Coffee Gurus

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Goodbye Blogger

was trying to transfer my old posts and comments so I was messing with my template.

Here are my new URLs:

I'll keep these sites up, but all new content will be posted over there. Update your aggregators!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Pavoni Site

Yes, it is true. After about 12 years, I've finally decided to move the guide to using a La Pavoni manual lever espresso machine to another home.

The site has generated quite a bit of traffic over to years and I've met some great people through it, but various bits of functionality have stopped working. So, the decision was made a few years to move it to a more modern platform. Well, it took a while, but the new site is at Coffee Gurus

The site is still a work in progress. For now, you can add comments with tricks and tips etc. Have fun! Let me know if you have any suggestions.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Bialetti Moka Pots Rock!

While the ECM Giotto is out of service waiting for a small part, I've been using the Pavoni and for a change took out the Bialetti Moka Express.

I have the medium sized one that holds 6 cups and while it isn't technically espresso, I like the rich full bodied moka that it makes with Lavazza "Qualita Oro" out of a vac pack.

For those that don't know, Bialetti has been making this stove top coffee maker since 1933.  In Italy, where these are still made (although I've seen some steel Bialetti made in China...a shame), it is an iconic fixture in almost every home. 

The original model was and is made of aluminum--a material popular at the time as a sign of Italy's modernity.  They pots are also made by other vendors as well in both aluminum and other materials such as steel, glass, etc.  Being a traditionalist, mine is aluminum.

Some tips:
- Use coffee that is ground a bit coarser than you'd normally use in your espresso machine.
- The instructions say to not tamp, but I do...lightly using the bottom of a plastic baby bottle.  YMMV.
- Italians swear that the more you use the pot, the better the brew.  I'm not sure why they think this, but my guess is that after a while without scrubbing with steel wool etc., that the pots start to oxidize a bit...and over time, this makes the metal more neutral to the coffee being brewed.  So, I only rise the pot out with water and wipe off the residual coffee with a wet cloth.  So far so good.

Try it, you'll like it.  These coffee makers are relatively cheap and widely available.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

La Pavoni Europiccola How-To to be revivived as a blog...

Yes, it is true. I've committed to reviving the La Pavoni How-To as a blog.

Read about it here.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

PC Grinder Update

Well, the the burr grinding of the PC Grinder was fine, the over quality of the grinder is NASTY. After a few months of messing with various bits falling off the grinder, the entire top bean hopper snapped off!

I reattached it with duct tape (yes, I'm a geek) and it worked for a while longer until I could no longer stand it!

It has since been replaced with a new burr grinder that was on sale at Starbucks. More later on that.

In the meantime, dear readers, my advice is to stay away from the PC Grinder!

Friday, November 10, 2006

PC Coffee Grinder - Review

In my never ending quest for a good deal, I wandered by my friendly neighborhood Loblaws (a large grocery chain in my neck of the woods). Along with foodstuffs, they are starting to sell VERY stylish small appliances and other household items for very low prices under the PC (President's Choice) brand.

For instance, I bought a beautiful chrome toaster with bagel sized slots and even a defrost setting for $12. It works great and is on par with a toaster 10x as much. So, needless to say, I was quite excited to see a burr grinder for $29. Well, let's just say that my enthusiasm was a bit misplaced.

The grinder looks good, has nice burrs, but the plastic bits aren't up to snuff. The top hopper area attaches to the metal base with a few plastic prongs. Either while using the hopper to twist the grind settings (like I do on my Gaggia MDF) or just normal regular grinding, the plastic prongs snapped off...and probably got ground into smithereens.

Other than that, the coffee comes out of the chute and sprays coffee all over the counter unless the rubber seal is perfectly seated into the receptacle. I don't know about you, but when I need a cup of coffee in the morning, I'm not exactly in a mood to be messing with aligning plastic bits with rubber bits yada yada.

The coffee that comes out is very nicely ground though, and not simply pulverized as in a whirlyblade grinder. This makes a big difference in the level of silt you get in a cup from using a french press.

I'm thinking of modifying the grinder to accept a glass hopper that is permanently affixed along with a longer chute into a metal coffee catcher. For now, my wife is using it but it is slowly driving me nuts.

Overall, I wouldn't buy the grinder again. Looks great, has great features at a great price....but the performance and durability just isn't there. $29 isn't a bargain in this case, it is money misspent... :-(

Monday, September 25, 2006

$200 Coffee Roaster for $20

We were vacationing on Cape Cod and went to a coffee shop in Provincetown. The place was called Wired Puppy which had excellent in-house roasted coffee and a nice assortment of coffee toys such as decent espresso machines and accessories. To top it off, there were a few laptops hooked up to the internet for a bit of surfing and email...and open wifi was free to all.

While looking through the store, I saw an IMEX Home Coffee Roaster that was originally marked $200...reduced to $20. I couldn't believe my eyes.

Needless to say, I pulled out a double sawbuck and took the roaster home.

I haven't used it yet, but first impressions are that the machine is pretty well built. It is basically a hot air roaster connected to a timer. The clear top should allow for a good view of how the roast is progressing. There is a screen to keep the chaff from entering the motor, but I'm not convinced that the roasting will be smoke-free as per instructions.

More later, but for $ can you go wrong? I think my last air popcorn popper I bought for coffee roasting cost more than this.