Brewing Tips

The oversized filter basket doubles as a brewing chamber. To keep things simple, there is no heating element, so you will have to fill the basket up with hot water from a kettle. As soon as you pour in water just off the boil into the basket, it immediately cools to around 95°C, absolutely perfect for brewing killer espresso. 

Do not be fooled by the toy-like cutesy Robot looks, the Robot means business and is capable of pulling espresso shots like a professional machine costing 50x more. By pushing down the lever arms, the internal piston forces the hot water through the coffee creating the thick syrupy espresso. The machine is more than capable of producing that magic 9 bar pressure, but lever machines prefer somewhere in the region of 6-7 bar.

It might take some time to practice, but the Robot gives you the tools to produce great espresso shots. The biggest factor in the success of your espresso is on the coffee and grinder side. If the grind setting is not correct no espresso machine can make it work.

Brewing Tips

1. Using fresh coffee ground just before brewing is always preferable.

2. Fill the basket with hot water just off the boil up to 5-8mm below the rim. Do not weigh the water into the basket and potentially under-fill the basket.

3. Experiment with pre-heating the portafilter and/or basket for lighter roasts.

4. Tamp firmly and evenly, but don't go overboard with the tamping force. 

5. Pre-infusion is letting the water soak into the coffee at low pressure before the main extraction begins. It is very beneficial for even extractions but the key is to main the pressure on the coffee during this time.

6. Do not pump the lever arms up and down to make coffee. It disturbs the coffee puck and ruins the shot.

7. Start out with a 16g dose and a 30g espresso (1:2 ratio) and adjust as needed.

8. The coffee dose in the basket range is approx.12g-21g but will depend on the bean and tools (filter screen or filter paper) used. The ratio refers to the dose weight and extracted espresso weight. For example a 15g dose and 30g espresso weight is a 1:2 ratio. Traditionally we have used a shot glass to measure the output volume (1oz = 1 shot) but scales are now more popular and more accurate. 

Why can't I make good coffee?

If you cannot make good coffee by using the above brewing tips, here is a chart to help:

99% of all extraction issues can be solved by following those rules.

Pre-infusion and extraction

The beauty of using a manual lever is that you are in complete control of the extraction, you can vary the pressure and flow as you see fit. One of the most important stages of the extraction process is the pre-infusion stage; this is when the coffee first meets the hot water under gentle pressure and flow.  This causes the coffee to swell and is believed to set the foundations for a more consistent and even extraction.

After locking in the prepared naked (bottomless) portafilter and basket with the hot water, let the lever arms fall gently down under their own weight – keep your fingers under the arms so that you are in control as well.

Next push the lever arms down slowly and gently, do not release the pressure. Slowly hold this until you start to see coffee beads appear at the bottom of the basket. Pre-infusion is usually done at a much lower pressure then during full extraction. Depending upon your grind setting, aim to pre-infuse until seeing beads of coffee for around 5-10 seconds. Then press the lever arms down.

Lock in portafilter and let the lever arms fall 

2 seconds

Press gently and pre-infuse until coffee appears

5-10 seconds 

Hold this position

optional

Extract by pushing lever arms down

> 15 seconds


Paul’s Tips

Shot times, the espresso stream and colour are great at giving you feedback if you have your grind setting in the right place. But the most useful tool you have is taste. If the espresso tastes good then you are doing well.

Adjust only the grind when starting out. Keep the dose and ratio consistent and adjust the grind as required. If you try and adjust both dose, output and grind at the same time you will be chasing your tail. As you get more experienced you can then adjust the dose and output ratio.