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creationtwentytwo

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Brewing Nicely

Brewing Nicely (4/8)

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  1. Thanks very much. I must admit I had seen the mentions of the Osmio Zero and water treatment and naively glossed over it thinking it wasn’t something I needed but clearly it would be of great benefit! Seems like a sensible investment and as you say, preferable to repairing/cleaning a scaled-up coffee machine.
  2. I’ve been using the Moccamaster for a couple of years, daily and only just noticed this. I moved house fairly recently so wasn’t sure if it’s down to the water in the new area. The reservoir is showing some pretty crusty scale looking stuff. It’s on there pretty tough as I tried to wipe it out. Firstt, is this hard water? Second, what can I do to improve this? Also, is there likely to be damage to the internals if this is present on the reservoir.
  3. Controversial opinion incoming! Packaging obviously serves different purposes depending on the point of sale. Once it’s in the post the job becomes largely functional. I’m a graphic designer so slightly biased but in my experience good packaging design is usually an extension of the care/craft that has gone into the product. This isn’t exclusively true, of course, but as mentioned is similar with craft beer or perhaps some smaller chocolatiers these days too. Of course that isn’t to say there’s no great coffee without good design or that all well designed coffee packaging houses great coffee. But generally if someone has taken the time to design the packaging or hired a designer to do it, they likely care a lot about the product within. I think there’s another factor in this too, much like craft beer, where retail bags are sold alongside each other. A local shop where I used to live for example, would sell three or four roasters at any one time, so from behind the counter the most attractive packaging may have had an edge. There’s also a farm shop nearby that sells a few and again, the more eye-catching designs stand out. However, there’s a roaster nearby that literally uses a brown bag and a stamp, and their coffee is fantastic so again, not exclusively true. My favourites are- Newground, Dark Arts, Round Hill, Yallah. All roast great coffee in my opinion. I love a tin for a special occasion, but totally impractical for regular purchases. I also enjoy the cards with the details so I can stick it on top of the grinder. I must admit I favour a letterbox sized recyclable bag for mail-order. It’s frustrating when I miss the postie and have to go to the delivery office at one of the three hours they seem to be open in a week to collect 250g of coffee.
  4. Bit of a (slightly sad) update here… I did end up selling my espresso machine and reverting to just V60 and Moccamaster methods. For now… Controversially I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having ‘simple’ brew methods and with the focus taken off preparation I’ve been having a bit of a rediscovery phase with trying new coffees and enjoying them without the ‘stress’ (which I totally appreciate isn’t a stress to most people). I think where I went wrong was having unrealistic goals for my espresso setup, perhaps limited by my budget. I wanted one grinder that did filter and espresso with no waste but also efficiency when I needed it (hopper fed/timed grinding/dual boiler). I think realistically two grinders and two ‘areas’ would’ve helped, one for a hopper full of filter roast and the Moccamaster, and one for espresso, a Niche and a V60 or something. Do I miss it? I definitely miss the actual espresso drinking part, but I haven’t regretted it and as above, have kind of rediscovered the joys of simple brewing. The other factor is that the x54 grinder has been incredibly good for filter methods, and I just like how it looks on the counter with the Moccamaster and that the timer is incredibly consistent. It’s the dialling in I definitely don’t miss, especially when I was just making a quick flat white for my wife and I. When it went well, it was obviously a proud moment enjoying delicious espresso with perfect milk I’d just steamed. However, less fun when I rush back to the Zoom meeting sipping a tepid, bile-flavoured gusher due to the beans being two-days older and my grind setting now being slightly off. I will definitely buy another machine down the line, most likely when I have the space to dedicate an area to espresso prep. I’d love a dedicated single dose grinder like the Niche or something and a dual-boiler machine, and then keep the x54 for filter.
  5. The Zero definitely grinds for espresso just fine. Sidenote, did you buy the VST basket because that same James Hoffman video suggests binning the standard basket immediately? If you’re new to espresso I’d recommend not doing that until you can get a decent shot from the included basket. Whilst the VST is capable of great things, it is unforgiving and will likely add to your frustration if you’re not getting consistently good results from your standard basket. In my experience a VST will highlight every last imperfection with preparation; grind coarseness, dose amount, distribution and tamp quality (how evenly a puck is tamped). Great when you’ve got the preparation down consistently, not so much if you haven’t.
  6. Thanks! Possibly stupid question but should that brew time be halved for 500ml at the same ratio?
  7. Moccamaster? The barista at Dark Arts recommended it to me years ago and I’ve not regretted it. I’ve not seen it get huge amounts of love on the web but I’ve seen it in a lot of decent coffee shops. Perhaps it does efficiency better than flavour compared to other brewers? Either way I really like mine, and use a Mahlkönig x54 to grind, both work well together and look great on the kitchen counter.
