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Thread: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

  1. #1
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    Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi guys!

    Presenting: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    Ive been working on it on and off for a few months, and it contains all Ive learnt from the time I bought my first AUD60 "espresso" machine from Kmart until today where I roast about a pound of coffee a week. I hope it could help people who are starting out avoid the frustration that I faced when starting out. Many of the tips and ideas were picked up from coffeesnobs and I would like to thank everyone who has helped me through this journey.

    Some feedback on the Troubleshooting section would be appreciated.


    Contents:
    TLDR: The Executive Summary
    1) Its all about The Beans
    2) The Grind
    3) The Machine
    4) The Art
    5) Espresso Based Drinks
    6) Getting Started (on the cheap)
    7) Troubleshooting Guide With Pictures

    Appendix: What is NOT an espresso machine.
    Appendix: (under construction) Essential Accessories and Glassware.

    Full article here: http://ezralimm.blogspot.com/2010/03/home-espresso-guide.html


  2. #2
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    Re: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    I think your comment under "what is not an espresso machine"...... "All machines under AUD500 are designed for stale, pre-ground, supermarket coffee." is a bit rich, yes most have pressurised baskets, but so does the 6910! isnt that what your using? i am aware that the 6910 comes with a non pressurised double basket.......

    A Breville Ikon with non pressurised basket(no mods, just an off the shelf basket) can produce some great espresso too, i think if you want a successful blog, i wouldnt insult people who cant afford a <$500 machine....

    IMHO

    Blog looks good though :) well done

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    Re: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    Cheers Sully :) Thanks for the feedback.

    Will make changes later tonight.

    Wasnt my intention to give such an impression. I was just quite annoyed that I went out and got an yet another Kmart machine after my glorified moka pot failed to make espresso. Wasted alot of time trying to make it work and in the end it was an exercise of futility.

    500 bucks is alot of money to me. If only i had known then what I know now, I would have saved over 300 bucks and countless hours. From using supermarket beans (MY BIGGEST SIN) to trying hard to get what would resemble espresso (ooh the countless clogged baskets) from grinding finer.

  4. #4
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    Re: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    Ezra, I would put more emphasis on tips to make good espresso, machine comparrisons and reviews on beans you have tried

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    Re: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    Whilst i commend your effort, im afraid that this is just a summary of the many generalisations that alot of posters adhere to on this site.

    These being;

    - The best coffee is coffee roasted and consumed in under a week. *This is a load of you know what. *I have tried many s.os and blends - have a close friend who roasts on a 5kg Brambati, and have been his guinea pig over the past 2 years. *The fresh is best rule isnt necessarily completely true with coffee. *I know that different beans/blends have many different properties, so i wont generalise by saying that all coffee <1 or for that matter >4 weeks is crap.

    - The Rancilio Silvia and Sunbeam EM6910 are the be all and end all of domestic units under $800 or so. *I have friends with many other types of machines from Gaggias to Cimbalis (all under $800) and these make just as good a coffee as my Sunbeam.

    - Big name coffee companies are evil and produce bad coffee. *One of the best coffees i have tried (using their beans on various equipment) was from a well known commercial roaster. *All this crap about boutique roasting is just b.s. *Boutique just means that you are small - see dictionary. *Boutique doesnt mean guaranteed quality or specialty etc. *As for these boutique roasters roasting your coffee when you order, that is a load of b.s too. *I can just picture them waiting by the phone for you to call and place your all important order. ::)

    - I wont mention names, but the whole tamping process. *Please tell me i cant achieve the same result using a handheld, or grinder attached, tamper and get the same result out of one that costs over $100.

    I could go on and on, but i will leave it at that.

    You will probably think im a hypocrit when i say that i love the site, and read it with great interest when i can.

    Andy has done a great job here, and a big shout out to the sponsors, for they are the ones who also make it what it is.

    I just think that too many people tend to take the words of a certain few and run with it - thats the internet for you i guess. *I much prefer to listen to the views of the posters that you can see have the knowledge on coffee and machines etc.

    Cheers all.

  6. #6
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    Re: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    My replies are highlighted below :)

    Quote Originally Posted by 786364797F5469676A6860546D6E67676A0B0 link=1271140730/4#4 date=1271160043
    Whilst i commend your effort, im afraid that this is just a summary of the many generalisations that alot of posters adhere to on this site.

