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About les24preludes

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    Kensington, London
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    Designing and making things
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    Performance psychologist, writer, musician

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  1. I just saw this, trawling through previous threads "was going to recommend putting in the blank basket and hitting the brew switch and opening the steam knob up (leave the steam switch off), water should come out the steam wand so put a jug underneath. With the blank basket in situ you will develop more power to maybe expel the blockage (if there is one)" Just brewing up a coffee to test it, I did the above and I think it worked. In fact just tested it and it works fine so problem solved. I must remember to give it a good burst of steam after frothing to clear the tube, as well as washing the black tube thing which I always do.
  2. Made a cup of coffee and turned on the steamer, but no steam. Where do I go from here? I'm reasonably handy with tools. What's the diagnosis and are there Youtube tutorials on this?
  3. Crankhouse Colombia La Plata decaf - tried 19g in, 38g out in 32 sec, 130ml semi-skimmed milk. Still pretty boring for me - I don't find any interesting taste notes in this coffee. So I mixed it 50/50 with Waitrose Peru decaf beans. Got more taste that way. But I'll be looking for a more interesting decaf when this runs out. Guatemala or Kenya if there's a decent one available.
  4. Crankhouse Colombia La Plata decaf So - a finer grind. 16g coffee, 32g in the cup in 22 secs. 110ml semi-skimmed milk. The taste is more intense which is an improvement I guess, but overall results are much the same. No obvious notes standing out, just a smooth taste. It's not bad by any means, it's just not very interesting - however you vary the parameters it seems nothing stands out. I tried a higher ratio which didn't bring it to life and I'll try tweaking it some more, but the James Guatemalan had those extra notes that this seems to lack. I'm a big fan of James, but he only has Ethiopian decaf right now and that isn't so suited to milk.
  5. I know it's not a blend. I meant a smooth blend of flavour with no notes standing out. Basket is a standard Gaggia, not the small one. There's not much point in my giving you the grind setting since as you know the Major is unstepped and it depends where you start screwing the top on, but anyway it's 8.65. I may try finer. I'll give you the shot time next time I make a coffee. If I keep a 1:2 ratio I'll go for 16g and 32g and see what that gives. Thanks for the suggestions.
  6. Crankhouse Colombia La Plata decaf Well, tried a finer grind. 16g coffee, 40g in the cup. 125ml semi-skimmed milk. Results are much the same. No obvious notes, just a smooth blend. Taste is a little better than the last cup but it's still just a pretty average Columbian. It's OK - it's not bad by any means - but nothing stands out. I'll try tweaking it some more, but the James Guatemalan was so much better.
  7. Yes I could - a bit finer. I'll try that. Thanks for the tip. That would also allow me to put just 18g or even 16g in the PF instead of 20g which is over-filling it a little. I'll post the results. I'm not saying this is a "bad batch". It's just rather boring, unless I can get some more flavour out of it. My Mazzer Major certainly isn't the culprit but I'm always open to revising my technique. As I said above, the James Guatemala had a lot more flavour with pretty much the same parameters. But we'll see.
  8. Crankhouse Colombia La Plata decaf Brew parameters: 20g beans, to make 40g in the cup. Add 150ml semi-skimmed milk. Grinder = Mazzer Major. Machine = Gaggia Baby 2002. Coffee roast date 26 July, made the coffee Aug 2, seven days later. I'm not getting any interesting notes here. It's basically just smooth, anonymous and without character. These kind of Columbians do nothing at all for me. I prefer Kenyan, Guatemalan, sometimes Sumatran - decafs with flavour. I've had some very average decafs from Columbia along with the occasional good one.
  9. I've just been through 250g of the James decaf Guatemala and it was very nice. James always seem to bring out the interesting notes in their roasts - it's something I've come to expect. Just started on Crankhouse decaf Columbia - very disappointing in contrast to James. Especially since they're usually rated in these pages. Smooth and rather meh - no interesting notes. Even a touch bitter. Unfortunately bought 500g. My son tried their ordinary roast Panama and said the same = smooth, rather flat, no interesting notes. Maybe it'll bloom a bit as it settles down but I have my doubts.
  10. I was just looking online and I came across these - any comments? Just Decaf - they do all of 18 different decafs https://www.justdecaf.co.uk/shop/ James Gourmet - Guatemala Santa Sofia. Their previous Jalapa was maybe the best decaf I've ever tasted. https://jamesgourmetcoffee.com/product/decaffeinated-co2-guatemala-santa-sofia-espresso-roast-250g/
  11. What are your recommendations for coffee beans available in the usual UK supermarkets like Waitrose, Sainsbury, Tesco etc? OK - maybe not freshly roasted but what's good?
  12. les24preludes


    Quite a few threads on decafs. Usually require a finer grind. Darker roasts tend to stand up better with milk. You want to get the maximum flavour out of the beans and some of the more interesting roasts are Sumatran or Kenyan. Columbia can be good, of course, though medium and lighter roasts can be bland with milk. Most countries do a decaf, including Ethiopian. Supermarket decafs don't offer much - Waitrose do Peru decaf beans which are a dark roast but pretty average. Otherwise it's going to be ready ground decafs. M&S do a very good ground Columbian, #4. Supermarket prices are usually around £3.50 for 250g right now. I only drink decaf so I've had to optimise everything to get the taste out. A really good grinder helps - I have a Mazzer Major. I went through a Mini and Super Jolly up to the Major and it did make a difference in taste.
  13. I should have followed you guys with the recommendation. I lazily got some Horsham Columbian Sugarcane, which is pretty bland. A lighter brown roast. Price was just over £17 delivered, but it was a mistake nevertheless. I'll try and mix it with some Waitrose Peru beans which are darker.......... Result: A bit more flavour, but not great.
  14. Recently I've got into the habit of pressing the Pour button on my Gaggia Baby (older version) just after frothing. This sends a burst of steam through the group head. Seems to me this helps clean the shower screen. Is this recommended or what?
  15. My nomination for best value - Waitrose Peru Decaf beans. On offer at £2.62 a bag in my local. Can't beat that. Coffee is OK enough at that price.
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