Posted Fri Apr 27, 2012, 6:47pm Subject: Re: I have never had an espresso
The machine came in Thursday and I will probably be pulling some shots tomorrow. The pressurized portafilter that came with it is in bad shape... not as bad as it was before I soaked it overnight in hot water, but still pretty rough inside the pf. I may soak in in some sort of solution tomorrow if I get any good advice what sort of solution. I don't think I want to take the white (brown now) plastic insert out of the ppf, but I may have to. It is loaded with coffee gunk. If I pull some shots tomorrow I will let everybody know how awful they are... lol. I had to order a drip tray grate, milk frothing pitcher, shot glasses, and on and on ad nauseum. This Rabbit Hole is deep!
Posted Fri Apr 27, 2012, 7:27pm Subject: Re: I have never had an espresso
William, Baratza now makes an inexpensive replacement for their Maestro..forgot the name, but it will do espresso grind, and it's only $129.
Call or email Saeco, and you can purchase a non pressurized PF, or you can modify yours with a dremel tool. There are threads here regarding that as well. THIS is a MUST, for TRUE espresso cannot be made on a pressurized PF/basket, regardless of what anyone may say. You can make good espresso in your machine. Make sure you thoroughly clean it, checks for leaks, and READ THE MANUAL!!
Download a pdf manual if not with your machine. This machine is basically the same as a Starbucks Athena, I believe. It's very important you follow the instructions, as you MUST bleed the steam wand when the brew light goes out, to relieve false pressure.
There is a longtime member, Maryann Mumma (mummafamily)who has seriously modified her machine. You might try Googling her posts.
You should also purchase a decent metal tamper...I believe it's 53mm.
YOU CAN DO THIS!!
I do feel that it would be a great first step to sample GREAT espresso from a GREAT cafe. I'd try a macchiato first. It has a small "dollop" of foamed milk, and will soften the blow, so to speak. :>D
Posted Sat Apr 28, 2012, 3:00am Subject: Re: I have never had an espresso
Thanks for the nice thoughtful response, Rob. I believe you may be referring to the Baratza Encore grinder... I have been looking at it, as well as the other Baratza's. I agree with you about the open portafilter... I already bought a tamper and have been talking to the girls at SeattleCoffeeGear about a portafilter. I will try the pressurized one for a bit, but I really do want to use a non-pressurized one... I hear the crema is much better. I'll let u know how it all turns out.
Coffeenoobie Senior Member Joined: 11 Dec 2011 Posts: 2,317 Location: PNW Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: N S Oscar Grinder: Vario W
Posted Sat Apr 28, 2012, 11:10am Subject: Re: I have never had an espresso
Well, is it coffee yet?? I am all buzzy waiting for your report. (yes I am happy to have my espresso this morning)
Oh and I was worried I would not know good espresso from bad when I started because I have never liked coffee unless it was just staining/coloring my milk. Well, I am surprised how fast I can tell a good shot from a bad and I can tell the beans I like better than others. I never thought I would have a good palate because of my lack of nose and not being able to drink it straight. But I am doing way better than I thought. Since you like coffee yours should be better than mine.
Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder. My coffee treasure map... Click Here (maps.google.com)
Well... not sure what to call this first attempt... coffee??... probably, but not much of an espresso. I started out with the grinder set on drip and tamped it lightly. It flowed way too fast (as expected) so I went ahead and let it go to about 5 ounces. Bleech! But at least I ran SOMETHING through the machine... and it came out looking like liquid caramel... not black like from my drip machine, soooo, I'm on my way! Now I am going to grind finer until I get close to a 25 second pull. I'll probably be climbing up the curtains before I get there... lol. Note: Now I'm going to have to dump the grounds into my shiny new knockout box... shucks!
Posted Sun Apr 29, 2012, 7:08am Subject: Re: I have never had an espresso
I don't think the pressurized portafilter is actually holding pressure... so, off to Plan B. Today I will recalibrate to allow my Maestro Plus to grind even finer and see what happens. Next, I will be taking the screwdrivers and the Dremel to the PPF and modding it to "clean it up." Wifey already gave the go-ahead for a new grinder, but I'll try the Maestro Plus a little longer until I decide which way I'm going to go. Last night I had some really good Americano's(?) and definitely enjoyed the fuller flavor than what I am used to drinking. Is it just my imagination, or am I using up my coffee beans faster pulling shots than I was when I was only drinking drip? More later...
I always had the same question in the back of my mind so I finally went ahead and checked it out.
I measured the amount of coffee I use to make 10 "cups" worth in my Technivorm and then parceled it out using the 17 gram amount that I use to make a double espresso (I usually make a double). So for the brew I use a volume measurement and for espresso I weigh it. That said, I got three full double espressos with 14.5 grams left over. Slightly under 4 double espressos. I think we get about 5 mugs of coffee out of the 10 "cups" brewed so it's not much less using the coffee for espresso but it is less. In the mornings we would finish a pot of coffee and now we've each been drinking 2 espressos (as lattes). Over a week it would add up to about 20 grams more coffee when just making espresso.
What I'm really going through is milk! I drink brewed coffee black but have been making lattes with the double espressos. That adds up to 10 oz. extra milk per day (5 oz each). I actually had to switch from whole to 2% because I started to put on weight (I'm a small woman and it doesn't take much).
Posted Sun Apr 29, 2012, 8:22am Subject: Re: I have never had an espresso
Very interesting, CeeZee... I would have thought that there would have been more of a disparity in the comparison. I haven't weighed my coffee prior to pulling a shot but that is on my list of things to do in the next day or two. I also understand the milk issue... my wife wants me to fix some lattes and she has virtually filled the fridge with assorted milks... lol.
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