Category Archives: Pulls

45 Seconds of Sidamo

I pulled a 45 sec double ristretto of ecafe Shilcho Sidamo just now. It tastes so creamy I’m going for my third today. Together with the crema, it hits just under the 1 oz mark. Heavily speckled with dark chocolate bits, it had a very creamy mouthfeel. I can definitely get used to these ristretto shots. My first shot of the day was Kenya Gethumbwini, which I roasted 2 days ago, together with my batch of Sidamo. So, both batches are just 2 days old. The Kenya could use another 2 days rest. It tasted a bit grassy. But the Sidamo was super fine. My Kenya shot was a bit fast though, so I turned the Compak K6 about 3 mm finer for the Sidamo. Perfect setting for a ristretto.

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 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.

Ecafe Shilcho Sidamo

This Ethiopian beauty was roasted to a rolling 2nd crack. This particular bean has a long 1st crack, starting from 2:00 to 4:30 minutes. And 2nd crack comes only 30 seconds later. I wasn’t listening out for a 2nd crack, I was still waiting for 1st crack to stop, which was my mistake. The roast came out with oily patches, which I feel is a bit overroasted.

After resting for 1 day, I pulled a shot, which was far too acidy. That, and because I kept my grinder setting at 2 from my previous batch of Vivace Dolce Malabar blend.

After the 3rd day of rest, and setting my grinder at 4, the coffee has almost peaked. The bean is extremely oily. ARRRGGGHHH! U can whiff out the floral scents of the Sidamo. This Ecafe winner scored a cupping of 90.2. I can see why. With the more floral coffees like the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and Sidamo, I like to drink the first half of the double shot as an espresso, and the 2nd half as an americano. The taste of an espresso is complex. Nothing like adding water to a wellpulled espresso to broaden the taste spectrum. Of course, this tasting will be nothing compared to when we arrive at the next topic. :) (Drum roll)


Rituals. You have your japanese tea ceremonies. I have my daily morning coffee ritual.

First thing when I wake up,

1)  Turn on the Gaggia Espresso machine.

2)  Set my Bodum Pavina glass under the portafilter.

3)  Wash up.

4)  20 minutes pass and my machine’s all heated up. I run through 3 shots of water. This takes approximately 5 minutes. Both portafilter and glass are heated up this way.

5)  After the green ready light goes off, meaning the boiler starts up, I select my choice of coffee, set my grinder and measure out 20 grams into the grinder. Start grinder.

6)  By the time the grinder stops, the green ready light will turn on, signifying the correct brewing temperature has been reached.

7)  Unlock the portafilter, and wipe it clean and dry. Careful, it’s hot!

8)  Dose the portafilter. Tap the portafilter and dose again until the grinder’s empty.

9)  Level the grounds in the portafilter. Almost none of the grounds get wasted most of the time.

10) With a pressure of 35 lbs, the tamping begins. I tamp with a clockwise downwards screwing motion, and adjust the portafilter with the handle pointing at 8 o’ clock once, and at 5 o’ clock once. I ensure that the tamper/portafilter is level before locking it into the grouphead.

11) I turn on the water for a little bit to get rid of steam. No PID here.

12) Portafilter locked and loaded! Discard the water in the glass and set it under the portafilter. Turn on the flow. Start the clock.

13) I time it so I won’t exceed the 25 second mark, all the while watching the colour and noting the speed of the flow from the naked portafilter. Time overrides colour. Speed of the flow (size of the funnel) will determine my 2nd shot’s grinder setting.

14) Nothing like a nice tiger-striped chocolate coloured coffeespout (as opposed to waterspout) to greet you in the morning. The beauty of a naked portafilter. You lemmings drinking $tarbuck$ don’t know what you are missing. And the Pavina is a work of art too. End the flow when it looks right, remove the glass.

15) Espresso without crema won’t look nor taste right. Down your glass of guinness, and prep for next shot. Problem with the Gaggia Espresso is it doesn’t have a 3 way valve, so I have to wait a few minutes, and ease the portafilter slowly to not have coffee splattered across the wall. The Gaggia Sneeze!

Hacienda La Esmeralda Gesha

I’m roasting the world’s best coffee beans and I was so excited I forgot to time the roast. I stopped the roast at the verge of 2nd crack. I should’ve stopped it before hitting 2nd crack. You know, after roasting espresso roasts most of the time, you just have a knack of stopping it at or after 2nd crack. I’m not used to roasting medium roasts.

As I opened the bag after 2 days’ rest, this familiar chocolate hazelnut fragrance hits me.  Hmmm…  Vivace Dolce a blend of Gesha and  Monsooned Malabar??  This would really explain why Espresso Vivace puts like 95% monsooned beans in their blend.

I know I know. I should be french pressing this, but I couldn’t resist the ease of the aeropress. So, here’s my first Gesha aeropresso.

