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Espresso: Questions and Answers
First time poster, new to Espresso Machine and some questions
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homebrewdude
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2014
Posts: 17
Location: Chicago
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: DeLonghi EC702
Grinder: Looking
Drip: Bunn
Roaster: NONE
Posted Sat Jan 25, 2014, 5:48pm
Subject: First time poster, new to Espresso Machine and some questions
 

Bought a machine for Christmas.
Have a Kitchenaid Pro Burr grinder - read bad reviews for espresso - so I bought a can of pre-ground.

Cafe Kimbo Espresso
No matter how I packed it and tamped it down, the stuff always worked in the machine - no issues - can is empty now
Starbucks Espresso Beans
No matter how I changed the grind in the Kitchenaid it always caused to machine to not work - nothing would come out.
It was like powder and the pressure could not push through.
Is the grinder that bad, or was it the beans?

Options for pre-ground.
Looked at the super market, nothing pre-ground in a can.
They do have bins of beans and a grinder.  Do I need to grind espresso type beans??

24sec rule?
Does this really apply?  Do I start the count when the liquid starts to drip.

I have a glorified stainless measuring cup I use for frothing.
I cannot get the milk to swirl, no matter what.
Is this the machine? The person? or the tall narrow cup I have?
Worth the money on the "correct" cup.

Looks like I need to buy the correct grinder.
I drink the coffee on weekends only.  Just me and the wife.
Looking for something to give me the foolproof grind.
Can be manual machine also - like I said only a few times a week for two people.
Any thoughts?
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 662
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Sun Jan 26, 2014, 1:38am
Subject: Re: First time poster, new to Espresso Machine and some questions
 

homebrewdude Said:

Bought a machine for Christmas. Have a Kitchenaid Pro Burr grinder - read bad reviews for espresso - so I bought a can of pre-ground.

Posted January 25, 2014 link

First of all, let me stop you there. Decent espresso can never be made with pre-ground coffee. The first step to making decent espresso is to have a decent grinder.

Now, lots of grinders can grind coffee fine enough for espresso and lots of grinders have an "Espresso" setting. What matters more is purchasing a grinder which gives you the
precision and control of making very small adjustments required in grinding for espresso. As well, the grinder must grind precisely and consistently enough for espresso.

I believe that entry level grinders which can do this start in around the $300 range and go up from there.

Now, for drip coffee and for press pot coffee, your Kitchenaid grinder is fine for that. However, when it comes to grinding for espresso, it's like doing brain surgery with a steak knife.
It just simply isn't precise enough. It'll either grind way too fine or way too coarse for espresso. Espresso is very finicky that way.

Now, there are quite a few grinders on the market which can give you the control you need to grind properly for espresso. The Baratza Precisio and Vario lines are great
consumer grade grinders which are perfect for your workload.

homebrewdude Said:

Starbucks Espresso Beans

Posted January 25, 2014 link

Urgh.. Don't even buy that stuff. If the bag has a "Best Before" date on it, it's already stale. The bag should have a 1-way valve on it and a "Roast Date" on it.
Of which, the coffee shouldn't be any older than 14 days from the roast date when you buy it.

homebrewdude Said:

No matter how I changed the grind in the Kitchenaid it always caused to machine to not work - nothing would come out.

Posted January 25, 2014 link

This is primarily caused by your grinder. Again, that grinder has settings which are too wide apart and too imprecise for espresso.

Every blend and single origin coffee you use will always need a different grind setting. Obviously, you do need to coarsen up the grind or use a lower dosage, but
you would make a small adjustment to coarsen up the grind or lower your dose by about a gram.

The "Fresher" the coffee you are using, the coarser you need to grind for and/or the less of a dosage you need. (The two work together.)

homebrewdude Said:

They do have bins of beans and a grinder.  Do I need to grind espresso type beans??

