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Thread: My first espresso mistress ;-)...She bit me!

  1. #1
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    My first espresso mistress ;-)...She bit me!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Heres my first post after spending some time here looking.

    Im new to the world of espresso and I just purchased a Silvia. After about a week Im now out of shock mode and into the "Hey I reckon I can do this with a bit of work" mode. :)

    I remember reading someone say that the Silvia was a real "hand made" product, however it took a certain slight accident to really come to terms with this fact. After a nice session with Silvia, I was going through the clean up process and washing the drip tray. I must have got distracted for a split second and I accidentally ran my forefinger along the edge of the tray and thereby instantly transformed the coffee drip tray into a blood catching tray. Hmm, upon closer inspection I had a nasty slice opened up on my finger thanks to the burred edge of the tray. I have now fixed it with a small file and some wet-n-dry paper (referring to the tray - not my finger ;) ). When you consider how much I paid for this machine ($759) I would have thought little things like that would not have happened. Oh well, fixed now. Although Im trying to track down some sort of thin rubber seal for the edges of the tray...

    Anyway, I have a Rocky on order to replace my Sunbeam helicopter, so Im hoping this will go a step towards fixing my very thin crema problem. My original shots were 10 second wonders and the crema looked as pale a lot of the coffees I have in caffees. Although now with a bit of messing with the helicopter and some better tamping, my crema is looking darker but there just aint enough of it....Im also going to order one of Greg Pullmans tampers soon when I can part with the filters.

    After a couple of days of failed milk frothing, I finally did it. I think the problem was that Id read so many tutorials on the net that instead of having some idea of what I was doing I ended up having a head full of beans. Problem was that I had the steam head slightly too low. I just had to find that point between explosiveness and shrieking.

    My goal was to be able to create espresso coffees better than most of the pretend coffees I seem to suffer from at caffes. I can safely say that even with my very small experience and with the help of Silvia I have already succeeded as far as taste goes (although its not perfect and I have so much more work ahead of me). Now I just gotta get good enough to get my espresso close to quality of this one guy who runs a small cafe near me, whose coffees are great.

    Its a good thing that Silvia makes great coffee, otherwise our relationship would have suffered after that nasty incident with the drip tray. :)

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: My first espresso mistress ;-)...She bit me!

    Howdy Sinx, and welcome to the wonderful world of espresso at home. Mistresses usually are pretty harsh so one should expect a few lessons from them. ;D

    I think you will find that your key to great coffee will be two-fold. A good grinder, and home roasting. Or at least a supply of fresh roasted beans. :D

    A good tamper is a definate plus that helps greatly with consistancy.

    Hang in there and learn from your Mistress and you will be richly rewarded. :D :D

    Java "Still grumbling about water" phile

  3. #3
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    Re: My first espresso mistress ;-)...She bit me!

    Hi Sinx,

    Sorry to hear about your finger. Goes to show that even the best has faults. My issue with the Silvia is rust in the iron frame around the drip tray. Could be due to not properly drying the area up after use.

    I found the Silvias steaming ability more than enough so much so that I now have the wand towards the bottom of the pitcher right from the start to reduce the amount of foam generated :o.

    Yes, I regreted not sending my filter in to Greg when ordering the tamper. The trouble with the Silvias basket is that it is wide at the top and tapers in. I ordered a 58.2mm tamper and it is sticking towards the fill line in the basket. Any smaller, there will be a gap at the top. Maybe there is no solution unless the basket is replaced with another brand.

    Cheers

    franjae

  4. #4
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    Re: My first espresso mistress ;-)...She bit me!

    Thanks for your response/advice guys.

    Javaphile, I agree that roasting my own beans would be great, although I find the whole idea of roasting rather a scary thought for me at the moment but maybe one day :) I might check out some of the local shops that do their own roasting first.

    franjae, Ill remember to keep Silvia as dry as I can underneath. I make a point of always cleaning and drying the drip tray when I finish, so not to leave it sitting with water. Ill now make sure that I dont see any other water lying around near the other parts...I figured that I would have to send my filters to greg, although that means no coffee for a little while :-[ but I guess it is worth it. When I get my rocky sorted and Ive played with it for a while, Ill send em off.


  5. #5
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    Re: My first espresso mistress ;-)...She bit me!

    Gday Sinx,

    Good move on the Silvia - you wont regret it (well, once the scars have healed anyway!). Ive had mine for about 4 months and even my ordinary shots and lousy frothing produced better caps than I could buy at most places. I had struggled until recently with thin crema and overheated milk with big bubbles on top. Regarding good shots, all I can say is beans, grind, tamp. Dont mess with stale beans, as stale beans can lead to poor crema and taste, which leads to hate which will only lead to the dark side ;D.

