Archive for the ‘Espresso Machines’ Category
As we’ve said before in this blog, it doesn’t matter if you invest in state-of-the-art Solis espresso machines and have all of your settings perfect if your are using subpar ingredients. Since water and coffee are the only two ingredients in espresso, it’s imperative that they are both of the utmost quality. Once you’ve found some premium beans and some crisp, clean water, use these guidelines for the actual brewing process:
~Use 7 grams of coffee and 1-1.5 oz of water for a single shot (double these quantities for a double)
~The brewing time should be 20-25 seconds, regardless if you’re making a single or a double
~After 20-25 seconds, your espresso should be about the same volume as the water put in. If this isn’t the case, you’ll need to adjust one of the variables
In order to brew a perfect cup of espresso, it’s essential that the water be heated to the proper temperature. The water should always be somewhere between 190 and 195 degrees Fahrenheit during the brewing process. Heating water to the perfect temperature used to be a chore, but high-tech Saeco espresso machines have made this process simple.
If you are going to be drinking straight espresso, the temperature is particularly important. Since an espresso is so small, it loses its heat quickly. To prevent this, pour some hot water into your espresso cup to heat it up before you pour in the actual espresso. For those who like to spruce up their espresso, it’s important to keep the temperature of the crema in mind as well.
For the last several months I’ve been writing about the merits of various espresso machines, but it wasn’t until last week that I had the opportunity to experience espresso in its truest form for the first time. During a trip to Italy I discovered why the drink is so inextricably tied to the region—everyone there drinks it. I try to shy away from stereotypes, but in this instance, it’s true. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an energy drink—which have become ubiquitous in the US—anywhere in Italy, as all of the citizens are getting their caffeine fix from these miniature brews.
While cappuccino is the drink of choice in the early morning, when people are looking for something sweet, espresso is consumed throughout the day and night. Unlike coffee shops in the US, in Italy are fast-paced establishments. Once you order your espresso, you’re served at a standing bar, and if you spend more than twenty seconds over your cup, you’re dawdling
Guatemala: Somewhat of a dark horse in the coffee industry, Guatemala boasts three distinct growing regions with incredibly fertile soil. Guatemalan coffees are known for their complexity, often having spicy or chocolaty undertones.
Costa Rica: There is a reason Costa Rica has gained worldwide acclaim for their coffee—they use only the finest beans and have a well-refined processing method.
Colombia: The natural terrain in Colombia is quite conducive to coffee production, but the rugged landscape also makes transportation an issue.
Brazil: As the biggest coffee producing country in the world, Brazil grows and sells both Arabica and Robusta beans, and there’s a good chance you’ve used them in your automatic espresso machine before. Clean, mild flavor and low levels of acidity characterize fine Brazilian coffees.
Spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on an espresso machine may seem extravagant to some, but coffee connoisseurs can taste the difference. The quality of the coffee and other products you use can’t be overlooked, which is why they came first in the series. But the brewing process itself is the key to coffee, and premium coffee machines get the job done better, pure and simple.
Options from top tier manufacturers, such as a Saeco espresso machine, obviously come with a surfeit of peripheral features, but it’s the high quality brewing that makes these machines worth the price. Particularly during the highly pressurized espresso brewing process, it’s important that none of the ground be forced through the system and there is a proper concentration of coffee, which a premium machine accomplishes. The automatic settings on these machines allow you to customize every aspect of your experience, eliminating the guessing game.
Yesterday we highlighted the best beans to buy, but how you purchase them is also important. Always purchase whole beans—always. As soon as the beans are ground, they begin to lose there flavor. And who knows how long those grounds have been sitting on the store shelf?
Grinding your own coffee may seem like a hassle, but it’s really not that difficult and the results are palpable. When you grind your own coffee, you also have the opportunity to combine different varieties and roasts of beans to create a blend catered to your palate. Either you can grind all of your coffee on one day — it’s Sunday in my house— or you can keep a mini-grinder on the counter and prepare the beans right before brewing each cup in your espresso machine.
Brewing coffee can often seem like a convoluted process, but it really is not that complicated, especially with the high-tech automatic espresso machines on the market today. Making delicious coffee is really just a matter of concentrating on a few choice variables and maximizing their quality. And, of course, it all starts with the beans.
If you care about the quality of your coffee—and you presumably do if you’re reading this blog—you’ll always want to go with , as opposed to Robustas. Robusta beans have a strong acidic flavor and are commonly used in pre-ground coffees as a filler. Arabicas boast a rich, smooth flavor and vary in taste depending on where they were harvested.
With three children between the ages of 3 and 8, it seems like I only have about 3-4 hours of free time each week. On Thursday afternoons the kids go to visit their grandparents across town, and every week I consider it a personal challenge to see how much I can get done in that time. This is usually my only opportunity to relax and unwind so instead of doing chores or running errands, I dedicate the afternoon to pampering myself.
As I mentioned, time is always of the essence. I begin my flipping on my automatic espresso machine and then drawing myself a nice bath and lighting some aromatherapy candles. Then I run back to the kitchen, fix myself a cup of coffee, locate my book and crossword puzzle and head back to the tub. After a good soak, I usually head into town to have lunch with some of my girlfriends. And, if I’m lucky, I may be able to squeeze in a quick nap before my in-laws sic my children on me again.
Some people are baffled when I tell them that I spent over a $1,000 on a coffee machine. They just don’t see the point in spending four figures on Solis espresso machines when you can get a functional drip machine at a department store for under $50. It may not seem like a premium coffee machine could possibly twenty times better than a drip machine—but it is.
My Solis espresso machine is so easy to use it practically brews the coffee itself. Plus it has an array of peripheral features to take my coffee concoctions to the next level. And when it comes down to it, you’re more likely to use your machine when it has all of the bells and whistles. Personally, my coffee machine is always out and ready for when I might need a pick me up throughout the day—and it’s great for entertaining.
An expert operator of an espresso machine is a “barista,” the Italian word for a bartender. In Italy and other parts of Europe, a barista is considered a career position, often with specific skills and training passed down from generation to generation.
In other parts of the world, the job of a barista has been frequently seen as an employment choice for young people, mostly as a starting point in their career, but is not seen as a life career choice. As a result, many coffee shops have moved to fully automatic espresso machines which allow a minimally-trained employee to create an espresso drink by merely pushing a button.