I did not use the aeropress scoop, I dosed my usual 20 grams (my daily dose in the triple basket.) I would think the aeropress scoop, which is about 1 1/4 times more than a normal scoop would be overkill. This coffee is just super fragrant, and I don’t wish to overload my senses.

Here goes… Hints of chocolate, smells of hazelnut, tastes very tea-like, smooth. Methinks it would be better if I try an americano next. Why oh why am I not making a french press? Because my french press looks really crudded up, and I don’t want to mix in freaking expensive to high hell coffee with jurassic crud in the french press.

I even cleared out the grinder in between grinds. Nothing must mess this ritual up. OK now, on to my next. It’s ok. One thing there is to note about drinking your own roasted coffee is never ever overextract your coffee just because it costs as high as US$130 a pound. It’s ok. 25 seconds or 2.5 ounces of water later and you dump the 20 gram puck. IT’S OK. 25 seconds or less. I’ll try for a americano ristretto this time, did I get that right, a restricted americano. IT’S OKAY.

MDF set at 3. This is not malabar. Malabar’s cool at 2. DO NOT OVEREXTRACT. Whoa. Good tiger-striping.  Ok, I see white and off the flow now. Oh wait, there’s still crema leaking into the drip tray. NOOOOOOO…… The drip tray gods must be happy today. Please bless me with good sales at work today so that I may continue to feed good coffee into thine drip tray.

I just couldn’t resist. Gesha espresso, especially with quite a bit of crema, though not as much as malabar vivace. Oooo. It’s like drinking unadulterated perfume. Spill some on me. Cheaper per ounce than Chanel. OK, americano here we go.

OH DRIP TRAY GODS! If I thought the aeropresso was EDT, this americano is like drinking perfume, despite diluting it with water 2:1. Imagine if I were to bring this over to Steve’s or Kai Seng’s, OMG! This is Yirgacheffe multiplied 20 times! I can’t even begin to describe the fragrance to you. You just have to dump your Apple shares and buy this Gesha. (One AAPL share = one pound of Gesha)

Drink Leaded!

Bean: Bolivian Peaberry

Degree: Northern Italian Roast

Age: 2 days old

This is the bean I roasted on the verge of 2nd crack. I expect lemony brightness?? Here’s the pour. Good slow one, good tiger striping, 23 seconds pull. A lot of crema as expected. The pull was guinness-like. The full glass of crema slowly subsided to just 1.5 cm worth of crema. Some hazelnut cloured spots peppered on the surface. Smells great after past few days of drinking unleaded decaf.

A slight hint of brightness, light bodied, methinks I have to wait a few more days to get the most out of this coffee.

2nd pour was an americano, still very light bodied, no hints of brightness nor bitterness. I await tomorrow’s pour, and hope that this coffee lasts til this Friday’s roast. A CGSG’er, Leon is coming over for the roasting session, and hopefully, Keith can join us too. We would probably be roasting a common bean, Vivace Dolce. Since I’m expecting company, I better roast another batch tomorrow.

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2nd pour

I am on a roll! My 2nd triple espresso is nearer to a godshot. Perfect tamping by NSEW method, very even, small slow funnel, good tiger striping, It smells and tastes as it did in bean form, crema that outlasts the drink. What a great way to start a new day. Darn! I should be signing up for espresso rehab. I’m addicted to beautiful pours!

Pour today

Bean: Mexico Oaxaca
Degree: Central Italian Roast
Roast Age: 5 days old

What a great pour today! Gaggia MDF grinder set at 3, Gaggia Espresso machine given a thorough 5 cycle warmup. With my naked portafilter, I can see the beautiful tiger-striping, a slow funnel forming, the tamp was almost perfect, a good slow pour of about 22 seconds, I stopped short because I didn’t want to be too greedy and ruin this pour. Full of deep caramel coloured crema, it just lasted forever, not dissipating even after the double walled Bodum Pavina glass was emptied. Creamy feel, no bitter aftertaste, a muted hint of acidity, as close to a god shot as anything I’ve had this week.

For the warmups, I wait for the green light to come on, which denotes the temperature ready, and then I switch on the water until the ready light turns off, with my naked portafilter locked on. After 5 or more warm ups, I hope that the temperature has stabilised somewhat. I don’t have a PID yet. And I’m working on a machine that turns up 6.5 bars, a serious handicap, because most of my pours are basically fast blond funnels.

Best espresso I’ve had in days. And that is comparing to Vivace Dolce, and Vivace Dolce decaf. I think I don’t fare too well in roasting monsooned beans, which is what I speculate the Vivace blend has a multitude of. It has a similar roast profile compared with Monsooned Malabar, a 15 minute 2nd crack. I think I can practise roasting Vivace by roasting the cheaper malabar beans