What Goes into a Diva Coffee – Dialling in

March 26, 2016


coffee_067Not many of you know this, but when we had the fire, I had a bit of time to think about what we were going to do with the coffee in the cafe.

My old machine, had gotten damaged by the fire and now was the perfect time to up our game in the coffee department!

I had also decided that since Ireland was loaded with amazing artisan coffee roasters, I wanted to be able to highlight this, hence our ‘Roaster of the Quarter Spotlight’.  I was originally thinking a roaster of the month, but I felt that, that wouldnt give people enough time to enjoy their new favourite roaster!


With the reopening this March I went with Cloudpicker Roasters out of Dublin.  The espresso roast we are serving is called Colours, it’s a seasonal blend, here’s what Cloudpicker has to say about it: (taken from the cloudpickercoffee.ie website)


Strawberries & Cream / Toasted Almond


A blend of two single origin coffees – 35% Bob-o-link (Brazil – natural) & 65% Cerro De Jesus (Nicaragua – washed) strawberries & cream / toasted almond

Farm: Finca La Cascada
Altitude: 1200-1350 Masl
Location: Diplito, Nueva Segovia
Process: Wet & Patio Dried
Varietal: Caturra / Pacamara
Owners: Luis Alberto Peralta
Certification: Rainforest Alliance
Harvest: Dec-Mar


Location: Mococa Brazil
Farm: Faf / Croce Family
Altitude: 1000m–1400m
Process: Natural
Harvest: Jun-Sep
Cupping Score: 87
Varietal: Yellow Bourbon, Yellow Catuai & Yellow Mundo Novo



Cloud Picker our ‘Roaster of the Quarter’ and their seasonal roast ‘Colours’

We have such a wealth of great roasters in Ireland, it’s becoming easier and easier to get a good cuppa. That said, the stakes are high and customers pallates are becoming more and more fine tuned, so creating the perfect cup has become even more important for Irish coffee houses.

In recent times the ‘weighing of espresso shots’ has come on the Irish coffee scene. Posts on Google suggest this practice first came into being around 2010, with Ireland soon jumping on the band wagon with artisan coffee roasters like:  The Golden Bean, Badger & Dodo, Cloud Picker, 3fe…. the list goes on.

For years, your local coffee slinger (aka:Barista), were serving up great coffee, but maybe not quite to the percise way, I’m going to (very) briefly explain. I asked Eoin Mac Carthy from F I L T E R Brew Bar in Cork city, what technique baristas were doing before all of the weighing of shots, he told me that in their own way they were weighing the shots, by keeping an eye on the pour, watching the grind…etc.,. Basically having a real knowledge of what good coffee is.  I even remember years ago(like 15) going back to Seattle for a visit, and ordering a coffee, the barista kept throwing out shots.  He started pouring, turned on his little timer and if the shot came out under or over the time he would throw it out!  I remeber I was thinking, “Come on dude! Just give me the coffee!” but little did I know this was a master at work!

Below is a very brief description of what your barista is putting into that perfect americano, as well as making sure that the coffee lives up to what the roaster has supllied us with.  In the photo above I took a photo of the tools of the trade, a mini weighing scale and a tamper, plus the obvious, coffee beans!



Every morning the barista, needs to measure the coffee shots and check the grind, this is called ‘Dialing In’. Its important that the right amount of coffee goes into the basket , with the right grind…so, that what comes out is the perfect espresso shot. What also needs to be taken into consideration is how long the coffee takes to pour.

Above is an 18 gram shot of coffee, this is the general amount that goes into each espresso shot, however, this can change depending on the coffee variety as well as the basket size.


Above is a tamped shot, the tamp should be level across the porta filter, for an even extraction.


The yield is double the weight of the basket going into the machine, so for this roast we are looking for a 36 gram shot.  The shot should also be extracted between 25-30seconds


I’ve invested in a much better coffee machine, it can be programmed to measure the exact amount of coffee, which is a bonus if you have a few people that use the coffee machine during the week, I also upgraded out grinder, to grind on demand, which portions out the exact amount each time as well.  Above is the screen, letting us know how many second’s the shot is.

I am sure this coffee machine is old news to some, but to us it’s a revelation!  We have been brought to the 21st century in coffee making!


I check the coffee weight a few times each day, to make sure the pour is what it should be.

It’s funny too, when I first started drinking espresso drinks back in the late 80’s, I loved a  milky cafe latte….now that I’ve become much more of a coffee lover, I love my coffee short, strong and black, milky coffee just does not do it for me any more….. does anyone else feel that way?

Don't be shellfish...
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