Magic coffee is taking the world by storm. Soon, it will be the number one coffee based drink in the UK… and then the world! A magic coffee is a perfectly balanced ristretto shot of coffee topped with steamed, silky smooth milk. It’s sweet and short, designed by professional baristas to be easier to drink.
Find out more about magic coffee and learn how to make it at home (even if you don’t have an espresso machine) in this article.
What is Magic Coffee?
Magic Coffee is similar to a Flat White in terms of its equal balance and flavour, however to make a Magic coffee you’d use a shorter Ristretto shot and slightly less steamed milk.
The key difference is that a Magic coffee is a much shorter drink. A Flat White uses a double espresso shot topped with silky smooth milk, with a total volume of around 160ml. A magic coffee uses uses a double ristretto shot topped with silky smooth milk, with a total volume of around 140ml.
Both a Flat White and a Magic coffee are stronger than a Latte – the milkiest of coffee-based beverages.
What Does Magic Coffee Taste Like?
Magic coffee is quickly becoming a popular choice in the UK, having already taken the Australian coffee drinkers by storm after it’s origin in Brisbane. It’s perfect balance of sweet, delicately foamed milk and ristretto coffee make for an excellent all-round flavour.
Although similar to a Flat White, you’ll find Magic coffee easier to drink and ristretto shots tend to be sweeter and hold more caramel flavours than a typical espresso. Lightly steamed milk adds depth and further sweetness to your coffee, allowing a short hit of coffee that’s easy to drink.
How Much Coffee is in Magic Coffee?
A Magic coffee is made using a double ristretto shot. A ristretto is a shorter shot of coffee than a standard espresso. Baristas use shorter brew times to achieve less yield to produce a ristretto shot. One of the key benefits is it tends to produce a sweeter shot of coffee as the shorter extraction time reduces the effect of heat on the ground coffee beans.
If you want to pull a double ristretto shot to make a Magic coffee at home and you have an espresso machine, follow these ratios to achieve the ideal yield:
You’ll need to reduce the extraction time in order to achieve this yield. You’re aiming to achieve a ratio of 1:1.2 within 18-20 seconds.
How Much Milk is in Magic Coffee?
Everyone makes Magic coffee slightly differently, but the general rule of thumb is to use around 120ml of milk. If you’re using a double ristretto shot with a yield of 18g – 20g, adding 120ml of silky smooth steamed milk will help you achieve the desired Magic coffee volume of 140ml.
How to Make Magic Coffee at Home
If you’re already a dab hand at brewing specialty coffees at home then you’ll have no problem bashing out this magic coffee recipe. Particularly if you already know how to make a piccolo or a flat white.
In 3 simple steps, you’ll be able to make a magic coffee at home with an espresso machine. Don’t have an espresso machine yet? Scroll down to find out how to make a magic coffee at home without an espresso coffee machine.
1. Brew a Ristretto Shot
The first thing you’re going to do is brew a ristretto shot. This is similar to an espresso, but has a shorter extraction time and will yield less on a similar dosage. We recommend putting 15g of ground coffee into your portafilter basket. On this dosage, you’d expect to yield an 18g-20g ristretto in around 20 seconds.
To do this you’ll need an espresso coffee machine. The Profitec GO is our favourite home espresso machine, with slimline design and ultra-high tech mechanics designed to make pulling shots of ristretto, espresso or lungo at home really easy.
If you don’t have an espresso machine at home, you can still make magic coffee! Scroll to the next section of this post to learn how to make magic coffee at home with a Twist Press.
Once you’ve got your coffee in your portafilter basket, place the cradle back into the espresso machine and turn it on. Keep a close eye on your machine, we’d recommend stopping the extraction manually once you’ve achieved the desired amount of coffee for a ristretto shot. I’ve always manually stopped pulling the shot at around 20 seconds to achieve a ristretto shot yield of 18g.
2. Steam Your Milk
Steaming milk is an artform in itself, but once you’ve got the hang of it you can make the full array of coffee-based drinks and creamy hot chocolate. When we talk about steamed milk, it usually falls into 2 categories. These are foam or silky smooth milk.
To make foamed milk, you need to aerate the milk in your pitcher much more than you would do for silky smooth milk – but you won’t be needing this technique. Magic coffee requires silky smooth milk, the silkiest of smooth milks.
Start by lowering your steam wand into your milk pitcher and turn on the steam. At the very beginning you’ll be aiming to add very slight amounts of air in short bursts. Listen out for the sound of paper tearing, that will mean you’ve got your angles right and are aerating the milk correctly.
Because you’re aiming for silky smooth milk you don’t want to add too much air. Aim to keep the volume of the milk in your pitcher at the same level and lower your steam wand into the milk after 3 or 4 paper tear sounds.
Continue to steam your milk until the desired temperature is reached. Either use a thermometer or gauge the temperature with your hand. Stop heating your milk when you can no longer keep your hand on the milk pitcher for a second.
