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Everything posted by ChiarasDad

  1. Congratulations! I think I spent something like 80 minutes installing mine. I took it all very slow, checking everything over and over - with mains current running all over, I did not want to get electrocuted even once.
  2. I'm very interested in making singles but I've had terrible luck trying to make singles in my Gaggia Classic with Gaggia's single basket. I'm going to get one of the VST 7g baskets, which looks to have steeper sides which I imagine will help me at least get a more consistent tamp.
  3. A nice little corner! It looks like you have everything you need.
  4. It's hard to get lower than that with P&P charges. But do follow @hands_on_coffee on Twitter; from time to time they offer promotional specials with free or reduced P&P. Their selection is modest, but I've enjoyed what I've had from them.
  5. Most weekends lately I drink Londinium's decaf Costa Rican, as espresso -- it's very good and very satisfying. This past weekend I tried it for the first time as Aeropress, and it's really excellent: deep, rich, very flavourful, and again very satisfying. Highly recommended. (I've never previously been pleased with my Aeropress, but this weekend I tried Sweet Maria's instructions, and I remembered I had a Thermapen in a drawer to give me no-guessing temperatures, and between the two I've become much happier with my results.)
  6. I've been using Durgol as my descaler, mainly just because it's what I'm accustomed to. It's awfully expensive, but seems to work brilliantly -- I justify the expense by catching it as it runs out of the machine and using it over again to get the scale off other things around the house. It's so effective that a few wipes with a soaked paper towel is often all that's needed. (I also don't descale very often, as I now exclusively use Volvic water in my machine.)
  7. Today it's Coffee Real's Salvation decaf blend. I'm about three days into it and I think I have my shot parameters about as well dialed in as they're going to be. My shots are perfectly fine - I don't see anything I can do better on them technically anyway, and the flavour and texture are nice enough - but I'm just not loving/savouring this coffee. So far, Londinium's decaf Costa Rican is still my go-to when I'm in decaf mode*. *I have a relatively low caffeine tolerance, so this year I've been experimenting with going decaf for periods of time so I don't build up sleep debt. I will probably post a little bit about this separately if anyone's interested.
  8. I have 18g and 20g VSTs and I'm finding I really don't use the 20g. I've just ordered a 15g, which I think will suit a few blends (I'm mainly thinking HasBean Kicker) better. I must say I'm curious about that 7g basket.
  9. For the last few days it's been Vertical Break from Coffee Real. I'm pulling it as a short shot, maybe 19-21s to get ~3/4 oz of smooth rich velvety crema with almost no pure liquid beneath it. It's absolutely wonderful. What I want from my espresso is a tiny little morning demitasse of optimism, and this fits the bill exactly. I've been finding it difficult to stop at one, or even two. I suspect I've found my new 'house espresso' for those times when I'm relaxing a bit from my usual habit of trying something new all the time. I've been so transfixed by its results as this type of ristretto (and have been going through the bag so fast) that I really have no idea what it's capable of as a more conventional sort of shot. It's well worth experimenting with, I will confidently assert that. ---- As for Black Chough which has been mentioned a few times recently: I have not tried to make it as espresso; to me it's a very nice filter coffee for those times when you want something dark, strong, hot, and just plain good, and aren't on a quest for subtlety, fruity varietal character, or the like (but of course you don't want to feel you're drinking paint stripper either). It's a style I do like in general, and it makes a particularly fine winter coffee to be sure. I corresponded a little with Paul at Hands-On when it first came out, as my wife and I are in fact expats from California and now and then we do miss a certain "west coast" style of coffee* that Black Chough is described as trying to emulate. In my judgment he's hit the mark very well (in fact we both referred to a blend that it turned out he and we both know). Success with it as a filter coffee seems to depend pretty heavily on sufficiency of both temperature and contact time. I wasn't getting really satisfying results with it in my filter drip machine nor other cone-filter methods until I got a SwissGold filter which to my surprise really does give a different, and superior, extraction to the machine's supplied permanent filter or the paper ones I was using. I'm useless at AeroPress, but I suspect that people who can use it successfully would be able to make fine Black Chough with it; and from what I know of Chemex I imagine it could work successfully there. But it did seem to be a coffee that could yield weak and uninteresting results unless handled properly. *Also reminiscent of the strong, dark coffee my wife's relatives in Oslo drink throughout the day -- evidence that you don't have to be American to like this sort of thing
  10. ChiarasDad

    decaff beans?

