You are invited to Log in or Register a free Frihost Account!

Coffee Quest

So. It's been on my mind more and more that I don't use my Keurig much. I've been getting into the habit of using my French press far more. Almost all the time now. It's a kind of ritual almost. Or something like that.

Wake up, float into the kitchen (or stumble and trip over cats) and grind some coffee. Fill and boil my kettle. Dump grinds into the press. Wait... Pour water... wait. I've been looking at different articles that either say to stir the grinds a touch 30 seconds in or wait until the end before you press. I'm not sure which is better.

I tried a k-cup recently and... I just didn't like the flavour. I've always enjoyed the vanilla hazelnut cups but... I can't do it anymore. Seems a shame since my Keurig 2.0 isn't really that old. And I suppose the expense of the cups really does add up. I'd have at least 2 most days when I was up and running. It's really a lot of waste.

I expect the only thing I can do with my Keurig is take it in for electronic waste. I'm not sure anyone would ever take a used Keurig. And we have too many at work already so I can't bring it here.

In other news. I was talking to a friend who knows a lot about espresso. His equipment is impressive and he certainly worked his way up to a nice setup. I'm baffled by it. He was great to talk to and I made it plain that I was really looking for entry level and he asked for a budget and he looked around, talked to a few people, read a lot of reviews for me.

He recommended this grinder:

He had this one before and I kind of liked it. It was actually very quiet and I think it does a better job of grinding the beans without added excessive heat. Mine is the opposite. It gets up to speed and grinds and the longer you grind for I expect the hotter it gets. I'm actually getting the black grinder. I like the red one but I'm a touch worried it will come out more orange in person. It will just blend in with everything else in my kitchen for the most part... And realistically, I already have a red hand mixer. It might feel threatened if I have another red appliance of some sort.

This is the machine he's found that is on sale elsewhere and seems to be better than another he found:

It's on sale and I'm hoping to put my order in soon but I can't tell when it's going to run out and if one will be left by the time I can order.

The milk steamer was a must on my part. I'm not big on espressos yet but I do love a good mocha and I wouldn't mind throwing a cappuccino or latte in there.

My friend is really being super great about all this. I feel like such a noob but I'm determined to learn. I really should give espresso another try. I was really overwhelmed with how strong it was but maybe if I find a place that has good espresso then that will help me understand what I'm looking for in a good shot.

This is almost as bad as when I was trying to manage a live plant aquarium. That was almost fun!

7 blog comments below

I'm not good with espresso myself. However, a colleague of mine at work has a little espresso machine at work, and the coffee aroma that floats out of his office is to die for at times. Keeps him on the go as well. He's a high energy producer on the job.
deanhills on Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:37 am
This sequence of events doesn't make a lot of sense.

I ordered 2 bags of coffee (12oz). 2 different flavours I wanted to try. I ordered them online on the 16th. I was lucky to be home to receive them on the 21st. On the 17th I ended up putting in the order for the coffee grinder and apparently they tried to deliver that on the 18th somehow?? I could have picked that up today but I literally had 5 minutes from when I received my coffee to when I had to run out to work. So I'll be picking that up in story this morning (it's after midnight for me). It just boggles my mind when it says it might have been a 7 day ground delivery but it didn't really take a day!

I wish the espresso machine would be so fast but I'm to expecting that until next week.

In another bizarre twist. I ended up wishing I had a box or something I could plug my HDMI devices into so I didn't have to change inputs or unplug one to use another. I basically wanted a KVM. I mentioned this to a friend and sure enough, Amazon had what I wanted. Little spitter. You plug into an HDMI port on your TV and then you plug in the other 3 devices. I will automatically detect a device if it's on. Otherwise you have a select button if more than one is on. I opted for this one since it wasn't too long. They had another more advanced box it a remote but it also required additional power and I didn't need another device that had to plug in somewhere. I must have ordered that on the Saturday and it was shoved in my mailbox today when I got home. What the heck??
TheGremlyn on Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:47 am
Strange delivery schedules indeed. Some company like to under estimate speed then over preform. Covers their back side while trying to impress a customer.
standready on Tue Mar 22, 2016 4:21 pm
My espresso machine just arrived this afternoon. The delivery timeline said I wouldn't see it until the 28th. I was fortunate to be home when there was a knocked followed by the sound of something lightly thudding against. UPS scares me. From what I've heard they are quite willing to just drop and run. So if I hadn't been home I expect my nice big box would have been carted off by someone else :S

Now I have a new toy! I get to learn the ropes of espresso making! A new challenge for sure. Also means I need to go out and try espresso a bit more to understand the flavour so I know what I'm aiming towards. I've been watching videos and reading documents to understand the general rules and what you're looking for.

