Reggie Spelman

Coffee & Walnut Buttercream Cake

This delicious cake is not only tasty but is a feast for the eyes! You will be sure to impress family and friends with this winner.   

Here’s what you’ll need:

For The Cake 
1 & 1/3 cups plain flour
200g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
5ml milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
50ml brewed coffee

For The Coffee Buttercream 
120g butter
2 & 2/3 cups of icing sugar
50ml brewed coffee

Preparation: 

1. Preheat oven to 180° C
2. Line and grease round cake tin
3. Brew 1tbs The House of Robert Timms Espresso granulated coffee in 100ml hot water and leave to cool to room temperature. This will make 2x 50ml brewed coffee.

Method:

To make the cake
Step #1: Beat butter,  brown sugar and caster sugar until thick and pale.

Step #2: Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 

Step #3: Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder, followed by the milk, chopped walnuts and 50ml brewed coffee.

Step #4: Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for approx. 35 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the buttercream
Beat butter, icing sugar and 50ml brewed coffee until thick and pale.

Putting It All Together
Slice the cake horizontally into 3 layers. Place bottom layer on a serving plate and spread with half the buttercream. Top with another layer, then place remaining cake layer on top and spread with remaining buttercream. Garnish with extra nuts, then serve.

#Protip:

We brewed 2 x The House of Robert Timms Italian Espresso Coffee Bags for the recipe to provide an extra hit of coffee flavour. Brew the coffee and leave until it’s room temperature before adding to the mix in Step #3

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How to Steam Milk Like A Pro

Given the fact that most of us enjoy milky coffee like lattés and flat whites, the final secret behind a great cup of coffee lie in steaming the milk correctly. Follow these steps to make sure you get it right:

  1. Use cold milk directly from the fridge as well as a cool jug
  2. Use the appropriate volume of milk for the amount of beverages being prepared. From a one litre jug you will make three cups of coffee. (china cups)
  3. Place steam wand over drip tray and purge steam to release water. Then lower the wand in the milk jug so it sits just below surface.
  4. Turn on steam to full power then lower the jug until the tip of the steam wand is just below the surface of the milk. You should hear a slight hissing sound. Make sure the tip is low enough so that the milk doesn’t splatter and high enough to create a fine-textured milk.
  5. Ensure that your steam wand is just off centre and a whirlpool should form. If it doesn’t, try tilting the jug in a 45-degree angle. The steam near the surface will create your fine-textured milk.
  6. As the milk expands, slowly move the jug down so the hissing sound remains. Repeat this until you have your desired amount of fine-textured milk.
  7. When you reached your desired amount of fine-textured milk, lower the stem wand down to heat the milk. Note, do not have the steam wand too far into the milk, just enough to stop the hissing noise.
  8. Turn your steam off when the milk temperature reaches 60 degrees Celsius and remove from steam wand. The temperature will continue to rise close to 70 degrees Celsius. This is the correct pouring temperature and at this temperature you receive maximum sweetness.
  9. Keep your milk rolling in the jug by hand, circulating the jug in slow steady small circles. This will keep the milk and fine-textured milk combined.
  10. If your milk and froth is combined together when it hits your espresso, you will have a combination of milk froth and espresso. This makes a beverage that is rich creamy and full of flavour.

Milk Steaming Tips:

  • Starting with a cold milk and cold jug essential
  • Do not re-heat steamed milk
  • Do not leave steamed milk standing for too long. You should pour immediately
  • Pour your Cappuccinos first then pour Cafe Lattes and Flat Whites to ensure you have enough foam
  • Do not leave fresh milk standing at room temperature
  • Do not try to create fine-textured milk once the temperature passes 40 degrees
  • Use the correct size jug for the amount of beverages

Chocolate Espresso Brownies

Look no further than our quick and easy Chocolate Espresso Brownies to share over morning coffee! You won’t be able to stop at one!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup chopped, unsweetened chocolate
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tbsp brewed espresso
1 tsp vanilla extract  

Preparation: 

1. Preheat oven to 170° C 
2. Grease a 20cm square baking pan and line with paper.

Method:

Step #1: Whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl; set aside.

Step #2: Add butter and unsweetened chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until melted. Let cool.

Step #3: Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, brewed espresso, and vanilla extract into the melted chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Step #4: Add the flour mixture (Step #1) and mix until just combined. Fold in 2/3 cup chopped, bittersweet chocolate.

Step #5: Spread the brownie batter in the lined pan and bake for 35 – 40 minutes. Leave to cool in the pan before cutting into generous squares. Enjoy!

#Protip:

We brewed 2 x The House of Robert Timms Gold Colombia coffee bags for the recipe to give the brownies an extra hit of coffee flavour. Brew the coffee and leave until it’s room temperature before adding to the mix in Step #3

Want more?

