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  • Go on, tell me Im mad

    Greetings all,

    Im writing a piece for a newspaper about stovetops. In it Im going to argue that I can make as good a cappuccino with my $15 stovetop moka pot and a hand frother -- plus a little know-how -- as you can with your $1000 machine.

    Any comments?

    Pique19
    "Its all in the wrist action"



  • #2
    Re: Go on, tell me Im mad

    Hi pique19 and welcome to CS!

    In the main, I agree with your argument with just one catch...you need a good coffee grinder!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Go on, tell me Im mad

      But not as good as my $2000 machine.

      Just kidding.

      Assuming you use fresh beans.....and as Dennis has already said, youll need a good grinder.



      Dont forget to post the article when its done.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Go on, tell me Im mad

        And dont make mistakes like this reporter did
        eg LM FB 80 roaster

        http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1213660127

        KK

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Go on, tell me Im mad

          Hi,

          might be worth your time to have a talk to Jack at Sorrentina (one of the sponsors). If the article was heading down the path of good coffee on a budget then also consider coffee syphons in the mix of gear. Jack has several stove top types in his range as well.

          If you want to drop the grinder expense from the article then talk about finding a local roaster and buy small quantities of preground if you have to as opposed to stupormarket beans with a shelf life of 3 years

          Or roast your own beans and hand grind for the full experience

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Go on, tell me Im mad

            Originally posted by pique19 link=1221702438/0#0 date=1221702438
            .... I can make as good a cappuccino with my $15 stovetop moka pot and a hand frother -- plus a little know-how -- as you can with your $1000 machine.
            First, you are discussing a food product, so by definition, the outcome is totally subjective. For your theory to be proven true in your article, all you need to do is say that it tastes better to you. Either method can make a good or bad cappuccino, but a "real" espresso machine will make a superior beverage when used properly. While a stove-top machine can make an acceptable drink, there is just no way it can extract to the extent that an espresso machine can.

            I will challenge you and say that I can beat your stove-top machine with a $30 USD Aeropress and a hand frother, and get more consistent results with a whirly-blade grinder! I call ;D

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Go on, tell me Im mad

              , you are discussing a food product, so by definition, the outcome is totally subjective. For your theory to be proven true in your article, all you need to do is say that it tastes better to you. Either method can make a good or bad cappuccino, but a "real" espresso machine will make a superior beverage when used properly. While a stove-top machine can make an acceptable drink, there is just no way it can extract to the extent that an espresso machine can.
              So that means that the only way to prove or disprove your claim
              Is to conduct a side by side comparison taste test by a recognized coffee judge
              Are you willing to do that??
              KK

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Go on, tell me Im mad

                I say go for it...

                Just dont complain if/when you are mocked like the other poorly researched journo was.

                If you honestly think a cappuccino will be just as good out of a stove top, it would be better to consider writing an article about poorly developed palates and where to educate them...

                2mcm

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Go on, tell me Im mad

                  And what know-how would that be?

                  Cos Id argue, like many here, that the grinder and beans are far more important than any machine, in which case youre actually misrepresenting your comparison between the moka pot and the espresso machine.

                  If you were planning on using stale rubbish from the supermarket, then I dont really care if you can make something that tastes as good as a coffee made from said stale rubbish from an espresso machine - theyll both taste disgusting and most of us here wouldnt drink either!

                  Secondly, how are you heating the milk? I find microwaved and/or saucepan heated milk tastes absolutely awful, and so texture aside, Id very much doubt youd be able to produce the sweetness of expertly steamed milk.

                  And thirdly, according to whom will it taste as good as a properly made espresso shot? Very subjective, and depends totally on what the individual considers good.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Go on, tell me Im mad

                    Hey.
                    The comments are now getting a little...acidic (I wanted a coffee related term).
                    I say we encourage pique a little more rather than put them down so much.

                    The more people that know about good coffee the better.
                    We need to help the journos learn the difference.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Go on, tell me Im mad

                      Originally posted by Thundergod link=1221702438/0#9 date=1221716567
                      Hey.
                      The comments are now getting a little...acidic (I wanted a coffee related term).
                      I say we encourage pique a little more rather than put them down so much.

                      The more people that know about good coffee the better.
                      We need to help the journos learn the difference.
                      Hmm, I spose, but I actually thought their tone was a little cocky and know-it-all. :P

                      Either way, at the end of the day all that matters is whats in the cup, and if you like what you taste, its all good.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Go on, tell me Im mad

                        Youre perfectly right. Michelle. The tone was meant to be a little cocky so Id get a response. Clearly I did!

                        The way the piece is going is exactly along the lines a lot of the posters here have mentioned -- especially the comment that taste is subjective and what I think is good might not be what anyone else thinks is good.

                        Ill be writing about how when I started out researching the piece there was so much I didnt know that I didnt know. Will talk about grinding, milk, roasting, tamping, water (quality and temperature) etc.

                        Its becoming a bit of a "journey into the world of real coffee" piece. I think a lot of people -- non-snobs, too -- will find it interesting.

