Replicating cafe quality drinks - impossible?? - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
MNate

#11: Post by MNate »

I like cafe smooth too and don't think I usually get it at home.

Here's my theory: I want to pull too tight a ratio, 2:1, and too slow a pour. I say this because I get smooth shots when my shot runs too fast, and I'm more likely to have a smooth shot when I use the Robot where I don't weigh my yield and I tend to be closer to 3:1 and a faster shot (and perhaps a cooler brew temp).

But the thing is I usually think this lower extraction result is smooth but lacking in some of the flavor I wanted.

Another_jim keeps insisting that espresso tastes better at 15gram doses and I think this harshness of 18g doses is a part of it. So that could be a route to try too. I think he's right, but for whatever reason I keep going back to the stronger, less smooth drink. Maybe I need to keep cutting back on the milk...

Fez

#12: Post by Fez »

Does this cafe sell the beans which they use to make your drink?

That would be the first place I would start, try and get hold of the same beans and same milk(if possible) and then stick to that - once dialled in with your machine/grinder you should be able to replicate it.

Another consideration is water - they may be using a custom recipe. But beans, your technique and type of milk will make a bigger impact than water in a capp

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cafeIKE
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#13: Post by cafeIKE »

IMO, milk is the most overlooked item in steaming. Some brands are a doddle & others not so much.

If you buy milk in a gallon jug and have it open for a week, it's almost hopeless. Busy shops open several gallons a day.

We buy in 2qt & if there isn't an unopened one or it's been open more than a day, the missus may pass on her latte.

jdrobison

#14: Post by jdrobison »

^100%!

Cafe-quality cappuccino is primarily about the milk, assuming you've crossed the threshold for a decent pull of espresso, which I assume you probably have. I use low-heat pasteurized milk, exclusively, and if I've ever had to use ultra pasteurized in a a pinch, it's not nearly as good. My milk comes from a quality farm that feeds the cows well and it shows in the flavor. If you're not starting there, you don't have much chance to match the cafe.

After that, however, I still wasn't able to match the best cappuccinos from my favorite baristas until my steaming was on point. Now that I consistently steam the milk really well, my daily cappuccino is as good as any that I have served to me.

It's about the milk.

DamianWarS
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#15: Post by DamianWarS »

MNate wrote:I like cafe smooth too and don't think I usually get it at home.

Here's my theory: I want to pull too tight a ratio, 2:1, and too slow a pour. I say this because I get smooth shots when my shot runs too fast, and I'm more likely to have a smooth shot when I use the Robot where I don't weigh my yield and I tend to be closer to 3:1 and a faster shot (and perhaps a cooler brew temp).

But the thing is I usually think this lower extraction result is smooth but lacking in some of the flavor I wanted.

Another_jim keeps insisting that espresso tastes better at 15gram doses and I think this harshness of 18g doses is a part of it. So that could be a route to try too. I think he's right, but for whatever reason I keep going back to the stronger, less smooth drink. Maybe I need to keep cutting back on the milk...
cafes are about specialized systems to be quick and efficient. they don't tend to do excessive puck prep or multi-step processes because it takes time and waiting customers are unhappy customers. Because of this, you can have an edge over a cafe even with home-end equipment if you're willing to put the time in for prep.

jasiano

#16: Post by jasiano » replying to DamianWarS »

This right here... I doubt any commercial cafe barista is using a naked PF and obsessing over every shot for slight blonding or a stream that is a couple mm off dead centre... but we at home would :D
-Jason

Down Under

bettysnephew

#17: Post by bettysnephew »

I wish I could find a cafe that could make drinks consistently as good as I make at home. But until someone in town starts using a spring lever machine, I'm not going to hold my breath. One store with a Slayer can get close but is not repeatable so far.
I know, MAJOR first world problem to gripe about. :lol:
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DamianWarS
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#18: Post by DamianWarS »

jasiano wrote:This right here... I doubt any commercial cafe barista is using a naked PF and obsessing over every shot for slight blonding or a stream that is a couple mm off dead centre... but we at home would :D
Baristas push a button and while the shot is doing it's volumetric preset they're steaming milk and if they decide to obsess over a shot too much they get fired for being too slow. For some reason people think cafes are the highest bar. They are the fast food of their industry and they have equipment to produce continuous shots for a work day but impractical for home use. A Breville and a Sette can produce better shots then most cafes so long as you take the time with it. If that's too much money then a Flair58 and 1Zpresso JX or levers are always better than machines 10 times their price.

BaristaMcBob

#19: Post by BaristaMcBob »

I also have a high-end grinder and a prosumer HX machine. It wasn't until I took proper lessons from a barista instructor (e.g. Clive Coffee and others) that I finally got it right. The problem with self-taught methods are:
- There are many myths and falsehoods propagated on the Internet
- Some things are machine specific. For example, my machine operates nicely at 13 bar. Others have a sweet spot at 10 bar.
- A live instructor will spot your mistakes right away.

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BaristaBoy E61

#20: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

DamianWarS wrote:Baristas push a button and while the shot is doing it's volumetric preset they're steaming milk and if they decide to obsess over a shot too much they get fired for being too slow. For some reason people think cafes are the highest bar. They are the fast food of their industry and they have equipment to produce continuous shots for a work day but impractical for home use.
+1

That much I agree with. It hasn't been hard to create espresso at home better than that in most cafés.

Latté Art has been where the challenge has been.
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