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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    Default Any Baristas out there??

    Just got an espresso machine. Had one years ago and loved it. So I took the plunge.

    Got a Gaggia Coffee. Great machine.

    Now I need to pop for a good grinder.

    Love to hear tips and suggestions on grinders and pulling a good shot.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
    Posts
    7,923

    Default

    I used to have an espresso machine, and just loved it, but the rubber seal got to where it wouldn't hold pressure well, and I had several "explosions" in the kitchen, and I just gave up the habit. I have a couple of grinders, and haven't noticed any appreciable difference between the cheapie and the expensive one.

    Now, what I currently have a passion for is mocha fraps, and I adapted a recipe found on the net to suit my taste. If anyone wants the recipe, let me know.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    Default

    I'm looking at the Gaggia MDF for a grinder. A place sells them at a great price of $129 delivered. The grinder is as important as a good machine.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    Default

    Not talking blade machines but burr grinders.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,705

    Default

    I call this guy when I have coffee questions...

    http://www.desertexposure.com/200801...801_coffee.php

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,593

    Default

    "Indeed, his coffee obsession has more or less replaced Digman's other life interests, such as drumming, playing the banjo and riding his vintage motorcycle."

    NOT THE MOTORCYCLE!!!!

    Ah . . . no mention of Digman's brother's raw honey served with those pastries?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,705

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    "Indeed, his coffee obsession has more or less replaced Digman's other life interests, such as drumming, playing the banjo and riding his vintage motorcycle."

    NOT THE MOTORCYCLE!!!!

    Ah . . . no mention of Digman's brother's raw honey served with those pastries?
    His brother doesn't produce a reliable enough supply. He does get reminded on the importance of buying local, and avoiding that stuff that comes of a truck from heaven knows where.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    Default

    OK Barry D...... been away for a bit. You were coyote in a previous life??

    Barry D......... This may sound goofy but have you ever tried roasting beans with a popcorn popper??? I have heard it can work pretty well. I've never roasted beans but would love to hear that first crack.

    Does Bernie sell beans?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Kirkland, WA, USA
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    1,020

    Default

    I take my coffee pretty seriously (http://www.voiceofthehive.com/Coffee/Coffee.htm). I mean, there are more serious people but I really like my morning and afternoon mochas. If you got a gaggia you got a good machine. Still have a gaggia portafilter around somewhere. My current machine is a Estro Vapore/Starbucks Barista machine. Grinderwise, I bought a cheap burr grinder and took it apart. Changed the spacing on the burs to where I could get a much finer grind (and if I were to do it wrong, I could grind the burrs). Now, I get good solid shots every time from this combo.

    Grinders are important, especially if you are using a non pressurized portafilter (and you should). The piston machines will make you cry without a grade A grinder. Spent a few weeks with one in December (I replaced all the seals for the owner) and once I got a solid grind and tamp it pulled beautiful singles every single time.

    Just got my white chocolate syrup in the mail this morning. It's white chocolate mochas tonight!
    http://www.voiceofthehive.com - Tales of Beekeeping and Honeybees

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Kirkland, WA, USA
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    Default

    Forgot to mention - yes, the popcorn popper works. Yes, it tastes like nothing you can buy (unless you buy from a fresh roaster, in which case, forget the popcorn popper). Also - in case it isn't mentioned explicitly, roast outside. You'll only need to do it inside once to never forget again.
    http://www.voiceofthehive.com - Tales of Beekeeping and Honeybees

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    Default

    xC.......... Great to hear about the popper.

    What grinder did you get?? The Starbucks Barista?? I have seen the "hacking" directions to tweek that ones burrs. Great machine for the money I hear.

    I am shopping for the grinder and won't skimp to much. CoffeeGeek is my source for most info.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Kirkland, WA, USA
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    I'd be embarassed to say that I'm using a thrift store "cuisinart" brand if it weren't for the fact that I get good coffee from it. My machine is a "Starbucks Barista" model, which is essentially the Estro Vapore rebranded. CoffeeGeek is a good place to learn from, but I've discovered that your taste and experience might not require the greatest of everything. Around here commercial grinders are easy to come by - just wait for an espresso stand to fold and score a nice one for 2-300. The Barista grinders were clearanced out around here for so little I almost bought one "just in case". Biggest argument against a commercial grinder is cabinet space. In my house it's a limited commodity. That's why when I had a one group commercial unit I got rid of it (got it in a trade, replaced the heating element). It wasn't that it didn't make great coffee. It was that it was two and a half feet long and a foot and a half deep. Great machine, hated to see it go. Oh, and I'll buck the coffee geek trend and point out that sometimes the low end machines actually do a decent job. What they do not do is do anything with regularity. Stay away from the piston machines if you have children or a life. They make good coffee but they have numerous "Thou shalt not touch on pain of skin loss" spots and they either produce liquid gold or ...something else brown and watery. Far as I'm concerned they are for flash and show, something rich people put on their counter. Which is sad, because mechanically they are designed to be put through their paces. As I recall Gaggia puts their heater elements on the outside of the boiler. That's good for the element but means you get to buy a new boiler should you have a problem with the old one.

    Good luck with the popcorn roaster. I was fortunate enough to be able to drive to Kent and go to a roaster (small batch) who had a popper and gave me a handful of beans and guidance. He's brilliant - give the customer a hand full of beans and let him roast them. Then offer him some of the fresh roast batch and watch people decide that for the cost and time the small batch roast can't be beat.
    http://www.voiceofthehive.com - Tales of Beekeeping and Honeybees

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    Starbucks labels many grinders "Barista", including the whirly blade thingys.

    The one I am interested is really a Solis model rebranded and rates very good if you "hack/tweek" the burr settings. One can be had for $50 to $75.

    http://www.ineedcoffee.com/07/hack-starbucks-grinder/

    Right now I am using a Mr Coffee blade unit and it is frustrating to be sure but I've vowed to live with it for a couple weeks until I can nail down either the Starbucks unit or better.

    Roasting your own beans sounds great, not to mention it saves some $$$ as the green beans I've looked at are in the $3 to $4 a pound range delivered.

    Any thoughts on the best home fluid bed roaster other than the popcorn machine?? I have looked at the Fresh Roast plus 8 and it seems like a nice unit. The programmable iMachine looks cool as it runs the temp up to X for Y minutes then raises it to XX for YY minutes and does a cool down.

  14. #14
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    Nov 2004
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    Kirkland, WA, USA
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    I've never even seen a blade grinder sold in starbucks up here - I guess that's the confusion. Yes, the solis rebranded is the one they sell around here. The hack you linked to is very similar to what I did, except that mine is a cheap disk burr instead of a nice conical. We have one at work and it does a good job. I don't know about the fluid bed roasters at all, so I'll keep quiet there. I've seen a home made drum roaster in action - THAT is dedication. Also, it stinks quite badly. The nice thing about a quality grinder is that it can easily put out french roast or turkish or anything in between. I don't understand how the counter top roasters work. My popcorn popper roast left me in my wife's bad graces for a few days.
    http://www.voiceofthehive.com - Tales of Beekeeping and Honeybees

  15. #15
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    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    Default

    Fluid bed roasters are a fancy name (and confusing) for air flow types like a converted Popcorn popper. No clue why they named it that other than air is a fluid by physics definition.

    Thanks for the info. Its 3 PM and I'm tempted to pull another double....... but I know better. sleep is compromised.....

    What are some of your favorite beans?? Have you tried Black Cat or Redline??

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