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Mojo Hand

Coffee/Espresso hipsters

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5 hours ago, Mojo Hand said:

I'm so jealous.  Is it connected to a drain too, to get rid of the excess water? 

We didn't hook up the drain too because the machine is just a few feet away from the sink so just seemed like it made more sense to avoid adding a hole into the countertop. 

Have it plugged into an appliance timer so at 6am the machine is fired up and ready. In my mind I've amortized the cost over 5 years so the cost seems pretty reasonable. Hopefully it'll last a lot longer than that.

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Two things. My milk steaming skills have increased exponentially because of @Aphelion and this thread. Also what I think is perhaps an underrated aspect of having a home espresso machine is being able to use the type of milk you want to at home instead of compromising at a coffee shop. Shout out to A2 Milk which if you don't know what it is, is well worth an internet search.  

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6 minutes ago, Chopper said:

Shout out to A2 Milk 

You in Oz? Never saw this stuff until I moved down. 

Lots of milk consumption here, kinda shocked me at first. Lots of flat whites

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On 4/26/2018 at 7:45 AM, Celery Man said:

Is there such a thing as an all in one grinding brewing machine that is worth a shit/won't break immediately?  I require my coffee to brew on a timer so that it can be ready for me to stumble over to and pour when I wake up.  I used to get beans from Andersons when I lived up north (and drank much less coffee), but now that I'm south, I discovered Third Coast and love their medium roasts.  But I think I'm still a relative heathen getting them ground for my black and decker basket drip.

We have a Jura super-automatic that i didnt think i would like but not sure we could live without it.  Makes awesome coffee.  I've seen a lot of adds for the new Spinn coffee maker which is similar idea but cheaper.  Not sure how it tastes, but it is intriguing.

 

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On 4/26/2018 at 7:45 AM, Celery Man said:

Is there such a thing as an all in one grinding brewing machine that is worth a shit/won't break immediately?  I require my coffee to brew on a timer so that it can be ready for me to stumble over to and pour when I wake up.  I used to get beans from Andersons when I lived up north (and drank much less coffee), but now that I'm south, I discovered Third Coast and love their medium roasts.  But I think I'm still a relative heathen getting them ground for my black and decker basket drip.

I'm not too familiar with combination grinding and brewing home machines.  The biggest potential drawback to them is that they give you less control over the process, although I'm not sure how they are all operated and some may allow for more control.   

For shops, the single easiest and most reliable indicator between a specialty coffee shop and a fast food style coffee shop is their espresso grinder & machine.  If you walk in and they have an automatic espresso machine combined with a grinder, so that the operator simply presses a button and a shot of espresso comes out, then this is fast food coffee.  All specialty shops will have an independent fully adjustable grinder and independent espresso machine; the bar tender will have to grind and tamp and then load the portafilter into the machine.  Now some shops have the independent manual setup and their coffee is still not very good.  But there is no such thing as a top quality specialty coffee shop with an automatic combination machine.  

 

On 4/26/2018 at 11:15 AM, Mojo Hand said:

Is there supposed to be a correlation between the way the beans smell and how the espresso tastes?   I just made my best tasting one ever with locally roasted beans I just got that smell faintly like paint. 

There is absolutely a correlation between the way beans smells and espresso flavor.  However, sometimes you will notice aromas in the beans that don't come out in the espresso; sometimes this is because of improper espresso extraction and sometimes those aromas just get dominated by other flavors.  So just because a coffee smells great doesn't mean it will taste that way; but on the other hand, I've yet to try an espresso or coffee drink that I liked made from beans that had no aroma or smelled burnt or old/stale.  Basically, if it doesn't smell like it might be good, it probably won't be good.  

 

On 4/27/2018 at 9:08 AM, Chopper said:

Two things. My milk steaming skills have increased exponentially because of @Aphelion and this thread. Also what I think is perhaps an underrated aspect of having a home espresso machine is being able to use the type of milk you want to at home instead of compromising at a coffee shop. Shout out to A2 Milk which if you don't know what it is, is well worth an internet search.  

