Next Stage in My Coffee Life

Submitted: Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:47
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Well ! I've gone and done it !! The next stage in my coffee making has come. I took delivery of my new Espresso machine and Grinder. My faithful Krups had served me well (for over 10 years) and I was waiting for it to break to update to a boiler machine with a commercial grouphead and serious steam for the milk. Rather than drop it on the floor I decided I could pretend it was broken ...or at least aged and suitable for early retirement. I had recently been inspired by quite a few Boggers and their larger machines. Graham and Jan started it back at Cania and having great coffee from Mark and Ester's machine, Jay and Jackie's machine and from Glen and Kym's machine. I had been looking at this particular machine and matching grinder for well over a year. I had even recommended it to a friend I dont see all that often and he loves the machine ...although he admits going from instant coffee to fresh cappuccino is a big step and influences his like for the machine. Having had coffee strong coffee since I was 12 (thanks to my Italian father) I loved a good cup of coffee ... I mean a really "good" cup of coffee. If it is a cup that stands out it deserves for you to slow down a bit ...sit down ... smell it ..taste it and just enjoy it to the bottom of the cup. It doesnt matter if it is Cappuccino, Espresso, Latte etc if it excels at the first sip ..savour it ! The machine I went for is considered the "tank" of the Espresso world. It has been around for 15 odd years with little changed technically only cosmetic changes to switches etc. Obviously for me ...as Espresso machines were invented in Italy and as a salute to my heritage, I went for an Italian made machine and grinder. No made in bloody China or Mexico for this black duck when it comes to Espresso. The machine is a Rancilio Silvia. In Italy it is called Signorina Silvia or "Miss Silvia" to us. This is obviously named like this to fall in love with her ...or at the very least be under her spell. She has only been in her new home for 3 days and I have named her Mistress Silvia. The Silvia being a fully manual machine needs a good operator to have her at her best and would take some time for an Espresso beginner to get her to deliver the coffee as nectar. 10 years of making Espresso and reading everything I could on Miss Silvia on the net had me close to the mark right from the first warm up. Fresh roasted beans from Melbourne and a grinder capable of grinding fine enough for Miss Silvia had me over half way there for a good shot of Espresso. The grinder I purchased was the matching brand grinder, called a Rancilio Rocky. It has been named Rocky because it is so tough and virtually indestructible. It uses commercial burrs to grind the coffee and has an industrial motor. To give some idea of the quality ..it weighs 11 kg. Miss Silvia weighs 15kg herself which is the fuller roundedness Italian girls want ... add bright green eyes and olive skin ... stunning ! After setting the zero point on the grinder because the Italians cant put a sticker on straight ( my burrs touch at +4 not zero) I ground some Espresso Meridionale from CoffeeCo ..a rich full bodied bean in the tradition of Southern Italy. Placed 14g's of it in the portafilter basket ... tamped it down ... locked it in the group head ...and shot 60ml of it into two Cappuccino cups. I then steamed enough milk via the steam wand for top up of the cups with full cream milk ... this took about 30 seconds and almost took me by surprise. Poured it into the cups and Cindy and I sat down to one of the best cappuccinos we've tasted for some time. All things came together to make this memorable for both of us .... freshly roasted quality beans from a boutique roaster ... ground and placed in basket within seconds ... pulled for the right time as to not overextract the bitter ends of the bean ... fresh cold milk ...and more steam than a locomotive. Bellissimo ... Bravo !!! Of course the girls had their "Cappuccino Chocolattee" as they call it .. a spoonful of drinking chocolate topped up with steamed milk from Miss Silvia .... Easy !! Unfortunately they are a bit big for the BT and imagine the ballweight increase !!! [smile] It might be back to Mr.Krups for Copeton .... and instant Moccona .... AAARRRRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhh !!! I might just drink red all day .............!!! Sigh !!! Although I might be able to skulk around the BT's with Espresso machines ....so watch out people with them ...You are warned !!!! Life is too short to drink bad coffee ... Add sugar because you want to not because you have to ... Beware drinking Cappuccino after 10.00am in Italy ... I'll add a pic of them on bench at home in post below ... Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
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Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:49

Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:49
Mistress Silvia and Rocky live well together ...... [smile] Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 562652

Reply By: Turist - Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:50

Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:50
Would you say that's a bit of a step up from a bottle of chicory esence and a spoonfull of Sunshine milk powder.

