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Found 14 results

  1. It seemed like a good idea to put up a thread of "top tips" for people who've just got themselves a new espresso machine and are looking to make the tastiest drinks they can. I expect lots of entries here from our professional barista trainers - no pressure guys So to start it off: 1) Taste everything! There are a huge number of variables in espresso making (dose used, how fine the grind is, how big the shot pulled is, etc.) and the best thing you can do is to try extreme examples. E.g. Using the same dose and grind, pull two shots - stop the first at a full espresso cup and the second at only half a cup. Taste the results - they won't be pleasant, but you'll understand much better what the impact of longer and shorter shots is. 2) Everything matters. Especially true with home espresso machines, less so the more high-end you go. Lots of the variables in espresso making are not directly controllable by you (at least on a home machine). Most of them, however, can be indirectly impacted by you. So try and set up routines - for example - leave machine to warm for 20 minutes with portafilter locked in; remove basket; return handle to machine; weigh basket; grind into basket; weight dose of coffee; take out portafilter and put in basket; flush some water through the system; tamp coffee; lock in portafilter; place cups; start shot. It's not about right and wrong here as much as consistency - doing it the same way, in the same order, will mean that when you aren't happy with the results, you have a good chance of tracking down what has changed to cause this. 3) Trust yourself: Related to my first one, but trust your taste buds - taste is king! You're making coffee for yourself (at least to start with), so if you don't like the results, then change things until you do. There is plenty of advice and pointers on here, and I certainly suggest trying recommendations, but don't defer to others' judgments - what matters is how it tastes to you. Tougher still is putting your own expectations aside - you might expect a good espresso to have a thick, dark crema, but don't let your assumption cause you to dismiss a coffee before you've tried it.
  2. ho! So I got an exciting new delivery today [ATTACH=CONFIG]16162[/ATTACH] I've ran half a dozen coffees through it now (and it's just in the oven baking so I can clean it properly again), but I've not managed to get a *good* brew from it yet. First off, the mouthfeel in the output coffee is mega-confusing, at 0.8tds it feels like I'm drinking weakly flavoured syrup, at 1.3 it was like drinking treacle. (Both extractions were fluffed in their own unique way). So, recipes so far: (GS = grind setting), these are all at 93-94C GS 4, 14g + 250ml = 200ml of coffee ( 1.3 tds, really nasty bitterness on top of sweetness and thickness, took 8 minutes to come through) *changed coffee so as not to waste the one I really want to use for this* GS 9, 14g + 250ml = 200ml of coffee ( 0.8 tds, super weak but sticky and syrupy, took 2 minutes to come through ) GS 7, 13.5g + 230ml = 200ml of coffee ( 1.05 tds, tastes okay but a bit weak, super syrupy, took 4 minutes to come through ) ==== Observations: With no coffee in the filter, the flow rate is about 200ml in 10 seconds, so coffee is the main flow rate limiter If I keep adding water so the coffee doesn't have time to settle completely, flow rate carries on being quite fast, almost stopping once coffee has settled Full, the filter is probably only 180g, I could down-dose and just do 160g of output at a time - I'm okay with that as a single-cup thing if that's a suggestion Agitation can start up flow again but this feels wrong as it's basically allowing water past the coffee without "flow" I think it needs a good *clean*, just like with the behmor I'm being thrown off by the taste of "new" I thought initially the best idea would be to soak the grinds, let them bloom, then pulse water through until I had the desired output - this method means that it chokes very quickly so perhaps not ideal but it would mean a more stable temp I then tried to keep adding water until desired amount was added and just let it come through, this means quite a lot of weak coffee and then.. it chokes I imagine this is probably similar to doing a chemex, but I don't do them either so queries: How do I keep flow rate largely consistent (or at least avoid choking), I'd guess that I should be aiming for aroundabouts 20% EY unless anybody has bright ideas about pushing it even higher - I guess I could add all the water, stick a lid on it and just wait for 10 minutes...
  3. Funny, serious, unusual - share your tips here! A camera puffer is just the job for blowing out coffee grinds from your grinder, under your machine, or any little crevices they may find themselves in!