    These being;

    - The best coffee is coffee roasted and consumed in under a week. *This is a load of you know what. *I have tried many s.os and blends

    Nowhere did I mention that coffee is best consumed in under a week. What I did say was that you should have access to coffee roasted under a week ago. For the simple reason that it tends to go off after about a month. If you buy beans that are a few weeks old, you dont have long before they go stale, and if you have 1kg of beans roasted three weeks ago, youll have to be consuming quite a bit to finish them before they start to go off.


    - have a close friend who roasts on a 5kg Brambati, and have been his guinea pig over the past 2 years. *The fresh is best rule isnt necessarily completely true with coffee. *I know that different beans/blends have many different properties, so i wont generalise by saying that all coffee <1 or for that matter >4 weeks is crap.
    Honestly, with the limited experience that I have, I find beans taste their best between weeks 1 and 2. And after about week 4 they deteriorate.

    - The Rancilio Silvia and Sunbeam EM6910 are the be all and end all of domestic units under $800 or so. *I have friends with many other types of machines from Gaggias to Cimbalis (all under $800) and these make just as good a coffee as my Sunbeam.
    I also included the Lelit Combi. Anyway, that is valuable feedback. Ill definitely add em to the list on the next update. Btw, what Cimbali are you referring to? I dont recall any sub $1000 Cimbalis...


    - Big name coffee companies are evil and produce bad coffee. *One of the best coffees i have tried (using their beans on various equipment) was from a well known commercial roaster. *All this crap about boutique roasting is just b.s. *Boutique just means that you are small - see dictionary. *Boutique doesnt mean guaranteed quality or specialty etc. *As for these boutique roasters roasting your coffee when you order, that is a load of b.s too. *I can just picture them waiting by the phone for you to call and place your all important order. ::)
    Where did I mention any boutique roaster? I quoted $40/kg as its the average price of roast to order coffee. Would you consider CoffeeSnobs a boutique roaster just because they roast to order??? Nope. I just stress the importance of having access to fresh beans roasted to order if youre not willing to home roast. Some of the best espresso Ive tasted so far are from some small family owned cafes (quite dodgy looking actually with old italian men sitting outside sipping espresso) that rely on repeat customers. They are not boutique roasters by any stretch of the imagination. And they arent even on the high street, just some random italian deli in a suburb.

    - I wont mention names, but the whole tamping process. *Please tell me i cant achieve the same result using a handheld, or grinder attached, tamper and get the same result out of one that costs over $100.
    I agree. Tamping is so overrated. The whole idea of varying the weight of the tamp etc is quite exaggerated (someone actually did a study on this sometime ago on homebarista I think...) as the beans generate resistance themselves. Having a high end tamper is not a pre-requisite of good coffee, but it makes the learning curve easier. Note that I never mentioned anything about getting a tamper in the getting started guide because there are plenty more important things to worry about first... namely fresh beans.

    I focused strongly on the dose-level-tamp part of the espresso equation in the troubleshooting section because from my experience at least, it is _the_ most likely cause of an extraction gone wrong.


    I could go on and on, but i will leave it at that.

    You will probably think im a hypocrit when i say that i love the site, and read it with great interest when i can.

    Andy has done a great job here, and a big shout out to the sponsors, for they are the ones who also make it what it is.

    I just think that too many people tend to take the words of a certain few and run with it - thats the internet for you i guess. *I much prefer to listen to the views of the posters that you can see have the knowledge on coffee and machines etc.

    Cheers all.

  7. #7
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    Re: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    For mine, I think there are way too many links to blogs appearing in this site and many (not all) are about self promotion. Some are thinly veiled commercial sites as well.

    My preference is if there is something worth saying, why not say it here?

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    Re: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    I assure you that I have no commercial interests in posting the link here.

    I blog as a hobby, and I just want to share what I have learnt over the last two years. Was thinking of writing here in coffeesnobs itself to share with the community what Ive learnt, but there are some issues getting images to display the way I want them to (ill have to mess with transparency backgrounds for the shadow effect etc), and I already have an established workflow for uploading on PB and posting on blogger so it was more convienient. Not to mention bloggers fantastic drafting system. The post took like three months to complete... being written to on and off when I felt like it.