Glad I could be helpful.  I completely agree that milk quality is critical for all milk based drinks.  If you like large milk drinks (12 oz or larger), I actually think the milk is more important than the espresso quality.  If a milk doesn't taste all that great when cold, it is going to taste much less pleasant when heated up.  In very large milk drinks the milk becomes the dominant quality factor and the espresso gets muted.  This is even more true when sweeteners get added.  This is the primary reason why starbucks can get away with serving such bad espresso.  

But even for smaller milk drinks, milk quality is important.  If you go through the effort to prepare quality espresso, don't mix it with crap milk.

Edited by Guest

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On 4/26/2018 at 11:15 AM, Mojo Hand said:

Is there supposed to be a correlation between the way the beans smell and how the espresso tastes?   I just made my best tasting one ever with locally roasted beans I just got that smell faintly like paint. 

Also to add to this, I can't say that I've ever smelled a coffee that I would describe as paint like; but paint products have a large range of smells as well.  If the coffee and paint product you are thinking about were next to each other and I smelled them both I would probably be able to link the aromas you are getting.  But no paint like aroma comes to mind for me at the moment and I've never heard it used as a descriptor.  

The only time I've heard paint used as a descriptor in anything coffee related is in the consistency & texture of properly steamed microfoam.  Basically, if you dip a spoon into properly prepared microfoam, it should coat and cling to the spoon like paint would; it should also have a glossy surface.

Edited by Guest

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It had a weird astringent smell.  The coffee it produced was kind of chalky.  No matter, I've finally found my groove with Illy dark roasted beans. I'm still looking for a local roaster, but I'll use these to hone my skills for awhile. 

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Wife has been wanting an espresso machine for the house, so we took home a Breville Barista Touch over the weekend.  Holy shit, this thing makes a mean latte!  Brought it home on Monday and we've already gone through a 12 oz bag of beans.  Both of my boys have decided they need lattes every morning now as well and we have had to tell them they are limited to one each per day.  It's amazingly easy to use and clean as well.  

 

I don't think we'll be saving any money with this since the consumption of coffee drinks in my house has gone through the roof, but they are damn good.   You can adjust the grind, the heat on the pour, the heat of the milk and the amount of foam on the milk. Just got our beans from Cafe Milagro in Costa Rica yesterday (owner is from CO and they ship their coffee from Loveland, CO), so we're excited to use those.  I'm not a huge coffee drinker these days and almost never go to Starbucks.  That will change, except for the Starbucks part.

 

 

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One question for the coffee nerds who have been doing this a lot longer than me, how hard do you tamp down on the grounds?  I'm wondering if I'm doing it too hard.  The grounds come out of the portafilter in a puck (and stay that way in the dump basket, whatever you call that).  You can pick them up afterwards.  Am I tamping too hard?

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In my experience, the pucks remain solid and will "knock out" intact.  The only time they don't is when I'm using a darkly roasted bean (but even then ~95% of the puck stays intact).  As long as your finished product is tasting great, then you're tamping with the right amount of force.  

I share your Breville love;  think I've bought a latte or espresso twice since I got my Breville Express.  Freaking love that thing and science of dialing in the perfect shot.  A 12oz bag of beans usually lasts the wife and I about 5 days or so.

This video helped me improve my tamping; don't even mess with the "Razor" tool that Breville included with the machine.

 

Edited by Dutch

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On 5/13/2018 at 12:50 PM, Mojo Hand said:

If anyone is looking for a fully automatic espresso machine, this Jura seems pretty good, on sale for $680:  https://slickdeals.net/f/11589755-jura-15068-impressa-c65-automatic-coffee-machine-684-65-amazon

If you want shop quality espresso based milk drinks such as cappuccinos, I think the overall best value is the following combination:

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II:
https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/nuova-simonelli-oscar-ii-espresso-machine
https://www.nuovasimonelli.it/en/prodotti/macchine-tradizionali/oscar-ii-en.html

Lelit PL044MM
https://www.1st-line.com/buy/lelit-pl044mm-fred-espresso-coffee-grinder/

This setup is about $1600 total, which is higher than most are looking to pay.  However, with the right ingredients and enough practice, you can produce espressos and cappuccinos that are nearly indistinguishable from the products served at high end shops.  This is the lowest cost arrangement that I know of that can produce shop quality products.  

