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post #451 of 2757
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeman View Post

Hey guys, make my daily coffee in my french press. However, Im wanting to get a espresso machine. I was hoping you guys could give me some good machine recommendations. Id LIKE to keep it ~400 for the machine, and then what is a decent grinder for maybe 100 or so? I have found that in reading, that many grinders won't grind small enough for many portafilters? Any help would be great.
I have been looking at the Gaggia Classic and a Bodum bistro grinder.
Thanks.

Spending that much on a home espresso machine I would say don't bother. In order to get good espresso you need to spend at least $600 on a grinder alone. Somewhat less for a used home machine.
post #452 of 2757
^^^

Gaggia MDF grinder ($225 or so) no good?
post #453 of 2757
Quote:
Originally Posted by gomestar View Post

^^^
Gaggia MDF grinder ($225 or so) no good?

I don't have personal experience with it, but I have tried other grinders from $60-$300 that were blah. Talking to people about it that know more than I say for good espresso you really need to lay down the dough for the grinder. A Y would know more than I. I would wait for his response.
post #454 of 2757
I'm pretty sure there are 300$ grinders out there that are sufficient for the home use. It's not like he's buying a Slayer.
post #455 of 2757
I'm not a home espresso person, but the Baratza Preciso at $325 is really popular. They're cheaper if you can get a refurb unit. There are even some small shops that use it. The key features include not only having a consistent fine grind but also consistent fine adjustment of the grind size so you can dial in a pull.
post #456 of 2757
First attempt with my French Press.... will say I need work, but taste was good although coffee was a bit "dusty." I think my grinds were too small. Had fun though, and will work on improving. Any tips for water temp and coffee to water ratios?

Pictures: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
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And the bottom of the cup... uhoh.gif
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post #457 of 2757
that's what happens in a french press.

if you dont like the dust get an aeropress (although admittedly they do taste pretty different)
post #458 of 2757
I didn't dislike it. Just seemed weird, so I assumed it was wrong. I was still pleased with the coffee itself.
post #459 of 2757
french press coffees are great. full body. very little acidity. imo it is a little inaccurate (?) in delivering all the flavors a good bag of beans can provide. they're kind of like bose headphones. a lot of bass and oomph and fun to listen to, but imprecise and lacking clarity. really just a different way to try coffee.

i use this for ratios, but really is something you should fiddle around with.

http://www.blackbearcoffee.com/Brewing%20Ratio%20Charts.htm


also if you're nit picking the temperature i would recommend pre-heating serving vessels and the press pot.

lastly no matter what grind size you use you'll always get dust.
post #460 of 2757
Awesome, thanks a lot for the info. I used 8 ounces of water and 15grams with a 4 minute steep and water ~175 degrees (did some experimenting with microwave times vs. temperature before making the cup). Next time I would like it a little stronger, so should I increase coffee or time? Going to have to find a better bean source too, I think mine smell a little burnt and I doubt they were recently roasted based on looks of the place I bought them from.
post #461 of 2757

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeman View Post

Hey guys, make my daily coffee in my french press. However, Im wanting to get a espresso machine. I was hoping you guys could give me some good machine recommendations. Id LIKE to keep it ~400 for the machine, and then what is a decent grinder for maybe 100 or so? I have found that in reading, that many grinders won't grind small enough for many portafilters? Any help would be great.


I have been looking at the Gaggia Classic and a Bodum bistro grinder.



Thanks.


I have had the Gaggia Classic for a little over a year now, and I use it several times a day.

-The extraction pressure is very good - almost too much of it.

-The steam pressure isn't quite powerful enough, but the main problem with the steam wand is the attachment head.  It's really hard to get air into the milk to create a good microfoam, and the plastic thing that goes on the wand is very difficult to clean.  Also, the rubber o-ring in the attachment broke after a year, so now I can't use the plastic attachment - this makes it even harder to introduce air into the milk.

 

For the price, I'm happy.  But if you have the money, there are better machines out there.

 

Concerning the grinder, I have one that cost me about $100.  I think this is the biggest problem with my espresso.  If I had a better grinder, I could have a more consistant ground size, which would mean a better extraction.  Definitely don't skimp on the grinder.

 


edit: also, the tip of the steam wand is very low, so it's hard to get a pitcher under the wand without spilling milk.  I have had to place my Gaggia on the edge of the counter, to hang the wand over the edge.