Posted January 25, 2014 link

OK, You need to get out of the mentality of "pre-grinding" coffee and using pre-ground. You only grind the coffee as you need it, when you need it. Otherwise it will get stale.
I made this mistake when I was first getting into making coffee with my Moka pot. It makes all the difference in the world when it comes to taste when you grind as you need it.

You don't need to grind espresso blend to make espresso. Yes, traditional espresso is made with espresso blend, but espresso is just a type of coffee preparation and can be
made with any blend or single origin beans.

If you buy your coffee from a coffee roaster instead of at the supermarket, you'll always get fresher coffee.

homebrewdude Said:

24sec rule? Does this really apply?  Do I start the count when the liquid starts to drip.

Posted January 25, 2014 link

Well, your machine uses a pressurized portafilter. Timing your shots really doesn't apply until you go to an unpressurized portafilter. Instead, you just go by rough shot volume.

Pressurized portafilters are designed to compensate for cheap coffee grinders.

homebrewdude Said:

I have a glorified stainless measuring cup I use for frothing.

Posted January 25, 2014 link

I'd use a steaming pitcher instead.

homebrewdude Said:

I cannot get the milk to swirl, no matter what.

Posted January 25, 2014 link

That's because your machine has a panarello, which is designed to make it easy to froth the milk. You can't really steam milk by "swirling" with one of those. (At least I don't think you can.)

homebrewdude Said:

Worth the money on the "correct" cup.

Posted January 25, 2014 link

Well, all I can say is that when you want to get into 25 second shots and swirling milk, you'll have to invest a lot more into your machine and grinder. Spending the extra money on a steaming
pitcher is kind of trivial in comparison to what you will need to spend on a decent coffee grinder and machine. (ie. A machine with a proper steaming wand and unpressurized portafilter.)

homebrewdude Said:

Looking for something to give me the foolproof grind.

Posted January 25, 2014 link

Well, I don't think that there is such a thing as a "Foolproof grind". Rather, that's up to the person making the espresso to understand what proper grind is and what a proper shot pours like.

So, once you upgrade your grinder to something decent, then you can look at upgrading your machine as well, or at least retrofitting your machine with an unpressurized portafilter so you can take advantage of it.

By the way, I'd like to apologize if my post sounds a little terse. A lot of us in this forum have made the mistakes you have. I wish you the best of luck.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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homebrewdude
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2014
Posts: 17
Location: Chicago
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: DeLonghi EC702
Grinder: Looking
Drip: Bunn
Roaster: NONE
Posted Sun Jan 26, 2014, 7:06am
Subject: Re: First time poster, new to Espresso Machine and some questions
 

That was an absolute perfect response!

So I have been reading about grinders.

OE Pharos $245+shipping  (Manual Grinder)   $245+shipping
Gaggia 8002 MDF Burr Grinder with Doser,   $200
Rancilio Rocky Doserless   $345    (this is really more then I can spend)
Baratza Virtuoso Coffee Grinder 586 $229


I have been reading a lot about the Pharos, seems there are no complaints with the grind quality.
Only issues are handling.
I have no issues with manually doing anything, I actually have a few manual kitchen equipment - I do enjoy work in the Kitchen.
And I don't make Espresso when I am in a rush to get to work.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,389
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Sun Jan 26, 2014, 8:20am
Subject: Re: First time poster, new to Espresso Machine and some questions
 

Here's your other issue, Delonghi is just a pressurized portafilter machine. Doesn't make espresso, more like a shot of drip, the portafilter uses a pressure clip to force coffee through and make what looks like crema but it's fake, kinda similar to the effect of placing your finger over then end of a hose and making the water spray/froth. These machines are generally wedding gifts etc, people don't know better, and that basket let's them use preground coffee or badly ground beans (blechh lol) b/c they don't have an grinder or espresso grinder for that matter, or they have a cheap 40 buck bean masher or blade. Espresso has to be made with fresh roasted beans ground right before use. Charbucks forget about, beans are burnt and long beyond stale by the time you buy them, yet they've mastered the art of selling that crap to the masses lol.