I plan go to home and at least set it up and see what happens.
TheGremlyn on Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:46 am
Wonder what Squee, Luna, and the Guinea Pigs will all be thinking of the new aroma? No doubt wrinkling their noses more than usual. Very Happy
deanhills on Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:25 pm
So the sound of the pump startled me. The instructions said it would happen. I believed it. But hearing it was different. It's a little louder than the new grinder I have! Made me laugh and little and Mynx and Luna cautiously walked out, eyes wide, looking at me and sniffing around.

I went through the 'conditioning' cycle it mentioned where you run hot water through the group head (pressing single shot button with no portafilter attached). Then you run water for 10 seconds through the water dispensing spout. You just go back and forth until you drain most of the water from the tank. I also learned the little "empty me" sign that creeps up through the drip tray shows too late and I overflowed the tray twice! I caught on to that one and if I see it lifting even a little I dump the tray. It fills quickly because it's recommended to run an empty shot of water so the actual water used for the shot is at a better temperature. Then you run the shot. After that's done you remove the portafilter and run more water through to clean the group head. I have to reread the manual *again* to see if it purges water after running a shot... or maybe that's only when you're using the steam wand. If you want to steam milk you point the wand at the drip tray, turn on the steam function. You want while it purges water through the wand and builds up actual steam. Then you put it to standby and put the jug up to the wand and turn it back to steam. You have 6 seconds to do this otherwise it purges and you almost start all over again. After you're done steaming the milk you turn the steam off, wipe the wand and purge milk from the wand with a blast of steam.

It's a lot to remember. I try to make sure I don't miss a step.

I read somewhere that I should start trying to make doubleshots first over single. Something about make sure I get the right consistency and crema and... etc. So I was trying about 5 times last night. I went through quite a bit. The book says to use about 3 scoops of grind (it comes with a scoop) but it also recommends 4 scoops if you're using fresh ground coffee. So it was a process experimenting with the amount of grind used, tamping pressure, trying to make sure I had an even spread and tamped evenly. I managed to get the pressure gauge into the grey zone once. Sadly I was getting sick of trying the espresso that came out and I think it irritated my stomach. I only took about a sip of each but man...

This morning I backed up and tried just making single shots so I wasn't using so much of my beans. It was more like 2 and a bit scoops of ground coffee with the single shot basket. Also those baskets are annoying to remove! Lol! My first shot just inched its way into the grey ideal extraction zone. My second just flopped. My third jumped up into the middle of the grey zone. So I made a cappuccino with the last shot and called it a morning! I think I used a bit more ground coffee in that last one and tamped carefully and evenly. It does come with a 'razor' for trimming down the grounds in the basket to make sure you're not jamming it up into the group head. I used that on my second shot this morning and trimmed it down (wasn't too much to trim) but that shot flopped on pressure.

I know grind level is a factor but I can't make the grinds any smaller since I'm on the finest setting for this grinder. I maaay bring out my other and test to see what it comes up with. I haven't timed the shots yet but I highly doubt they're near 25-35 seconds. I watched a video again that I watched previously and I was just waiting... and waiting... and waiting... I don't wait that long with mine.

What I might try is the manual operation options with the Breville. This will allow me to say how long to preinfusion bit lasts and then how long it actually extracts for. I do not believe it extracts long enough since the shot is supposed to start out nice and dark and thick and then face to a blonde colour. It doesn't extract that long and it doesn't have that chance to fade out. The preprogrammed shots are supposed to make 30ml and 60ml of espresso. I don't think it is...

I may also invest in a little kitchen scale to try and weigh the grinds. It's something like... 50 grams ? I'll look that up for both single and double shots.
TheGremlyn on Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:40 pm
Wow, that sounds like really hard work, lots of learning and experience that are needed. Think I now have more respect for those guys behind the coffee counters who are dashing around the coffee makers brewing the coffee. There has to be lots of training and experience before one gets it just right.
deanhills on Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:16 pm

© 2005-2011 Frihost, forums powered by phpBB.