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Posts posted by malachi

  1. The combination of green bean plus roast means there is no real way to say "you should degas your coffee for exactly X days always". I've never tasted an espresso that peaked at beyond 6 days or before 2 days (IMHO and to my taste). That being said, I always taste over the full range of 24 hours to 10 days and track the changes to the flavour during that time.

  2. It's a useful training and diagnostic tool.

    It also changes the mouthfeel, which can be positive with some coffees and not with others.

    Finally (and perhaps most importantly unless you're a pro in which case training is the most important) it eliminates the need to clean your portafilter and spouts every 45 minutes to reduce contaminants.

    As for the various heat issues noted above - they're pretty much just myth (both in terms of positive and negative impact).

  3. I wake up and I'm usually standing by the sink rinsing cups.

    Taste of coffee in my mouth. Mmmmm...

    This time of year it's pitch black outside.

    If I think hard enough I'll be able to figure out what espresso I just had. Was it the Ecco Caffe?

    There is a hazy memory that goes something like this:

    - 5am - alarm.

    - Stagger out of bed into the hall.

    - Grab the clothes I put out the night before off the chair

    - Out into the kitchen.

    - Grind and pull a quick garbage shot (thank god for muscle memory).

    - Another shot... watch it flow, watch the colour, watch the time, taste the shot... With any luck I'm good to go or else I'm doing the adjust-the-grind dance.

    - Small pitcher of milk.

    - Steam.

    - Pitcher goes on the windowsill.

    - Grind, dose, distribute, tamp.

    - Pull the shot.

    - Tap and swirl the milk (get that texture like velvet).

    - Stop the shot.

    - Muscle memory cappuccino cup rosette.

    - Drink.

    And back to the beginning I'm awake. Fuzzy hazy memory and that lingering aftertaste...

    On good mornings I still taste it a half hour later.

  4. There are some cases in Italy where calcium is added to the water in order to enhance the espresso and I rarely (if ever) saw a water filtration setup like you see here.

    Just because burnt coffee is more tolerable in large quantities of milk does not mean that milk drinks should be made with darker roasted coffee.

    To use the example previously mentioned in this thread - Vivace uses two different coffees - one for straight espresso and one for milk drinks. The difference between the two is not actually degree of roast but rather the component beans in the blend. The "milk" espresso (Vita) has beans that are heavier and more "intense" in flavour. It is also less sweet. As a result, the flavours "carry" in milk better and the milk adds the missing sweetness back in.

    There are two common approaches to creating an espresso blend that works well in milk. The first is as described above - to go with a "heavy" blend (often using Indonesian coffees). The second is go with accent coffees that are "bright" and fruity. By adding an Ethiopia Harar or Sidamo (for example) you can create a blend where the fruit brightness will 'cut" through the milk and where the acidity is offset by the sweetness from the milk. The Intelligentsia Oromo is a good example of this.

    Taking a coffee beyond its optimal degree of roast is never required for any form of preparation. Doing so destroys the varietal nuances of the coffee. It's far better to, instead, choose beans carefully and develop blends based on an understanding of those beans.

  5. For home use either of these machines is theoretically overkill.

    Personally... I would say it depends on your goals. The GS3 is probably going to be "easier" to use than the Synesso but the Synesso should be more "flexible" for a top barista.

    It's like choosing between a Porsche C4S and a Ferrari Modena.

  6. Of course, even well-foamed milk breaks relatively quickly, particularly where it's in contact with the coffee, so I think it works out to about 2 oz of liquid and 2 oz of more stable foam.

    I suppose it depends on your definition of "relatively quickly" but with well textured milk, it simply should not break in the time it takes to consume your drink.

    Bad espresso won't produce a good cappucino, however, as David Schomer discovered, a lighter roast is favorable for straight shots, and the sugar and fat from the milk benefits from a slightly darker roast (not charred) for milky drinks, including cappucino.

    Actually, those are also both myths as well.

    There are numerous lighter roast coffees that make fabulous cappuccinos (Ecco Caffe Reserve Espresso is one such example) and a nearly equal number of "darker" roasted coffees that make great straight espresso (Stumptown Hairbender is an example here).

  7. It's not really a "home" machine and the price reflects that. It will probably be cheaper than a Synesso, if that helps.

    It should be out this coming year - with luck Spring/Summer.

    I would probably suggest skipping the Macap due to the stepped grinding. Stepless will give you better results. I would suggest adding the Cimbali Junior to your list of grinders.

    If you want more information about the Marzocco GS3, there are ongoing discussions of it on both CoffeeGeek.com and Home Barista.

  8. Of course she didn't invent simple cooking.  But her restaurant has directly or indirectly trained an entire generation of chefs and it really is impossible to ingore the impact it has had on cooking in the region.

    Oh - there is no doubt about the fact that she has had a huge influence.

    But not every chef in SF was trained by her and lumping all SF restaurants that focus on the quality of their ingredients into some sort of "Waters Hegemony" is simple ignorance.

    As I said earlier - the article is really out of touch. It would have seemed somewhat inflammatory but perhaps true, oh... 15 years ago. But not now.

  9. Alice Waters did not invent ingredient-focused cooking. Just because she is well known for bringing this point of view to the US doesn't mean it was unknown elsewhere (or, really, for that matter here) before her.

    Go to Da Cesare in Albaretto della Torre in Piemonte. Is Patterson claiming that their simple, "homey" and ingredient focused (and driven) cooking was learned from Alice Waters? If I were to work at Da Cesare and then move to SF and open a restaurant based on what I'd learned working for Cesare would I be "tarred with the Chez Panisse brush"?

    I find the article to be incredibly self-serving, self-centered and parochial.

  10. I started reading the article in a local coffee bar and had to double-check the date on the cover. The only explanation I could come up with for its existance was that the magazine was, oh, let's say 10 years old.

    Shocking to see that it was present-day.

    Things have changed.

    I almost started laughing when it said that Delfina was an example of the "tyranny of Alice Waters". Ummm... perhaps a visit to Da Delfina in Italy would be in order for the author?

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