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About xiuxiuejar

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  • Location
    Usually Barcelona, sometimes London
  • Interests
    Coffee, football and computers
  • Occupation
    Marketing and logistics

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  1. Never put anything in coffee but in Ouzo I'd put in cardamom. I am just bias as I am originally from Kyrenia in northern Cyprus ... until the Turks stole our land and forced us out ... but no room for politics here. Sometimes national pride takes over so I am not going to overstate my defence of the coffee!
  2. Thanks for reminding me Hotmetal. Off to dig out some Greek Coffee in the kitchen and maybe have an Ouzo afterwards. It's an acquired taste, but Greek coffee done well is delicious. The dregs usually sit at the bottom after about 30 seconds and if you wait 30 seconds before pouring it once it's been made on the stove you get very few dregs in the cup any way.
  3. We call it Greek coffee in my house and it is delicious. Put less sugar and don't drink the dregs.
  4. I have always found that a good quality "normal" basket is the best way to go. I have some nice Gaggia baskets an Italian friend gave me a good few years ago and I have always found them very good. I have a couple of VST baskets but have never found them as great as people say. What is important is to use a good quality basket imo.
  5. I would like to add my bit to this. I have the Expobar and I am delighted with it. All of this mouthfeel and clarity thing is a just down to individual tastes. My story is strange as it took me an age to source a seller of the Expobar here despite the fact that it is made just a few hundred kilometres away. In fact, I am lucky enough to have visited the factory in Gandia where they make the Expobars and the beauty of the machine is that it is a commercial machine. They basically explained that they do not make domestic machines. They have three or four lines which offer slightly different amounts of electronics and capacities depending on the establishment size. The one group machines are basically designed for these very small restaurants and ice cream shops etc we have over here. One of the salespeople explained that they deal with the "mayoristas" who are basically the wholesalers inside Spain. They know they have a market outside Spain in the domestic markets of US, Australia, Holland, UK and Germany. In fact, he says that their pricing policy makes them less desirable as people don't rate them as highly as the Italian machines which he claims they are as good as. (I agree but that's just opinion so I will not comment further). So this slanging match between the Sage and The Expobar is unfair on both machines as maybe it should be between the cheaper E-61 group machines and the Sage. In my personal opinion, I have played a little with my brother's Sage, and I found the coffee a little lifeless. I only stay with my brother for a week every few months so I can't say I have experimented all the possibilities. In the end, each to his own. Just as you would never return to the Brewtus now, I don't see myself stepping down from an e-61! ***EDIT- The Sage looks good in my brother's ultra modern kitchen and the cleaning thing is true - it's a pain in the ass to clean the Expobar!***
  6. I loved Scramble on the ZX81 as well as the original Football Manager games. Then Deathchase, Eric and the Floaters, Daley Thompson and Match Day on the Spectrum.
  7. You'll find a few places in Madrid to buy decent enough coffee and by post you can get anything but you'll also find that despite their protests, coffee in Spain, and coffee culture for good quality product is worse than in the UK. However, you are lucky you live in or near the city and can find nearly everything. Hope you settle in well and enjoy it. My tip is to integrate with the people, learn the language and not just mix with English people, you'll enjoy it a lot more. (that's me - maybe quite wrongly - supposing you are English and not Spanish).
  8. When did you go to Madrid? The water in the city was even softer than the mineral water in the bottles last time I was in Madrid. Here is Barcelona we have huge Calcium deposits in our water - solids reaching 580 ppm when I was monitoring last year. I use a bottled water containing 130 ppm as any less leaves my coffee tasting lifeless.
  9. Congratulations! The secret of the Classic is to find a technique that works and stick to it. Warming the machine and flushing water through are essential. You basically repeated what used to be my technique with the Classic and I was always very happy with the coffee it produced. There's no going back now!!!
  10. The Gaggia is what it is ... which is basically a very affordable way of making very reasonable espresso. However, it is a very simple machine and requires a very strict regime and lots of practice in order to produce consistently good coffee - but for the money it cannot be beaten - in fact nothing really comes near. What generally happens is that people will do one of three things after experiencing the Gaggia. First - a few will decide they really don't care about coffee enough for the hassle. They like the idea of espresso but not the work and fuss. These move to the Nespresso machines and drink those dreadful 'coffee based drinks'. Then there are some people who enjoy the machine and either for a long time of maybe always, stick with the Gaggia. After all, to really improve vastly you need to invest much more heavily. And then you get those who have just begun a journey of expense through coffee and are both lucky enough to be able to afford upgrades and patient and passionate enough to do it. Despite its good points, the Gaggia can also cause frustration with it's small boiler, lack of steam power and bad temperature stability which is what attracts most people to upgrade. But for espresso it's damn good if used well. As for the Expobar, it is a really good machine.
  11. I always thought the MDF was underrated as a grinder. I still have one out the back somewhere and it served me well as a beginner. Once you do the stepless mod it's very good as a starter grinder.
  12. Try warming your Gaggia up a minimum of 20 minutes. Make sure everything is warm and dry (cups, portafilter). Then once you have coffee in the portafilter, flush a few seconds of water out of the boiler. Place the portafilter into the head and as soon as the light flicks on pour your coffee. The next time you order beans, order from Rave or Has Bean or one of those roasters as the coffee will be much fresher and roasted to order more or less. Most "problems" with the Gaggia are from incorrect temperature (or bad coffee) in my experience. I used to go through this process all the time and achieved very good results.
  13. timer has a round switch which you turn (like an old egg timer) that grinds for a certain amount of time. The other has a switch. It's really easy to change the timer for a switch if you really want. Remember that these machines are made for bars and the idea is to grind beans for a few coffee while doing other tasks.
  14. I don't know what all the fuss is with OD. If you go for an expensive grinder, then OD is a good option but I've never had problems with a doser - in fact, quite the opposite, the doser is an effective way of delivering clump free, non static, well distributed grinds to the portafilter. ALWAYS grind for each coffee though and NEVER leave ground coffee in the doser as it starts deteriorating almost straight away. I would suggest that you don't even leave the unground beans in the hopper either. If you spend money on a good grinder and then good, nicely freshly roasted beans, it's worth keeping them properly. The best coffee comes from the correct handling of good product with the help of good equipment - but even good equipment can't make good coffee if you don't handle the raw materials well.
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