This Blog has Moved

July 1st, 2014

As part of our planned change of name this blog has now moved over to: Handloom Coffee & Tea Blog. All new posts will appear there.

screenshot of Handloom Coffee & Tea blog


How to Steam Milk – The Beginner’s Guide to Frothing

June 25th, 2014

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, hopefully you’ve already become pretty good at making espresso and diagnosing extraction problems. Now its time to learn how to steam milk, so you can then make drinks like: cappuccinos, lattes, flat whites and macchiatos.

For the budding home barista, frothing milk is actually quite hard. Most domestic espresso machines don’t have the power of their commercial counterparts; they can quite literally run out of steam mid-way through. Also many machines are fitted with frothing aids, which don’t make good microfoam.

Theory of Milk Frothing

The aim when steaming milk is to create a microfoam texture. As the name suggests we’re looking to make tiny little bubbles in the milk. We don’t want lots of big bubbles, these are so full of air they don’t carry any flavour. Nor do we want to over-steam the milk and form meringue style soft peaks.

microfoam on left, badly steamed milk on the right

Click Image to enlarge - Microfoam on the left, badly steamed milk on the right

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Why Does the Coffee from my Moka Pot Taste Burnt and Bitter?

May 23rd, 2014

Many professionals in the coffee industry frown upon the Italian classic stove-top espresso maker (often called a Moka pot), claiming it makes burnt and bitter tasting coffee. So much so, that there aren’t many speciality retailers out there who sell them. However, I’ve always believed that using the right techniques, Moka pots can produce a really tasty coffee, with a rich body and flavour (espresso-styled but not espresso). And because their cheap compared to an espresso machine, take up little room and are simple to use, they make an excellent alternative.

Awesome Moka Pot Video

So I was pleased when a link to this great video appeared in my inbox this week:

It’s made by Gábor Laczkó from a small Hungarian roastery called Kávékalmár. He spent a couple of months experimenting with different techniques and carefully monitoring temperatures to discover the best ways to use a Moka pot (yes ways – plural) and the results of his experiments are shown in this video.

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We’re Changing Our Name

May 1st, 2014

The countdown has now begun, as in 3 months time we will be changing our name. From 1 August we will no longer been know as Galla Coffee but Handloom Coffee & Tea.

Handloom Coffee & Tea

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Diagnosing Espresso for Better Extraction

April 9th, 2014

After the last blog post on the different techniques to use to prepare for a shot of espresso we’ve been contacted by a few people asking for more information on diagnosing problems with their espresso extraction. So I’ve decided to do a follow on post.

Pulling Espresso by Sight is Really Hard

Before I get stuck in I just want to emphasis that using sight alone to pull consistently tasty shots of espresso is a really hard skill to acquire. You need to know your machine and the coffee you’re using intimately to make accurate judgements.

under-extracted, correctly extracted, and over-extracted espresso.

Left to right: under-extracted, correctly extracted and over-extracted espresso. It's easy to see the difference when they're lined up side by side, but in isolation it would be much trickier to diagnose the problem.

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Dosing, Distribution and Tamping – The Basic Techniques for Tasty Espresso

March 18th, 2014

So you’ve recently brought a new espresso machine or have upgraded from one with pressurised baskets to non-pressurised baskets and the coffee you’re making doesn’t taste quite right. You’re finding that the espresso has one or more of the following characteristics:

  1. Pale blonde crema or no crema at all
  2. Watery thin texture
  3. Sour taste

Your problem is most likely down to poor technique. To make a tasty espresso you need to get the following basic elements right: dosing, distribution and tamping.

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Handloom Blog

February 17th, 2014

You may have noticed things have been a little quiet on this blog the past couple of months. Unfortunately, Christmas and other projects have got in the way of fresh posts. Speaking of other projects, you should check out the new blog on our sister website:

The first post is called: ‘The Beginner’s Guide to Brewing Tea – how to make the perfect cuppa’ and is full of great information for those new to brewing loose leaf tea.

the best way to brew tea is with a teapot

New Products – Cafelat Knockboxes and Tamp Mats

December 9th, 2013

We’ve just taken stock of some brilliant new products from Cafelat. These fantastically designed knockboxes and tamp mats will make a great gift for someone (or even yourself) this Christmas.

cafelat splat mats and tubbi knockboxes

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Should you drink coffee in the evening?

November 26th, 2013

Some of you may have read headlines like these: “For a restful night, stay off the coffee after 5pm”; or “Drinking even one strong coffee in the afternoon can knock an hour off your sleep”, a couple of weeks ago. The reports were advising us to avoid all caffeinated beverages for at least 6 hours prior to sleep.

Daily Telegraph - for a restful night, stay off the coffee after 5pm

The reports are based on a small study carried out by researchers from Henry Ford Hospital, Wayne State College of Medicine in Detroit and Zeo Inc. Researchers tested the effects of a 400mg caffeine pill taken either at bedtime, 3 hours or 6 hours before sleep. They found that the caffeine dose appeared to disrupt sleep even when taken 6 hours before bedtime; reporting that participants slept an average of 41 minutes less.

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Need help buying a surprise gift? Try our Coffee Lover’s Christmas Gift Selector

November 11th, 2013

It’s that time of year again, when everyone starts to get a little worried and stress about finding the right gifts for loved ones this Christmas. So we’re here to lend a helping hand by coming up with ‘The Coffee Lover’s Christmas Gift Selector’.

christmas gift selector - picking the correct gift for a coffee lover
Click on image to enlarge

If you want to find out more information on the products featured here, check out our handy Buying Guides.

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