Hawknc wrote:Thankfully there is no shortage of excellent cafes and coffee shops in Melbourne; I was actually surprised how much trouble I had finding a decent coffee in Sydney when I went there, which I guess is a sign of being spoiled for choice here. Probably the best I've tried is actually an hour away in Geelong, a place hidden away in a side street called Coffee Cartel. They do some amazing single-origin coffees and roast their own beans locally.
Hawknc wrote:I'm still learning how to make my own espresso coffee. Sometimes it turns out amazing, other times it's extremely average. Before I started I wasn't aware how sensitive the taste of coffee was to minor changes to temperature and time, but I certainly have a new appreciation for good baristas. Not up to roasting or grinding my own blends yet, but maybe in time.
Espresso is certainly very tricky. The italians have it down to a science, but it's a very strict science. They've figure out how to make consistently good espresso by making sure that every step of the process is consistent. From the coffee, which is a similar blend, roasted a similar way everywhere to the grinders, machines and even cups. Even small changes though can cause problems. For example, when a cafe is busy they can make one great espresso after another, but when the machines sit idle most of them will end up a lot hotter or cooler then they're supposed to be (they're designed to hold a certain temperature when in constant use) and the first shot or two will be off.
omgryebread wrote:...if I'm watching a fantasy, I want my princess to stab some motherfuckers, claim the crown herself, then invade the prince's kingdom and sleep with his sister.
Nath wrote:At work, we have a commercial grinder and La San Marco espresso machine (yay gift grants). They ask us not to play with the machine settings, so the grind is often suboptimal, but I usually end up with a drinkable espresso or latte. By drinkable, I mean better than the large chains, but not great compared to decent local places.
TrlstanC wrote:ooh, that's a nice set up to have at work. And yeah, it's not too hard to make something better then the large chains if you're willing to put in a little time. Most of the big chains now have fully automatic machines, they just push a button and espresso (or something like it depending on the last time the machine's been adjusted) comes out. If I had to make espresso without changing the grind I'd probably end up with a little digital scale and measuring cup (depending on how many weird looks I was willing to get) so I could adjust the dose consistently - higher dose for a slower thicker shot, and lower for a faster lighter shot. I find it's very difficult to get consistent shots if I'm just dosing by eye/volume, maybe someone working as a barista all day would have better luck, but even small changes in dose (+/- 5-10%) can have a big effect on taste.
Nath wrote:Well, I usually try to fill the basket exactly to the rim, and level it off with my index finger. For a given grind, this seems like a consistent way to dose. The two other variables I can control are the tamp and the duration of extraction. I usually give it a good, strong tamp (since otherwise water goes through too quickly), and run water through till the crema starts to look too light.
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