 

I used my machine as the subject for some photography once, so this photo should help show you what I'm talking about:

 

2011-9-1_011 ed 5.jpg

post #462 of 2757
Quote:
Originally Posted by VLSI View Post

Awesome, thanks a lot for the info. I used 8 ounces of water and 15grams with a 4 minute steep and water ~175 degrees (did some experimenting with microwave times vs. temperature before making the cup). Next time I would like it a little stronger, so should I increase coffee or time? Going to have to find a better bean source too, I think mine smell a little burnt and I doubt they were recently roasted based on looks of the place I bought them from.

That is a pretty good starting ratio of water to grounds. The exercise in brewing coffee is controlling extraction. Too little extraction, and you have sour and/or weak coffee. Too much, and it turns too bitter. Some bitterness is good --- it gives the coffee structure --- but it has to be pleasant and balanced against the other flavors.

Try 3 things, but each one at a time, so you can tell what effect each has:

1. Try a coarser grind size. The individual clicks on the Hario are pretty good steps. I just had a bean where 1 click made a huge difference, but on some other beans, it makes very little difference. I think it has to do with how delicate the flavors are in the bean. Coarser grind size will lower extraction.

All else being equal, you want to use the finest grind size you can get away with without going into overextraction.

In a French press, you have to balance grind size against the sediment. A lot of people like sediment because it gives more mouthfeel and increases the "coffee-ness" of coffee for many people's tastes.

2. Try hotter water, like 204F. Hotter water will increase extraction. 175F is too low. But when you drink your coffee, give it a bit of time to cool down in the cup before really tasting it, because coffee that's drunk too hot will hide many flavors.

3. Try a longer steep. 4 minutes is pretty standard, but that tends to underextract the coffee. Try 10 minutes. Longer steeps increase extraction.

How are you stirring the mixture? That makes a difference in the extraction, too: more stirring gives you more extraction.

All these things get tweaked each time you brew a different bean, but don't worry too much about it in the beginning. Just try to get a feel for what you like and try to really taste what each bean is like for whatever brewing parameters you use. After a while, you'll know how to tweak these things depending on what you like.
post #463 of 2757
I'll start with the hotter water and then dial in my steep time from there. Didn't notice any bitterness, so I don't think I'm in danger of over extracting yet. I just stirred a little bit after pouring in the water, then put the lid on.
post #464 of 2757
Quote:
Originally Posted by VLSI View Post

Awesome, thanks a lot for the info. I used 8 ounces of water and 15grams with a 4 minute steep and water ~175 degrees (did some experimenting with microwave times vs. temperature before making the cup). Next time I would like it a little stronger, so should I increase coffee or time? Going to have to find a better bean source too, I think mine smell a little burnt and I doubt they were recently roasted based on looks of the place I bought them from.

it's hard to predict because every roast and every bean is different, but based on your parameters i would increase temperature to 200 which i hear is optimal for press pots. everything else seems good

also try blooming the coffee first.



i have a question. my aeropress cups are super acidic. how do i fix this? i use about 20g of coffee to 230g water. 200 degrees farenheit. pre-heat vessels, wet filter, pour coffee, pour water to halfway mark, count to 5, pour the rest in, then press for 30 seconds.

would age increase the acidity in beans?
post #465 of 2757
Acidity is a function of the beans mostly, and is most apparent with paper filters. I forget if you have the Able/Coava metal disk. That can reduce the acidity a bit.

Also try dilution. For example, make your coffee with 115 g water and 20 g to make a 2x concentrate. After you press it into a cup, add 115 g of hot water to your cup to bring the total water up to 230 g. That will generally soften a coffee (reduce the acidity) and sweeten it. Try different ratios to find the acid taste you like: 130-100, 150-80, etc.

20 g is pretty high. You may want to reduce that. I generally do 15g/215g for the Aeropress, and tweak from there.

Try also dry or natural process beans instead of washed beans, and beans that are darker roasted. The lighter the roast, the more acidic a bean will taste, all else being equal.

Your press process also sounds like it may underextract (not enough steep time), which can also increase the acidic or sour taste. I steep for 45 seconds, stirring the 1st 15 seconds gently. This is brewed upside down.
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