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6 minutes ago, HarryBizzle said:


No hand grinder south of £100 gives an even grind, tbh. 
 

I’ve been through a few different bags recently and nothing has really come close to the stuff I get from Pact in terms of quality. 
 

Their Christmas blend was on clearance for 2 bags for £10 so I went for that, but I’m not very impressed. Will be sticking to their single origins. 

I was thinking at least £200 anyway! 

 

The Hario hand grinder is a pain. Adjusting it is awkward and trial and error. And you have to grind really slowly and evenly.

 

We use a V60 drip filter and getting the grind right is really important.

 

If I get impatient and whizz it round, the coffee comes out really lumpy.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Monkeyspill said:

I was thinking at least £200 anyway! 

 

The Hario hand grinder is a pain. Adjusting it is awkward and trial and error. And you have to grind really slowly and evenly.

 

We use a V60 drip filter and getting the grind right is really important.

 

If I get impatient and whizz it round, the coffee comes out really lumpy.

 

 

 

Go electric. The Wilfa grinder can be had for about £85. I paid £99 for the Sage. James Hoffmann has reviewed the Wilfa and likes it well enough, though it doesn't really go down to espresso and the grind bin is crap.

 

The closest thing I can liken going from a hand grinder to a good electric is like cleaning really mucky glasses. Everything that was a bit murky/blurry is suddenly clear.

 

You could pay £100+ for an Aergrind but honestly, who needs to sit there grinding in the morning when you can press a button and have your coffee ready to brew in seconds?

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5 hours ago, Blue said:

Did you work out how to make a cup of coffee yet, @milko? :D


Been away for a week at my folks, getting a perfect crema out of my dad’s battered old Gaggia Classic, a cheap Dualit grinder and Aldi No. 3 beams. Humph. 
Gonna find out if my ostensibly superior kit with some Aldi No. 4 can compete, tomorrow morning. The suspense is almost making me try now, but I won’t be able to resist tasting it and I need a decent night’s sleep! I will report back. 

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17 hours ago, milko said:


Been away for a week at my folks, getting a perfect crema out of my dad’s battered old Gaggia Classic, a cheap Dualit grinder and Aldi No. 3 beams. Humph. 
Gonna find out if my ostensibly superior kit with some Aldi No. 4 can compete, tomorrow morning. The suspense is almost making me try now, but I won’t be able to resist tasting it and I need a decent night’s sleep! I will report back. 

How did it go? 

 

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Not bad! But also probably more or less where I left things before I went away, not perfect yet. I think I can tweak the grind a bit and fix this. It tastes great. 

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Today was the day! Hoorah! I still feel my espresso machine must be too powerful to need this much/this fine of a grind coffee. But I am back in business. 

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I find anything other than Lavazza beans in my Gaggia Classic ends up with not much crema and a bitter taste. I have a Sette grinder. There are lots of variables in coffee! General tips appreciated, but having said that, I have a pretty nice grind and crema combo on the go at the mo.

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what other beans are you trying @sharak? If it's from supermarkets, that's likely why as they just aren't going to be freshly roasted enough to get great results. Although Aldi (and Lavazza) seem to manage it pretty well somehow so it's not impossible. 

 

After spending what seems like months chasing wild geese in search of a better espresso from my kit, I think I might have arrived at "grind it about as fine as possible and, assuming that chokes the machine or extracts too slowly, back it off in small steps until it's right" is about all that really mattered. Tamp pressure, grind distribution, blah blah blah, not a lot of difference made. Dosing the right amount of coffee as well, but if you're keeping that a constant and getting good results with Lavazza, I don't see why you'd change the amount for another bean.

 

And yeah, after all those months, I'd question your need to change from a winning combination :)

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Cheers @milko

 

I'm in Germany, so there's Aldi everywhere. I get 1kg of Lavazza for 10 euros in a sale, which isn't too bad. 

 

You're totally right r.e. the grind. Having said that, the main issue is probably getting the dose (i.e. amount of coffee) correct, as my grinder is timed. I can do it manually, and just level off the portafilter, tamp, and test it out, but then I get through quite a few g's of coffee before I make a good one! Right now I have it in some kind of sweet spot, where I make fine adjustments and basically change the extraction only a little. Sometimes, it can be like I am pouring Guinness! Crazy crema, that settles into a coffee eventually. 

 

The freshness makes a huge difference.

 

Going to switch on the Gaggia now.

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1 minute ago, sharak said:

Sometimes, it can be like I am pouring Guinness! Crazy crema, that settles into a coffee eventually

 

Yeah that's the stuff. With a naked portafilter and a good shot glass it's lots of fun when it works. And incredibly messy and horrible when it doesn't. 

 

My grinder's got a timer but I rarely use it, I prefer to just go by eye and manual. I guess now I'm back to reliably good results I could redial in the timer and take some thought out of it.

 

So yeah, I think Aldi No.4 is pretty good. If you happen to be in Berlin, there's a place called The Barn which does really nice beans! Properly into the 'artisanal' fancy stuff, though, €10 won't get you much from them I suspect.

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I'm in the Black Forest, but do visit Berlin some times, will check it out :)

 

My 10 euro per kg, is for the daily grind (love that pun). 

 

Channeling in the grind makes for some great mess sometimes! Christ.