You can depressurize the basket and remove that mechanism, or they may make a replacement basket, I think some have used Krups baskets in their Delonghi's. I started with a Delonghi Bar32, though upgraded since lol. Can't you return the machine? Only saying b/c these go for around $300 looking that model up, and you can get a refurbed Gaggia Classic from wholelattelove on their ebay store for less than 300 which is a far better starter machine and can make real espresso. Virtuoso is only good for coarse grinding and espresso machines like yours with pressurized portafilters (if you upgrade machines down the road you'll be SOL with that grinder, the Preciso and Vario models are Baratzas espresso grinders). Rocky is outdated don't bother, unless you find a used one for like 100 bucks and can mod it and clean it up. MDF again same issue as the Virtuoso, not a good espresso grinder. Pharos kicks ass, it's a hand grinder so if that doesn't bother you, your getting a Titan burr set and killer grinding quality at that price of grinders costing north of 1k. People do the VooDoo mods to make it easier to use, can look that up and see for yourself.

You'd have to step up to the 1k range and up to find a grinder matching/beating the Pharos.

Where do you live in Chicago? You have a ton of good coffee shops and roasters around you, especially down town, I love Metropolis. So you should have no issue getting fresh beans.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,163
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sun Jan 26, 2014, 10:19am
Subject: Re: First time poster, new to Espresso Machine and some questions
 

homebrewdude Said:

That was an absolute perfect response!

So I have been reading about grinders.

OE Pharos $245+shipping  (Manual Grinder)   $245+shipping
Gaggia 8002 MDF Burr Grinder with Doser,   $200
Rancilio Rocky Doserless   $345    (this is really more then I can spend)
Baratza Virtuoso Coffee Grinder 586 $229


I have been reading a lot about the Pharos, seems there are no complaints with the grind quality.
Only issues are handling.
I have no issues with manually doing anything, I actually have a few manual kitchen equipment - I do enjoy work in the Kitchen.
And I don't make Espresso when I am in a rush to get to work.

Posted January 26, 2014 link

  1. Forget the Rocky.  Cross it off your list and don't think about it again. It's too expensive for what it is, and impossible to get the grind just right, so you have to make compensations or modify it.
  2. Forget the Virtuoso.  Same problems as Rocky.  It's just not good enough for Espresso.  If you plan to get Baratza, you'll need a Preciso or better.  You can get a Preciso refurbished directly from Baratza, with a full one year warranty for $239.
  3. OE Paros is waaaay above all the other you mentioned.  It's in a totally different class.  Given your willingness to grind manually and work with it's minimal inadequacy, it's a no-brainer.

What's really too bad is you didn't find us before you bought the Delonghi, as you would have learned beforehand that it's not going to cut the mustard.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Skylar
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Apr 2004
Posts: 137
Location: New Jersey
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: lelit espresso
Grinder: lelit grinder
Vac Pot: B. D. Electric
Drip: chemex
Roaster: wok roast and popper, heat...
Posted Sun Jan 26, 2014, 12:13pm
Subject: Re: First time poster, new to Espresso Machine and some questions
 

A quick step in another direction. Why do you want to make espresso? Are you doing other coffee preparations  i.e. pour overs, electric coffee makers, single cup units. Your op say you and your Mrs, only drink coffee on the week-end. Do you drink coffee outside the home  - in cafes or at work during the week? If you do, do you enjoy what you drink? Have you visited a really good café (you are in Chicago - did you try Metropolis or Intelligensia)and get blown away by their stuff? Is that why you put out a not inconsiderable sum for your machine and grinder? The bitter fact is that neither are really up to giving you what you may desire but I am not sure what you want. In years past I bought the kitchen aide and unfortunately I know it well, by the way.

I have a friend of Italian heritage with extensive culinary knowledge and taste who has been to Italy on multiple occasions. He own a nespresso machine and is perfectly content with that. He is totally disinterested in first class espresso in the home.

