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Tips for a newbie?

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  • Tips for a newbie?

    Hi Guys,

    Firstly id like to give my compliments to such a helpful and inviting community on here. I recently travelled to melbourne and on my trip I visited several cafes and one place i went to - BBB - changed my entire opinion on coffee. It was incredible! I had never heard of the place before and actually walked in after visiting a little furniture shop just up the road. Anyway the point of my story is that my interest piqued so much that I decided to start trying to understand anything and everything i could about coffee. I am obsessed!

    Prior to this I had a Breville espresso machine with the pressurised basket and no grinder that was given to me from work. After reading through these forums I decided to get my self started up with a slightly better machine. I ended up choosing the sunbeam EM6910. I understand that it will not produce the same quality espresso as a silvia but i am happy with my purchase as it also came with the cafe series grinder which has had fantastic reviews on this website.

    Now I want to start learning the ins and outs of coffee and it seems that there is so much to learn that i have no idea where to start. So like any person who develops a slightly unreasonable obsessive compulsive attitude toward something, I began my venture yesterday by making coffee after coffee with beans bought from ELIXIR in WA. So much so that i was twitching in my sleep last night! I feel like i should probably slow down and start with the basics so any suggestions on what the best way to begin is would be fantastic!

    Cheers
    Keith

  • #2
    Re: Tips for a newbie?

    Having the same grinder, and just having gone through a steep learning curve myself, my recommendations would be the following:

    1) Ensure you keep the machine clean. Get some cafetto and backflush regularly.
    2) Get a tamper that fits well.
    3) Start by timing your shots, and trying to get roughly 60mL in 30 seconds for a double, or 30mL in 30 seconds for a single. Despite this not being an exact, its a good starting point, and timing/measuring made me realise I wasnt tamping hard enough, or grinding fine enough. The coffee improved, and I no longer measure/time. Look at the crema...sniff it, taste it, admire it, lust for it
    4) (And this probably should be number 1) - FRESH BEANS - Personally I have found the consistency of single origins makes it easier to learn with, however this is personal preference.

    Also, always remember that there is no such thing as perfect coffee for everyone. People can disagree on flavour, so now you are making it yourself, you can tweak it to what your tastebuds like. Dont ever let anyone tell you the coffee is bad if its what you like.

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    • #3
      Re: Tips for a newbie?

      Welcome "reidk02".... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

      Probably one of the best "How-To" resources around (short on doing a one-on-one training session with an accomplished and reputable trainer) would be this series of videos from ECA featuring our current National Champion and second runner-up in the World Championship, Scottie Callaghan. Definitely worth watching and learning..... 8-)

      http://www.espressocompany.com.au/how-to.htm

      All the best,
      Mal.

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      • #4
        Re: Tips for a newbie?

        RichardM.. fortunately for me i am obsessive compulsive so am extremely happy to keep my machine clean and sparkling. As for the tamper the one that comes with the machine seems to fit very well, however it is brushed stainless steel instead of a radial finish. I am not to sure how much this might effect the quality of the espresso pour but some say it can tear the tamped coffee open instead of sealing it. :-? any idea if this is true?

        Mal.. that series of videos is fantastic. I need to find some time (preferably outside of my working hours ) to sit down and watch them all.

        Thanks for the prompt response guys!

        PS i have also already found out what days and how often elixir roasts so will go there as much as i possibly can for fresh beans.

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        • #5
          Re: Tips for a newbie?

          I have the same machine and grinder, and found that the tamper which was provided just didnt have sufficient weight to it and made polishing near impossible, so I went and found a Cafelat tamper for around $80.
          I am really enjoying the comfortable weight and use of this new tamper, Id highly recommend upgrading the tamper.

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