Category Archives: Notes

45 seconds of Sheer Bliss

Espresso extracted in 45 seconds may be considered over-extracted in most circles, but for me, it’s sheer bliss. I’ve been, at the advice of Steve after watching Hoffmann’s techniques in WBC 2007, grinding finer, and tamping lighter. For the past 5 days, this has given me slow slow pours of nectar averaging 45 seconds to a minute. And we are talking ristretto. Not thin, overextracted Charbucks crapresso. My tamp is around 15 to 20 lbs. Thick gooey pours. Funnel only forms after 18 seconds or so, 9.5 bars. At the first hint of a paler brown, which starts around the 45th second mark, I turn off the brew lever. The espresso is so thick it feels like I’m sipping sauce. I’ll be lucky if it hits 2 oz. My 2nd drink is like the first. Espresso sauce.

One month later

Notes on my Quickmill Anita and my modded Compak K6 approximately a month later…

Good news is I’ll be getting Eric’s Digital Thermometer kit after a long wait. It’s due in about a week’s time.

The few goodshots I’ve pulled from the Anita were all ranging in the 40 to 45 seconds pull. Yes, 45 seconds. You must be thinking over extracted, thin brews. Au contraire. I regret I stopped filming my naked pours. The pours are syrupy, thick and it takes forever for the funnel to form. And when it forms, the pour is slow, and continues in a dark chocolatey gooey pour, gauge reading around 9 bars, right up to the 45 second mark when it turns a slight variance in the colour, and when I stop the pour. So, in this sense, the 45 second pour is a ristretto. And you get to taste the nuances, the origins, the character of the bean. Mornings haven’t been this good.

The modified Compak K6 is extremely easy to clean. I’ve been setting it to a fine grind for all my beans. The oversized hopper is removed for my purposes as it’s very in-the-way. Instead, I fit the aeropress funnel on top which eases the transfer of beans from my one way valve bags, and keeps the beans from jumping out during grinding.

I’ve managed to reduce the brew pressure to 9 bars by opening the Anita up. Removing first the 4 screws by the 2 sides, and then the lower 2 screws at the bottom back panel eases the entire one-piece enclosure to reveal the insides. At first I turned the nut without re-adjusting the tube connected to it, and the tube gave way, water flooded everywhere. I easily tilted the Anita to one side to let the water drain out. Then, the needle nosed pliers from my Leatherman was used to fit the tube back over the valve, which was a bit of annoyance. Lesson learnt, I was more careful with adjusting the brew pressure the next time around. The enclosure was fitted back on, with the back panel screws first, and then the sides. The last screw is always the hardest to fit in.

In pursuit of the Last

All the hours spent. All the money invested. All the knowledge gathered. All in the pursuit of…

The Godshot.

When I was talking to Chris Nachtrieb from chriscoffee.com, he asked a question, which left me dumbfounded for a few seconds. We were talking about pre-infusion, the different machines, Eric’s device, line pressure, PID, and…

Chris: “Are you ANAL?”

me: “Uh….. WHAT??”  TF (which I almost added.)

Chris: ” I mean, are you the anal sort who wants every shot to be a GODshot?”

Hmmm…. Doesn’t everyone look out for that? The GODshot. The ultimate espresso shot, the more than an inch thick reddish brown crema, the nice slow honey-like pour from the naked portafilter, tastes just the way it smelled out of the bag, espresso nirvana.

I have not experienced it. Not yet.

I’ve read about people attaining it. The reviewers of the La Marzocco GS3 definitely had it; the way they were talking about getting better shots of finickiest Vivace than they’ve ever tasted at Espresso Vivace. Now, this probably means all the rest of what they thought were Godshots in the past, were merely goodshots.

We are in pursuit of the Last. The Godshot that cannot be bettered.

    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless falls of air…
    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark, nor eer eagle flew –
    And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
    The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

                                             — John Gillespie Magee, 19, RCAF

Rest

Rest is very important. Especially in the case of freshly roasted coffee beans. Grinding and drinking straightaway after a roast is a no-no and a waste of beans. Pulling a shot at this time will most likely give you so much crema you will taste the baking soda effect. Plus, it might taste lemony. This crema also will not last as long as the crema made from well rested beans. It tends to clear out in just a minute. The beans need at least 3 days of rest in an almost vacuum container with a one-way valve to let the carbon dioxide escape. Here is a discussion of why coffee needs to rest on home-barista.com.

And on the 3rd/4th day, when you finally unzip the zip-lock bag, you will be well-rewarded with the fragrance of the fresh roast. And if the espresso you pull smells and tastes the same as this fragrance, all that work and rest and money invested in equipment just might be worth it.
:)

Humidity

Personal note. This morning, I turned off the air-con, turned the Gaggia on, and left it for 20 minutes. The pour was significantly much slower, with MDF at 3, almost 33 seconds to get the same volume in my Bodum glass. Humidity affects speed of pour. I have to check up on the Schomer book on the humidity-grind setting page.