    Coffee has been at times a very frustrating and messy hobby, but its starting to bear fruit now.

    Yum! Black gold :)

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    Re: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    Hi Ezra,

    Generally I agree with what you have said on your blog.

    At the same time, I think that there is a bit too much emphasis on some of the brands (both for and against) and too much criticism of some of the "big" names.

    I much prefer it where you tell us what youve found out about what makes fine coffee, how to tell it from the very ordinary brew that most people know, and then how to go about producing a good cup for yourself.

    Greg

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    Re: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by 7C67607D7B506D636E6C6450696A63636E0F0 link=1271140730/4#4 date=1271160043
    As for these boutique roasters roasting your coffee when you order, that is a load of b.s too. *I can just picture them waiting by the phone for you to call and place your all important order
    Thats funny!

    I dont think anyone actually roasts to order, that is BS. It depends on how you define roast to order.

    Lets use Andy as an example (I hope you dont mind Andy). Im sure he doesnt fire up the roaster everytime an order comes in for 500g of coffee.

    However, he has set roast days eg Wednesday and Sunday. All orders received by the roast day are processed, roasted and dispatched between Wednesday and Thursday - orders that were received later get processed Sunday - I think this is right.

    Now some popular blends may be available all week round due to popularity/supply/demand.

    Nevertheless, by the time you receive the beans, they still wont be older than 4 days post roast.

    Now Andy being a CS is particularly fussy. I am sure there are roasters out there who claim roast to order - but really just give you stuff that is already roasted - Again mind you it will still be BLOODY fresh, so at the end of the day it doesnt really matter, unless the ACCC clamp down on false claims of freshness - then we have a problem *;D ;D

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    Re: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    Thanks to everyone who has been replying. Do keep the comments flowing. Sometimes, other people will realize things that you dont and that was one of the purposes of posting in this forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by 586D7A7848706D727E737B1F0 link=1271140730/8#8 date=1271168194
    Hi Ezra,

    Generally I agree with what you have said on your blog.

    At the same time, I think that there is a bit too much emphasis on some of the brands (both for and against) and too much criticism of some of the "big" names.

    I much prefer it where you tell us what youve found out about what makes fine coffee, how to tell it from the very ordinary brew that most people know, and then how to go about producing a good cup for yourself.

    Greg
    Yeah I kinda agree. Hmm, I think an edit is in order. I need to make it less brand focused and more general.

    Your last paragraph says alot. Im going to be adding an orange juice analogy soon...and a brief spiel on why I like instant coffee too. No seriously, I drink quite alot of instant coffee... I quite like the stuff. But its not espresso.


    benett, Its subjective, but i personally consider beans that get to you within a week of roasting as being roast-to-order. Essentially, not coffee that has been sitting on a shelf. Figuratively of course....im sure even Andy has shelves at his place.

    With regards to the "big names", I stand by what I said because I have yet to taste a decent espresso/short black from Starbucks and Gloria Jeans. Coffee HQ is hit and miss (barista dependent) but can be quite acceptable sometimes.

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    Re: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by 2F2823232839394D0 link=1271140730/9#9 date=1271185242
    I dont think anyone actually roasts to order, that is BS.
    So, my wholesale customers know to get their order in by 11am on Mondays and their coffee is roasted that afternoon.

    Sometimes they forget theyre about to run out of coffee, and I end up coming in at some god forsaken hour to make sure they have a fresh supply.

    I call that roasting to order.

    You can keep your BS to yourself thankyou.


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    Re: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    I get my beans from the MacCafe drive through. I drive up to the speaker thingy, place my order (usually a large MacValue quarter pounder of Ethopian Harrar, roasted to medium.), and drive around to collect em.

    Roast to order 8-)

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    Re: Ezras Home Espresso Guide


    Quote Originally Posted by 6F70786B666367670A0 link=1271140730/12#12 date=1271212886
    I get my beans from the MacCafe drive through. I drive up to the speaker thingy, place my order (usually a large MacValue quarter pounder of Ethopian Harrar, roasted to medium.), and drive around to collect em.

    Roast to orderCool
    Haha thats just funny ;D

  15. #15
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    Re: Ezras Home Espresso Guide

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 475850434E4B4F4F220 link=1271140730/12#12 date=1271212886
    I get my beans from the MacCafe drive through.
    I never doubted it for a minute.




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