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: 3,023 Location: PNW Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: N S Oscar Grinder: K30 & 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.
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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