My Ritual and the next move

I’ve had a long hiatus since my last post, what with handling a chaotic comic book shop, and trying to move the whole shenanigan to a new place (more on this later), I haven’t even the time to do a roast. But I managed to find some time, what with my poor time management skills, to allocate for Roast Day Sunday last.

Today is Day 3 of SM Italian Espresso Blend. I did a pull yesterday, sorely out of temptation as I haven’t had a “proper” drink in quite a while. Yesterday’s was kinda grassy, too bright for my liking, and well, not well-rested.

Today. Today, on the other hand. What a difference a full day makes!

Assisted by the 2 megapixel camera on my iPhone (has anyone seen the curvaceous MacBook Air?), and my military grade Surefire L2 light, among an entire entourage of devices such as the venerable Eric Svendon Digital Thermometer Device, and not forgetting, the Anita, I sought out to find enlightenment in these dark days. (My, my, this is just after my 2nd drink.) Without further ado, here is the following sequence of my (haphazard, can’t help it – one hand holding the iPhone feels like one hand tied) ritual:

First drops of nectar. I was so sure there wasn’t enough light, so I used a Surefire L2, which provided a 15 lumens flood beam. Overkill. Looks like 10 seconds at this point. The Anita provides a pre-infusion of about 8 to 9.5 seconds at around 3 bars. During these first drops, the pressure climbs to a 9 bar at a steady rate.

Here, you see the Guinness effect (akin to a Guinness Stout pour, non-believers), which happens when you have well rested beans. The colour is really slightly darker, but thanks to the Surefire Overkill, it appears so much lighter.

More of the Guinness pour. This is really looking good. From experience, this looks like 15 seconds into the pour. (Non-believers, this is espresso, no milk added.) On the right, that’s the hot water wand, which I always swing out of the way, to allow easy access to the brew lever. And that’s a Bodum Pavina 2.7 oz, by the way. And why is it kissing the naked portafilter? You will see….

Mmmmmm… The iPhone moves slightly lower to reveal the dark coffee starting to invade the voluminous crema. The tamping was not done well, because, at this point, I noticed that the funnel was not coming from the center, but rather to the right. Another smaller drop was forming to the left, but seemed to be drawing nearer to the main funnel. I could seem the righteous left(no pun intended) dark chocolatey drop forming, and was determined not to stop the flow until they reunite. This is hitting the 20 second mark. Come on, you slow drop!

OK. So, chocolate drop at left field went independent. It didn’t seem that left field was yielding anything more than a drop, and flow is starting to thin. Time to reach for the brew lever. It is now 25 seconds.

And it’s a fumble! Lights out. So, Surefire was needed afterall. Whoops. 28 seconds. Thank God I tamped really hard just now. Seems to be paying off.

So, now you know why Pavina was almost kissing the naked Verna Design portafilter. Have you seen a Verna up close? You have not seen a naked portafilter til you have a Verna. If I were Pavina, I would be kissing the Verna pf too. Remember what I said about the Macbook Air? The Verna portafilter is to all other naked portafilters what the MacBook Air is to all other generic laptops. More on this later in a separate post. OK, back to the main event. Note: colours are really darker than what it looks like here. Everyone? “SUREFIRE OVERKILL ! ! !”

This was taken approximately 10 seconds after the pour. Raised platform sponsored by’s excellent measured shot glass. However, I’ve not had the pleasure of measuring anything with it yet. The 2nd drink was not as good as the first. A slight thinning out as I was fumbling for the brew lever, and careful not to place the iPhone on anything hot.

Here’s another look at the crema laden pour, with espressoparts shot glass trying to edge itself nearer to bask in the limelight. “Hey, Mom! Hey, quit shoving!”

Slight channeling to the left, where the left ear is. It could be from the disengaging of the portafilter from the grouphead, right? But, I think not. Can’t blame anyone, darn! Eric’s Digital Thermometer (EDT), on the left, says hi. The reason you are able to see the colours through the Pavina is because I flushed the Anita with EDT, and heated the Pavina with the ensuing flush. Without the Pavina all heated up, the glass would be more hazed up than it is in the pictures above. The Bodum’s double walled insulation helped a lot here. And that’s why I’m not using the EP shot glass. Besides, the Verna Design pairs up wonderfully with the Pavina.

In summary, I would like to thank the following uhh.. tools that gave these 2 wonderful pours light of day. Quickmill for designing a beauty of a machine, the Anita; Eric Svendson for the digital thermometer to aid in my flushing attempts; Verna Design for making a beautifully crafted and cut portafilter; Bodum for artfully crafting a double walled insulated shot glass; for equally making a flat bottomed shot glass; Surefire for providing adequate flood light. Last but not least, thanks to the tutelage from the people at CoffeeGeek, Home-Barista, and CGSG, without whom I would not have the necessary skills to pull this off.

A small announcement to make. This blog post has taken too much of my time, and a lot feel that time should be better spent at the shop, so put 2 and 2 together, Anita and all the tools mentioned here will be making the exodus to the new place. Stay tuned either here or at my shop blog to figure out where we will all end up next. And if you are a CG, HB, or a CGSG, just mention your affiliations, and I’ll see to it you’ll have a nice welcome drink. More on this in another post. I’m late for work. See you soon. BIG SMILE.

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