Top tip: pour a little bit of your milk away before you start pouring your magic coffee. This will immediately get rid of any foam you’ve accidently created during the aeration process and help you create beautiful latte art.
3. Pour Your Milk
Now you’ve got all of the elements you need to make a magic coffee at home. You’ve got a ristretto shot and you’ve got your silky smooth milk. All that’s left to do is combine the two.
Typically, magic coffee is served in a small glass with a volume around 140ml. If you don’t have a glass this size or would just prefer to use something else, that’s absolutely fine! Just remember your ratios so you don’t add too much milk at this stage.
When it comes to pouring your steamed milk, hold the glass containing the ristretto at an angle and start pouring from 4-5cm away from the shot of coffee. As you pour, slowly move towards your ristretto. This is when it’s time to practice latte art!
Traditionally, magic coffee is served with a tulip pattern. If we’re being honest, the latte art doesn’t affect the taste whatsoever so you’re free to get creative.
If you’d like to learn latte art, the first thing you’re going to need is a professional milk pitcher. The Barista Pro Pitcher has been designed and developed by 6x latte art champion Dhan Tamang to incorporate all of the key features you need to pour sharp patterns and delicate coffee art.
Can You Make a Magic Coffee Without an Espresso Machine?
We’re going to outline how you can make something very similar to a magic coffee at home without an espresso machine. It’s impossible to make the exact recipe as you will need to get hold of an espresso machine in order to make a ristretto shot of coffee, but you can create the desired effect using something like a Twist Press.
What is a Twist Press?
A Twist Press is a compact coffee maker designed by Barista & Co that utilised immersion and pressurised brewing to deliver a short, strong hit of coffee. Basically, it’s as close as you can get to an espresso without any of the machinery needed to brew it.
How to Use the Twist Press
All you have to do is place the lower handle over your cup and place your filter paper on top. We recommend wetting your paper to remove any dust or residue that could ruin the taste of your coffee.
Now twist the helix chamber back into place and scoop some freshly ground coffee in. To get as close to a ristretto as possible, try and get your hands on a darker roasted coffee. This will have more of the bitter, espresso-style tasting notes you’d expect from one traditionally made. Our House Darker Roast is a good starting place, grown in Brazil and roasted in Dorset.
Now you’re ready to fill with water, leaving around 1cm gap. Coffee will begin to drip through but this will stop as soon as you place the upper handle on top of the helix chamber. Immediately, you’ll create a vacuum which is where the extraction begins!
Leave your coffee brewing for 2 minutes – this is a traditional immersion brew style similar to a French press. After 2 minutes, slowly twist the handles together. This forces the upper handle down, putting intense pressure on the water within the chamber and forcing it through the ground coffee.
Just like that, you’ve got a short strong black coffee… it’s not an espresso. Or a ristretto. But it’s pretty close.
Adding Texture to the Milk
Making the coffee is only half the job. How can you create silky smooth steamed milk without an espresso machine or steam wand? It’s actually easier than you’d think… Do you have a cafetiere in the cupboard? You’ve got everything you need then.
How to Froth Milk with a Cafetiere
Just for the purpose of this example, we’re going to use the Core Coffee Press to explain how to create silky smooth steamed milk (almost) without an espresso machine. Firstly, remove the glass beaker.
The Core Coffee Press has a metal lid, metal filter and plunger and a metal base. All of these elements have been designed to come off, leaving you with a microwave-safe glass beaker.
Put your milk into the glass beaker (whole milk is best) and place into the microwave. Remember, for a magic coffee you need around 120 ml of milk so a one cup cafetiere is the perfect size. Heat your milk to the desired temperature, being careful not to burn it.
Once you’ve reached your desired milk temperature, place the base, filter, plunger and lid back onto the coffee press and start plunging up and down. This action will aerate the milk and you’ll start to see texture forming. You’ll notice your milk increasing in volume. Remember, you’re aiming to create silky smooth milk so you don’t need too much foam. Plunging 4 or 5 times should be plenty.
Your milk will now be hot and textured, the best thing to do is transfer it into a milk pitcher. This will help you with the pouring and if you want to create any latte art or coffee patterns. At this stage, you can jump back up to step 3 as pouring the milk is the same regardless of whether you’ve used an espresso machine or not.
Your Thoughts on Magic Coffee?
So what do you think? Is this coffee recipe worth the hype? Is it going to take over and become the next best-selling coffee-based beverage in the UK? Or, is this just a passing fad?
Give the recipe above a go and let us know what you think of magic coffee. We’d also love to hear your take on our recipe for magic coffee that doesn’t require an espresso machine. If you’ve got a Twist Press or you’re already using your coffee press to steam and froth milk, tag us in your social media posts for the chance to win a t-shirt and be featured in our next blog post.