    I'm drinking Londinium's decaf Costa Rican, and it's extremely good, and very easy to work with.
  11. Re the tampers (off topic a little, I know), I'm using a Reg Barber 58.4mm flat, and no problems whatsoever with channeling at the edges. Not that I know of anything wrong with getting a fancier base, but the flat one seems to work fine when the size is a good fit.
  12. This week I've been drinking Lusty Glaze, after two weeks on Londinium's excellent Costa Rican decaf. I'm a bit caffeine-sensitive, and taking a two-week break has been good - good enough that I'm going to experiment for a little while with alternating a bag of decaf with a bag of regular. So tomorrow it's back to decaf for me.
  13. I use a Grindenstein, which Bella Barista sell for £15. It is not shiny and polished, but dark (other colours available), small and unobtrusive which suits me just as well. It's dishwasher-safe, too.
  14. However the case of the PID itself will not be earthed, if you attach it only with the supplied velcro. You'd have to supply your own earthing lead from PID case back to the main unit for that. So I think the suggestion of an RCD seems well-considered.
  15. Assuming you mean the temperature drop from boiler to brewhead, I don't have equipment to measure it directly myself, but they supply a helpful table (along with the methodology used to compile it) of PID temp vs. brew temp, specifically for the Gaggia Classic. The delta varies with temperature - it's not a straightforward "subtract N degrees from PID temp to get brew temp" formula. The table seems reliable enough that when I use it to brew according to a roaster's suggested temperature (when such is supplied), I think my own evaluation of best temperature has always been within 1 degree C of that. Often it's bang-on, as was recently the case with Red Brick.
  16. I have the Auber kit (I guess mine is without preinfusion, or at least without controllable preinfusion) for the Classic, and I love the results. Not only am I getting better shots in general, the ability to adjust the temperature differently for different coffees has opened up enjoyment of quite a few coffees that I probably would not otherwise have enjoyed. The kit is not difficult to install, but it is a little bit fiddly and you should allow some uninterrupted time, and just as importantly a good light source. The design of the kit routes the entire mains voltage out into the little PID box, so you will want to be quite careful that none of the wires you install therein accidentally touches the case.
  17. Most 2-oz cups will fit, such as shotglasses sold by the espresso suppliers, Bodum Pavina double-walled glasses, the small Butlers.de cups that I use, and I assume ACF espresso cups. However another solution is to consider whether you are likely eventually to switch to a bottomless portafilter, and if you are, go ahead and make that purchase. Without the spouts there's a lot more clearance.
  18. Gentlepersons. I'm surprised at you. These gents look and dress no differently from plenty I might encounter on my way to favourite spots in Fitzrovia or on my way through Soho. The cafés I frequent could perfectly well choose to mock me as a rhymes-with-banker on entry, for surely my grey suit and American accent and middle years seem distinctly out of place and do not mark me as anybody likely to appreciate coffee as anything beyond it's-a-cup-of-joe-to-get-you-started-in-the-morning. But they accord me greetings and respect, and I am more than pleased to do likewise. I'd much rather form my opinions based on that shot of espresso that closed the video - which looked wonderful to me - than on their sartorial style. And I hope they will judge me on how much I enjoy and appreciate it, rather than on my own appearance. I hope to have a chance to visit there sometime soon. We are together to share our enjoyment of coffee. If that shared enjoyment brings together a diversity of people who might not meet otherwise but who have no reason not to get along, isn't that a good thing?
  19. I'm getting great results with Londinium's Costa Rican decaf. And it's not at all hard to work with as I feared. Very highly recommended. My "what's in your cup this morning" post about it
  20. Londinium Costa Rican decaf. I am getting really wonderful shots from this - rich, thick, creamy, delicious. My past experience with decafs is that they're tricky to work as espresso, but I am getting superb shots from this one, very easily and very repeatably. My current recipe is a rather fine grind, pulled short to yield about an ounce in about 20 seconds, at 94C. Deliciously smooth and creamy. Did I mention creamy? Just wonderful.
  21. While we're talking cups, I have a completely idiotic question: I frequently see references to pulling shots into "lined shotglasses." I've always assumed this meant shotglasses with a lining . . . that is, lined, with, er, some sort of material that makes them better suited to taking a shot of espresso than an ordinary shotglass would be, I suppose. Is a "lined shotglass" just a shotglass that has lines painted on it to denote volume?
  22. Many thanks for all your good efforts! A pity it doesn't look like it will work out after all that.
  23. I will admit to doing the paperclip thing and while I am not ready to say that it does or does not make a difference, it may be worth noting that an OE dosing funnel (as in the group-buy thread) makes this practice much easier than it would be without one.
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