Tag Archives: ristretto

Meetup At The Cairns Episode II – The Dark Side of Convenience

I thought about letting this one go. But Melvin happened. And I just have to borrow his tagline for this post.

It was an ominous feeling to have heard Steve say those words. You just had to be there.

We talked about the Aeropress. About how good a cup of coffee it makes. But it just was not espresso, the way Aeropress had marketed it as.

And then, Steve introduced the N word into our lives and we never looked at him the same again.

Steve talked about how good Nespresso really was at its price point. And then he mentioned the Nespresso ristretto as a must-try. And of course, the convenience of it all. I started going over Steve’s history of machines in my head. A whole series of Braun-Krups-Krap before the transition to the Rancilio Silvia/Rocky combo, and then, now the Expobar Brewtus. And this same guy who’s speaking to us now about the wonders of Nespresso also did tell me in a phone conversation a few months earlier of his next fictional if any, upgrade-itis which was to be the La Marzocco GS3, instead of the Kees Van Der Westen Speedster, mainly because of support issues. This seems to be the upgrade path most home baristi take after the E-61’s I believe.

And then, we called it a day, and we left. And no, Melvin, my journey towards the Dark Side did not end outside Steve’s gates. After you dropped me off, I eventually ended up at ION ORCHARD. Well, it was the path I took to get home anyway. Waitaminute, doesn’t ION ORCHARD also have a Nespresso Boutique?

THE NESPRESSO EXPERIENCE

I walked into the Nespresso Boutique. Wow! It’s a beautiful sight. If you’ve ever walked into a Nespresso Boutique, you’ll know what I mean. Wall to wall packed with Nespresso bricks of different Pantone colours. A whole line of Nespresso coffee pods in different colour shades. Right smack in the centre of the store is an island, where they have demo machines, and all the flavours of Nespresso with it.

Wait, the journey to the Dark Side cannot be complete until I’ve had a taste of, what did Steve recommend. . . “oh! Ristretto please?”

A saleslady made me one by dropping in a pod, and pushing the button. It was served in a clear plastic demitasse. I took a sip, and . . . .

TCBE

This Can’t Be Espresso. This Will Never Be Espresso. BUT, it wasn’t really swill either. I can detect very very slight hints of spice. . . tobacco maybe. It was under the temperature though, slightly warmer than room temperature. It was thin coffee.

The saleslady told me of the convenience factor, about how you could just plug in a Nespresso unit and just churn out coffee without having to wait for a warm-up period. Even my old Gaggia thermoblock required at least a 15 minute start up time. But that did make a different class of espresso as well.

In all fairness, the Nespresso is simple to use, doesn’t make a mess. It makes ok coffee for its price point and for the amount of effort put in. But just like our discussion on the Aeropress, I feel you cannot call this espresso. It’s just convenience coffee.

Return of the 45 second Pour (2009)

The 45 second ristretto makes a comeback with 3rd day Brazil Moreninha Formosa. I’m in seventh heaven. This is my GODSHOT! I can’t remember a finer shot than my previous one a long time ago with eCafe Sidamo. Pronounced DARK Chocolate notes, caramel creamy goodness, long aftertaste I wish could last forever.

While many would balk “45 seconds? Ristretto (restricted espresso)? That’s almost twice 25 seconds – the standard timing for a shot of espresso.” I was well aware of this, taking quick looks at Eric’s e-61 thermometer to ensure the temperature doesn’t drop below 198 degrees Fahrenheit while watching the pour to cut at first blonding. The resulting pour:

The details of the pour are:

Roast: Brazil Moreninha Formosa
Degree: Full City +
Machine: Quickmill Anita
Brew Pressure: 9.5 bars
Boiler Pressure 1.5 bars
Dose: 18 grams
Grind: Ultra Fine
Tamp: 30 pounds (Espro Clicker Tamper)
Eric’s e61 Thermometer: Flushed to 187, Start pour at 198. End pour at 198.

Here’s  the sequence of my 3rd cup today. Same variables as above shot with
Eric’s e61 Thermometer: Flushed to 187. Start pour at 200. End pour at 203.5
which resulted in a slight bitter shot, but still very pleasurable. Slight bitter dark chocolate.

Brazil Moreninha Formosa

Roasted on I-Roast 2 Rec 2, stopped with 2 minutes remaining.
Full City to Full City +

2nd day: espresso, slow drip, 45 second ristretto, gorgeous naked flow. Extremely creamy, long aftertaste. Hint of spice, chocolate notes. I think taste will be more pronounced when it peaks later. Will be better tomorrow or day after. Needs more rest. Fantastic RISTRETTO roast. I’m in love! What have I been doing blending this with Zambia? This Brazil is great on its own. KS, take note, I know you have some left, don’t waste blending it.

45 Seconds of Sheer Bliss Part 2

I should change the title.

I was jinxed yesterday.

I thought I had a good day ahead of me. I roasted a real nice batch of SM Italian Espresso blend 4 days ago. Yesterday would be peaking at 3 days. The roast was stopped at the start of 2nd crack, giving the bean a nice dark chocolate brown, with very slight hints of oil. Perfect day, right?

My bro requested an americano. I did the usual routine of DLT, pulled the shot, and it ran 55 seconds, volume around .75 oz. A super slow pour. No one’s going to believe this one. SO. I decided to vid it with my phone cam.

I pulled out my Espressoparts.com 4 oz Lined Measuring Glass, set up my phone cam, and proceeded with the pour. Everything was looking good, the same nice super slow pour, this one ran 60 seconds long, methinks I must’ve tamped slightly harder, the crema was beautiful, speckled with dark chocolate bits, the same volume of .75 oz, and the camera stopped filming at 0:11 because I had insufficient memory. ARRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!! I even narrated the whole thing through, not realising the faux pas. Btw, the ristretto was heavenly, even better than Part 1. The roast was just right, and I can taste the character of the coffee.

Not to be deterred, I slipped in a new 2 Gb memory card, should be sufficient. Damn. I was late for work. I put the beans in the grinder, and proceeded to dose the portafilter. As a habit, I would try to clean out as much of the grounds as possible, using a pipe cleaner. I inserted the pipe cleaner into the shaft and suddenly the grinder halted. ARRRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!! I managed to jam the pipe cleaner in the grinder. And it wouldn’t budge. After much wrangling, I gave up and decided to vid the pour with whatever grounds I could get out of the dosing chamber. Well, the vid was good. The pour was like the previous 2, around .75 oz. I came back after work and managed to pull out the pipe cleaner. Both the pipe cleaner and the grinder are fine now. WHEW!

(Although the vid is Quicktime, I can’t get QT to open the video. So, I may have to try and embed VLC player into wordpress.)

End note: It is the beans. SM Italian Espresso blend.