Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by MGLloyd

  1. Well, it sounds as if you already have an espresso machine, in the person of the Gaggia Achilles, although I personally have not heard of that model and cannot find it on the Gaggia website. You apparently are thinking about replacing it with a pink Francis! Francis! X-1 sold by Illy.

    Whatever Gaggia machine you have, it probably is better and makes better espresso than the Francis machine. So I am not sure why you would be thinking about discarding a better espresso machine in order to get another espresso machine that is not as good. It is difficult for me to contemplate a situation in which I would discard the Gaggia in favor of the Francis.

    From your earlier posts, you are apparently looking more for a drip coffee brewer than another espresso machine. If you don't make espresso, and don't think you ever will, then by all means get rid of the Gaggia. But if you think you will get back into espresso, I would keep the Gaggia and get a good drip brewer or a press. That way, you will have both the espresso and drip coffee fronts covered.

  2. The President of China, Hu Jintao, is visiting the Seattle area next week. A dinner is being held for him at the home of Bill Gates. The dessert is 'rhubarb brown butter almond cake'. Since the recipe title alone has three of some of my favorite foods in it, I would probably like this dessert.

    Any ideas on a recipe? Where to find it or how to create it?

    PS: I already did a Google before posting, but could find nothing on point.

  3. That is indeed one of the Technivorm models. But it has a flaw that would remove it from consideration by most serious coffee people: a hot plate that cooks the coffee after brewing. I do know some people who have one of the Technivorm models, but they immediately pour the coffee from the decanter into a thermal carafe to avoid the post-brew hotplate cooking process. If I recall correctly, Technivorm does make a model with a thermal carafe.

    The Technivorm is also on the tall side, so if you plan on putting it under a cabinet, you will have the measure the clearance first.

  4. The other two Miele cabinet systems use the Nespresso pods instead of grinding whole beans. In my opinion, the pods offer a relatively limited selection of coffee and are quite expensive. I have also only seen pods sized to make one shot of espresso. I wonder what you do if you want two shots, make two singles right after each other?

  5. I perceive that up here in the Seattle area, many people care about coffee. And I also think the individual french press idea is great. Just don't plunge the pot for me after a minute of steeping; give me the pot and let me decide when to plunge it! I generally let my press pot at home steep for about four minutes or so.

  6. BG, that is indeed it. I have one just like it on my counter. We have had it for a little bit over two years, and it is the best automatic drip maker we have ever had. The key points for me were (1) brewing temperature. This is one of the few drip makers that is within the recommended temperature range of 195-202 degrees. (2) thermal carafe, as opposed to a hot plate that 'cooks' the coffee. (3) a 50 ounce capacity, since my wife and I drink a lot of coffee. (4) A robust build that should last. In terms of brewing quality and flavor, it is better than the numerous Braun and Krups units that we have had over the years.

    In terms of a grinder, I have a Rocky grinder for my espresso, but it costs $ 250 and I use it only for espresso. For the drip and press, we use a KitchenAid blade grinder that costs $ 30. I particularly like this grinder insofar as you can remove the stainless steel grinding chamber and clean it in the dishwasher. I have done taste tests with the Capresso and grinding the coffee in the Rocky and the KA grinder. We could not tell a difference, and fineness and uniformity of grind is not as important with drip as it is for espresso. So I save the expensive grinder for the espresso.

    The final key element for good coffee is to use as fresh beans as possible. I keep them whole in an airtight container in the freezer. At brewing time, I take the proper amount of beans out, return the jar to the freezer, and grind the beans right then. They are still frozen as the hot water hits them in the filter basket. To ensure maximum freshness, I actually roast my own beans at home, but finding a good local roaster and using the beans within a week of roasting will also give excellent results.

  7. Back when I was single, my personal 'babe magnet' was to offer some nice cheesecake brownies and a custom espresso/cappa/latte, all homemade of course. The combination of the creamy cappa, the silky cheescake, the chewy and moist dark chocolate brownie seemed to be a winner for most. Let's just say that I was popular. If they did not like dessert and coffee, they were quickly eliminated from consideration.

    And Bond Girl (I almost mistakenly typed Bong Girl, there. Oops.), are you looking for a means to make good drip coffee or good espresso?

  8. I happen to know someone who does enjoy good coffee/espresso and installed one of these systems, the CVA-615. Hint: this person is a Microsoft millionaire who pretty much just boils water on his 60" Viking stove. This is enough to make me weep.

    The Miele looks cool, and my friend says it is a 'babe magnet', but to my taste, it made mediocre espresso and worse coffee. It is essentially a superautomatic machine, the kind in which you press a button, and the machine does all the rest. I found it interesting when the grinder part broke after about a year, he bought a Krups coffeemaker and blade grinder instead, which makes much better coffee. He gets his espresso at Starbucks now, which is another thread.

    If your sole criterion is quality, you can do much better for cheaper. If style is an important consideration, the Miele does look good.

  9. Absolutely amazing to me that you could go to Bouchon and Chez Panisse and get poor coffee. But then again, I have eaten in some four-star restaurants in which the coffee or espresso was not particularly good. I admit however, that I am a tough grader. Since I roast my own coffee at home and make my own espressos, it is hard for any commercial establishment to top me, at least a restaurant. I have been at some coffee shops that were better than me.

  10. Also entering into the equation is the issue of staff training and competence. Being a good barista is not rocket science, but it does require training and experience. If you are looking for an 'all-in-one' solution with a minimum of staff training and involvement, then perhaps you should investigate a superautomatic espresso machine. For most of these machines, all you do is push a button. The downside from your perspective may be cost: $ 500 up to 2300 or so. Another downside is the lack of being able to customize the end product, which may or may not be an issue for you. The other 'sticky wicket' for a superautomatic may be the life expectancy of these machines in a restaurant setting; this will heavily depend on how much it is used. Spending $ 1500-2000 for a semi-automatic and good grinder will provide better quality espresso and perhaps last a lot longer than a superautomatic.

    A good place to start learning about superautomatics is here:


    If you have more questions or concerns, please post and we will try to help you.

  11. Jif Crunchy, in the large two-pack from Costco, is my secret vice. Followed closely by the TJ's clone of Nutella. I don't like the gummy texture and sticky mouth-feel of most 'natural' peanut butters.

  12. Of note, Zinnia in Mill Creek was reviewed on 2/17/06 in both the Everett Herald and the Seattle Times. They have been just slammed since the reviews were published.

    And much to my chagrin, the Lowell-Hunt wine cafe is no more at the Hollywood Schoolhouse complex in Woodinville. They have moved over to the Barn on Monte Villa Parkway in Bothell (next to the Northshore School District headquarters) and have been renamed as 'Russell's'. When I drove by there last week, they were not yet open, and were hoping to be open by the end of this month. I will be interested to see how the menu/food/concept has changed. We really liked Lowell-Hunt.

  • Create New...