  4. There's nothing worse than "all the gear and no idea"; but I'm sat here with my R58 and still can't get milk like Kane's pic! It was almost easier on the classic cos you had more time until it reached temp (until the steam ran out of course). Now I have no excuse. Off to have another 'practice' ☺☕
  5. Hi all, longtime lurker first post. Having killed our Rocky Rancilio grinder trying to remove the burrs (screws seized, destroyed the carriers trying to get the old burrs off and new burrs on... long story and new carriers seem quite hard to find) we are looking at an upgrade to the SJ. There are some absolutely knackered ones on ebay at the moment, but in general quite a few better-looking ones come up often enough. I'm wondering if a "works but sold as is" one is worth a go if I can get one for 20-30 quid though? My mechanical skills aren't too bad despite killing the Rocky. If were I were trying to remove the Rocky screws again I would do things differently... live and learn. I've been doing a lot of reading about it but actually haven't seen any Mazzers in person so was wondering if anyone had tips and caveats for buying secondhand. Seized adjuster rings, dead bearings, new burrs, and the like all seem to be fixable from what I've read here. Do the burr screws suffer from the same issue as the Rocky? Any other particular thing that would be an absolute no-go on a secondhand knackered Mazzer?
  6. Hi guys, After my last thread about my Oracle and subsequently having to get it replaced I figured I would start a positive thread. Due to the issues I was having with mine I done a lot more research and got a lot of good advice so I thought it would be good for me to share some of the things I've learnt during this time and give an opportunity for everyone else to do so. Most of the things I've found have been somewhat described in the manual but not really fully explained so with a bit of trial and error I think I've managed to work them out and hopefully this thread will save anyone who's just bought one a bit of time. Starting with the process in which I now make a coffee, this method I've found gives the most consistent results. - Allow the machine to heat up fully after starting. - Run a full empty shot through the portafilter into the cup to be used (I find this saves on water for preheating the cup and the portafilter and allows you to ensure that everything's clean) - Purge steam wand (If using). - Remove portafilter from the grouphead and thoroughly dry with a dry towel. - Start steaming milk. - Grind beans. - While grinding run a shot for about 5 seconds to make sure everything's clean. - Empty pre-heated cup (Very important ) - Insert portafilter and lock. - Insert cup and scales and pull the shot. - Remove portafilter, knock puck into the knockbox and rinse using the double shot button (Find this useful as it saves water and makes sure you remember to run clean water through the group after every shot) - Place portafilter back in grouphead, if making another I will run a full shot through into an empty cup again. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Another tip I have found but couldn't find too much info about was the time vs flo setting on the machine for shot duration, this has made the single biggest difference in automating my shots. This is changed in the main menu when the machine is off. It's a case of changing the shot volume from time to flo. You then must go into the menu when the machine is on and set the shot volume. I done this using scales for a 1:2 ratio (The Oracle doses ~22g so I aim for 44g out). The issue I was having with using the time method is that the variation in shot time would differ and would cause me the have to watch the scales and try to stop the machine at the right point everytime whereas the flow method seems to adjust the time to suit. I'm usually within a few grams of the 44g target using this method and time varies from about 27 seconds to 32 but the machine will stop it perfectly every time. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The top burr of the grinder can be changed. The factory default is set at 6 out of a possible 10. To change it manually you have to removed the silver handle and the burr will just turn. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- To clean the burr I have found a technique that works well for me. - Remove hopper and clear any whole beans away from the top burr. - Insert the grinder and flick the switch to actvate (You'll need to press the button on the back of the grinder with something small (Allan key fits perfect) *Pressing the button on the back is probably not the recommended way to do this but it saves having to empty the hopper of beans and then re-install it to have to remove it again* - Run the grinder until empty (Cover above the grinder hole with your hand or you'll get bean fragments everywhere. DO NOT PUT YOUR HAND NEAR THE BURRS. - Vacuum everything (I use a cordless vacuum with the nozzle attachment. Vacuum the burrs throughly then clean everything wotht the supplied brushes and then vacuum again. - Clean everything else as normal. - I generally remove the shower screen every few days and give it a rinse. Any other tips and tricks would be great to add to this thread. Thanks
  7. I am buying a year old Gaggia Baby Twin at the weekend for £80. I've already had a good search on the forum for relevant threads, but basically I'd like to know more about cleaning/de-scaling/servicing a Baby Twin to get the best out of the machine, so I pose a few numbered questions below. Please bear in mind I am a newbie on a budget. (1) I'd like to know how to give it a decent clean, back-flush(??), service, etc, I'm even quite happy to take the innards apart to do this properly if it means a well maintained machine (I'm pretty good at taking apart and putting things back together). I want to make sure I do this with the correct cleaning products as I believe the Baby Twin brew boiler is aluminium and the steam thermo-block is stainless-steel-lined-aluminium - I think some products may cause damage to either steel or aluminium? Machine is sold with genuine Gaggia fluid and I have ordered a blank back-flush plate, but can a back-flush be done on the Baby Twin like the Classic or is anything different? The machine has just been repaired by Phillips who fitted a new boiler because of a leak. (Which might not bode well, but hey...) I think the steam wand may have the occasional drip after steaming, could this be a problem? Any tips for cleaning the machine between uses? (2) The machine already has the Silvia steam wand modification. I am wondering if the Baby Twin needs an OPV mod (like the Gaggia Classic does) to reduce the system pressure to that for loose coffee instead of the higher system factory set ESE pod pressure? If this is possible, how to go about doing this and might anyone know how to make a cheap accurate pressure gauge or anyone nearby Winchester to help? (3) Any further tips and tricks for getting the best out of the Baby Twin, this could be any kind of advice, from cleaning after each use, to how to get the best brew/steam, peculiarities of the machine? I'm keen to make good espresso with the machine for myself and the girlfriend so that it remains permanently in place on a limited worktop space, so please help! I am off to post in the "grinder" and "wanted" forums for advice with sourcing a good second-hand grinder, no point answering that here in the Gaggia forum... Thanks.
