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I think you probably made the right choice, a basic timer doesn’t really make it easy to use a hopper. If 7 seconds gets you 15g, 14 seconds doesn’t get you 30g, so changing dose can be a right pain if you’ve got a hopper full of beans. 

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On 11/10/2019 at 07:37, morcs said:

Hopefully last Porlex grind this morning. Though it was a good reminder to do physio! (I was standing on one leg with my eyes closed whilst grinding :D)

 

First grind with my Porlex this morning. You're not wrong about the physio! Coffee was definitely worth it though. 

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11 hours ago, HarryBizzle said:

I think you probably made the right choice, a basic timer doesn’t really make it easy to use a hopper. If 7 seconds gets you 15g, 14 seconds doesn’t get you 30g, so changing dose can be a right pain if you’ve got a hopper full of beans. 

 

Yeah I think I hit the "too fine" grind limit this morning as it started to taste bitter, but it still seems to pull the shot through too fast, so I'm thinking I need to increase the grind amount instead (also based on the fact there's not much resistance when I twist the portafilter in place)

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59 minutes ago, morcs said:

 

Yeah I think I hit the "too fine" grind limit this morning as it started to taste bitter, but it still seems to pull the shot through too fast, so I'm thinking I need to increase the grind amount instead (also based on the fact there's not much resistance when I twist the portafilter in place)

What do you use to make your coffee?

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14 minutes ago, Blue said:

What do you use to make your coffee?

 

A Gaggia Classic :) It's an aftermarket portafilter though and I think the basket is a bit larger than standard, as 14g is not nearly enough to fill it.

 

Reading up - too much grind amount would have the effect of making it pull too fast. :omg: I still have work to do!

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19 minutes ago, morcs said:

 

A Gaggia Classic :) It's an aftermarket portafilter though and I think the basket is a bit larger than standard, as 14g is not nearly enough to fill it.

Looks nice in the video I watched. I'm always tempted by one of these type and I'm sure the coffee will be better than through the Aeropress, naturally, but not sure I can handle the extra faff. Do they take a fair bit of cleaning/maintaining? 

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I've got a Rancilio Silvia after having a Gaggia for many years - frankly it's only a slight upgrade over the 'good' Gaggia models (I don't really use the steam wand function, that might be a level up I guess?). I wouldn't say they're particularly faffy once you've had a little practice: you put the water in the reservoir (it'll hold plenty of cups-worth), let it heat it up, draw a hot water shot to get everything primed, then put your espresso grind into the portafilter basket, tamp it down and do the real thing. Cleanup day-to-day is just wiping up the bits of coffee left on the machine afterwards (I have a little angled brush thing to make it as easy as possible), knock out the 'puck' of coffee from the basket and then wash that up with the mug. I think that's it? I find it a pretty happy ritual that doesn't really take me noticeably any longer than making a hot drink any other way.  Only thing is an espresso machine is very dependent on the grinder, if that's not very good then you might be disappointed by the results, if you're going for a traditional espresso with crema.

 

The slightly longer-term cleaning is the drip tray (weekly? Every time? ) and then longer still you have to descale the thing most probably every few months (but maybe not with your fancy filtered water?). You can also clean the shower-head (the bit water comes out from) in a couple of minutes by 'backflushing' with a lot of machines if they have the 3-way solenoid that the Gaggia Classic does - and surely anything of that level or above, you put in a blank basket and run water, and it forces it back up the other way - do that maybe monthly. Every so often you'd need to change the rubber gasket seal (annual at most, likely way less often than that) and do a deeper clean of the shower-head and behind it (that's probably annual if you do the backflush thing every few months meanwhile), both of which are pretty straightforward to do and not expensive.

 

Some things that make espresso machines a little bit easier/quicker/nicer to use:

Proper tamper (and mat) - the ones that come with the machine never seem much good. These fit properly and have a satisfying weight and feel. Mine came with a little rubber base to press onto as well but I don't know if this linked one does? They sell mats too.

Knock-box to empty the used coffee into. It's so much tidier than trying to do it over a bin or something, especially if your portafilter has a separate basket than can be taken out, because they always fall out when I don't want 'em to. If you're doing it right, the puck is about the consistency of a chocolate brownie and you can chuck it in the compost.

Group Head Brush I mean, you could use a toothbrush instead.  

All of the linked things are available in fancier or less fancy options from various places so I'm sure prices will vary a bit too, but I find that shop has good service. They've got some crazy expensive very nice bits too.

 

Then you get into mucking around with bottomless portafilters to do this

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTLNuFcxnqEkPgo_gwffdJ

And it all gets a bit more complicated and messy as it's a even less forgiving of getting the grind/tamp/etc wrong.

 

 

I didn't mean to write this much, sorry.

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Haha I started writing a reply but had to leave :D Here it was anyway

 

16 minutes ago, Blue said:

Do they take a fair bit of cleaning/maintaining? 

 

Cleaning is mostly just that I seem unable to go through the process without getting coffee grounds and coffee all over the side. My new grinder that goes straight into the portafilter is helping though :D I should probably get a grinds bin so I don't have to sweep the thing across the countertop leaving a spray of muck behind me. Though from what I read earlier maybe I'm overfilling and this isn't helping with the mess.

 

Maintaining I think you're meant to backflush (5 minute job) once a week and descale once a month. Then you can do a full take apart the grouphead type big clean every 2-3 months (maybe takes an hour with some waiting around involved). Though you do have to get some bits that don't come with the machine to do it.

