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16 hours ago, Blue said:

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

 

 

So I'm wondering if these cafes were grinding incredibly fine or what? When I see the puck afterwards in my attempts it looks evenly wet throughout but maybe I should break it up and analyse more thoroughly!

 

Tamping seems to make very little difference whether heavy or light, at least according to my own A/B testing. I saw similar opinions online as well. Maybe I should try really light though just for fun.

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On 23/01/2020 at 09:23, Lorfarius said:

 

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.

 

Getting good filter coffee is hard work. I'm not a big pact fan tbh, so you might want to try some other brands. I get better results from Union's supermarket stuff. 

 

I make a v60 twice a day and while at home I have a grinder, scales and a gooseneck and all sorts of shit. At work where I'm using the same pre ground stuff and a basic method I end up with a more consistent cup of coffee. 

 

- wet the filter and discard the water

- bloom the grounds with some water and let it sit for a minute

- use off boiling water, 90 degrees rather than 100 and don't use water that's been in the kettle for ages. 

- pour slowly and when it gets 2/3 up the filter swirl it to flatten the bed before adding more water

 

 

 

 

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OXO Good Grips Pour Over Coffee Maker with Water Tank, White https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01ENK41Q6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_PlSkEb8DT9682

 

I got one of these for something like €8 in TK Maxx and it's become my favourite home brewer because it's so easy. The instructions that come with it don't say anything about wetting the filter paper but I still do. Apart from that little bit of faffing about on my part it's a very straightforward brewer. I'm sure I could improve the quality of the brew by being more hands on but I'm quite lazy most mornings. 

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When I was italy, the tamp seems extremely light, and imprecise (though it's well practiced of course), and they don't even dry the porta filter between brews. Just knock knock, then refill. I run water through my portafilter first, then dry it with a towel, then add grinds, then tamp quite hard, then pull the shot.

 

If I go too fine then I end up with an extremely wet puck and things aren't looking so great. If I go too coarse, as @milko said, I end up with ditchwater pushing through the portafilter and making a huge mess.

 

I love it when I get it just right... then a microchannel appears and hoses the worktop with a fine mist.

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On 23/01/2020 at 09:23, Lorfarius said:

 

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.


I think the V60 is a relatively difficult way to get into coffee as there are so many variables involved. It took me ages to dial in my aeropress technique and to be able to tell when I'm just not brewing coffee the way it’s meant to taste. 
 

If you have a good coffee shop near by that does filter coffee (try the Best Coffee app for recommendations), it’s worth going there and having some of theirs before giving up on specialty coffee. 
 

https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/best-coffee-cafes-guide/id400916958

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On 07/01/2020 at 16:19, milko said:

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). 

 

I'm still at war with the Gaggia and I'm pretty sure this is the problem.

If anyone is going to take apart their gaggia, make sure you have all the right tools before you start. It's not complicated, but what I need to do, which is descale the solenoid, isn't possible because I needed two small wrenches to remove the magnet part.

The boiler is leaking now, but still no water, so I'm going to order a new gasket and get the tools I need to pull the solenoid out then run de-scaler through the machine, which I probably should have done before I took everything apart and made it leak!

 

 

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the other day we got our fuse box/consumer unit upgraded from a rather ancient thing to a modern normal one with an RCD circuit breaker. Safety! 

 

Now my fucking espresso machine is tripping the power. Starting to feel destined to not have nice coffee. But first, most likely, buying and fitting a new goddamn heating element. 

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1 hour ago, milko said:

the other day we got our fuse box/consumer unit upgraded from a rather ancient thing to a modern normal one with an RCD circuit breaker. Safety! 

 

Now my fucking espresso machine is tripping the power. Starting to feel destined to not have nice coffee. But first, most likely, buying and fitting a new goddamn heating element. 

 

This has to be seen as good news, as it signifies the possibility that it may not have been your apparent incompetence resulting in poor coffee, but a problem with the machine itself. Hope lives on. :D

 

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haha, I could try and convince myself that way. 

 

Based on early searching, if I have to replace parts then it's going to rapidly get into a dilemma about the cost of those plus the effort versus just buying a new one and selling this for spares or something. And then I won't just want to buy a new one it'll have to be some sort of upgrade and suddenly I'm spending silly money again.

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TBH if my gaggia dies I think I will get either an ECM or a Rocket. Silly money, but the gaggia was always a stop-gap to see if I got into this whole game anyway. Turns out the answer is yes.

 

I love my Sette 7 or whatever it's called, but its' fucking loud. I'd actually prefer a quieter grinder. The Sette is loud, but very very fast, and extremely consistent in grind, and batch to batch. Any grinder recommendations? I don't really want to get a new one of these, either.

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Well those two options certainly aren’t messing around! 
 

as fast as grinders go, I don’t suppose many have wide-ranging experience, I think my Compak K3 is fine and my mate’s Mahlkonig/Baratza Vario is also good with digital rather than analogue controls, morcs of this parish has a Sage (I think?) he likes too. I don’t suppose any are quiet as such but my one makes less racket than the cheap Dualit I had before. It’s only for a few seconds at a time though. Mazzer Minis are very well known and regarded and seen in lots of coffee shops too, but too big for my kitchen space. 
 

given your apparent espresso machine budget, the rule of thumb I’ve heard before is to match it on the grinder. Rocket do some that I’m sure would suit nicely!