  8. A quick tip... Empty plastic milk bottle? Use the steam wand, give it a blast to soften and then crush it saves a alot of space in the bin. Grumpy Ok a more serious tip. This might be worth knowing. We all know how boilers become soured or fouled, but I have come across another rare way twice now. A new customer called me because they had experienced a soured boiler 3 times in the previous 3 years, so some investigation was required. The machine, a Bezzera Bistro was never switched off and they were adamant they didn’t soak the steam wand so it was not milk contamination; further enquiries revealed that they only used the machine for shots and steaming milk, hot water was provided by a boiler next to the machine, this was the problem. The machine only replaced the water which was lost when steaming the milk and this in itself was not enough fresh water to stop the boiler water turning stagnant, to make things worse, because the machine was left switched on 24/7 in never cooled and therefore the water in the boiler never contracted which would have allowed a quantity of fresh water to be pumped in when switched back on. The cure was for them to switch the machine off and open the hot water valve to empty as much water from the boiler as possible and then to switch back on to allow fresh water in, I recommended they did this once a week which they did after I had cleaned out the boiler and the problem has not returned. Home machines with a boiler and heat exchanger I would think could suffer the same fate as not a lot of boiler water is used. Just a thought and I hope it helps. Grumpy
  9. Most new baristas and home enthusiasts want to pour a rosetta as quickly as possible. Please note: This does not improve the quality of the drink There is a fantatsic video by Scott Rao, author of the Professional Barista's Handbook, with a great tip - to use soapy water instead of milk when practicing Latte Art Check out the - you'll be reaching for the dishwash, a bowl and your milk jug right away!
  10. I just picked up a Kalita Caffe Uno from HasBean. Loving it so far - I dose around 12g (as Steve suggests they're very similar to the kantans) at a grind a little finer than V60, and try to pour in ~ 185ml of water. Total brew time ~ 2 mins including draining at the end. I'm loving it so far because it's so portable, but still really stable on the cup. And the coffee's tasting great! Almost as nice as I can get from a V60 1-cup, but with far less technique involved! Anone else had any experience with the Caffe Uno? What recipe do you use?
  11. Hi all I’m new here. I currently have the Scultura, I’m looking to upgrade but in the meantime does anyone have any tips on how to improve the drinks from the Scultura? I drink a couple of espressos and cappuccinos a day. I use pre ground coffee. I’m hoping to get a decent grinder soon. Is a non-pressurised basket worth getting? Thanks in advance. Al
  12. I’ve just taken delivery of the service kit from The Espresso Shop to use on my recently acquired second hand Classic. Any tips on actually using this would be greatly appreciated, including how long it is likely to take.
  13. Anyone with one of these (or any other make with a dosing snout) will be irritated by the 1-2 grams of ground coffee left in the snout and in the grinder after grinding a dose. Well, here's a good tip for all us coffee geeks who like a gadget.... Buy first a squeeze air duster from a photo supply shop or Ebay or somewhere, costing about £4. These are soft rubber balls which you squeeze to squirt air at something. Try and get one with a small tapered nozzle. They're easy to get. Get a large one (about 100mm in length), not one of the small ones with a brush attached. The brush isn't needed. Here's one on Ebay... http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220617214215 Then drill a small hole (+/- 4mm?) about half way down the front of the plastic snout so that the tip of the blow duster will locate easily in the hole. Hey presto! One blast with the blower after grinding cleans the whole lot out and dumps it in your portafilter. And while grinding no coffee will come out of the drilled hole. Now who in their right mind wants a gram or two stuffed up their snout every day? (not that snout, stupid!). Do this today and say goodbye to stale coffee.
  14. TheCoffeeTweet: Barista competition tips from James Hoffman - possibly worth paying attention to - http://tinyurl.com/7kct8s More...
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