Edited by Axiom of Choice

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If you have a hard time finding good beans where you're at, I highly recommend roasting your own. It's not that complicated and the initial investment can be very cheap if you're willing to learn a bit. I order about 10 pounds of green beans at a time and roast about 2-3 days worth of coffee at a time using an air popcorn popper. Sweet Maria's is a great resource and good place to buy green. 

https://legacy.sweetmarias.com/library/how-to-roast-your-own-coffee

Edited by Eggo

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If you want shop quality espresso based milk drinks such as cappuccinos, I think the overall best value is the following combination:
Nuova Simonelli Oscar II:
https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/nuova-simonelli-oscar-ii-espresso-machine
https://www.nuovasimonelli.it/en/prodotti/macchine-tradizionali/oscar-ii-en.html
Lelit PL044MM
https://www.1st-line.com/buy/lelit-pl044mm-fred-espresso-coffee-grinder/
This setup is about $1600 total, which is higher than most are looking to pay.  However, with the right ingredients and enough practice, you can produce espressos and cappuccinos that are nearly indistinguishable from the products served at high end shops.  This is the lowest cost arrangement that I know of that can produce shop quality products.  
I dunno. My Breville makes store quality drinks.

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2 minutes ago, Chewbacca said:
1 hour ago, Axiom of Choice said:
If you want shop quality espresso based milk drinks such as cappuccinos, I think the overall best value is the following combination:
Nuova Simonelli Oscar II:
https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/nuova-simonelli-oscar-ii-espresso-machine
https://www.nuovasimonelli.it/en/prodotti/macchine-tradizionali/oscar-ii-en.html
Lelit PL044MM
https://www.1st-line.com/buy/lelit-pl044mm-fred-espresso-coffee-grinder/
This setup is about $1600 total, which is higher than most are looking to pay.  However, with the right ingredients and enough practice, you can produce espressos and cappuccinos that are nearly indistinguishable from the products served at high end shops.  This is the lowest cost arrangement that I know of that can produce shop quality products.  

Read more  

I dunno. My Breville makes store quality drinks.

What types of drinks do you make at the house?  If you are making straight espresso, then I agree they can get fairly close (depending on the size of shot you are looking for; I think they are better at single shots).  But for cappuccinos, I was never able to make a comparable one.  They don't have a large enough boiler capacity to produce the micro foam that a commercial machine can produce.  At least not on the ones I have used.  

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I own a Breville Barista Express, too, and have worked in coffee shops. I can attest that the Breville does not create the same level of foam that you would get out of a more expensive machine, but it's just a matter of deciding what's really important to you. I find the biggest aggravation I have with the machine stems only from using disparate beans that require fine adjustments to the grind size and amount to pull a good shot. Also, it would be nice to have a machine that pulled a shot while simultaneously steaming the milk. 

I probably won't upgrade to something more expensive until both of our student loans (including med school), mortgages, cars, and retirement accounts are taken care of, if that gives you any impression of the urgency. The Breville is a solid home espresso. 

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What types of drinks do you make at the house?  If you are making straight espresso, then I agree they can get fairly close (depending on the size of shot you are looking for; I think they are better at single shots).  But for cappuccinos, I was never able to make a comparable one.  They don't have a large enough boiler capacity to produce the micro foam that a commercial machine can produce.  At least not on the ones I have used.  
We're primarily make cappuccinos. Breville has a new foam technology in their new machines (according to woman at Williams Sonoma, anyway) and it works great. Foam feels the same to my mouth as what i get from a coffee shop.

I have the Barista Touch.

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4 hours ago, Eggo said:

I own a Breville Barista Express, too, and have worked in coffee shops. I can attest that the Breville does not create the same level of foam that you would get out of a more expensive machine, but it's just a matter of deciding what's really important to you. I find the biggest aggravation I have with the machine stems only from using disparate beans that require fine adjustments to the grind size and amount to pull a good shot. Also, it would be nice to have a machine that pulled a shot while simultaneously steaming the milk. 

