deleted Senior Member Joined: 11 Jun 2014 Posts: 498 Location: Town Expertise: Just starting
Posted Sat Jun 21, 2014, 5:23am Subject: Definitely a noob
Here is my situation, BTW how do you all like my username ?
OK I am trying to live in the Philippines and in the past just dealt without having coffee. For some reason it's not really in their culture even though they grow it. It is available but way too expensive, at least in my book. But what's really expensive is a nice big cup of Coffee Americano at Bo's Café. It'll run you almost $3 a cup and that is for sure not one of the reasons I am moving to the Phils (Oh yeah BTW my old often used user name is/was bang4dabuck). So anyhow, I got it in my head that I am going to make my own Café Americano which will hopefully be right up there with Bo's. Can I do it ? Is it possible being that I am budget oriented (to say the least) and inexperienced ?
I just purchased an EC155 and in the week I've used it I have seen vast improvements in not only the crema but the taste. I have borrowed my sis's Capresso 501 (I think) and found a higher , a little coarser grind improved the results. Anyways it's getting better but still not even in the same league as the cafe's. So I think a little more experience, maybe a little better grinder but then again there is the main ingredient ... the coffee used. I have tried preground which I know y'all are not down with. But now I am trying BJ's Guatemalan French Roast and Zeke's Gunpowder Espresso (local, very fresh and too expensive). Right now I'm not attaining the flavor I am seeking. I am only doing single shots (no Americano's yet). I want the rich coffee taste more so than the burnt flavor. So is it my lack of experience, my machine will never produce top notch coffee even if I get it down pat or have I just not found the right coffee and the right grind ? Speaking of, what low end grinder would you all rec for over there. I do have 110 electric but I want something small because I gotta haul it over. I foresee me making maybe 2 - 4 doubles a day. OK sorry for all the detail but thought it would maybe explain where I'm coming from (while I explain where I'm going to). Thanks
Those things are not mutually exclusive. The most likely answer is, "'D.' All of the above, but WAIT!, there's MORE!!!"
Speaking of, what low end grinder would you all rec for over there. I do have 110 electric but I want something small because I gotta haul it over. I foresee me making maybe 2 - 4 doubles a day.
There is no "low end grinder," which can do even passable espresso, let alone "top notch." The two, least expensive, motorized grinders adequate for espresso and commonly available in the US are the LeLit PL53 and Baratza Preciso.
The least expensive machine + grinder combination I know of which will put you into "good" (as opposed to "adequate," or "very good") is the CC1 + Vario; available for around $1000 stateside. Include beans, expendables, other accessories, then amortize everything for a couple of years of use, and you're looking at a production cost of around $2 per double.
BTW, very dark roasts such as "French," and "Espresso," usually don't make for good espresso.
emradguy Senior Member Joined: 31 Mar 2011 Posts: 3,537 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 Sat Jun 21, 2014, 9:03am Subject: Re: Definitely a noob
Your goal is achievable...but not with the gear you selected. Scratch that up to "idiot tax" (no, I'm not calling you an idiot, but not seeking this advice before making your purchase was one of your mistakes).
$3 x 365 = $1095 so, if you spend that amount of money on gear, beans, water, electricity, sweetener (if you use it) over the first year, you break even. If you spend twice that, you break even later...maybe two years or more...but once you break even, then you start saving money. I've spent about $1k per year (on average) over the past 11 years. However, I have 4 people in my house drinking espresso drinks every day, so for me...I'm way ahead! It's not too late for you.
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
So Rich, what might be a good bean to try then ? Columbian ? Kona ? And your feelings on the grind on a 1 to 10 scale. 1 being very fine. I think I read somewhere the lighter the bean color the coarser should be the grind. I am surprised by what you said but had thought about it myself.
z0mbie Senior Member Joined: 26 Sep 2013 Posts: 392 Location: Online Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Sat Jun 21, 2014, 4:15pm Subject: Re: Definitely a noob
OP, you need to indicate what style of roast you prefer. You know, dark, med, light. If you don't know about them there are plenty of resources online to learn about roasting facts. Google is your friend.
Once you know this, folks here can point you to the regions that do well for certain roast levels.
But you know nothing is stopping you from just picking up beans from any region and learn. Jus tdo it. Don't like? Move along.. choose another region. Like that? stick to it try different offerings from that region. Learn the differences..
Even decades of drinking coffee, it's always a learning process and nothing in a forum going to be better than trying the stuff with your own mouth and deciding for yourself.
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 8,169 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 Sun Jun 22, 2014, 8:54am Subject: Re: Definitely a noob
The BEST espresso grinders do not have steps, even starter espresso grinders have many, many more than 10. Very small changes in the grind make big changes in the shots you need all the adjustment you can get.
The "rule" for a starting point with espresso is grind your coffee so that with a NON pressurized porta filter, you get (for a double shot) 1.5 to 2.0 floz of coffee from about 14 to 18 G of ground coffee tamped to ABOUT 30 pounds pressure in about 25 seconds and pulled at 195 to 205 F.
You can see a lot of non exact guidelines here, that is because the shot will change from day to day and sometimes through the course of a day so you are constantly adjusting for the shot. Some like richer chocolate shots, others like more fruity and flowery notes in their shots. There is no right or wrong way, it is what you like best. The coffee will seriously change what you taste in the cup by where it is grown, then the roast changes the flavor and then all the brewing steps will change the cup as well. Espresso has a pretty steep learning curve and the better your equipment is, the less varration you will get from shot to shot that is out of your control and above all, the grinder is the most important part of your kit, a passable espresso grinder with a motor STARTS at about $300 U.S.
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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