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About rcoltz

  • Rank
    Brewing Nicely

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  • Location
    Guildford, Middle England, Obscurity, Earth
  • Interests
    Music, coffee, mountain sports
  • Occupation
    Project Manager and Engineer working in Oil Industry
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  1. Under £300 ...... aeropress! You can get that for under $30! sent by magic by a luddite
  2. I would hold off extending the worktop and sell the idea of the "worktop tamping plinth" feature! Patent it!
  3. @Mrboots2u - recently I saw a flavour profile guide for coffee that outlined where in the brewing process the different elements of the coffee flavours were generated i.e. fruity, bitter and sweet. It gave a guide for how the brew pressure, temperature and length can affect the flavour and how you might adjust the variables to get the most out of a bean. Cannot find it now. Have you seen anything like this? Have included a funky coffee flavour profile wheel that I use to define the shots I brew: https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/learn/coffee-101/articles/coffee-flavor-profiles
  4. Currymonster, glad it makes sense and do not despair! The road to a fine cup of coffee is not in the equipment one buys, it is in the learnings you take from each bit of equipment when you invariably replace it with an upgrade! As a mere novice in the ways of coffee, I am going through the steps of moving from budget to high end grinders and espresso machine equipment and every step has improved the coffee but more importantly it has been a learning process that you take to the next level with every new bit of kit. The weird dynamic on coffee is that you can have fanciest, most capable espresso machine in the world, however if the grinder cannot grind coffee consistently, cleanly or fine enough you might as well pop the top on the Maxwell House and brew the kettle. It is akin to filling your V12 petrol Bentley with diesel! The first bit of advise given to me was to spend the money on the grinder and less on the coffee machine. I started with reconditioning a Mazzer (ex-commercial model due for the skip) and just bought a £200 basic machine. It is only recently that I have upgraded the machine to the £2k level but the grinder still holds its own (after replacing a few bits). You have a good machine, but the warning the folks here are pointing out is that you may find it hard (if not impossible) to get a good result in the cup. It could become very frustrating because you need the consistence and fine grind of a better grinder to eek the best from the Sage DB. Do try a reconditioned or secondhand grinder as they will get you the results without the spending. I would definitely not worry about the fancy dosing and additional functionality bits of grinders as most folk who care about consistent quality shots will weigh the ground coffee into the portafilter anyway and weigh the shot out as it falls into the cup. Good luck!
  5. That is a very thoughtful piece of worktop design having a specific "tamping plinth" notch out to the right. I guess you would need to perfect some form of tamping flourish to really make the most of this ergonomic.
  6. @Markk - yep, that was me at Bella Barista dipping my toe in espressosphere shallow end. I fully agree with you summary of the selection process although you did come from a far higher starting point than I with your previous machine. So far the Verona experience has been immense and rarely has the machine not been up to temp when I have been at home. On the topic of bother materials, it is interesting to note the relative impact that people feel this has on flavour. Claudette and I discussed that quite a lot before trying any machines as each type of material has its followers and was why I mentioned this in my review of each machine. I did consider the whole stainless steel potential benefits of the Profitec but in my criteria for purchase, this perfection was slightly less than the overall usability of the machine. I am glad someone else is enjoying the Verona experience too!
  7. Cheers Risky! Sound thinking. Put it to the test this morning as I dialed in a new Ethiopian single origin bean (am working from home today!) and checked it out at my original 1.7:1 "ristretto" ratio and then took it up to 2.5:1 in stages, tasting each time. Worked a treat as the sweet spot for the shot seemed to be around 2.25:1. Then reverted back to my normal El Savadorian daily bean and performed the same test - more like a 2.5:1! So it is worth the experimentation to find the best grind and then spot brew ratio. Now to update the Bean reference spreadsheet!
  8. One question on Americano technique that may influence flavour: Is it better to pour the water into the espresso shot OR place water in cup and then brew espresso shot into the water directly? I have done both and the latter does retain the crema better. Thoughts?
  9. So it has been a few weeks now living a life under the extreme regime of the Caffeine Caliphate trying to force consistency in every shot brewed from the Verona. My learnings based on the the extra few weeks practice: Weigh in and weigh out really does push up consistency as well as a focus on regularity of technique The mood that you are in does affect tamp pressure and therefore consistency - never be in a bad mood when brewing a shot! 26g shot weigh out on the shot for quite a few coffees is too short to get the longer brewed sweeter notes of the bean - I have mentally made this my Ristretto shot for now and now pull more like 35 to 40g shots as these do eek out the longer held sweet notes in the bean I now have made cleaning an integral part of my brewing process as I go along - screen cleanse in particular I realise I probably need a portafilter stand to equalise my tamping better My Mazzer grinder has been seriously pushed through its grind settings and I have learnt a lot about how acurate you need to be to get a good result The Verona's new PID display is brilliant - the integrated shot timer makes life wonderfully convenient It still looks the business and now I am reappraising my espresso cups Quick question to the amassed Grind Gurus - off 16g of coffee (or more if you dose higher in a double pf basket), what is your personal weigh out shot to maximise the flavour of the beans? I am keen to compare notes to aid experimentation?