This is considered to be a good cup of coffee by some shearers cooks.

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AnswerID: 562653

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:51

Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:51
Bob, You know what is really scary ? I have chicory/coffee essence and Sunshine milk powder in the pantry ..... oh ... and Nestle Condensed milk in the tube ! The chicory still comes with the red/blue label and the black liquid gold still smells great to me. How sad is that ...!!! [smile] Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 562654

Reply By: Wadefarers - Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:52

Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:52
Anthony/Bob I guess I must be a little sad as well 'cause I like the old coffee and chicory essence with condensed milk. I must say I am also very partial to the great taste of stroooong black coffee and I await the exhibition of the great Baristas in action at Copeton (I think I can smell it now). Regards Jeff
AnswerID: 562655

Reply By: gottabjoaken - Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:53

Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:53
Anthony That looks great. It would be very hard not to take them with you, but 26kg... surely you could just let the air out of the spare tyres to save that weight - you have a compressor after all !! I am sure that Joan would insist I made some sacrifice to include them. Let's see, that would have to be a dozen reds - no way! Perhaps her dozen whites would be ok !!! Ken gottabjoaken
AnswerID: 562656

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:54

Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:54
Ken, Guess what ? I just put my eldest daughter on the scales .... waddya know 25.5 kg !!! [EvilDaddyCoffeeGrin] Trouble is ...her comment was just as evil .... [smile] Quote: Hey Dad ...Copeton is about 8 weeks away ...you could lose 3 kg per week til Copeton and take the Espresso machine to make us Chococcinos ... Unquote: She's 10 going on 20-25 as usual .... [Smile] Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 562657

Reply By: Rockgoc - Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:55

Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:55
Hey Anthony, if you really can't take your Miss Silvia to Copeton....ya can always have a go on ours! She is a permanent fixture to our rear bench space courtesy of 8 strong screws and some aluminium angle iron. I would be most interested in obtaining the name and phone number of your coffee supplier as I want to get my hands on some really good beans. My supplier in Tassie is good, but a change is in order. What's the name of the beans you use? Mine seem to have become a bit insipid now, or maybe I have just developed a taste for stronger flavour?? The beans are fresh, and I also grind just before I make the cuppa, but I can't seem to get that lovely rich crema any more. Any hints as to what I am doing wrong? The grind seems right...had the coffee supplier set the grinder up for me, and yes it too uses the burrs to grind. It's a smaller version of yours, different brand, but a commercial jobbie just the same. Ciao for now from Jan O
AnswerID: 562658

