Wednesday, October 17, 2007

the perfect cup


After starting each day with a great espresso in Europe (like this great cup of coffee in the Turkish part of Brussels), I think it's time to purchase a good grinder and a good espresso maker. Our current grinder is an old school traditional Dutch ceramic hand grinder but I'm thinking we need something that has a more consistent grind...and takes less manual labour. Any recommendations?

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6 Comments:

Blogger Craig said...

Hey J,

Just get one of those old school stovetop espresso pots. They work very well. I'd also recommend getting your hands on an old fashioned burr grinder that will allow you to control the grind of your beans (check eBay). If you cannot find a burr grinder, do NOT resort to those bladed machines (like Braun makes) as they do not provide the consistency required for an espresso grind. Instead, go to your favourite coffee joint, buy the beans there and have them grind them for you.

It's not an espresso machine, but another option is to get a french press to enjoy very good coffee at home.

Man, I sound like a coffee nazi, eh? Sheesh!

C.
xo

11:16 AM  
Blogger beth said...

I worked at Starbucks. So me=expert. I like the old school pots too. Most affordable espresso machines are peices of crap, but not those little italian wonders. They really are all you need AND you can take them camping. AMAZING. French presses are good too, but not really espresso machines, per say.
I don't mind those little blade grinders, because even though they are not as even as they could be, they don't take up a whole lot of space, you can get a feel for what kind of grind and size you like best (rather than just yelling at the barista when it doesn't work out for you... ahem) and you can use them for other things, like grinding spices (although you're supposed to use a seperate one so the flavours don't mix, but whatever, I like a little cinamon in my coffee). Plus the differnce between freshly ground coffee and even in store ground coffee is shockingly large. You want it as freshly ground as possible. It loses it's flavour as soon as the bean is cracked open. This is why the best (very expensive) espresso machines grind the bean seconds before using it.

7:58 AM  
Blogger kickpleat said...

alright you guys, i'm tempted by one very pretty espresso maker i've found on craigslist for cheap (the breville ikon 400)...but all in all, i don't think we have the counterspace. i think it's time to take it old skool and get one of those old stovetop makers.

10:39 AM  
Blogger laviecerise said...

Almost more critical that the proper machine is the grind of your beans. If you get a grinder, it has to be a burr grinder (not blade.) They can be expensive so if you'd rather spend your money on the machine (stovetop Bialetti Moka Express should be fine) get the beans ground at the roaster's (and be sure to specify that you're using a stovetop espresso machine since that grind is coarser than the one used for a lever-topped machine, for example.) That said, freshly ground beans make all the difference in the world... Probably more than you wanted to know, but I've used both kinds of grinders, and both kids of machines. Right now we use a burr grinder (Maestro,) a lever-topped espresso machine (La Pavoni Europiccola that Terence found at a garage sale for $15) and Major Dickasons blend from Peets.

6:11 AM  
Blogger kickpleat said...

lavie cerise, we're definitely planning on getting a burr grinder...in fact, we're planning on getting the exact one you have!

9:59 AM  
Blogger Pieds Des Anges (Kyla) said...

I have to echo what everyone else says: no matter how much you think you want one, the espresso machines that are actually affordable - ie, under $1000 - make awful coffee. We have one that we got as a wedding present and it sucks; after a few months we packed it up and bought a Bialetti. I didn't know about the burr grinder though - I'm going to go look on ebay for one as well.

8:53 AM  

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