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Thread: Equipment for a part-time coffeesnob...

  1. #1
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    Equipment for a part-time coffeesnob...

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,

    I have been browsing these forums for a week or so now... Looking at advice on entry level machines and grinders.

    A bit of background before I seek my own :)

    To put it shortly, I am a part-time coffeesnob. I enjoy a good espresso like the next, but only have coffee once or twice a week. I am sick of seeking a good coffee around canberra... Havent had a decent one for a LOOOOONG time, so Ive started looking towards home equipment etc :)

    Considering I will only be drinking once or twice, perhaps three times a week, what sort of equipment would be value for money? To start with I decided I would seek a decent grinder and settle with the plunger... Reading up the plunger forums, I found a good espresso is better acheived with the machine... Im just not sure I can justify a $500 machine and $200 grinder for my part-time enjoyment...

    Could I get some suggestions for Entry level equipment or combinations for the Part-time snob?

    Thanks All :)

    Damien

  2. #2
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Equipment for a part-time coffeesnob...

    Spend your money on a good grinder
    You can make great coffee if you use fresh roasted beans and a manual machine such as a
    French Press
    Pour over
    Presso or Aeropress

    KK

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    Re: Equipment for a part-time coffeesnob...

    Thanks KK,

    I just looked up that Presso product. looks excellent!

    Any recommendations between the French press, pour over or Presso?

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    Re: Equipment for a part-time coffeesnob...

    It sounds like good espresso will be out of your reach. Good espresso requires not only decent equipment, but also a fair bit of effort in training. Learning how to dose consistently, for example, is actually a lot more difficult than it looks. I mean, it looks so easy - just grind some coffee, tamp it and away you go. In fact, a variation of as little as half a gram can be the difference between a brilliant shot and an unacceptable one. Then you add dialing in the grind as a variable and the small number of shots that you are pulling per week will also start to work against you. The grind size necessary to extract an espresso with a particular dose will change as the coffee ages and as the temperature and humidity of the room changes (Im not kidding). If you are only pulling an espresso shot on, say, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you might well have to make significant grind and/or dose adjustments. In practical terms, this could mean that you throw away a few shots for every shot that you drink. It is actually easier to improve very quickly if you pull lots of shots because the grind and dose parameters are the same for shots pulled back to back. In other words, you are aiming for a stationary target rather than a moving one. The upshot is that at this price point and usage pattern, I would guess that you could either have good shots with considerable frustration and mucking or bad shots and less frustration, but not good shots easily. The caveat that needs to be mentioned here is that good and bad are relative terms and if you are happy with what a setup in this range produces, then you shouldnt be overly concerned by what I have to say!

    To start with I decided I would seek a decent grinder and settle with the plunger... Reading up the plunger forums, I found a good espresso is better acheived with the machine... Im just not sure I can justify a $500 machine and $200 grinder for my part-time enjoyment...
    There are two things here that I would like to point out. First up, you cannot make espresso with anything other than an espresso machine. Espresso and brewed coffee are different beverages. Second, and stemming from the fact that espresso and brewed coffee are different beverages, theres a question as to how you can go about comparing them. They are different beverages and it is unreasonable to expect one to have the characteristics of the other. Apples and oranges. Naturally, you will probably have preferences for one or the other.

    Making brewed coffee requires a little bit of skill and knowledge and it is instructive to compare poorly brewed coffee with well brewed coffee (apples and apples). However, it is much, much easier to make a really nice cup of brewed coffee than it is to make a really nice espresso. If you like brewed coffee, you can satisfy your coffee cravings much more easily and cheaply than you can with espresso.

    The question to tackle is what sort of brewing apparatus is right for you. Generally speaking, drip and syphon produce light bodied cups that are best at bringing out acidity and fruit characteristics. Stovetop/Moka Pot produces a heavier bodied cup with the grunt to cut through milk. Plunger is in-between; it is often criticised for leaving a lot of sediment in the cup and it certainly requires a dedicated cleaning regime. The traditional plunger cup is intermediate between drip/syphon and stovetop/moka, but with a fair whack of sediment. The newer method for using plungers results in a much cleaner and more interesting cup.

    Hope that helps,

    Luca

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    Re: Equipment for a part-time coffeesnob...

    Wow! [smiley=shocked.gif]

    That was a great response! certainly didnt except one that detailed ;)

    I guess drawing from your response, that I would settle for decent brewed coffee as opposed to the fulll blown espresso you discussed. Your post has certainly given me a new angle, in terms of value for money and quality :) I seem to learn something new every 5 minutes on this forum...

    I have been perousing the Presso posts, and I think that it would satisfy my needs for the moment... So Im looking at combining the EM0480 grinder and the Presso, for my starting lot :)

    Please post more opinions and suggestions, not only with Presso-EM0480 combination, but with new ideas etc, Im a planner/ponderer and enjoy getting as much feedback as possible with every decision I make :)

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    Re: Equipment for a part-time coffeesnob...

    Luca raises many great points - unusual :P

    In all seriousness, with what Ive learned in the past five years or so of home espresso (and other non-espresso coffee) grab a grinder and a syphon. As Luca mentioned, its a very different cup but highly enjoyable. While my palette isnt that great, the flavours Ive had with a syphon are truly phenomenal.

    If you choose to head this way, with a good grinder youre halfway to an espresso setup.

    Irregardless of the opinions you receive here, you should try to hook up with Attilio at CosmoreX to have a chat about your needs. Hes based in Fyshwick so its conveniently local.

    Grant

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    Re: Equipment for a part-time coffeesnob...

    Beauty!

    Cheers for that, looks like Ill be making a trip at lunchtime to make a few enquiries :)

    Are syphons easy to setup and use?

    Damien

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    Re: Equipment for a part-time coffeesnob...

    If you are only drink coffee once or twice a week another consideration will be the freshness of your beans.

    You may need to think about home roasting.

    For small amounts, a popcorn popper is probably the best compromise.

    They can roast about 100gms at a time which would be enough for about 8 - 9 shots (net weight after roasting).
    If you drink doubles thats 4 coffees.

    If you go to the trouble to research poppers you can overcome some of their shortcomings at the outset and make reasonable home roasted beans.

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    Re: Equipment for a part-time coffeesnob...

    Yeah I had seen a post on popcorn makers as roasters...

    This is the popcorn maker I have at home: http://www.breville.com.au/products_detail.asp?prod=26

    Its a Breville PCM40...

    Is the idea to just put 100gm of green beans in and turn it on until they are brown? Or is it more complicated, ie do I need to mod it?

    Thanks,

    Damien

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Equipment for a part-time coffeesnob...

    It can be as simple as that.

    But most poppers roast too quickly - say 5 minutes go to whoa.

    Luckily for you theres a great deal of info here on how to modify that particular popper.

    I managed to get mine to a very acceptable 15 minutes roast time after much trial and error.

    If you are willing to not pop corn in it again, you can easily make it into a coffee roaster in about 15 minutes.

  11. #11
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    Re: Equipment for a part-time coffeesnob...

    mmm... might have to go and buy another one if it renders the original function useless : P

    But that sounds like a sweet plan :)

    Thanks for your help :)

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    Re: Equipment for a part-time coffeesnob...

    p.s. I cant find posts on modifying the Breville popper... :S Could you point me in the right direction? :)

    Thanks :)

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    TC
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    Re: Equipment for a part-time coffeesnob...

    [split] [link=http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1233810555/0#0][splithere][/link][splithere_end]



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