Reply By: Deleted User - Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:56

Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:56
G'day Jan, Ah yes ! Mistress Silvia .... I'm not sure of your experience/s with her or espresso in general so take from this anything you need ...disregard the rest. I will scribble a few principals for espresso and you might see where the elusive crema has gone ? An espresso by definition for a single shot .... is 28ml (+/- 2.5ml) of liquid ending up in glass ... 7g of freshly ground coffee bean (+/- 5.g) ...extracted over 25 seconds (+/- 2.5 seconds) ...at 90 degs C (+/- 3 degrees) ..at a pressure of 9 bar (132psi) (+/- 1 bar). This a called a "single shot". Wether you're shooting for an espresso or a milk type drink this is the base to form all drinks from the machine. For a traditional Cappuccino (Italian) you use a double shot (60ml of liquid with 14g of coffee in the double basket) 60 ml of steamed milk and 60ml of foam making a traditional Cappa 180ml. For most Aussie tastes you will use a single shot (30ml) of coffee and then top up with milk and foam. The thing to get right first is the grind ...as the grind and tamping of it determine the extraction time (25 secs). When trying to get the grind and tamp right it is best to use the double basket and a double shot (60ml). Ok !! Grab a glass and mark 60ml on it by Nikko pen or a bit of tape. After machine is up to temp (at least 30 min for Silvia) grind 14 g of coffee and place in double basket. If you dont have scales ...Silvia's double basket holds about 14 g level with the top of the basket ..so just let it fall from grinder into the basket to above rim and level off with doser spoon. This needs to be pressed down (tamped) with the black tamper to the fill line about 7mm down inside the basket. It takes about 12-15 kgs of force ... remind me to show you my custom stainless steel tamper I got for birthday .... Lock the Portafilter into the Grouphead .... place glass with 60ml measure under portafilter .... look at watch with second hand ... start shot and time it ...it should be about 25 secs for 60ml. If it is 15-20 secs, the shot is too fast meaning the grind is too course .... if it is 30-35 the grind is too fine. Adjust grinder up a notch if too fine and try again .... til, 25 secs is reached. This should produce a good shot with fresh roasted and ground beans. The crema from Silvia can be substantial so the 60ml is for the liquid plus the crema above that ... The tamp and grind setting are harder to control with the single basket as its edges of the "coffee puck" are thinner than the centre so it can be inconsistent. The principals are the same though .... 25 secs ... 7g coffee ... good tamp and 25 secs. If you want to go a bit further Miss Silvia needs to be "temp surfed". Boiler espresso machines have a thermostat to control the temp of the boiler. They usually have two which supplies a boiler temp range. My Silvia turns the boiler element on at 87 deg C and turns it off at about 113 deg C. The dead space doesnt help you pull the shot at 90 C as the 90 C is the "group head temp" not boiler temp. There are mods you can do to espresso machines to keep the dead space to 1 degree but requires electrical mods, PID controllers and solid state relays ... as soon as mine is outta warranty it will be fitted. I pull my shots at 106 deg C boiler temp which gives me 90 deg C at the group head and portafilter as best I can achieve. To pull your shot at the right temp ...lock the portafilter in as normal ready to pull the shot .... instead of turning on the shot button ... open up the steam wand ...(the boiler should be full here as you are pulling a shot not steaming) and start the hot water switch and run hot water into a container until the element light comes on .... (this is 87 deg C boiler temp) count 40 seconds on a clock (the temp is rising while you are counting) at 40 seconds hit brew switch this will be about 90 c in the grouphead/portafilter and 106 deg c boiler temp. You know you've pulled a good shot and everything is fine when you see the crema as a red brown colour .... the twin stream coming out of the portafilter looks like a curved mouse tail (thick to thin) and you see a Guinness effect as the crema rises ... and it tastes and smells like heaven. We can do some shots at Copeton to put ya right if above is too much ... My best experience with storing coffee is as follows .... beans already ground are discarded after 2 hours max preferably 1 hour. Fresh roasted beans are not that good after 4 days at room temp in a container. I seal my beans in cryovac after getting them home from roaster and then into deep freeze (minus 18 or better) this will give you about 8-10 weeks. In the BT freezer this would give 6-8 weeks if in cryo ...if no cryo but in a sealed container around 4-6 weeks. As far as beans go .... MMmmmmmmm !! How long is a piece of string ...[smile] I not up with regions of the world verses flavour of the bean (check with me again in two years [smile]) so I use the principal ...buy small quantity ...if it tastes yum buy bigger lots to suit method of storage. What suits you as a nice cup might not suit me or vice versa. I do have a preference for medium roasts not dark as they taste a little burnt to my palate. My favourite at the moment is a blend from Di Bella (a roaster in Bris ). It is called Dolce Sapori which means in Italian sweet taste. It is $24 a kilo or $66 for 3kg. The blurb goes .... sweet aftertaste, full bodied, medium strength. Try www.dibella.com.au Hope this helps .... Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 562659

Reply By: Rockgoc - Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:57

Monday, Jul 12, 2004 at 22:57
Once again he has excelled and the problem is soved! On ya maaate! Just waiting for my coffee beans to get here from Brisbane. Due in today...tongue's haging out because I have run out! Ciao for now. Jan O
AnswerID: 562660

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