I probably won't upgrade to something more expensive until both of our student loans (including med school), mortgages, cars, and retirement accounts are taken care of, if that gives you any impression of the urgency. The Breville is a solid home espresso. 

There is no substitute for boiler size.  The commercial grade machines typically have boiler capacities somewhere around 8-10x larger per group than machines for home use.  

 

4 hours ago, Chewbacca said:

We're primarily make cappuccinos. Breville has a new foam technology in their new machines (according to woman at Williams Sonoma, anyway) and it works great. Foam feels the same to my mouth as what i get from a coffee shop.

I have the Barista Touch.

 

I have not used a Barista Touch.  What is the difference from the new foaming technology compared to a traditional steam wand?  I'm curious how well it works.  Would you take some pictures of your cappuccinos and post them?

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  I have not used a Barista Touch.  What is the difference from the new foaming technology compared to a traditional steam wand?  I'm curious how well it works.  Would you take some pictures of your cappuccinos and post them?


Don't know, other than it gets hot insanely fast. Like a few seconds. I'll take some pics when I'm home. In the mountains right now.

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18 hours ago, Chewbacca said:

We're primarily make cappuccinos. Breville has a new foam technology in their new machines (according to woman at Williams Sonoma, anyway) and it works great. Foam feels the same to my mouth as what i get from a coffee shop.

I have the Barista Touch.

Pics of woman at Williams Sonoma? 

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On 7/5/2019 at 9:03 PM, Axiom of Choice said:

There is no substitute for boiler size.  The commercial grade machines typically have boiler capacities somewhere around 8-10x larger per group than machines for home use.  

 

 

I have not used a Barista Touch.  What is the difference from the new foaming technology compared to a traditional steam wand?  I'm curious how well it works.  Would you take some pictures of your cappuccinos and post them?

Here's one I just made in the mug my 12 year old son got me for Father's Day.

 

https://imgur.com/sWvrYLW

Edited by Chewbacca

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19 hours ago, Chewbacca said:

Here's one I just made in the mug my 12 year old son got me for Father's Day.

 

https://imgur.com/sWvrYLW

Nice.  Thanks for sharing.  The milk texture looks pretty good.   

To give some idea of the milk texture that a commercial machine can produce, here is a cappuccino made on my equipment:

https://imgur.com/QkSUB2s

Commercial machines have large boilers and high capacity steam wands, allowing the operator to ingest the optimal amount of air and whip it to produce a homogeneous microfoam. The foam will have a glossy texture and consistency that allows one to pour patterns.  

 

 

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First off, my latte art absolutely sucks.  I freely admit it's garbage.  Insert any and all jokes here.  It took lots of practice, but I've got my steamed milk tasting really good now.  I got my Barista Express in April, and getting the milk to stretch and stream "right" was the hardest thing.

imgur
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Great looking drinks, gents.

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43 minutes ago, Axiom of Choice said:

Nice.  Thanks for sharing.  The milk texture looks pretty good.   

To give some idea of the milk texture that a commercial machine can produce, here is a cappuccino made on my equipment:

https://imgur.com/QkSUB2s

Commercial machines have large boilers and high capacity steam wands, allowing the operator to ingest the optimal amount of air and whip it to produce a homogeneous microfoam. The foam will have a glossy texture and consistency that allows one to pour patterns.  

 

 

I'll get a shot with a light above it like that one you posted.  Mine was in my (relatively) dark office.

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14 minutes ago, Dutch said:

First off, my latte art absolutely sucks.  I freely admit it's garbage.  Insert any and all jokes here.  It took lots of practice, but I've got my steamed milk tasting really good now.  I got my Barista Express in April, and getting the milk to stretch and stream "right" was the hardest thing.

 

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Great looking drinks, gents.

Your milk texture is very nice.  Hard to tell from the angle, but it looks like just the right amount of foam as well. Edit: You made this on the Breville Barista Express?  I'm very impressed.  

