Yesterday I had the privilege of having Alyce at Merlo give me a step by step lesson in making the perfect coffee with both a plunger and a stovetop. I was surprised how much I learnt and went home on a caffeine high and very keen to put all I had learnt into practice.
Above is the Merlo Coffee Sampler Pack which Merlo is giving away to one lucky reader. If you live in Australia and would like to go in the running to win then leave a comment on this post and tell me what your coffee of choice is eg. latte, skinny flat white etc. My new favourite that the Paddington store has me hooked on is a Mezzo Mezzo. Yum! I will draw a winner next Friday afternoon. Good luck!
My first lesson was mastering the plunger.
1. First warm your plunger with some boiled water. Swirl it around and then tip it out. Be careful with the glass beaker of the plunger when adding boiling water as it will be susceptible to breaking with the temperature change.
2. Allow for one semi-heaped dessert spoon of ground coffee per cup. This plunger was a 12 cup plunger so that is 12 dessert spoons. Quite a bit of coffee.
3. Then fill the plunger with boiling water that has been off the boil for a few seconds so it doesn’t burn the coffee. Filtered water is preferable.
4. Give the coffee a gentle stir.
5. Plunge immediately. You can place a tea towel over the spout to avoid any hot coffee that might splash out. There should be a bit of resistance if the grind is right so plunge slowly and steadily.
How beautiful is that crema on top! I can’t believe that is from a plunger.
Now for the stovetop.
1. Fill the base with cold water to just below the safety valve. Once again, filtered water is best.
2. Fill the basket with coffee level to the top and flatten.
3. Place the basket inside the base and screw on the top. Place over a medium heat with the safety valve facing away from yourself.
4. You will know it is ready when steam starts pouring out at a rapid rate.
5. Pour into warmed cups and drink straight away. Coffee will become bitter if left on the heat.
This stovetop was a 12 cup stovetop so that made 12 x 30ml espresso shots. A lot of coffee.
The stovetop was stronger then the plunger.
Alyce showed me how to use the stovetop milk frother. I have a glass one but now I’m keen on getting my hands on this stovetop one which has a handle. You just pour in the milk and warm over a low heat, swirling occasionally, until it just starts to bubble at the edges.
Then you pump to get the milk lovely and frothy. Just don’t go overboard or you will have too much froth.
Then give the milk a good swirl and tap the jug down on the counter to burst the bubbles. You want to swirl the milk so that the milk and froth mix together making it smooth and creamy and give the milk a lovely shine.
The highlight was learning how to pour milk. Who would have thought. Below is the ‘open pour’ which is for cappuccinos. Merlo has a video demo on their website. The trick is you don’t hold back. Then sprinkle with a mix of cocoa and caster sugar.
See how much froth sits on top.
For flat whites and lattes you do the ‘closed pour’ so you are getting less froth and then at the very end finish with an ‘open pour’. For 30ml of espresso you should top up with roughly 200ml milk. There is a video demo for the ‘closed pour’ on the Merlo website too.
Only a small amount of froth sits on top of a latte or flat white.
To think you can make these at home!
There was so much to learn and I really enjoyed my afternoon. Merlo runs Coffee Appreciation mornings once a month in Brisbane if you want to learn more.
At home I use the Private blend for the plunger and the Espresso blend for the stovetop. Really delicious. Don’t forget to leave a comment and tell me what your coffee of choice is for your chance to win the Merlo Coffee Sampler Pack.