Coffee

This page should really be titled “Espresso” as that is my drink of choice.  These pages document my pursuit of truly amazing shots of espresso.  Many people drink espresso, but the reality is, they are drinking crap.  I don’t say this to be conceited, I say it because I have had espresso in a lot of different cities, but more importantly, where a the vast majority of people in this country get their coffee drinks…and they make shit espresso. There, I said it.

So, what pray tell is a decent or great espresso?  Well, you need to find yourself a real artisinal espresso shop.  Try coffeegeek.com or home-barista.com for suggestions in your hood.  WARNING: You are not going to be able to drink that shite you have been calling espresso without the “poo poo” look on your face after you do this. Be warned.

Ok, still there? Let’s get on with what I use and how I use it.

Espresso Grinder:

For those of you not in the “know,” the espresso machine is the accessory to the grinder.  Yeah, I know that doesn’t make any sense, but just trust me on this.  If you are in the mood, then read all of the equipment pages and you will probably have a better understanding why.

Thanks to Craigslist, I now have two grinders:

Rancilio Rocky

Poor little Rocky, he gets no respect.  This is an entry-level espresso grinder.  That is to say, it is way better than the POS grinders you will find in a department store or at the likes of Williams Sonoma (save maybe that Baratza Virtuoso).  Once to get Rocky setup, it can get you very close to the promised land and make a very good shot of espresso.  Read all about how I setup and use my Rancillio Rocky.

Nuova Simonelli MDX

This big mofo is a true espresso grinder.  It is big, it is heavy, and it is built like a tank.  Key features are the fine adjustment knob with the perfect amount of tension, large burrs, and simple design.  I am going to do my best to tame this commercial espresso grinder into a home machine with a few “simple” modifications.

Espresso Machine:

Yeah, if you have not guessed by now I probably have more than one espresso machine.  I am going to throw in my original machine here, because I still have it in a box in the garage.  I also have an older 3 Group Brasilia Portofino that I am going to try and restore…at some point in the next 30 years.  But, the star of the show right now is Miss Silvia…

Rancilio Silvia

She is a true lady.  She will take you to the highest highs…and the lowest lows.  Just when you think you have Miss Silvia figured out, she will remind you that no matter what you think you know, you don’t know shit.  I still love her though.

Brasilia Portofino 3 Group

I am not sure why I have this in my possession, but if you know me, then you probably know why.  This beast was just about donated to me.  You can follow along with the restoration (akin to watching paint dry) here.

Krups XP4050

Yeah, that’s right. I have a Krups espresso machine here.  If you want some really bitter shite, fire up one of these bad boys.   To be fair, I am not sure I can even recall what the espresso tasted like when we first purchased this thing. But, I do remember the toxic burning plastic smell that it gave off for the first two weeks we owned it.

Other Espresso Equipment:

Espresso Parts Ridgeless Double Portafilter Basket

Own a Silvia? You need to get rid of that double basket and pick up something like this ASAP.  Dosing was my single biggest hurdle when trying to tame that…nice lady.

Rattleware 58mm Tamper

It is a tamper, it is 58mm.  Well, Rattleware really makes some high quality products and this tamper is no exception.

Rattleware 20oz Milk Frothing Pitcher

Stainless is stainless, right? Wrong. These are high quality, THICK, stainless steel pitchers designed for this purpose.  They are inexpensive as well. I drink espresso, but I like to dress-up and play latte artist on a daily basis.

Rattleware 12oz Milk Frothing Pitcher

I bought this pitcher and was very impressed with the heavy gauge stainless steel.  It helps control temperature much better.  Great for making cappuccinos.  I prefer the 20oz for Latte work.