… kind of
We’ve been using a DeLonghi totally automagical coffee machine for a couple of years. It’s pretty cool: decent-sized container for beans, which it grinds as needed; a button each for strength, small/medium/large cup size buttons (the size of each can be set); and a “cappuccino” button which sucks up milk from the big container seen in the picture and tries to froth and heat it and then add it to the espresso.
It’s good to wake up in the morning, stick a cup under the spout, and just press a button to get an espresso.
It’s convenient … but to be brutally honest, that’s really the most it has going for it. It is a big thing, and we do very much like that convenience, but the result is a loooong way from a true espresso.
With that in mind, we’ve just treated ourselves to another machine – this one a totally manual job. It’s a Breville “Professional 800 Collection Espresso Machine ” (pretty good contender for dumbest name ever, but looks cool and my brother-in-law makes a mean coffee with it 8) )
Now I have a lot to learn, as there’s just a little bit more to it than pressing a button or two After a number of attempts (and half a rainforest of coffee beans ) we decided a burr grinder was needed. Fortunately, given that most of them cost nearly $200 we managed to find one at our local Retravision for $76 that seems good; it’s a Sunbeam, so a good brand, and seems to have a nice wide range of grinds, from coarse, to even finer than we ought to need – so we ought to be right.
I also have to get the amounts right: the amount of grounds to use, and the amount of espresso to extract. That’s just practice, and some judicious measurements at the beginning, I guess.
Finally – and definitely not leastly I have to get this tamping thing sorted. I’ve read and heard a bunch of different recommendations: “very lightly” says the lady in the Breville video, “as hard as you can” say various others, and “30 lbs” say a few more specific-minded people. I guess that’s just practice, and careful tasting.
What with my cupcakes and Spaghetti Carbonara, and all the coffee-making, I’ve been rather domestic in the last couple of days
I guess once I get the espresso bit down I have to learn how to make lattes, and flat whites, and cappuccinos and macchiatos, and super-wossnamey-atos, and do all the facncy stuff with the milk.