 

Out of interest, how much coffee do you use? I think I am on 18g (so a double basket) for perhaps a 40-50g double shot or "kaffee creme" as they call it here in Germany. I never bother with a piddly 10g for a 20g shot.

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Double or triple basket depending on my inclination (the triple is a naked one so I have to be a bit more careful about that). I haven't weighed it much even in the depths of my espresso despair, but I shoot for a double every time, certainly.

 

(edit, I suspect I may be drinking more like a triple sometimes and really should check soon)

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I've stopped worrying about the amount now, as long as it's around the fill line when tamped, the thread on the portafilter/Gaggia means you just twist it slightly more/less until it's nicely locked in.

 

It is as they say - all in the grind.

 

Changing to that Sage grinder was transformational for me. Though I'm looking forward to getting back to one type of beans, as new beans means pissing about with the grind settings for ages again.

 

I'm not sure which Algerian coffee stores I like best now though - Formulaic Rossi or Harry's coal filth.

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Not sure if I am on a triple or double basket, come to think of it. I think double.

 

Not that it matters. I obsess over random shit, and probably want to steer clear of obsessing over coffee [again]. I have a good set up and actually want for nothing, so I need to keep the want at that level :)

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I've just re-claimed my Gaggia Baby Class from storage, where it was put because it wasn't working and I couldn't be bothered to fix it.

There's no water flow so I'm going to have to strip the whole thing down and probably de-scale it.

Anyone done this? Any tips before I start pulling it all apart?

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I've never done that exact model but I did a Gaggia Coffee Deluxe a few years back. There's a lot of info about stripping down Gaggia Classics online and most of it applies to the Baby as well. Descaling is easy enough, but if there's no flow at all I assume you'll need to resolve that first by getting at the blockage. Nothing coming out of the group head or the steam pipe at all?

This fella won't be local enough to help in person but apparently is happy to consult by email: https://www.gaggiamanualservice.com/

 

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1 hour ago, milko said:

I've never done that exact model but I did a Gaggia Coffee Deluxe a few years back. There's a lot of info about stripping down Gaggia Classics online and most of it applies to the Baby as well. Descaling is easy enough, but if there's no flow at all I assume you'll need to resolve that first by getting at the blockage. Nothing coming out of the group head or the steam pipe at all?

This fella won't be local enough to help in person but apparently is happy to consult by email: https://www.gaggiamanualservice.com/

 

 

Thanks. 

 

I think the steam bit works, I'll check later. 

 

I've cleaned the whole group head already before I put it away so next stop is looking at the boiler, given the state of the  water round here and the scale around the water tank I expect its limescale. 

 

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Could well be - a lot of the google results I was getting were suggesting the limescale can get into the solenoid and block that up (even as part of the descaling process as bits of it are loosened from elsewhere). 

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Do you guys just use tap water with your espresso machines then?

 

I used to use bottled for my nespresso. Not that wasteful because you’remoy using much water, tastes much better and saves the hassle of descaling. 
 

The brita filter has been great for my Aeropress coffee and the limescale buildup in the kettle has reduced massively, too. 

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I use filtered water with a special brita filter which adds calcium and magnesium or something.

 

This Gaggia was £40 in a British Heart Foundation Furniture store and it worked, just about, when I got it but stopped after a few weeks, I have no idea how it was treated before.

I've tried to take it apart and it's currently in several pieces on my worktop but I can't actually get into the boiler, I think this might have to wait until the weekend.

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On 07/01/2020 at 16:44, HarryBizzle said:

Do you guys just use tap water with your espresso machines then?

 

I used to use bottled for my nespresso. Not that wasteful because you’remoy using much water, tastes much better and saves the hassle of descaling. 
 

The brita filter has been great for my Aeropress coffee and the limescale buildup in the kettle has reduced massively, too. 


Brita maxstra filters for all the drinking water in my kitchen. I don’t mind descaling every six months, it’s a good prompt to check and clean a few things on and around it. 

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Pact sent me a Honduran coffee called San Lorenzo, and it’s the most wonderful coffee I’ve ever had. 
 

Sadly it seems to have disappeared from their website now. 

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lol!

 

Well, I am going to read further because that Indy article doesn't supply any details whatsoever on how coarse, or how they made it work or whatever. But as soon as I go even a little bit too coarse I end up with coffee-scented ditchwater. 

 

Now I'm trying to skim the Matter paper, which is flying over my head to a fairly large degree. I'm struggling to see much practical information about what they actually did. I think "they found a coarser grind point" might summarise it. "Laser diffraction particle size analysis was performed on a Beckman Coulter LS13 320 MW" that part might be a bit far for my kitchen attempts.

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its in quite a few papers - I saw mentioned somewhere that when the grind gets too fine and tamped then you get dry spots in the bed that don't get extracted at all

 

I don't think its an issue with a Nespresso.

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Might over-tamping be part of the problem @milko? Or tamping very lightly be part of the solution? 

 

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I tried signing up for one of those Pact monthly coffee deals. Worked my way through all of their selection and didn't like any of it! Back to Nescafe :(

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11 minutes ago, Lorfarius said:

I tried signing up for one of those Pact monthly coffee deals. Worked my way through all of their selection and didn't like any of it! Back to Nescafe :(


How did you brew it? 

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2 minutes ago, HarryBizzle said:


How did you brew it? 

 

They give you a sort of cone filter thing for a mug with paper filter. Fill it with water and it drips into the bottom.

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