  8. Happy Bank Holliday all, quick question about Moccamaster brewing. I’ve had a Moccamaster for a while (not sure which model, the one with the glass jug rather than thermo). Love it, and use it at least once a day to make two cups. However, I’ve never really paid much attention to refining the output since it seems pretty forgiving and I’ve focussed my efforts on espresso. Admittedly I also mainly use it for convenience rather than flavour as it’s typically first thing in the morning. Now I’ve got a grinder that is relatively good for switching brew methods (x54) I thought I’d try and dial in a bit. Is there a brew time I should be aiming for and is it affected by volume?
  9. Glad you’re enjoying it! The build quality is indeed great. Probably the nicest looking grinder I’ve seen but then I’m a fan of Mahlkönig’s design. After calibrating it I’ve had some good results in the cup. Clump-city in the basket but dosing into a cup and shaking solved that. Are you using it for other brew methods or just espresso? Edit: I see you mentioned in the OP that you’re using it for filter also. Keep us posted how single dosing goes. I find the x54 is great for grinding espresso, V60 and Technivorm, but switching between them with a hopper full is a great way to lose a LOT of coffee!
  10. Very fair points, I can certainly be impulsive! The comment about local coffee just not being very good is accurate here also. I don’t want to name the town and shame the coffee shops but there’s only one ‘decent’ coffee to be had nearby and that’s dependent on the barista. I think now knowing how not only to make decent coffee but detect ‘bad’ coffee has made it far more noticeable. With that said even my less successful coffees at home are probably better than most I have takeaway locally so that’s one reasons for sticking to it. However it also means it’s that much more enjoyable when I do visit a town or city with good coffee. Something I probably took for granted a bit when I was living in London. I’ve found a funnel I ordered years ago that’s helping me dose more evenly from the cup and I’ve just ordered one of the Niche cups also as I like the design and it seems like it’ll release grinds a bit more cleanly than the included Mahlkönig one (which is admittedly excellent for filter and for being big enough to catch all the grinds without having to hold it). I’m getting better results. I probably shouldn’t have graduated to the VST basket so quickly but it is a treat when it goes well.
  11. This is a long shot, largely just for nostalgia and curiosity as to what happened to it but I’m trying to remember the name of a coffee shop in East London. I’m fairly certain it was a small, takeaway only batch-brew place opened by Ozone (who are further up the street). It was on Leonard St, the eastern end before the crossing with Paul St (before it was pedestrianised and when it used to have the big Hitchcock sculpture on). It was on the opposite side to The Book Club. It would’ve been 2012/2013 I think, and wasn’t open for long at all. Anyone else remember it?
  12. Before I’d calibrated it I was struggling to get anything much slower than 10 seconds. However after following the YouTube calibration video mentioned earlier that Mahlkönig put out, things are much much better. I can choke the machine pretty easily with lower settings. I agree it looks good too, feels like a mini E65 in my kitchen!
  13. It could be down to personal taste and it’s not ‘weird’. I lived/worked in East London for much of the 2000s/2010s and ended up tiring of the lighter roasts with fruit tasting notes that became popular. I enjoyed it to begin with but now I dislike ‘fruity’ coffee and have almost gone to the other extreme in some weird taste-rebellion. I even enjoyed an M&S own brand ‘French Roast’ the other day! Assuming it is indeed your tastes and not the brewing method, look for Brazilian blends with chocolate tasting notes. One of my recent favourites is Stronghold by Origin. It’s a heavy, dark chocolate and fudge flavour that to me epitomises what I enjoy about darker coffee. In a flat white it’s divine, possibly one of the best coffees I’ve had. I was fortunate to have it made by someone far more expert than me at the source recently and I’d liken the experience to a great beer or fine wine! NewGround in Oxford also have some great blends with similar flavours. Also, and this might be controversial, I’ve used espresso roasts in filter brews before with great results. Dark Arts Coffee used to do a PNG called ‘Lost Highway’ that made a really enjoyable V60. Possibly sacrilege, but whatever, if it tastes good in the cup I’m drinking it.
  14. I have the Felicita Arc scales also and have been pretty pleased with them. The auto-tare/timer start is really handy and I use that function every day. I also enjoy how quickly I can switch from normal weighing for dosing, to extraction weighing/timing. One slight quirk that I’ve seen reported elsewhere is that that the setting that starts timing as soon as it’s tared gets stuck on 5 seconds occasionally which I haven’t been able to fix yet. I also like that the shape of it almost perfectly matches the shape of the drip tray louvres on the Silvia, and I’m not sure if that was intentional.
  15. Thanks for the further replies, really appreciated. For me, the appeal of a dual-boiler is literally just to be able to steam milk whilst pulling a shot, and to have a hot-water dispenser that isn’t my kettle or a steam wand. For everything else my Silvia does a perfectly good job for my tastes! I’ve just posted in my grinder thread that I’ve made a bit of a discovery that it could be my poor technique causing my grinding frustrations… using a dosing cup and not paying more attention to distribution is resulting in one side of the basket heaping due to gravity when flipping the cup. In the absence of a funnel to pour it in, more careful distribution is helping a lot. Looks like I won’t be selling up just yet!
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