Have you ever tried a magic coffee? There's nothing fanciful about it, rather it is a coffee item found in cafes. In this guide I'll give my barista opinion on what a magic coffee is and how to make it.
What is a Magic Coffee?
The magic is an Australian coffee that originated in the cafes of Melbourne. It's very rare to find it on menus outside Melbourne. So if you've never heard of it you're in the majority.
Simply put, the magic is made in a 5oz cup with a double ristretto (the first half of an espresso shot), then topped up flat white style milk (which is milk with little to no foam). Most people say it should also be on the slightly cooler side (48 celsius / 118 fahrenheit).
It's meant to produce a very well balanced small coffee that is very ease to drink.
How to Make a Magic Coffee?
The thing that makes a magic a "magic" is the proportions of the beverage. It's important to have the correct volumes of espresso and milk. Below is my step-by-step guide.
- Clean your group/back wash: The first step when making any espresso based drink is to clean your group head and back wash to get rid of any old coffee grinds.
- Grab your cup: a magic uses a 5 oz cup. If you don't have a cup this size, you can always fill up a normal sized cup 3/4th of the way full.
- Double ristretto: The next step is to extract your double ristretto, which is a double espresso cut off mid way. A single shot of espresso is 30ml, a ristretto is 20ml. So a double ristretto is 40ml of coffee.
The easiest way to extract it is to simply use a double shot portafilter basket - so you don't have to do 2 individual shots. A ristretto has more acidity and less water as it is cut off sooner.
- Steam your milk: While the shot is pouring you want to steam your milk. I've written a really good guide on how to steam milk if you need more details. The key for a magic is not to make too much micro foam, as you are aiming for foam that is suited for a flat white coffee. You also don't want the milk to be piping hot, rather you want it to be slightly cooler so it is quick and ease to drink.
- Pour: The final step is combining your ristretto and milk to make your magic. You can even put a little bit of latte art on top if you like. The proportions are important here - you want to have a 50-50 ratio of milk and espresso.
- Done: Now enjoy your magical coffee!
What Does a Magic Taste Like?
A magic is a very easy coffee to drink as it's equal parts espresso and milk. It's very well balanced and I have even in the past called it a "dessert" coffee since it goes down smooth. You will find yourself drinking it very quickly as it is meant to be a quick pick me up. If your local cafe doesn't make it, you can always make it yourself at home by using your own latte machine.
Magic Coffee vs Piccolo
The key difference between a magic and a piccolo latte is that a piccolo uses a single shot of coffee and is made in an espresso cup or small tumbler glass.
This makes a piccolo taste much stronger compared to a magic as it has a higher volume of espresso compared to milk. Whereas the magic has a more balanced flavour due to the equal parts espresso and milk.
If you want a punch in the face sensation, then the Piccolo is for you. If you want a smooth but sneakily strong coffee, then a magic is better suited.
Magic vs Flat White
A flat white is a single shot of espresso made in a standard sized cup with little foam in the milk. So the key difference between a magic and a flat white are the size of the cup, the shot of coffee, and the proportions of milk - a flat white has a lot more compared to a magic so it is more milky in taste.
You will prefer a flat white if you want a standard sized coffee that has more milk. A magic is better suited for the person who wants a stronger and smaller coffee.