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Bialetti Brikka: getting that elusive crema
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Discussions > Espresso > General > Bialetti Brikka:...  
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Owl
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Joined: 30 May 2011
Posts: 37
Location: US

Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:44pm
Subject: Re: Bialetti Brikka: getting that elusive crema
 

coffeeapostle Said:

I would have agreed with you here a couple of months ago for sure.

But have a look at the video I posted on YouTube, and see how it compares to crema from a machine. The crema I get now settles at between 10-20mm, and never disappears during the time it takes me to drink it. It even stays there at the very bottom of the cup, as I take my last sip.

But I really don't think crema is everything. It may be the sign of a well-extracted espresso, but I don't believe it should be the one and only focus with coffee-making.

Posted February 6, 2013 link

I followed all your links yesterday. I still think it's short of crema based on my experience with the Brikka.
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Posts: 6,368
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Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 1:01pm
Subject: Re: Bialetti Brikka: getting that elusive crema
 

coffeeapostle Said:

I would have agreed with you here a couple of months ago for sure.  But have a look at the video I posted on YouTube, and see how it compares to crema from a machine.

Posted February 6, 2013 link

You can "muddy the coffee" all you want, but what a brikka makes is NOT espresso . . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
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Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 1:04pm
Subject: Re: Bialetti Brikka: getting that elusive crema
 

http://www.londiniumespresso.com/products/londinium-i

My dream machine.....I want it much more than GS/3 and I have had drinks from both.

He has done really well with what he had.  I imagine what he could do with some nice machine....

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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Owl
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Joined: 30 May 2011
Posts: 37
Location: US

Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 1:32pm
Subject: Re: Bialetti Brikka: getting that elusive crema
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

http://www.londiniumespresso.com/products/londinium-i

My dream machine.....I want it much more than GS/3 and I have had drinks from both.

He has done really well with what he had.  I imagine what he could do with some nice machine....

Posted February 6, 2013 link

That is a nice machine. Kind of pricey but I'm sure it's worth it.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
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Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 1:40pm
Subject: Re: Bialetti Brikka: getting that elusive crema
 

The words of a GS/3 owner where something to the effect of why does it take all this electronics to do what the L-1 does with out it?

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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coffeeapostle
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coffeeapostle
Joined: 5 Feb 2013
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Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bialetti Brikka 2 cup
Grinder: Krupps GVX231
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 2:49pm
Subject: Re: Bialetti Brikka: getting that elusive crema
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

You can "muddy the coffee" all you want, but what a brikka makes is NOT espresso . . . .

Posted February 6, 2013 link

Granted, if you're going by a widely accepted definition of espresso, you're absolutely correct. A Bialetti Brikka will not, and never has a hope in hell of producing "espresso". For what it's worth, 2 bars (which I believe is what the Brikka produces a maximum of) cannot ever be enough to properly emulsify the oils and turn them into substantial amounts of crema.

"A jet of hot water at 88°-93°C (190°-200°F) passes under a pressure of nine or more atmospheres through a seven-gram (.25 oz) cake-like layer of ground and tamped coffee. Done right, the result is a concentrate of not more than 30 ml (one oz) of pure sensorial pleasure."

This seems like as good a benchmark for espresso as any to me, and is the method most regular chain cafés seem to use. But more recently people with more appreciation for coffee seem to be questioning this theory more and more, and rightly so in my opinion. Coffee is organic, and nothing organic can really be used as a material for producing consistent results when introducing exactly the same factors each time - pressure/ temperature/ grind size/ flow etc. This is why I believe pressure profiling is the way forward for "espresso", and the flexibility and creativity it affords I would imagine gives you more pride in the end result.

However, for espresso (without the quotation marks), the Brikka cannot be underestimated in my opinion. The way I've rated my Brikka so highly is by comparing its espressos to ones in local cafes across town, from illy to Costa and everything in between (not the best coffees in the world to compare against, but still respectable on a good day, for me). I have found, for the most part, little to no noticeable difference in flavour. In fact, the espresso they're producing in a local illy café has identically looking crema to the espressos I make at home with the Brikka.

They're using a Fracino machine, and their espressos always come out a little differently to ones from other cafés. But nonetheless, their espressos are the best in town for me.

My aim on this thread is not to "muddy the coffee", but purely to give the method I use to produce what I'd say are some of the best results a Brikka is ever likely to produce, and then let people decide whether they feel it necessary to compare it with "espresso".