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@milko so you brush out the grouphead after every pull? I only do that once a month if its lucky, when I'm doing the other stuff :lol: is that bad?

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26 minutes ago, milko said:

I didn't mean to write this much, sorry.

Ha, well I'm very appreciative that you did and some nice links to check out, thank you.

11 minutes ago, morcs said:

Haha I started writing a reply but had to leave :D Here it was anyway

Hmm, I'm definitely going to keep the possibility of getting a proper machine on the agenda. Trouble is, the Aeropress seems to make a coffee plenty good enough for me if I use nice coffee and is quick and easy ... but I'm definitely tempted. I kinda like the idea of the ritual of it all.

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10 minutes ago, Blue said:

Trouble is, the Aeropress seems to make a coffee plenty good enough for me if I use nice coffee and is quick and easy ... but I'm definitely tempted. I kinda like the idea of the ritual of it all.

 

The aeropress is a great brewer, but I think the biggest difference to take into account is a cup of filter brewed coffee tastes different to an equivalent espresso made up to an americano despite both looking like a cup of black coffee. Personally, I'll have a cup of filter any day of the week.

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Yeah if I want a filter then I use a drip filter, espresso plus hot water doesn't have as much depth of flavour for me.

 

Just been to Algerian for a bag of beanz, and have already forgotten if it's Rosso or Rossa damnit. I tried a Costa Rica Santa Anita this time for a change.

 

@morcs I dunno about the group head brush thing, I find that if I don't do it then when I do the next morning's hot water shot there's quite a few bits of old coffee in it. It only takes a couple of seconds really, I do the whole shower head with it too rather than wipe with a cloth. On the other hand it sounds like I backflush the thing less often than you do.

 

Campachuchu has confused the heck out of me :unsure:

 

 

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1 minute ago, milko said:

 

 

Campachuchu has confused the heck out of me :unsure:

 

 

You know, campachincos

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:lol:

 

30 minutes ago, milko said:

Campachuchu has confused the heck out of me :unsure:

 

 

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After Blue mentioned the Zero filter, I looked into filters for a bit and decided to get a cheap Brita filter while I decide on what to do long term about our water (either a Berkey or some sort of undersink filter thing).

 

I'm quite impressed with how noticeable the difference is, both in just plain water and coffee. Had a pretty wonderful cup this morning as I tweak my aeropress recipe. I went with Brita over Zero, because apart from being a temporary measure, Zero is about £10 a cartridge and gets your dissolved solids down to 0 which is apparently not great for coffee. Also, apparently when the filters reach the end of their life they start smelling fishy (and make the water smell like that too) which will probably only have to happen once to put me off using it forever.

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I use a Brita, main thing I've noticed is much less scale.

 

Now that I'm happy with my grinder setup, does anyone want my Aeropress and Porlex grinder? Quite a nice little set up for someone wanting to get into proper coffee!

 

I'd only want the postage, and maybe an amount of your choice donated to Shelter :)

 

pskBf8LwQqWLJvxUtM5xXw.thumb.jpg.6bd7764358c15ec3a64b0197bd47c81f.jpg

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1 hour ago, HarryBizzle said:

 I looked into filters for a bit and decided to get a cheap Brita filter while I decide on what to do long term about our water (either a Berkey or some sort of undersink filter thing).

 

Researching water quality factors, what constitutes healthy water, which water is best for coffee and the plethora of filtration systems available is quite the rabbit hole. I spent a few weeks on it and enjoyed it. I'll be interested to hear what you decide. 

Whilst I wouldn't presume to offer any advice on what systems to look at, I can recommend you start by looking at what your local tap water has in it. I was readily able to find this data online (Scotland).

 

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17 minutes ago, Blue said:

@morcs What's the oddly annoying white stuff over your coffee funnel and why is it there? :D

 

It's not a funnel it's a sort of semi-tube thing with filter papers in it. Though it does seem to have a particular shape so maybe it has a dual use?

 

The white thing is a piece of card taped to the top to stop the filter papers escaping in transit :D

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1 minute ago, morcs said:

 

It's not a funnel it's a sort of semi-tube thing with filter papers in it. Though it does seem to have a particular shape so maybe it has a dual use?

 

The white thing is a piece of card taped to the top to stop the filter papers escaping in transit :D

Ah yes, I see it's the filter paper holder now. I doubt it has another use, apart from being annoying. :D

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The shape is so it fits inside the Aeropress. 
 

Thanks, Blue. Currently scrolling through my local (very long) water quality report. 

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I've got some fancy filters that fit a brita but tweak the water to be more suitable for coffee by adding minerals. 

 

It does make a noticeable difference. 

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On 14/10/2019 at 11:16, morcs said:

Reading up - too much grind amount would have the effect of making it pull too fast. :omg: I still have work to do!

 

@morcs what grind guide are you using? I think I need to reset my technique. So far I have thoroughly cleaned and descaled the espresso machine, fitted a new gasket seal and shower head, taken the grinder to bits and given it a good clean and still my espressos have gone to shit and pull too fast. Beans are fresh, and I'm not sure I should be grinding much finer than I am. Basically I've ruled out all the tools so either my Silvia is fucked in some fundamental way or more likely this is operator error even though I bloody used to get this right every time.

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15 hours ago, milko said:

 

@morcs what grind guide are you using?

 

Just Google :D I ran out of Formula Rossi so I had to go and buy some Starbucks beans, by my second attempt I'd nailed the grind settings and it's il cafe perfetto! I'm so happy. When my Formula Rosse arrives I'll have to start all over again :doh:

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