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Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Just starting....  
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,427
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 3:10pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

Well, I read the post-purchase message from you (OP) and scrolled through the thread, already assuming that I was one of the elitists..  WOW! it wasn't me! (this time.). ONE IN A ROW!

And then I scroll down and see someone has beat me to the punch in recommending my own article. Been through a lot of life in the last month or two, and age has me not quite as quick on the trigger as I used to be..  Wish I had a bottle of scotch in the house.. at least then I would have an excuse for being a slow elitist.

And the best advice is that the espresso machine is am accessory to the grinder. It really is that important. Until you get a grinder, tell the shop to grind the coffee for a crema-enhanced portafilter. They may be able to help. Also, most enhanced-portafilter machines say to only tamp the coffee gently; not much more than a leveling tamp. Call it 5 to ten pounds, which, for an average person, can be easily accomplished with two fingers.

And you will find that:
1 - everybody starts at the beginning. As you will (can) read on my website, I started out thinking $125 should be PLENTY for an espresso machine and out $40 Cuisinart grinder from Costco should be more than sufficient to grind coffee. My very first order, 12 years ago, was for $800 and included a coffee roaster!
2 - you have no idea where the road will take you - With that beginning, I have logged quite a few accomplishments in this coffee world of ours and have gone from a newbie to a fairly-well known entity in the coffee world in general. T-shirts, owner's manuals for major companies, an expose, a couple of enemies, a website known throughout the world, and even a World Barista Championship contender requested my signature!
3 - everything is relative - For example. Think $100 is too much for a grinder? The replacement burrs for my current espresso grinder run about $125 - yes.. not a typo.. just for the burrs!

And thanks for the kudos, emradguy. Much appreciated!

And I think it is about time to update that #12 article. it's been a while, and one thing that I have found with coffee in general, and specifically espresso, I am learning all the time. Probably never learn to shut up, though.  ya' gotta' take the good with the bad, folks.   ;-)

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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Joel_B
Senior Member
Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
Posts: 1,823
Location: Pacific NW
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Astra Mega II
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Yama 5 cup
Drip: nope, french press
Roaster: Behmor, WP, BBQ drum
Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 3:16pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

frcn Said:

Well, I read the post-purchase message from you (OP) and scrolled through the thread, already assuming that I was one of the elitists..  WOW! it wasn't me! (this time.). ONE IN A ROW!

And then I scroll down and see someone has beat me to the punch in recommending my own article. Been through a lot of life in the last month or two, and age has me not quite as quick on the trigger as I used to be..  Wish I had a bottle of scotch in the house.. at least then I would have an excuse for being a slow elitist.

Posted October 3, 2012 link

LOL, ok ^^^this^^^ made me chuckle :D
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Arkaon
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Oct 2012
Posts: 7
Location: Illinois
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 4:25pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

All,

Thank you for the excellent advice so far. I decided that with everything I have read so far, I would just go and make a cup while wielding my wife's GoPro camera. (She works as a videographer and said I could use the old camera as long as I didn't break it. *eye roll*)

That being said, I recorded a video of my 7th (yes, I do mean the 7th) time I have ever attempted to make an Espresso Cappuccino.

Link to Video: My 7th Attempt
Note: I was attempting to not talk so you could hear the sounds of the machine and my horrible frothing. :)


Calblacksmith: No worries. You deserved the praise.

Frcn: Crema-Enhanced Portafilter. Got it. Thank You.

Coffeenoobie: I was attempting as best as possible to not call you all Coffee Snobs, yet express how it felt as a complete noob, to show up to the site, and start being told how wrong you are despite conventional logic. That being said, I am over it completely and in just one evening have a much better respect for those of you that have mastered this. I will also most likely tip my Barista better when they pull a decent cup. At least until I become a coffee snob and just stop going. :)
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,036
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 4:52pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

Nothing makes you appreciate and tip a good barista like trying to master espresso. And nothing like coming to a coffee site to get told that most of the US is drinking swill not coffee.

Great camera I wish I had one so that I could shoot my espresso.

 
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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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,864
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 4:56pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

I just watched your video.
You gave much more of a factual commentary than nearly every video I have seen on the net and you didn't say a word!

Well, how did it taste? If you enjoyed it you are off to a great start!

Your motions looked like you were confident in what you were doing!

Its not long now till you will be giving the story of where you startrd and helping others to great coffee!

With a grinder you will be amazed at the improvement in your shots

Great start

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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Arkaon
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Oct 2012
Posts: 7
Location: Illinois
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 5:00pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

Calblacksmith (can I call you Wayne?),

It didn't actually taste that good. I still think I might be tamping to hard.

Also, my milk seems to always be WAY to frothy. I like a thicker more silkier milk. Any idea's?

Thanks,
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,036
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 5:28pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

Try less milk and bubble the milk for shorter time and use a thermometer.  For more clear instructions Read this:
"The Milk Frothing Guide"

 
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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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,021
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 5:41pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

If I timed correctly, your brew time was about 40 - 45 seconds.  It should be about 25 seconds and that may significantly affect taste.  See how much volume you get in 25 seconds from the first drop.  Shut it off and measure the volume.  You can't adjust the grind yet, but could change the dose and tamp a little.  Try for about 40 - 60 ml in 25 seconds, assuming that was a double basket.  IIRC, those baskets do not hold over about 14 gms.  I did not weigh, but noticed that my coffee use went up when I got my Gaggia with a double basket and use about 17.5 gms.

As noted, you seemed to be comfortable with the equipment and brewing.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,427
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 10:07pm
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

How to steam milk for Latte art taught by Scott Rao using soap and water - YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxAvYoymUbM

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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chex
Senior Member
chex
Joined: 27 Mar 2008
Posts: 68
Location: Fairview TX
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Q M Silvano, Gaggia Espresso
Grinder: 2xMazzer SJs, Major, WW2 era...
Drip: Hario pourover, presses,...
Roaster: Behmor, stovetop...
Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 2:58am
Subject: Re: Just starting. Buying my first Machine - Need some advice.
 

DaveS Said:

They can be a source of great ideas as well as this forum and can hopefully be a good source of fresh beans,  though once you are hooked you'll be wondering about roasting your own as well!

Posted October 3, 2012 link

;)

Oh it will happen, believe me! I still use my trusty thermocouple modded whirleypop twice a week for my bean supply! I just need to visit these wonderful forums as often as I roast beans!
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