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  1. #1
    Senior Member patrick07's Avatar
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    Espresso Machine Questions

    I was digging through the cupboards today and found my old espresso machine. Its been about 5 or 6 years since I used it last. I ran a couple of pots of water through it and it seems to be spitting out small white flakes (limescale?). I know that there's several espresso drinkers here, so could any of you tell me what's the best way to clean the water resevoir? Also, what the difference between Turkish ground and Espresso ground beans?
    ...

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    Lex
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    Try white vinegar.....about half and half with the water.

    Turkish ground is MUCH stronger. It's ground finer than espresso.
    Last edited by Lex; 10-28-05 at 07:00 PM.

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, vinegar works fine. Run a cup through twice, then two cups distilled water and it should be good to go. Try not to use tap-water if you can, just distilled water from bottles and that'll work longer between cleanings.

    Or.. you can toss that machine and get one of these Jura-Capresso machines:



    Digitally programmed to grind just the right number of coffee beans (by grams) to the fineness that you desire.

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    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lex
    Try white vinegar.....about half and half with the water.

    Turkish ground is MUCH stronger. It's ground finer than espresso.
    That's what I would have said.

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Don't forget that with Turkish coffee, you dump the grinds directly into the coffee.

  6. #6
    Senior Member patrick07's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=DannoXYZ]

    Or.. you can toss that machine and get one of these Jura-Capresso machines:



    QUOTE]

    It seems a little pricey. If I didn't go the website and look, I'd have sworn somebody Photoshoped it.
    ...

  7. #7
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lex
    Try white vinegar.....about half and half with the water.

    Turkish ground is MUCH stronger. It's ground finer than espresso.
    Exactly!

    To be more precise....the strength of the coffee in terms of the grind is that the finer the grind the more surface area of coffee bean gets saturated in the water. Espresso is ground finer than normal coffee and Turkish coffee is ground pretty much to a powder (even MUCH finer than espresso grind).
    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

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    Lex
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingTermite
    Exactly!

    To be more precise....the strength of the coffee in terms of the grind is that the finer the grind the more surface area of coffee bean gets saturated in the water. Espresso is ground finer than normal coffee and Turkish coffee is ground pretty much to a powder (even MUCH finer than espresso grind).
    Yup....so that it leaves a film of grounds in the coffee. Yum. Where's the little green faced smilie when you need him? LOL

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Well... grinding coffee is not that simplistic. There are many other variables besides surface-area to volume ratio with coffee beans. First, the beans must be fresh, no more than 10-days old. You must also brew them within 2-minutes of grinding. The beans release the most CO2 within the first 2 minutes and that's critical for getting the most crema out of the shot. Grind-size will vary depending upon whether you're brewing office-coffee, boiling turkish coffee or making espresso-shots. The grind size must match the flow-rate of the water/steam you're sending through it. While too coarse of a grind will only result in weak coffee due to the high flow-rate, yet too fine of a grind will slow the flow and cause it to be bitter.

    Also you also must use a burr grinder, not the helicopter-blade choppers. Those do not give you grinds of uniform size. The lowest-end grinder you'd probably use is this Black & Decker burr-grinder from Target. Although a Cunill Tranquilo will do a much better job of achieving consistent and uniform grinds (not to mention lasting longer). Also while having a doser may appear to be a handy "feature" be careful about letting stale grinds contaminate the new batch.

    If you don't have an automatic scale in your machine, you'll want to pick up a digital scale accurate to less than 1-gram (0.5-gm postal precision will do). A 1:4 ratio of beans to water is fine to start on espresso, 15-grams of ground beans to 60-ml (2-oz) of water. Next, the tamping-pressure makes a big difference in the output as well. You'll want to use about 30-lbs of force to pack the puck.

    Timing the flow of this water through the puck is vitally important. You'll want a machine with adjustable pressure of 15-20bar so that you can time the 60-ml flow through in between 20-25 seconds. Too fast a flow and the shot will be weak. Slower will result in bitterness. A machine with 3-way solenoid valve will allow you to stop the flow at precisely the right time without residual dripping that can add bitterness to the shot.


    Quote Originally Posted by patrick07
    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Or.. you can toss that machine and get one of these Jura-Capresso machines:
    It seems a little pricey. If I didn't go the website and look, I'd have sworn somebody Photoshoped it.
    Oh, but it's worth every penny! This machine:
    1. Comes with a burr grinder, which imparts less heat than a blade grinder.
    2. Programmable, including time to grind/brew, amount to brew.
    3. Brew cycle for a complete pot should be between 4 and 6 minutes for optimal flavor.
    4. Brew temp between 195 and 210 degrees.
    5. Holding temp between 155 and 175 degrees. However, coffee flavor is severely degraded after 10 to 15 minutes if you don't drink it.
    6. Comes with water filtration system, even so, use bottled distilled water.
    7. Has large filter basket so grounds can move around and not become packed-down.
    8. Easy to clean. It's good here, mainly because the grinding and brewing are separated.


    I was gonna get this one: Jura-Capresso Z5


    But I hated the styling, looks like something you'd find in a diner. It does have a couple of nice extra features though:

    1. Automatic coffee-strength setting. With the other machine, I have to specify the amount of coffee to grind, the grind-size, and the amount of water to use.
    2. Integrated rinsing/cleaning/descaling program, so no regular decalcifying needed
    3. Insulated milk jar to keep milk chilled for up to 8-hours
    4. Measures out precise coffee amounts from 5-16gm
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-29-05 at 01:43 AM.

  10. #10
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lex
    Yup....so that it leaves a film of grounds in the coffee. Yum. Where's the little green faced smilie when you need him? LOL
    Yes, absolutely delicious!!

