Posted Fri May 11, 2012, 8:51pm Subject: First Post, details about my set up
I just bought my first decent espresso set up.
A few years ago I got a hamilton beach espresso machine from a now ex-gf. I was never able to get a decent espresso out of it, regardless if I used grinds or pods; and it would usually water down the milk too much if I tried to steam with it. So for a while I gave up.
In Green Bay here we only have one decent cafe. I tried a few and one that was recommended, their espresso ended up tasting like an americano (they didn't even serve it in a glass. it was in a paper cup). So I decided to upgrade and just end up making my own. I recently won a Gaggia Carezza on ebay for $49. Immediatly I upgraded the steam wand to that of the Rancillio Silvia. After a few tries I was able to get a really thick micro foam out of 2% milk and make some rudamentry latte art.
For espresso, since I didn't have a grinder, I was using starbucks pods that I would split open and tamp (may sound silly but it worked, and still tasted 100x better than the espresso at some of the cafe's here).
Now I just won a Quickmill Replica Grinder on ebay for $150. I haven't found too many reviews of this grinder, but this price was about 1/3 of what a new one cost. Hopefully it will work good.
Otherwise, I have been using a Cuisinart with a built in grinder for regular coffee. We have a few local roasters. One of which has a very large selection of coffee from many regions. I prefer the Papua New Guinea and Haitian coffees. Another roaster has Stout Blend which is fairly bold with some undertones very similar to a stout beer. This roaster also partners with a local brewer to make a coffee stout. So far, my Cuisinart hasn't let me down for drip.
Posted Mon May 28, 2012, 7:05pm Subject: Re: First Post, details about my set up
Hello! Green Bay? As in Green Bay, Wisconsin? Well, I'm just down the road on 41 and used to live in Green Bay. Kavarna is the only good coffee shop in GB as far as I'm concerned. De Pere has Luna which is pretty good.
I'm new on CoffeeGeek too, but have been browsing the boards for a while. I signed up when I realized the info people share and used it to help me buy my new machine. I currently have a Nuova Simonelli MDX grinder that is huge but was a steal I found 6 years ago. I also found a Nuova Simonelli Mac Cup V single group for a reasonable used price (also 6 years ago) but it probably needs a new pressure stat and definitely a new gasket now. Because of the age of my machine (1998 or 1996 model), I decided to move on to a Rocket R58 which will be arriving within the next 10 days. I also have a ZPM Espresso machine coming (August?) and already have a Baratza grinder to try out.
I'm trying to gain some room back on my counter! I think the ZPM machine will be fun to play with but am not expecting any miracles but as I told my wife, we've wasted money on more foolish things. If the ZPM machine isn't that great, I'll hand it off to someone else to play with, my loss=their gain. Maybe someone else can get a start in espresso with a small machine like I did originally about 8 years ago.
Here is the justification for the Rocket R58 for those of you that think it's a stretch to afford one (we used similar logic for deciding to buy our first machines). Let us assume the R58 is $2800 new. Let us use $2.70 for a short cappuccino at Starbucks (what I would drink if I didn't have a machine) and $3.25+ .70 for an extra shot in a Grande Cappuccino (my wife's drink of choice). That is $6.65 + tax, totaling $7.02. Now add that up for 5 days a week (work week) and twice on each weekend day and you have a grand total of $63.18 a week for a coffee habit at Starbucks. 52 weeks a year folks...is $3285. Now my grinder and new machine seem to pay back in just over a year when you consider that I still have to buy coffee and pay the electric bill for the machine. There isn't a good coffee shop in Oshkosh so Starbucks is the comparison/convenience even though we would only go there in a pinch.
Does this actually play out? Yes, in the last six years of having the professional machine and grinder we have probably only ventured out for coffee outside of our home about twice a month on a weekend when we were in Green Bay, Milwaukee, or Madison. So, once a person starts drinking great espresso at home, the only real fun is getting latte art by a skilled barista because we still can't pour art!
Our priority is coffee, no boat, no motorcycle, no fancy house, no new cars...just a coffee obsession.
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