Espresso heaven

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Philip_T, Feb 1, 2004.

  1. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    I finally got around to buying myself an espresso machine and I love it. I don't think I'll ever go back to regular coffee again. I got the SAECO VIA VENETO machine and it works wonders, although Im still trying to perfect the milk frothing stage. For my 1st batch, I just went out and got some Starbucks espresso roast beans and had them grind em up with their grinders. I know they are the evil empire, but they do make some decent coffee. Does anyone have any other recommendations for espresso beans other than starbucks?
     
  2. Joe McCabe

    Joe McCabe Second Unit

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    I know what you mean!!

    I got my wife the Saeco Royal Professional for Christmas, and we were just saying this morning, that we don't see a reason to go to a coffee house anymore.

    We can brew a cup of coffee, an espresso, or make a latte in minutes, and it's just as good as what we can get a Starbuck's.
     
  3. Mark Shannon

    Mark Shannon Screenwriter

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    Do those by any chance make cappucinnos as well. I love French Vanilla and English Toffee.
     
  4. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    Buzz,
    Looking forward to that pic if you get a chance to post it. BTW, when I was trying to make some froth yesterday, I started with 1/2 cup of milk and by the time I was done, I had 3/4 cup of milk, almost like the steamer was leaking water into the milk. Must keep trying.
     
  5. Joe McCabe

    Joe McCabe Second Unit

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    Damn Buzz, that froth is much thicker than what I've been able to accomplish.

    I think I need more practice!
     
  6. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    That looks like some wicked good froth Buzz!! I will be testing out that method tomorrow morning. BTW, Im curious, what is the benefit of the unpressurized portafilter vs the pressurized one? I tried to find one on the Saeco sight, but only found the pressurized replacement. Thanks again for the hints! Im sure they will help my novice espresso making skills get on track.[​IMG]
     
  7. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    Seattle's Best is the coffee of choice for myself. Great stuff. Try their Tazza d'Oro blend. Great coffee flavor without that burnt coffee taste.


    Peace Out~[​IMG]
     
  8. Claude M

    Claude M Stunt Coordinator

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  9. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for recommendation Ron-P, I had almost completely forgotten about Seattle's Best, had some when I was out there and it was very good. Now if I can only find some here in Denver.
    Claude, my next step will be a decent grinder, I wont touch a coffee bean to my current propeller type anymore after countless batches of bad coffee.
    Buzz, that makes sense now. BTW, yet another good tip as I noticed coffee splatter forming already.
     
  10. Alex S

    Alex S Second Unit

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    Not sure if they have it in Colorado. (not too many Italians in Colorado) [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    Well, I followed those frothing directions from Buzz, but before I started to get any measurable ammount of froth, the milk started to boil, which pretty much made it impossible to make any more froth. Practice practice practice for me I guess.
    Alex, did a search for the medaglia d'oro and I couldn't find any in Colorado, but I do know some Italians here. [​IMG]
     
  12. BrianShort

    BrianShort Supporting Actor

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    Here is the local roast where I live (used to work for them but not now)

    www.ravensbrew.com

    I stop by from time to time to make myself a mocha. mmmmm! Normally I don't drink coffee but I think if I had an espresso machine I would.

    Brian
     
  13. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Phillip,

    Frothing with some wands is easier than others. There are some good frothing guides on www.coffegeek.com and www.wholelattelove.com. I found it impossible to froth milk until I read these. I used to use a cappucinatore (auto-frothing attachment) on my Krups machine (with so-so results) but have since upgraded to a Saeco super-automatic and needed to learn to froth without the training wheels. I now have graduated to passable micro-foam, the holy grail of frothed milk. Look at the guide on whollattelove, it helped me the most:

    Frothing guide
     
  14. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    Thats a real decent machine there, I have a similar Saeco model with the same portafilter. You can mod the one you have to make it unpressurized by removing the screws in the bottom of it, removing the spring, and carefully prying the plastic plunger device out of it's mounts. Works great, and the operation is reversible if you want to put it back.

    The downside is you'll need a really good burr grinder and a 53mm tamper. The pressurized portafilter makes up for uneven grinding and requires no tamp, but without the pressurization device in place good results will be totally up to you. With a little practice though, your shots should be a little less bitter and the crema will thicker and darker.

    The cheapest burr grinder I've found that grinds evenly and finely enough for consistently great espresso is the Isomac Macinacaffe Professionale for $150. I wasted some money on cheaper machines that didn't grind evenly enough. http://shop.store.yahoo.com/aabreecc/isgrmaescogr.html

    You can get a tamper that fits the Saeco portofilter perfectly here: http://shop.store.yahoo.com/aabreecc/profpolalest1.html
     
  15. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    Excellent links Jeff! Cant wait to get home and give it another try as I am anxious to find my own holy grail of frothed milk. [​IMG]
    Walt, thanks for the heads up on the grinder. I was looking at some grinders that were improvements over my current propeller one, but they werent as nice as that one. Good to know that I shouldn't waste my time with inferior grinders and to just bite the bullet. Nice tip for the portafilter modification. Once I get a grip on foaming, that will be my next step.
     
  16. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Wow - great to read about all you home baristas! My coworker and I bought a cheap (relatively) Gaggia Carezza machine just for office use. If I ever get the cash I'm going to move up to the Rancilio Silvia! [​IMG]
     
  17. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    Well, I got 1 out of 6 pitchers to foam last night, and it was the 1st try, the rest went downhill.

    Buzz, when using your technique, do you run the steam wide open, or barely open, or do you alternate? Whenever I try doing it that way, the milk seams to always come to boil before I get any decent foam. Also, do you leave your machine primed when you turn it off, or are you suppose to release the water/steam that is built up? The instructions really don't mention.
     
  18. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Philip,

    Here is what I do. First, I start with an aluminum pitcher that has been in the freezer and very cold milk. I insert a thermometer into the milk ($6 at Starbucks, highly recommended) to monitor temperature. I open the steam valve to full and release all the water from the wand until I get good, dry steam, then turn the valve to off. I then sink the wand in the milk and again open the valve to full. I quickly lower the pitcher so the wand is about 1/4"-1/2" into the milk, resting the wand on the side of the pitcher to stablize it. If you blow big bubbles it is too high; if it is not giving off some really loud splurping sounds it is too low. The milk will begin to whirlpool around and the froth will rise in the pitcher. As the froth rises, move the pitcher down to maintain the 1/4"-1/2" and the whirlpool action. Froth like this until the temperature is around 100 degrees. Then move the wand up and down in the milk, never completely out. This will smooth out the foam. Do this until the milk is about 150 degrees.
     
  19. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    Jeff, thanks again for the info! I'll try that tonight. I will get it right sooner or later. [​IMG]
     
  20. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    Well, I tried putting the pitcher in the freezer for a little while and followed Jeff's instructions and we have achieved,,,,,,,,FOAM!!! [​IMG]
    I think the freezer approach helped alot.
    Thanks again guys for all the help! [​IMG] I am eternally grateful.

    Looking forward to that video Buzz. [​IMG]
     

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