For me the move into espresso is like a tyro swimmer leaping into the ocean. The waters are deep and the possibility of problems are numerous.

Sky
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homebrewdude
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2014
Posts: 17
Location: Chicago
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: DeLonghi EC702
Grinder: Looking
Drip: Bunn
Roaster: NONE
Posted Sun Jan 26, 2014, 3:26pm
Subject: Re: First time poster, new to Espresso Machine and some questions
 

Looks like I will order a OE Pharos
Need a plan for the good beans.
I am actually 1+ hour out of the city and in the middle of nowhere - mail order is the best for me.
Let me work on the grinder and beans first, then we can talk machines - been reading about the lever manual type.

Wife drinks dark roast, ground in the Kitchenaid, made in a Bunn  Monday-Friday
I drink Tea at work - good stuff with the correct equipment (Tea is cheaper then coffee!)

I make everything I can at home, and eventually I make it better then can be bought - or as good as the best.
Beer, cheese, wine, tea and soon to be espresso...

I have had espresso here and there in the states, nothing spectacular
10 years ago, on the honeymoon.
We ordered a cup of coffee in Paris for desert - I was expecting a cup of joe.
Brought 2 espresso's with small sugar cups = best I ever had

Next few weeks travelling in Italy = Espresso every morning, sometimes had to argue that I didn't want "american"
Again best I ever had...

That is what I want to do at home, remember my honeymoon...
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homebrewdude
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2014
Posts: 17
Location: Chicago
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: DeLonghi EC702
Grinder: Looking
Drip: Bunn
Roaster: NONE
Posted Sun Jan 26, 2014, 3:28pm
Subject: Re: First time poster, new to Espresso Machine and some questions
 

I should have added that in a rare occasion my wife were downtown in Chicago.
Stopped in Intelligentsia - just looking for coffee.
I just though it was a Starbucks....

they were doing pou rovers and stuff.

We both got latte's
I should have probably gotten something else...  Considering what I have been reading...
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,389
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Sun Jan 26, 2014, 4:16pm
Subject: Re: First time poster, new to Espresso Machine and some questions
 

]

homebrewdude Said:

I should have added that in a rare occasion my wife were downtown in Chicago.
Stopped in Intelligentsia - just looking for coffee.
I just though it was a Starbucks....

they were doing pou rovers and stuff.

We both got latte's
I should have probably gotten something else...  Considering what I have been reading...

Posted January 26, 2014 link

Yeh I nor my wife care for Intelly. But Metropolis and others there are incredible like Gaslight etc, order Metropolis Redline and it'll blow you away. If your downtown, hit up Metropolis and have them pull shots or whatever you want, damn good.

Delonghi Baskets can be depressurized, I have a pic of doing that on my Bar32. If you use them pressurized the coffee will never taste like espresso even with a high end grinder, it forces the coffee through a tony hole, vs a normal baskets with a ton of holes. When you depressurize them though, they force coffee through a larger but singular hole (you'll see in my pic below). If you can find a krups basket (ask on here as don't remember the size) you can swap that. Unfortunetly these types of machines also don't operate in the right temp range nor have stability. But with the Pharos, you'll still make much better coffee then Charbucks.

When you upgrade machines down the road you'll be set as don't really need anything more than the Pharos unless you want an auto grinder. Check out the VooDoo Daddy mods for it as well as makes it much easier to use. It's fast two, only takes like 15-20 seconds to grind a dose and the Delonghi baskets are really small so your pry not dosing more then 12-14 even in the double if you weight the beans on a digi scale that measures to .1 grams.

edit - here was my old Delonghi basket depressurized
Click Here (i146.photobucket.com)
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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 Sun Jan 26, 2014, 5:06pm
Subject: Re: First time poster, new to Espresso Machine and some questions
 

Watch the video classes that Metropolis has on the web.  It will give you a good idea why we say what we say and they are free.  If you can take a barista class even better.  If you do that before you buy you will have good idea what you want and why.

 
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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