calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 8,204 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 Jan 23, 2013, 9:04am Subject: Re: Noob from the UK, need espresso machine advice?
The rule of thumb or starting place is for a double shot of espresso *edit or 2 fl oz * , 14 to 18 g *edit of ground coffee* (Europe uses the lower value and in the U.S. we tend to use the higher side of things. )
Tamp the coffee to about 30 pounds. the exact number is not as important as being the same each time.
pull your shot, it should take about 25 to 35 seconds for a double shot. If the time is less for a measured 2 oz, then grind more finely. If it takes too long or you do not get coffee at all, grind more coarse.
The brew temp should be 195 to 205 F (sorry about the non metric measurements)
If all the above is about correct, you are close to getting good espresso. From here, you adjust by how it tastes and what you like to taste.
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!
Coffeenoobie Senior Member Joined: 11 Dec 2011 Posts: 3,075 Location: PNW Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: N S Oscar Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Jan 23, 2013, 9:42am Subject: Re: Noob from the UK, need espresso machine advice?
I make 2 to 4 drinks a day and never pulled a shot before 14 months ago. I did not even drink drip coffee. I did not have a clue what I was doing before I started but I did read a lot before I bought and the reviews here and and how to buy an espresso machine article really helped me. I learn by seeing, I suggest watching espresso pulls on youtube and Click Here (www.metropoliscoffee.com)
I started out wanting to spend 200-300 USD. After reading a few weeks that crept up to 500 for the machine. So, since I liked milky drinks I wanted steam power, that pretty much lets out all the starter machines new. So I got a low end HX machine used for less than 500 (1200 new) and my grinder was 550. At the start you can and ideally should spend as much or more for the grinder than the machine. (hand grinders are much cheaper and can do espresso and are good idea for saving money.)
It sounds snobby to say I have over 1k in espresso gear but really it is more like getting a major kitchen appliance and not just replacing the coffee maker. And since boilers can explode if faulty, you can understand you don't want a cheaply made espresso machine. But our mind set that it is just replacing a disposable coffee machine makes it hard to understand you do need spend some money. The only exception is if you get lucky and find a working machine sitting by the dumpster of a failed business or get a steal on craigslist.
Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.
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