20 April 2007

Ultimate Espresso

The other day I talked with Michael at Wandering Goat in Eugene for a while. We'd had some discussions in email, and I headed down to buy some Chupacabra beans from them, and say hi. I did that, but we also talked quite a while about espresso, machines, and grinders. He gave me some great tips.

First, Wandering Goat is my favorite choice of coffee beans right now. They are also simply an awesome company that is well comitted to organic, fair trade coffee, as well as super environmental preparation (their roaster is the only one of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, producing I think they said 80% less biproduct/polutants, etc.). The shop is also cool. It's a little off the beaten path, but in downtown (on Madison between 2nd and 4th). And, I had a truly, truly, superb macchiato there yesterday (and yes, the real kind, not that abomination Starbucks makes).

I've been wanting to get a serious espresso machine, that is not a super-auto like I have now. I have the best super auto at the moment, but you just can't tweak it further, and they don't generate the same pressure levels as a semi-auto. I had been eyeing an Rancilio Silvia, but Michael turned me on to the Expobar Brewtus II, which in checking appears to be the absolute finest home machine on the planet (and the only one with a double boiler). As he mentioned, your abilities will not exceed this machine. It ain't cheap, although it's less than my super auto! But then you factor in a grinder.

I have an ok grinder, but was eyeing a Mazzer Mini. He suggested getting a Mazzer Super Jolly instead of the mini, and said to check eBay (or eBay Tagex). It's awesome, because you can pick up a Super Jolly, normally a $1000 grinder, for like $250, and then buy new burr heads for it for $50. So, that's a $1000 grinder for $300. I just checked and there are two Super Jolly's up there right now. Also, you can put the Mini's bean holder on a Super Jolly to cut down on size, but still have the larger burr heads of the Super Jolly.


Alicia said...

For those of you who are interested in the issue of Fair trade, there is a powerful documentary out called “Black Gold,” that documents the lives of Ethiopian coffee farmers and clearly demonstrates why all of us should be asking for Fair Trade coffee. The film was recently released in the theater but is now available to the public on DVD via California Newsreel. You can read more about the documentary or pick up a copy of it here at http://newsreel.org/

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Chris said...

As an update on this, I wound up buying an Expobar Brewtus II machine, and a Macap doserless grinder. The setup has been awesome. I'm already picky on the grinder, but am making great shots with this setup.