    I've still got a little Turkish coffee in the freezer and had a cuban coffee after my dinner at the cuban restaurant I ate dinner at last night.

    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

  11. #11
    commuter all star peregrine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingTermite
    Yes, absolutely delicious!!

    I've still got a little Turkish coffee in the freezer and had a cuban coffee after my dinner at the cuban restaurant I ate dinner at last night.

    mmmmm yeah, it's good coffee (kahve). they brew it in something like this though



    it's just too bad they serve it SO sweet over there.
    my dad said in iraq it's even worse, with tons and tons of sugar in this very little coffee cup

  12. #12
    Senior Member patrick07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Also you also must use a burr grinder, not the helicopter-blade choppers. Those do not give you grinds of uniform size. The lowest-end grinder you'd probably use is this Black & Decker burr-grinder from Target. Although a Cunill Tranquilo will do a much better job of achieving consistent and uniform grinds (not to mention lasting longer). Also while having a doser may appear to be a handy "feature" be careful about letting stale grinds contaminate the new batch.
    It sounds like I might be better served by getting the burr-grinder first instead of just using the grinder at the grocery store (because of the stale grounds). In the event that my espresso machine is ruined, I can still used the grinder to improve my coffee.

    I learned how to make espresso (in an American sense) working at a hotel as a teenager. I had no idea that this procedure was so specific! It had gotten to a point that most other employees and guests wanted me to make the espressos and cappucinos for them. I was doing it mostly by trial and error. You know, drinking all the mistakes but I got it down to a procedure eventually. Not scientific, mind you, but close.

    Thank you for putting all this information together! One more question, though. How can I tell if the beans are coming up to 10 days old? If I go to the local coffee shop that deals in whole beans, who's to say that the beans haven't been in the container for a week or more?
    ...

  13. #13
    Senior Member patrick07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peregrine
    mmmmm yeah, it's good coffee (kahve). they brew it in something like this though



    it's just too bad they serve it SO sweet over there.
    my dad said in iraq it's even worse, with tons and tons of sugar in this very little coffee cup
    I had two tiny cups of "cafe cubano" when I was in Miami about 15 years ago. I was up for two days straight!
    ...

  14. #14
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrick07
    I had two tiny cups of "cafe cubano" when I was in Miami about 15 years ago. I was up for two days straight!
    That's what I had last night....deeelicious! BTW...what peregrine was showing in the pic was Turkish coffee, not cuban coffee.

    I first was "turned on" to cuban coffee at my first job at 15 years old. I was washing dishes in a cuban restaurant and after work some of the people I worked with got me to try a cup. It was deeelicious, so asked for a 2nd. They gave it to me. I asked for a 3rd or even a larger cup of the stuff, and they said "no way....your mom is already going to want to kills us". I was up until about 5am that night.
    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

  15. #15
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrick07
    I learned how to make espresso (in an American sense) working at a hotel as a teenager. I had no idea that this procedure was so specific! It had gotten to a point that most other employees and guests wanted me to make the espressos and cappucinos for them. I was doing it mostly by trial and error. You know, drinking all the mistakes but I got it down to a procedure eventually. Not scientific, mind you, but close.
    Yeah, it's almost more art, intuition and black magic than anything else!


    Quote Originally Posted by patrick07
    Thank you for putting all this information together! One more question, though. How can I tell if the beans are coming up to 10 days old? If I go to the local coffee shop that deals in whole beans, who's to say that the beans haven't been in the container for a week or more?
    You're most welcome ! I get my beans fresh from a local wholesaler/roaster that supplies a lot of the local coffee-shops. So I know they're usually less than 1 day old. They can also make custom mixes for me. One of my favorite is chocolate-mint! DELICIOUS!!! I've seen that flavor at GloriaJean every once in a while, but it's not commonly stocked; not sure why. If you get your beans from a shop, then ask to get it from the same batch they use for their coffee, it's usuallly the most fresh. The stuff they have on display may have been there for ages depending upon how fast it moves.


    Here's a recipe I really like:

    Thai Iced Coffee

    Strong, black ground coffee, sufficient to brew 4 cups
    4 tablespoons sugar
    4 tablespoons heavy cream
    2 teaspoons ground cardamom
    1 teaspoon almond extract
    Crushed ice

    Add the cardamom to the ground coffee, and brew the coffee. When the coffee is brewed, add the sugar and almond extract, mix well and then let the coffee cool to lukewarm. Fill four 12 ounce highball glasses half-way to the rim with crushed ice and then fill two-thirds full with coffee. Into each glass, stir about 1 tablespoon of heavy cream. To achieve a layered effect, hold a spoon on top of the coffee and pour the cream slowly into the spoon so that the cream floats on top of the glass over the coffee.

    The trick is getting the right coffee mix. The restaurants use this coffee called Oliang which is a blend of coffee and other ingredients. The Pantainorasingh brand is 50% coffee, 25% corn, 20% soya bean, 5% sesame seed. Instead of brewing it as coffee, you might want to make double-shots of espresso with it.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-30-05 at 01:23 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member patrick07's Avatar
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    I went to Target and got the Mr. Coffee brand burr grinder. It was only 30 dollars. I am just now enjoying my first cup of home-ground Hazelnut (full caffeine) coffee. I used the recommendations in the instructions and started with an 8-cup, medium grind batch. That's my usual size pot of Maxwell House Hazelnut so that way I have a baseline for further experimentation and fine-tuning. So far, so good.

    BTW, my wife walked in and saw the receipe for the Thai Iced Coffee and wants to try it. I could be in serious trouble because this house isn't big enough for two people hopped up on caffeine!
    ...

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