Enter your name and email below to join the Coffee Connection, our monthly email with great offers, recipes, and protips from our team at The House of Robert Timms to make your coffee experience even more enjoyable. 

Enjoy The Perfect Coffee At Home

Fortunately, at Robert Timms we have created a variety of products to ensure there is a coffee that is right for your tastes and lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you make great coffee at home.

The coffee has been ground to suit a range of home coffee makers, from plungers to percolators, through to drip filter coffee makers. Try the following tips when next making coffee at home.


Plunger

Pre-warm the pot. Add the measured amount of Robert Timms ground coffee and top with hot (not boiling) water. Allow the coffee to infuse for 3 – 4 minutes, then carefully depress the plunger twice before pouring the coffee in your cup.

Cafetiere

  1. Unscrew the base of the cafetiere and take the coffee basket out of the base. Fill the base of the cafetiere with cold water, ensuring the water level is just to the level of the valve.
  2. Fill the basket to the top with ground coffee and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface, without pressing the coffee into the basket. Place the coffee basket back into the base and screw the base back onto the cafetiere.
  3. Place the cafetiere over medium heat (a hotplate, or gas or electric stovetop is fine) and heat for about 8-10 minutes or until the gurgling sound subsides and all the coffee has risen to the top half of the pot. Don’t put it over a high heat as a slow extraction will yield a better result.
  4. When the gurgling noise stops, immediately remove cafetiere from the heat (it should be about half-full with brewed coffee). If you leave it on the stove too long, the coffee will boil and may develop a burnt flavour.
  5. Stir coffee with a spoon and pour into warmed serving cups. If you like weaker coffee, add hot water to taste.


Drip Filter

Spoon the correct amount of Robert Timms ground coffee into the filter cone of your coffee machine. Add near boiling water to moisten the coffee, allowing grounds to expand, and then add final near-boiling water.


Coffee Bags

The House of Robert Timms coffee bags come in individually wrapped single-serve pouches, delivering maximum freshness, whilst being convenient to take anywhere and easy to use. 

Our coffee bags offer a fast, no fuss way to prepare the perfect cup. Simply pour in the hot water and allow the coffee to infuse for 3-4 minutes. Ensure that the coffee bag is fully immersed in the boiling water for a better flavour.

How To Make The Perfect Espresso – Part 1

We believe that everyone has their own ideas on how to prepare the perfect cup of coffee. However, sourcing fresh quality beans, grinding, dosing and extracting your coffee are paramount in achieving a great café-quality coffee at home.

Selecting Your Beans

The first step to a perfect cup of coffee is sourcing fresh quality beans that have been roasted for espresso. Most milk based coffees will use blends, which consist of coffee beans from two or more origins. Single origins are best used for black coffee, as they tend to loose character and complexity in milk. Experimenting with different blends, roast profiles and origins is the fun part of coffee. When selecting your beans, it should always come down to taste. If you love the taste, go for it.

Grinding

Grinding fresh coffee is the next step in the pursuit to create a perfect cup of coffee. Grinding your coffee long before you intend to use it can result in flat and unpleasant tasting coffee.

Different brewing methods require different particle sizes to achieve the correct rate of extraction. When grinding for espresso coffee you will need a fine grind. The feel of the ground coffee should be a powder like consistency with a slight grittiness. Trial and error extractions, as well as tasting the coffee, are always the most accurate ways to determine the correct grind size. 

Today, there are several commercial and household brewing devices, which operate differently, and therefore, need a variety of particle sizes for efficient extraction. The following is a brief summary of the type of grind with the matching brewing method.

Brewing MethodDesired GrindBrewing TimeWeight of Ground CoffeeCoffee Volume (Liquid)
Stove-topMediumApprox. 2 minutesFill the basket levelDepends on size of brewer
Espresso machineFine25 – 30 secondsMin. 9 grams25 – 30 mL
Pour-overMedium3 – 4 minutesStart with 10 grams and experiment170 mL
Plunger Medium – Coarse4 – 6 minutesStart with 10 grams and experiment170 mL


You can start to see how critical measurement is when preparing roast and ground coffee.

Tip: Changes in environmental factors such as weather and humidity, can have an effect on the coffee grind and extraction. As humidity increases, you may have to make the grind coarser. If weather conditions become cooler with low humidity, you may have to make the grind finer.

Dosing

  1. Remove group handle from your espresso machine (caution: may be hot)
  2. Purge water from your espresso machine to remove any dirty water (note: do not wet your group handle)
  3. Knock out any waste that may have been left in the group basket
  4. Clean and dry the group basket
  5. Fill the group basket with ground coffee until the mound is level with the top of the basket
  6. Tap on bench to collapse coffee (i.e. two firm taps only)
  7. Using the straight edge of the dosing tool, sweep the ground coffee back towards you to fill the basket evenly, then sweep forward to remove any excess coffee
  8. Tamp evenly with firm pressure and a slight twisting motion to compress coffee
  9. Wipe any excess coffee off rim of group handle
  10. Lock group handle into group head
  11. Immediately start your extraction
  12. Ensure correct extraction volume (i.e. 25 – 30 mL of espresso should be extracted within 25 – 30 seconds)

Extracting

The next step involves releasing all the wonderful flavours of the coffee through the process of extraction. This involves bringing the hot water and freshly ground beans together in a way that allows the water to extract all the flavour, aroma and other desirable parts of the roasted coffee beans.