I had had a few drinks (of beer!) when I posted the thread though, so forgive me if it reads a little overly zealous :)

 
One man's meat is another man's poison.
~Lucretius
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coffeeapostle
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coffeeapostle
Joined: 5 Feb 2013
Posts: 18
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bialetti Brikka 2 cup
Grinder: Krupps GVX231
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 2:58pm
Subject: Re: Bialetti Brikka: getting that elusive crema
 

Owl Said:

I followed all your links yesterday. I still think it's short of crema based on my experience with the Brikka.

Posted February 6, 2013 link

For me, 10-20mm of crema is good enough. I tapped the glass in that video to show it wasn't just all air bubbles. In fact, I don't ever recall seeing machines produce much more than this without introducing robusta.

But then again, everyone will have their own version of crema...

 
One man's meat is another man's poison.
~Lucretius
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coffeeapostle
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coffeeapostle
Joined: 5 Feb 2013
Posts: 18
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bialetti Brikka 2 cup
Grinder: Krupps GVX231
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 3:11pm
Subject: Re: Bialetti Brikka: getting that elusive crema
 

CoffeeRoastersClub Said:

I have a brikka (4 cup model) and have been using it for years.  I consider it an improvement over a regular moka pot, however it really does not make crema in the actual meaning of the word.  The resulting crema like layer you see is really microfoam, maybe also consisting of some components that crema does have.   You will really only get real crema from an espresso machine due to the method of extraction and high pressure of hot water going through the grounds.

Len

Posted February 6, 2013 link

I believe it depends on what your definition of crema is. As for the actual meaning of the word, it's just italian for cream :)

I don't understand how crema can be "fake" or "real" though. The only way I can see of producing "fake" crema is by using that funny little method of adding sugar to espresso and whisking it up. Though sugar and espresso for me is sacrilegious.

In my opinion, crema is crema. The Brikka may not produce that much of it, a different consistency, a different colour, a different taste, a different smell, and so on. But the fact it's orange, sits on top of espresso and doesn't disappear would indicate to me that it's the real stuff, just maybe on a smaller scale.

I believe the real point of crema is to give you a visual allure, not to make coffee taste better.

 
One man's meat is another man's poison.
~Lucretius
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
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Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 6:09pm
Subject: Re: Bialetti Brikka: getting that elusive crema
 

Uhhh . . . .

coffeeapostle Said:

Granted, if you're going by a widely accepted definition of espresso, you're absolutely correct.

Posted February 6, 2013 link

So . . . ahhhh . . . errrrr . . . immmm . . . . let me see:  you're going to use a different definition of espresso that no one else does?  Would it not make more sense to use the widely accepted definition?  Or are we to start defining an automobile as something with two wheels and no motor, or a bicycle as something with three wheels?

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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coffeeapostle
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coffeeapostle
Joined: 5 Feb 2013
Posts: 18
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bialetti Brikka 2 cup
Grinder: Krupps GVX231
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 6:48pm
Subject: Re: Bialetti Brikka: getting that elusive crema
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Uhhh . . . .

So . . . ahhhh . . . errrrr . . . immmm . . . . let me see:  you're going to use a different definition of espresso that no one else does?  Would it not make more sense to use the widely accepted definition?  Or are we to start defining an automobile as something with two wheels and no motor, or a bicycle as something with three wheels?

Posted February 6, 2013 link

Forums are funny places.

I myself don't use any definition, because as far as I'm aware, there is no official governing body out there that states how an espresso has to be made in order for it to be called "espresso". But if you really want to get technical, I guess what the Brikka makes is technically called "moka". It makes no sense to me getting into these technicalities though, and whether or not it's called moka or espresso doesn't really make any difference to me.

As I said, I no longer feel the need to compare the drink I make with the Brikka with the drink I get at a café, unless I'm asked how it does compare, which is pretty well, if not better. It's a superb coffee making device in its own right, and the whole point of this thread was not to start a philosophical debate on the definition of espresso and the laws of crema, but to show people exactly how I think the Brikka should be used, and then to see what other people's experiences with it were. I can fully understand if espresso connoisseurs won't go near the Brikka because it doesn't match their idea of what espresso should be like, but for someone like me who doesn't have thousands of pounds to go chucking at an expensive espresso machine, it's proven to be a wonderful substitute.

When I drink a cup of espresso, I let my taste buds do the talking. Getting caught up in what other people think it should be like, or whether it's officially that or properly this, just ruins the whole experience of coffee, imo.

And fwiw, if ever I'm stuck with the definition of a word, I tend to head straight for the dictionary.

 
One man's meat is another man's poison.
~Lucretius
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