 

14 minutes ago, Chewbacca said:

I'll get a shot with a light above it like that one you posted.  Mine was in my (relatively) dark office.

How deep do you typically make the foam layer?  Is it roughly 20-30% of the cup?

Edited by Axiom of Choice

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35 minutes ago, Dutch said:

First off, my latte art absolutely sucks.  I freely admit it's garbage.  Insert any and all jokes here.  It took lots of practice, but I've got my steamed milk tasting really good now.  I got my Barista Express in April, and getting the milk to stretch and stream "right" was the hardest thing.

 

/applications/core/interface/js/spacer.png" />

 

 

Great looking drinks, gents.

damn, you made that with a barista express?  that's pretty impressive.  don't care about latte art, just texture and taste and that looks fantastic.  my cappuccinos all end up with major macrofoam.  these two were taken right after i got the machine so i have greatly improved on these but nothing nearly as nice as yours.

file1-14.jpg

file-30.jpg

 

edit: i wish i would have seen this thread last year before i started bugging aoc about it over email...

Edited by sidis

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43 minutes ago, Axiom of Choice said:

Your milk texture is very nice.  Hard to tell from the angle, but it looks like just the right amount of foam as well. Edit: You made this on the Breville Barista Express?  I'm very impressed.  

 

How deep do you typically make the foam layer?  Is it roughly 20-30% of the cup?

That one wasn't very deep.  I had too much milk that I steamed, so I'd guess that one was 10% foam because I didn't have room for all of it.  I usually do more, though.  Probably closer to 20%.

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1 hour ago, sidis said:

damn, you made that with a barista express?  that's pretty impressive.  don't care about latte art, just texture and taste and that looks fantastic.  my cappuccinos all end up with major macrofoam.  these two were taken right after i got the machine so i have greatly improved on these but nothing nearly as nice as yours.

file1-14.jpg

file-30.jpg

 

edit: i wish i would have seen this thread last year before i started bugging aoc about it over email...

I agree on the latte art.  I typically don't bother with anything fancy at the house.  To me the point of the art is to demonstrate that the milk has been textured properly, as you can't do art unless you have the necessary amount of quality microfoam.  

I'm also impressed that these guys are able to steam milk as well as they are with the Brevilles.  They are certainly getting the most out of those machines.  However, I think in the case of @Dutch, one of the reasons he is having trouble with the art is because he doesn't have the volume of the type of microfoam needed to do art.  It seems to be trailing off when he is at the finishing stage, which is an indication of this type of problem.  When I've used a Breville, I can either make a lot of macrofoam or a small amount of microfoam; Dutch is producing more microfoam than I ever did on one of them, but my suspicion is that it is still a bit short.  Maybe he will post some other photos later which prove me wrong.  Or even better, post a video of the steam and pour process.  You can tell more with a video.   

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I found out I needed to downsize the size of the frothing pitcher. Someone recommended using a pitcher that holds at least 50 percent of the milk by volume that you want to use. Since I'm making lattes mostly for myself the full-sized pitchers were allowing me to add too much air and not allowing me to get a good vortex going. Switched to a tiny pitcher and it's made a big difference. 

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My family calls me a coffee *nerd because I use a burr grinder on 14.99/12 oz local Volcanista brand beans, heat my water to 195 on the stove, and press at exactly 3 min 20 seconds.

 

I may as well be my granny, running Folgers through a Mr. Coffee with tap water.

Edited by JoseMedinaDeJesus
Need/nerd

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On 7/14/2019 at 9:47 AM, Chopper said:

I found out I needed to downsize the size of the frothing pitcher. Someone recommended using a pitcher that holds at least 50 percent of the milk by volume that you want to use. Since I'm making lattes mostly for myself the full-sized pitchers were allowing me to add too much air and not allowing me to get a good vortex going. Switched to a tiny pitcher and it's made a big difference. 

Good point.  Pitcher size is very important.  You cannot create a sufficient vortex if your pitcher is too large.  For cappuccinos, the pitcher I use is roughly 12 ounces.  

