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Reaching Espresso Nirvana by Mark Prince
Great Espresso at Home
Curated selection of the best machines from La Spaziale, Izzo, Quick Mill, La Marzocco & more.
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Steam
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Joined: 1 Feb 2006
Posts: 1
Location: Chicago, IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Posted Wed Feb 1, 2006, 10:48am
Subject: Re: Reaching Espresso Nirvana by Mark Prince
 

Because of the variable quality of water why not use distilled water. This would then be the standard. Or, is there a reason not to use distilled water?

Steam
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MarkPrince
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,624
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Wed Feb 1, 2006, 2:50pm
Subject: Re: Reaching Espresso Nirvana by Mark Prince
 

Steam Said:

Because of the variable quality of water why not use distilled water. This would then be the standard. Or, is there a reason not to use distilled water?

Steam

Posted February 1, 2006 link

In most cases, distilled water should not be used regularly in an espresso machine. On top of being chemically neutral (read: dead, zero taste), the lack of minerals and solids in the water will cause many "auto fill" systems to stop functioning. They rely partially on the mineral content in normal water to function.

Distilled water has, well, nothing. It's just the basic water chemical. No minerals, no solids. These things contribute greatly to the taste of espresso - both good and bad.

How do you test water? Your taste buds. If it tastes clean, fresh, pleasing, it's good for espresso.

If it tastes chemically, stinky, whatever, it's not.

If it tastes like.... well, nothing. then your espresso is going to suffer.

Mark

 
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Enkerli
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Enkerli
Joined: 1 Aug 2004
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Location: Montreal, Qc
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: (At cafés, not at home)
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Vac Pot: (Moka Pot) Bialetti Brikka
Drip: Steep and release pour-over
Roaster: iRoast-2
Posted Thu Feb 2, 2006, 6:14am
Subject: Re: Reaching Espresso Nirvana by Mark Prince
 

MarkPrince Said:

How do you test water? Your taste buds. If it tastes clean, fresh, pleasing, it's good for espresso.

Posted February 1, 2006 link

Well... Is there, as for beer brewing, a way to control water profiles a bit more? Isn't there more to the influence of water than whether or not the water is appropriate for espresso making?
With beer, we mostly control hardness (permanent hardness especially) and pH in order to achieve specific results. The effect of pH is on the actual mash, as the extraction of sugars depends on an appropriate pH. As for hardness, it varies with beer styles. To simplify, soft water produces smooth bitterness (Plzen water for Pilsner beer) while hard water will produce harsh bitterness (Burton-on-Trent water for Bass). There could be the same issue with espresso making, although the chemical processes are so much faster than in beer brewing.
Anyone experimented with water profiles?

 
Alex
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EEDJM
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Joined: 15 Feb 2006
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Location: Orlando, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Feb 15, 2006, 1:16am
Subject: Re: Reaching Espresso Nirvana by Mark Prince
 

Good article ... I think one of my goals in life will be to search for my perfect cup. This article gives me some fuel for thought. Thanx!
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Nawakwa1
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Joined: 13 Feb 2006
Posts: 41
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Tue Feb 21, 2006, 2:19am
Subject: What brand is the tamper on Reaching Espresso Nirvana ?
 

Hello Mark,

In your article on Espresso Nirvana there is a photo of a stainless steel Tamper and a stand.

I am trying to find out the brand of that Tamper. I had recently come across it on a website but can't seem to find it again.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Greg
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Gobs
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Gobs
Joined: 5 Sep 2004
Posts: 41
Location: Hr
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Feb 21, 2006, 2:31am
Subject: Re: What brand is the tamper on Reaching Espresso Nirvana ?
 

Nawakwa1 Said:

Hello Mark,

In your article on Espresso Nirvana there is a photo of a stainless steel Tamper and a stand.

I am trying to find out the brand of that Tamper. I had recently come across it on a website but can't seem to find it again.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Greg

Posted February 21, 2006 link

Hi Greg,

 Although I am not Mark, I just saw your post and wanted to share the info with you. The tamper and stand is by espressocraft click here If you do get one, please let me know what you think of it. I want one too. Thanks.

Regards,
Gobs

 
"I never discovered anything with my rational mind."
- Albert Einstein
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Enkerli
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Enkerli
Joined: 1 Aug 2004
Posts: 723
Location: Montreal, Qc
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: (At cafés, not at home)
Grinder: Hario hand grinders
Vac Pot: (Moka Pot) Bialetti Brikka
Drip: Steep and release pour-over
Roaster: iRoast-2
Posted Wed Feb 22, 2006, 2:39pm
Subject: Time to Brew?
 

Erm... This is perhaps a silly question but how do we time espresso making? Meaning, is it supposed to be 20 to 25 seconds from the time the brew button is turned on to the time it's turned off? Is it from the time the first drops of espresso nectar hit the bottom of the cup until the last drop of espresso goodness reaches the top of the crema?
And is there a rundown of the values we're talking about, here?
There's apparently been some discussion of dosing, with some people advocating for doses of upwards to 21g and others advocating for as low as 14g. Obviously, this is supposed to depend on a lot of factors, including the blend used.
Erm... We're talking doubles, right? And what are the other parameters we're talking about?
My entry level Via Veneto has been producing consistently decent shots with a maximum of 18g of grounds in the basket. Getting around 65g of espresso (don't have a reliable measure for volume, but that should be about 2 fl. oz.) in 25 to 30 seconds, including 6 or 7 seconds between the time the brew button is pressed until the first drop of dark espresso comes out of the brewgroup. The resulting espresso usually has a thick, rich, dark, and complex crema, especially if the blend used includes a good diversity of beans (for some reasons, it seems like beans homeroasted in the brown range produce more crema, but that's probably just perception). Does this sound about right?
What should be values for a single? Saw some info about this somewhere but can't recall the exact numbers.
What about a ristretto? Should be the exact same amount of grounds as a double? How long should it take to brew?
It's difficult to experiment much with an entry-level machine. The resulting espresso is really quite pleasing, though.

Coffee is good to think!

Cheers!

Alexandre
http://enkerli.wordpress.com/

 
Alex
http://enkerli.com/
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Reighlok
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Reighlok
Joined: 2 Sep 2005
Posts: 675
Location: North Dallas, Texas
Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Wed Feb 22, 2006, 2:43pm
Subject: Re: Time to Brew?
 

Enkerli Said:

Erm... This is perhaps a silly question but how do we time espresso making? Meaning, is it supposed to be 20 to 25 seconds from the time the brew button is turned on to the time it's turned off? Is it from the time the first drops of espresso nectar hit the bottom of the cup until the last drop of espresso goodness reaches the top of the crema?
...

Posted February 22, 2006 link

It may be a dumb question, but I would like to know too. I've been timing from "on", but I have no idea if it is right.
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Deebee70
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Joined: 15 Feb 2006
Posts: 1
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Mar 1, 2006, 3:26pm
Subject: Re: Reaching Espresso Nirvana by Mark Prince
 

Well done! I wholeheartedly agree...Espresso making is an art, not a science.
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cafeprune
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cafeprune
Joined: 4 Jan 2006
Posts: 42
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Olympia Cremina 1992
Grinder: Rocky and Zassenhaus
Drip: Aeropress
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Wed Mar 1, 2006, 3:49pm
Subject: Re: Reaching Espresso Nirvana by Mark Prince
 

I believe it should be timed from the moment you switch the pump on, as this is when the water first enters the basket.

However, being a rookie,  I stand to be corrected.....
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