A good extraction is when the correct amount of water, passes through the correct amount of ground coffee, in the correct amount of time, at the correct temperature, with the correct amount of pressure from the machine.

Tip: If your coffee is pouring too quickly, it will taste sour with minimal body and crema. To avoid this, grind the coffee finer or increase coffee dose in the group basket. If your coffee is pouring too slowly (or is dripping through), it will taste burnt or bitter. To remedy this, grind coffee more coarsely or don’t pack the group basket as tightly.

Advanced Knowledge

Try not to extract any more than 3 mL of water per 1 gram of ground coffee. To kick off your advanced espresso knowledge, this is a brew ratio of 1:3, meaning 1 gram of ground coffee to 3 mL of water. For example, a minimum 9 gram ground coffee x 3 mL of water = 27 mL. Extraction time should be 25 – 30 seconds.

When tasting espresso coffee try using this three part process:

  1. Wait to cool so that a little more flavour may develop
  2. Stir the coffee and crema together because the coffee can pour in layers
  3. Consume once the temperature has dropped just a little and the coffee is stirred together for an enhanced espresso experience

Experiment with coffee beans, roasts, coffee dose, extraction time and volume.


In Part 2 of our Espresso Guide, discover the five factors you need to consider when judging your rate of extraction.

How to Brew the Perfect Espresso – Part 2

In Part 1 of our Guide To The Perfect Espresso, we explored through how to select, grind, dose and extract your coffee beans to achieve a great café-quality coffee at home.

Now let’s take a look at some common mistakes in the coffee making process. Follow our troubleshooting guide for problem-solving during Espresso extraction and you can’t go wrong!

There are five factors you need to consider when judging your rate of extraction:

1. Particle size and adjusting the grind
2. Dosage of ground coffee being dispensed
3. The pressure you apply to the coffee
4. The pump on your machine
5. Environmental factors 

Particle Size and Adjusting the Grind

  1. Remove any ground coffee from the grinder dispenser.
  2. Put in an airtight container in a cool dark place NOT the fridge or freezer. If the grind is too course you may be able to use it in your plunger. (Never re-grind)
  3. Clean the dispenser with a paintbrush and dispense any coffee grounds.
  4. Turn the grind adjustment in the appropriate direction. (i.e. either finer or courser)
  5. Only turn the grind adjustment 1/2 a cm at a time
  6. Dispense the required amount of coffee (min 18g) into your double portafilter
  7. Extract 2 x espresso and time the extraction,
  8. If the extraction is not 25-30 sec for 25-30ml the grind is not correct, and you will need to make the appropriate adjustment. If adjust the collar 1 notch (½ cm).
  9. If it’s pouring too fast, adjust the grinder in the Finer direction.
  10. If it’s pouring too slowly, adjust the grinder in the Courser direction.

Repeat process until extraction is correct!

Hint: You can use a white marker to indicate the current setting on the grinder this setting may change from day to day. The mark you make is only a reference guide. Weather, bean types and blade condition all have an affect on your ground coffee.

Dosage of Ground Coffee Being Dispensed

For properly prepared espresso, the recommended dose is minimum 9g per single group handle, and 18g for a double group handle. For every gram of coffee used there should not be any more than 3 ml of water passed through the ground coffee. If any more than 3ml of water is passed through you will be over extracting coffee. This can result in a bitter espresso.

For example:
7 grams of ground coffee x by 3ml of water represents a 21ml extraction
9 grams of ground coffee x by 3ml of water represents a 27ml extraction

The Pressure You Apply to the Coffee

This relies to the tamping pressure applied to the ground coffee in the group handle. When applying pressure with your tamp, strong pressure is required, followed by a tap, then apply same pressure one more with a slight twisting motion. If the pour is too slow, the problem is the grind or coffee dosage, not pressure.

The Pump on Your Machine

Espresso machines can vary from make and model, so check your espresso machine manual and confirm that it is operating with the intended pressure. Some machines will have a pressure gauge to help you with this, if not this will need to be measured by a technician.

Environmental Factors

Changes in weather and humidity can have an affect on the coffee grind and the extraction. As humidity increases you may have to make the grind courser. If weather conditions become cooler with low humidity you may have to make the grind finer.

In the final part of our Guide to the Perfect Espresso, get our step by step guide to preparing just some of the many espresso varieties including Ristretto, Doppio, Macchiato and more.