brewing water. Rinse your cafetiere and plunger with the heated brewing water
  • Grind & add 60-80g of fresh coffee for every litre of water you want to use, depending on how much body & texture you prefer
  • Dry the cafetiere & add your coffee. Place on scales & tare
  • Start timing & pour water quickly & evenly onto the coffee to the required weight at your chosen ratio, measuring on scales
  • Once you have added the desired amount of water, stir to immerse the coffee evenly
  • After 3 minutes, remove the crust from the brewing coffee
  • Add the plunger then press only slightly below the surface of the brew. Gently pour into your preferred vessel.
  • Be careful not to agitate the brew too much during the pour to avoid over-brewing
  • Pour after roughly 4 minutes has elapsed & enjoy!

Chemex – 1L Brewing Guide

  • Heat your brewing water
  • Insert Chemex filter into device & rinse thoroughly
  • Pour away rinsing water from Chemex, grind & add 60-70g of 
fresh coffee
  • Add coffee carefully & evenly into the filter paper. Gently tap the Chemex on the work surface to settle the coffee
  • Place Chemex on scales & tare
  • Start a timer & slowly pour water evenly over the coffee until you have poured twice the weight of your coffee dose.
  • Once bubbling ceases or the coffee descends, add water to top up to the height that coffee had reached in the dripper, until you have poured 1L (1000g)
  • Look for a steady stream of coffee flowing from the filter. It may take 6-8 minutes to brew a balanced Chemex coffee
  • Taste & enjoy

Stovetop / Moka Pot Brewing Guide

  • Rinse lower chamber of brewing device with clean, fresh water & place on scales. Set to zero
  • Fill with cold water until level reaches just below the valve on the side of the brewer. Record weight of water added
  • Clean & dry the coffee basket of the brewer & insert into lower chamber carefully
  • Set scales to zero. Add finely ground coffee to the chamber, distributed evenly. Tap device on work surface to compact the coffee.
  • Add coffee to top up & record total weight of coffee
  • Rinse clean & carefully attach the top of the brewing device
  • Set onto stove on moderately high heat. Start timer & leave to brew
  • Fill sink with cold water up to around half the height of the lower brewing chamber of brewer
  • When most of the coffee has appeared in the top chamber, move device off heat & turn stove off
  • Submerge in cold water to halt brewing process. Pour & enjoy

Gavin Scouse, Barista

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