    The Rocky will do justice and some expreimentation will be needed but you will get there, even with the plastic tamp. My poor crema and frothing problems ended when I went on a coffee course (not a barista course) where I was able to take in my Silvia for the trainer to have a go and show me how to get the best from it. Some fresh beans, some basic frothing tips and a thermometer in the milk had it all fixed after a couple of goes. Now I am in microfroth heaven. I was also able to pull a few shots from a very high end machine, and side by side the final results were almost identical - the course trainer was very impressed with the Silvia. I have no doubt you will be impressed with the final result.

    Keep at it!.

    Cheers,

    Matt





  6. #6
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    Re: My first espresso mistress ;-)...She bit me!

    Sinx,
    No roasting is a great thing to do and it can save a heap of money as well as giving you a product heads above what you can get at the shop.

    For a start, most roasters use pretty cheap beans and even where they dont, they cant match the top beans that we can get our hands on.

    Ive roasted by popper for the past three and a bit years and never bought coffee once in that period.

    It is worth it.

    Grant

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    Re: My first espresso mistress ;-)...She bit me!

    Re: "...For a start, most roasters use pretty cheap beans and even where they dont, they cant match the top beans that we can get our hands on..."

    What?????

    Where on earth did you get this nonsence from. I thought this Forum was about coffee education, not the invention & circulation of fiction.

    If it wasnt for commercial specialty coffee roasting businesses buying the qualities of coffee you are talking about, there wouldnt be enough turnover of these coffees to warrant brokers of green beans bothering to bring any of them in. You would be having to import your own from o/s and paying the price.

    You are enjoying "pretty cheap prices" AND availability of gourmet type green coffee beans precicely BECAUSE commercial specialty coffee roasters buy the stuff.

    FC.

  8. #8
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    Re: My first espresso mistress ;-)...She bit me!

    FC,

    You do have a point and I apologise although I have to say I havent seen anyone roasting up top end beans and selling them.

    Maybe just not gone into the right shop!

    How much would a roaster sell a mix containing green beans worth $20/kg?

    I would guess $50/kg or more.

    The commercial roasts I have had of commercial coffees have actually been quite good but the beans would be in the average range of quality. I mean nothing wrong with them. Even Indian Robusta which is a really cheap bean has a place in roasts and I often use it in my mixes.

    Grant

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    Re: My first espresso mistress ;-)...She bit me!

    Grant,

    Indian Cherry AB robusta is one of the better robustas but it is still crap in terms of the blending of gourmet type coffee, particularly as it very easily imparts its own flavour characteristcs upon whatever else it is blended with...except if it is blended in minute quantites where there will be little to no "advantage".

    You will find few if any commercial "specialty" coffee roasters using it in Australia.

    Commercial blends in this country are in the main blended from very good "FAQ" quality beans although they are not "gourmet" types. This is not "average"....it is good commercial blend stuff. It depends on how you look at it.
    Compared to a lot of roasted coffee imported (dumped) from Europe and in particular Italy, most of our locally roasted commercial coffee blends are (if handled & brewed correctly) absolutely divine.

    But ofcourse on the other hand some of our Italian coffee company bretheren will tell us our commercial blends are total crap, because they dont have any appreciable amounts of really low quality robusta in them ( which their market demands).

    Add to this that most consumers wouldnt know the difference because most dont know how to store and brew coffee properly anyway, no matter how good or not it really is.

    This is not meant to be an insult to consumers or anyone else, its just a statement of fact. The level of interest in coffee is growing exponentially, while the real life level of expertise in how to treat the coffee, is next to zilch.

    Which is why good quality coffee education is absolutely paramount...right now.

    FC.

  10. #10
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    Re: My first espresso mistress ;-)...She bit me!

    FC,

    I appreciate what you are saying and I appreciate your sensitivites wrt coffee knowledge and education.

    You do put the hard yards in wrt providing quality product, Im sure.

    I guess it is a bit much to expect gourmet coffees that are very expensive to be packaged and sold routinely all over the place.

    As you point out too cheap is a relative term and depends on your viewpoint.

    I probably overstated my case.

    I love roasting! ;D

    Grant

  11. #11
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    Re: My first espresso mistress ;-)...She bit me!

    .........and of course not to confuse a good commercial blend purchased as a fresh roast, and one put in a packet and allowed to sit on a shelf to be purchased as stale product many months down the track in the supermarket...

    Yes there are many different ways of looking at this.

    FC.

  12. #12
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    Re: My first espresso mistress ;-)...She bit me!

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Dont forget the branded preground coffee available for connoisseurs at establishments like Muffin Break. :P

    There is a big difference between a dedicated local roaster and those who flog the (State Melbourne is in minus the C) type junk into street corner cafes and the like.

    There are multiple market segments for most products so you just need to find the fine wine merchant in your neighbourhood rather than the value cask merchant.



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