The 4 M's

We at VELLA NERO believe in quality.  We believe that you deserve to enjoy your coffee fresh, and to savour its optimal flavour and aroma.  To help you unlock your coffee’s peak potential, we do everything we can to ensure you enjoy the ultimate cup in-store, at work, at play and at home.  Here is some information and tips to help you enjoy the perfect brew!

According to the Italians, the perfect espresso is the sum of four parts.  At VELLA NERO, we believe they also apply to any coffee regardless of what equipment is used to brew it.  They are:

(1) MISCELA (Mi-shay-lah) - The Coffee Blend
(2) MACINAZIONE (Ma-chi-na-zi-o-nay) - The correct grind of the beans
(3) MACCHINA (Ma-key-na) - The machine
(4) MANO (Mah-no) - The skilled 'hand' of the barista / machine operator

MISCELA (Mi-shay-lah) - The Coffee Blend

VELLA NERO has created blends especially for espresso.  A medium/dark roast is optimum for the espresso method of extraction.  The resulting cup will highlight and balance out the natural acidity fruitiness and sweetness of the beans, whilst providing a well-rounded body to the coffee.  Given the nature and character of the individual beans, each origin green bean is roasted separately to unlock its peak potential then combined to create well-balanced complex flavours in the cup, and an intense aroma.

In addition to blends, VELLA NERO also offers a range of Single Estate and Single Origin coffees that showcase the particular nuances of the coffees of specific coffee estates and regions.  

MACINAZIONE (Ma-chi-na-zi-o-nay)- The correct grind of the beans

When brewing coffee, it is essential the coffee beans are ground to the right grind size specific to the different brew method in order to extract the optimal coffee flavour.  The time required to brew helps determine the correct grind.  The longer the time the coffee grinds are in contact with the water, the courser the grind needs to be, and vice versa.  Below is a summary guide of Desired Grind, Time in Grinder and Brewing time for different brewing methods: 









Very Fine

25 – 30 seconds

20 - 25 seconds

Moka Pot


10 seconds

3 – 4 minutes

Cone Filter / Vacuum Pot


20 – 25 seconds

1 – 4 minutes

French Press /
Plunger Pot

Medium / Coarse

10 seconds

4 – 6 minutes

If the grind is too fine for the brewing application, then it will take too long for the water to make its way through the coffee grinds resulting in an over-extracted and bitter cup.  On the other hand, if the grinds are too course than that required for the brewing method, the resulting cup will be under-extracted, watery and thin.

Coffee is always enjoyed best when brewed from freshly ground beans.  If at all possible, invest in a domestic grinder, buy beans fresh from your local roaster, and grind right before you brew.  You will be amazed at what a difference to the cup this makes!


MACCHINA (Ma-key-na) – The machine

There are numerous and differing coffee brewing apparatus’ available

Click here to view our range of domestic and semi-commercial espresso machines, plungers and stove top coffee makers, or to purchase equipment from our boutique. 

Espresso Machine – To brew a true espresso, the brewing water is forced through finely ground coffee at 9 atmospheres of pressure (130 psi).  This pressure is required to unlock the flavour potential of the coffee and to produce the sweet, thick, golden crema.

Plunger / French Press / Cafetiere – The Plunger provides a simple and convenient way to brew and enjoy coffee!  Having first made its appearance around the 1800’s, the principles of the plunger have not changed too significantly.  One of the most important aspects of the plunger is to have the correct grind size.  Given it takes 4 minutes to brew a perfect cup, the coffee needs to be a medium / coarse grind.  The plunger is a great way to taste the subtle nuances of single origin or single estate coffees.  Like the Moka Pot the French Press comes in a variety of cup sizes.

Stovetop Coffee Maker – Alfonso Bialetti invented the first aluminium, Bialetti Moka Express Stove-Top in 1933.  This compact, easy to use machine is capable of brewing an intense, full-bodied, dark coffee with an extraction ratio similar to that of a conventional espresso machine.  Today, it is found in both the traditional aluminium and modern day stainless steel designs.  Another addition to the range is the ‘Bialetti Mukka’ which allows you to produce a latte or cappuccino in one easy step.  Further detailed Brewing Tips and Instructions on the Moka Express and Mukka Express, click here .  A manual espresso pot is designed to be used to its full capacity, so buying the right size (or a range of sizes to accommodate different situations) is important.  Bear in mind some of the smaller pots may not balance properly on larger gas cookers, but you can buy little adapter frames to make it more stable.  It should be disassembled after use, cleaned and dried before reuse.


MANO (Mah-no)– The skilled ‘hand’ of the barista / machine operator

A barista is the highly skilled individual who handcrafts your espresso-based coffee drinks.  Fundamental to his/her skill-set is a thorough understanding of all things coffee – blends, espresso, varietals, roast degree, use and maintenance of espresso equipment, and of course, coffee preparation.

VELLA NERO is here to help you become a barista in your own domain! Not only do we sell a range of freshly roasted beans and coffee brewing equipment in our boutique, we've included some brewing instructions and tips on how to brew a perfect cup.  Whether it’s a plunger coffee on the go before work, showing your appreciation to your staff, serving a delicious brew during client meetings, impressing your friends with your barista skills on the espresso machine at the end of a dinner party or a lazy morning stove-top brew on a Sunday, be sure to enjoy the art and science, the simplicity and theatre, and the ritual of coffee making at work, at play and at home.