  10. Screwee Dee was the late younger brother of rapper Cool Mo Dee and used to be the warm up act for Chucky D and the boys of Public Enemy. Otherwise a Screwee Dee is a Screwdriver! sent by magic by a luddite
  11. This morning had a rather surprising eureka moment. Kicked off the brewing of some flat whites for some friends with a couple really poor shots off some excellent new Ethiopian beans. Was royally pissed off. So disconnected the grinder and gave it a quick clean down with a bush and Screwee Dee. Then took the grinder right down to zero and re-calibrated the dial and grind step by step up. Turns out a good clean and the dial on the grinder was completely out. In 20 mins i had the best shots i have ever brewed flying out the Verona! Lovely thick coffee streams off 16g of ground, 26g came out in 25 seconds. All friends we blown away with the flavour of the flat whites with the Ethiopian shot. So learning this weekend is: keep your grinder in good working order. If you are having trouble with the grind for bean start with a clean - simples! I can also report that the Verona maintains excellent brew temp and steam pressure for multiple drinks. 10 flat whites brewed this morning in a row done in pairs (2 separate shots with a screen cleanse between each and a steam of milk) did not even stress the Verona out. Superb! sent by magic by a luddite
  12. Now upgraded to a QM Verona. The full details of this journey and the selection of the QM from 10+ machines with help from folk on the forum can be found in this thread Had the machine for a week and not yet got the yearning to upgrade.
  13. So, having had the Verona for a full week now I can happily state for the record that the machine has very much lived up to my expectations and I know I have not even started to push the envelope using its full capabilities. It also makes the kitchen look cooler and even my wife has commented that it is "not as ugly" as she first thought it would be - just think if I had bought a lever machine missus! I will also state that I think the results I have seen (and tasted ) and the progress made in my own home coffee making could easily be achieved with any E61 based machine, whether HX or dual boiler. Where the dual boiler makes the most difference to me is in the speed and usability of the machine when making multiple coffees for the series of random friends who turn up upon hearing you have a new coffee machine installed and heated! 1st Week Observations: How quiet is a rotary pump ... whisper quiet it is. My overriding first impression of the Verona was how quiet it is. In comparison to the old Delonghi Vibration pump setup, the Verona shimmers in the art of dispensing the water whereas the Delonghi would dispense water like a jack hammer attached to a drum kit. How easy it is to clean ... with every surface mirror and chrome finished I was expecting the Verona to be a battle to keep clean - not so! Using a tea towel and microban cloth a couple good rubs after usage and the whole machine is back to gleaming. Drip tray capacity ... deep enough for a good session of 6 to 10 shots and milk steams including a head rinse and pf flush with each cup and the post session back flush and clean up - excellent! Heat up time ... for the steam boiler I estimate the average is 4 mins to temp to allow steaming, for the brew boiler it seems to hit consistent temp and the E61 achieves a good warmth after 20-25 mins. It means I have to rethink prep for a coffee but the warming process means far less water is used in priming the head and pf so it is nothing but efficient with the old 1961 technology. Maintenance post usage ... I was worried that I would get rather tired of the increase maintenance required for a machine of this quality but I did not need to worry - water only back flushing is simple (especially as I now keep the blank basket in one of the pf handles permanently ready to go), regular rinsing of the head between shots is a simple task and a quick brush of the group and gasket is achieved in a minute at the end of each usage. I am sure the less regular maintenance will be more of a task such as chemical backflushing and descaling, however I am using well filtered water and this should reduce the need for this as a preventative measure (as I am warned that any use of chemicals on the group head is BAD!). Water tank access and filling ... on the Verona, there is a separate access hatch at the back for filling up the reservoir tank which I am so glad I made part of my buying criteria as you do blast through water in a bean/grinder dial in session and easy filling is essential. It is also easy to empty the tank at the end of each day to dispel the stale water concerns. New display ... I am still loving the new blue/black display on the Verona, it looks the part, can be seen clearly from across the kitchen to check the temperatures and the shot timer is my new best friend (and enemy at times ). Grinder/Bean dial in ... I started off finding this a very confusing place using the single basket and the wrong measures in and out. To ensure consistency and calibration of shot, my approach was on the textbook schoolboy side of amateur. After consultation of the Oracles of Caffeine (painful and direct it became, Lavazza punishment threatened!) and the purchase of a set of Brewista mini scales, things rapidly improved and performance balanced out using the double basket, 16g in and a 26g shot (weighed) out - making a 1:1.6 brewed ratio. I dialed this in on my favourite blend and then tried the same setting for a single origin Guatamalan and wack, nowt worked the same - back to dial in mode and notes taken! Learning - each bean grinds differently and then brews differently. So my view on the art of the barista has changed from being focused on the "ponce-based art of milk tossery" to the scientific/culinary art of priming the preparation of the bean to brew properly. Write your settings down ... The above learnings for one week of the new machine has meant I have started to note everything down in coffee journal now placing each bean against its component settings to get the shot right. As I like to taste many types of bean, I am hoping this will mean I can set up quicker in the long run Steam and the power to texture asphalt ... I had no comprehension of the difference of the steaming capabilities of the Verona versus a sub £500 machine however after a week and 2 good quality burns I now appreciate what can be achieved in getting a well textured milk prepped for a tasty flat white. I also met up with a mate who has worked in several high street coffee shop chains and now works in a roastery and he showed me that once the milk is steamed, how you "tap and swirl" it can also really improve the final pour (and allow for "ponce-based art of milk tossery"!). Discount the tap and swirl at your peril, it ain't all in the steam. This week is going to be doing more of the same however I have a few questions to ask to the gathered Sages of the Espressosphere on the forum from the Week One: Is there a way to speed up the process of dialing in the grind for a new bean? How do members of the forum maintain info of bean and grinder settings? What is the best practice weighed brew ratio for a Ristretto? I am thinking it is 16g in and 13g out (a half shot espresso)? More to come ..... thank you to all the Sages, Caffeine Druids and Nerds of the Espressosphere for their inputs - there is a "How to" book in here somewhere as defined by the Coffee Forum!
  14. In the Lavazza Caliphate is a draconian measure one in US fluid ounces? [emoji48] sent by magic by a luddite
  15. Get a fitbit and the posh weighing scale. Cannot lie then! sent by magic by a luddite
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