                        Its a way off yet, but will be keen to see what you all think. Will post when its published so you can pick it to pieces.  

                        pique19
                        "Its all in the wrist action"


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Go on, tell me Im mad

                          Get yourself a guinea pig for a blind taste test.
                          A fellow journo will do.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Go on, tell me Im mad

                            Your attitude displays the fundamental ignorance, lack of respect and lack of research that is symptomatic of mainstream media reports on coffee.  Given that the public relies on journalists to provide them with reliable information, I find this attitude totally reprehensible.  

                            I very much hope that you either take this as an opportunity to deliver a well though-out, informative and well-researched piece, or that you deliver a truly shocking piece that hinders your future career prospects - either way, the public will be better off and I think that the first option would be preferable.

                            Your proposition comprises of two parts:

                            (a) the beverage that you produce using a moka pot and a milk frother qualifies as a cappuccino; and

                            (b) it tastes better than what you can make using a $1000 machine.

                            I think that it is implicit in your argument that you propose to draw an actual comparison, based on real experience.  Otherwise, why should your readers care what you have to say?

                            With regards to your first proposition (a), you need to come up with a definition and I am happy to take some steps to make up for what appears from your post to be your laziness, incompetence or simply an odd way of asking for pointers.  

                            The problem is that there really isnt much of a formal definition adopted in Australia.  Colloquially, I guess that what most cafes serve as an in-house cappuccino consists of an espresso shot, frothed milk of a thicker texture than they would use for a latte or a flat white, topped with a dusting of chocolate powder and served as a 210mL beverage.  For a takeaway cappuccino, this will stay more or less the same, but more milk will be added to make it a 240mL beverage, as this is the standard size of a small or regular takeaway cup (dont ask me why).  The AASCA adopts the WBC rules definition of a cappuccino, which is a single espresso shot, served in a 150 to 180mL cup without anything on top.  The WBC cappuccino has at least 1cm of foam on the top, displays a colour combination of milk and coffee on the top, with crema all around the edges, has a smooth and possibly glass-like appearance and is topped with a symmetrical design.  The Italian Istituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano defines a cappuccino as 25mL of INEI certified espresso and 125mL of milk containing a minimum of 3.2% protein and 3.2% fat, served in a 150-160mL cup at a temperature around 55 degrees celcius.

                            That should be more than enough information for you to be able to research the definition of cappuccino.  If you struggle with that, I suggest that you contact a small child for help.  All of the standards referred to above incorporate espresso as the coffee component of the drink, so you will need to come up with a definition for that.  

                            The next step is to compare the drink that you produce with the appropriate definition of cappuccino and to determine if it qualifies.  I would be surprised if it does.  You will note that all of the definitions referred to above require you to use espresso as the base.  Moka coffee is not espresso, hence the drink that you are creating is not a cappuccino.  This means that even if you consider that it tastes as good as a cappuccino made with an espresso machine, you must concede that your argument is wrong because the drink that you produce does not meet the basic criteria of being a cappuccino.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Go on, tell me Im mad

                              With regards to your second proposition (b), you have not provided an adequate definition of what your moka pot creation is being compared against.  

                              As others have mentioned, whether or not that will taste any good depends entirely on whether or not the machine is paired with good coffee, a good grinder and a competent operator.  Given the conceptual lack of understanding that your post demonstrates in classifying your stovetop drink and the espresso machines product as cappuccino, I suggest that you need to find someone else to produce something with which a comparison will be drawn.

                              It would be helpful to your readers if you could specify the criteria on which your assessment is based.  The WBC rules contain guidelines that may assist.

                              I also dont understand what a $1000 machine means and how that is relevant.  What machine is available at that price range?  As TG mentioned above, a top of the line espresso machine costs more than that.  Why is the $1000 machine relevant to your reader?  Why not a $500 machine, a $250 machine or a $2500 machine?  And why have you not included the cost of a grinder in with that?  Is it simply because, as your post indicates, you dont know enough about the subject matter to understand the relevance of a grinder?

                              Then we get to what others have mentioned - who is doing the tasting?  To my mind, there are two possible approaches.  You can try to find out what your typical person or your readership thinks, or you can try to find out what people in the coffee industry think.  The difference between the two is simply that a person who is in the coffee industry will probably examine the drinks more critically for more subtle differences - which may or may not be relevant to your readers.

                              Personally, I think that a useful comparison would be between the stovetop, a grinder and fresh coffee appropriate to the stovetop, on the one hand, and the espresso machine, grinder and coffee appropriate to the espresso machine on the other.  If you use the espresso machine properly, I think that it will give a result that most people would prefer and be more likely to identify as a cappuccino and enjoy.  The stovetop might produce something that people like and that requires less of an investment of time and money to get.  You can add value by explaining - and researching - how to best create coffee from a moka pot.

                              [Edit: just to note that I wrote these posts before the OP responded.]

                              Hope that helps,

                              Luca

                              Comment

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