Here is the cappuccino I made this morning.  I tried to take the picture at an angle that better shows the texture, volume, and density of the milk foam.  This is an 8 ounce glass:

https://imgur.com/gmxqLzg

 

gmxqLzg.jpg

 

On 7/14/2019 at 12:42 PM, RMac5 said:


 

Those are a lot of fun to play with.  I used to use one as the primary machine at my house.  I really like lever machines.  They are fun to operate and easy to fix.

Here is a new machine I purchased recently:

 

https://imgur.com/Va94TG1

 

Va94TG1.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by Axiom of Choice

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6 minutes ago, sidis said:

please tell me that is for the shop and not your house...

Ha, even I’m not that obsessive.  I have a single group at the house.  It’s for the shop. I’m opening a new one in the fall.  

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Just now, Axiom of Choice said:

Ha, even I’m not that obsessive.  I have a single group at the house.  It’s for the shop. I’m opening a new one in the fall.   

congrats.  any chance it will be near westlake (the austin one)? ;)

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1 hour ago, sidis said:

congrats.  any chance it will be near westlake (the austin one)? ;)

I wish.  My dream is to have multiple locations in the major cities across Texas.  Then I will live in the hill country and write articles to philosophy journals that no one reads and play chess all day (by the way, thanks to your help I recently exceeded a rating of 2100 on blitz chess, which was a long time goal of mine).  But even in my most optimistic projections, multiple city locations is at minimum 5-10 years away.  I do think it is a real possibility, though; for a city with the size and culture of Austin, the coffee options are pretty average.  That is generally true for all of Texas.  But for now I am tied to the energy industry in the gulf coast.  

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3 hours ago, RMac5 said:

@Axiom of Choice which unit is that a picture of?

For whatever reason the pic isn’t loading, just a grey box.

 

45 minutes ago, sidis said:

Yep, that's the one.  See if you can follow the direct link to the imgur site for the picture I took:

https://imgur.com/Va94TG1

There are many good commercial machines on the market these days.  All of them are capable of making good espresso and milk drinks.  I used to think there was something mystical about levers, partly from my visit to Naples where they are widely used, and that they made superior espresso. However, a lot of technology has been added to the pump machines over the last several years, and you can do some incredible things with them on selecting exact pressure profiles, temperatures, and adjusting for volume and even mass of shots.  So the latest generation of pump machines have the advantage over old fashioned levers.  However, I still like the style and feel of a lever, and they still produce a really nice and balanced shot.  Also, they are incredibly reliable and easy to fix.  

Edited by Axiom of Choice

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Thats a great looking lever machine, I really enjoy our La Pavoni. I bought a commercial grinder but we always just buy the Illy coffee espresso grind and it works perfect for our machine.

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What do y'all think is the best alt milk? I had decided there wasn't one available for home use but then tried Oatly oat milk full fat. It's not a perfect alternative to real milk but it's pretty damn good. 

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2 hours ago, RMac5 said:

Thats a great looking lever machine, I really enjoy our La Pavoni. I bought a commercial grinder but we always just buy the Illy coffee espresso grind and it works perfect for our machine.

What grinder do you have?

 

38 minutes ago, Chopper said:

What do y'all think is the best alt milk? I had decided there wasn't one available for home use but then tried Oatly oat milk full fat. It's not a perfect alternative to real milk but it's pretty damn good. 

I just drink regular whole milk at the  house.  I’ve got a range of other milks at the shop, but I haven’t tried them in a long time.  Some types of milk don’t foam very well; regular coconut milk, for example.  But there are barista milk options for the non cow milks that foam much better.  I honestly don’t have any idea what they do to them to make them foam better, but whatever they do works really well. 

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14 minutes ago, RMac5 said:

@Axiom of Choice I bought a used La San Marco from one of our local coffee houses, I never even used it. I get all gear nerd when I start a new hobby.

What on earth?  You can't keep that thing on the bench while preground illy gets the start.  Find a local whole bean roaster and load that sucker up.  PM your address if you like and I will send you a bag to play with.

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