 

my espresso machine is working fine when connected via my RCD-protected garden extension reel. I dunno what to do next, try it back directly into a socket I suppose. 

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On 22/01/2020 at 16:53, Gotters said:

i look forward to the inevitable James Hoffman video - people been making espresso all wrong apparently.

 

and here it is

 

 

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Either Pact have sent me another banger, or my new found brew consistency has paid off again. 
 

I’m tempted to go back and try some of the Union Coffee I’ve previously not gone on with.  

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On 31/01/2020 at 17:08, milko said:

my espresso machine is working fine when connected via my RCD-protected garden extension reel. I dunno what to do next, try it back directly into a socket I suppose. 

 

This is no longer true. Fucken' thing. Apparently it can happen to this model, the element goes and that's that.

 

So, I can send it in to a guy who fixes 'em, he reckons it'll either run me to about £100 or £200 all in, depending on which one of two things is wrong with it. Have to decide if it's worth chasing that sort of money into something thats only worth £350 anyway second hand, if it's a sign of things to come I'd be annoyed. On the other hand it's otherwise in lovely condition so maybe it's worth it.


He did say that once he's diagnosed it we can have a chat and he'd take it as part-ex should I fancy one of his other machines too, so that's another dilemma I can have.

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Rancilio Silvia v3. I'd sort of idly studied a few others when wondering what to do if it was broken and naturally none of the things the bloke was suggesting had appeared on my search at all, so now I have even more options. I guess I should find a box and get the thing sent to him before I worry about it really.

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Balls.

 

I can't imagine being without my machine now...!

 

I'd send it over to him and, in all honesty, use it as an excuse to "upgrade" haha

 

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I'm very very tempted. I'd also (prior to speaking with him) resigned myself to just selling it as 'spares or repair' (watching one on eBay to see how it gets on right now) and buying a new one. Trouble is, the stuff I'd mentally begun shortlisting aren't sold by the repair guy and what he does sell sounds very good but I can't find a lot of info about them online to make myself sure.

 

I still have my pour-over filter for the morning fix but it just isn't the same! Meanwhile my wife was quite reasonably suggesting I replaced it with one of those moka pots for about £20. 

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People think it’s the Aeropress’ low pressure which means it can’t recreate the espresso experience, but really, it’s the lack of self inflicted suffering. 

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3 hours ago, morcs said:

I keep an Aeropress for emergencies :lol: 

 

Likewise!

 

I used to exclusively use that, inverted method and all, and only in the last couple of years got into espresso.

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2 hours ago, HarryBizzle said:

People think it’s the Aeropress’ low pressure which means it can’t recreate the espresso experience, but really, it’s the lack of self inflicted suffering. 

 

Haha :lol:

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tbh the first time i tried the inverted aeropress method i spend 5 minutes cleaning the office kitchen because I exploded coffee everywhere.

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1 hour ago, Alexlotl said:

There's no need to invert if you use the correct grind and wet the filter beforehand.


I used to think inverted was a faff but honestly, with a bit of practice it’s no issue at all. I think the advantage of not having to worry about grind size effect extraction through both surface area and flow rate before you press, is a big one. 
 

The only variable in my brew is grind size, and it makes life so much easier. 

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I used to just set and forget my hand grinder, or buy a specific aeropress grind from York Coffee Emporium.

 

The American Press is a better match if you just want to use off-the-shelf cafetiere coffee, which is about all my time-poor self can manage at present. Curiously under-discussed bit of kit, for me it's the sweet spot between the Aerorpress and a French Press.

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11 minutes ago, Alexlotl said:

I used to just set and forget my hand grinder, or buy a specific aeropress grind from York Coffee Emporium.

 

The American Press is a better match if you just want to use off-the-shelf cafetiere coffee, which is about all my time-poor self can manage at present. Curiously under-discussed bit of kit, for me it's the sweet spot between the Aerorpress and a French Press.


I think the price is a bit of a barrier to entry. 
 

Did you see the James Hoffmann review? He really put me off. 
 

 

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Odd review. He appears to be doing it without reading the instructions, lots of "I guess..." about what grind to use and how to use it. I had one at launch, and they've always had good instructions on their website from the get go, and they come in the box. https://www.itsamericanpress.com/pages/how-it-works

 

If you want it stronger, you pre-infuse by pushing it in just enough to let the water fill the pod, then let it sit for a while before finishing off. He completely misses this in his video. Grind-wise, it should ideally be slightly hard to press, as in his second brew (although 2 minutes is overkill), but to be honest it's pretty tolerant of coarser grinds.

 

The official name is pretentious, and it's not cheap (although I think it was more like £40 than £60 when I got it - thanks, Brexit). But it makes two cups of good coffee, keeps itself warm thanks to the double-wall flask, is as easy as an Aeropress to clean with the added advantage that you don't need to clean and dry it immediately.

 

I can fill the pod at my desk, take it to the tiny, tiny kitchen at the office, add the water plunge it down to infuse level, then take it back to my desk, plunge the rest of the way after a few minutes, then drink two cups of good, hot black coffee at my leisure. Then at the end of the day I can go and rinse it out before going home. In the meantime, it sits there unfussily not making any mess.

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Finally taken apart the entire Gaggia and descaled the solenoid as well as replacing all the seals and now it's running nicely.

Now I get to start the fun of dialling in all the settings and working out how to make a decent espresso :lol:

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