Archive for November, 2009

What’s happening?

November 13, 2009

I’ve been pleasantly surprised over the last few days just how much difference a tamper base can make to shots! It might all be situation-specific, but I’m definitely finding my new base be preferable to a flat base. Finally being able to test the direct comparison between the two base shapes on the same high quality machinery has had even more clear-cut results than I had hoped for. OK – the differences might be subtle, shots might easily still be flawed (there’s only so much a base can achieve!), and perhaps some of the effects are due to a slightly better diameter/fit, and the weight, the handle, etc. But on the whole (together with a renewed belief in additional finger distribution), I’m, personally, finding naked shots issuing more evenly and symmetrically, and tasting better. The cone sometimes forms a little quicker perhaps, but the greater evenness of the extractions shows both visually, and in the cup. Not so positive for the single basket though – I’m still using the flat for that!

Once again, I’ve succumbed to those nagging feelings of *must continually try harder to make better espresso*, and have self-imposed a more diligent cleaning regime, in order to continue getting the best from our new machine: Whenever I’m in (despite bemusement and jibes from the rest of the staff!), I’m now attempting to ensure the groups are dismantled, soaked, scrubbed, scoured, reassembled and then detergent backflushed daily, rather than weekly. Now that the café is also open on an evening (when I’m not in), I need to do this during the day (whilst I’m there) to make sure it’s done, and so I do this during quiet periods, rather than at the end of day. Therefore, it’s realistically a little dependant on how busy it is – but it’s going well so far! In addition, I’m also clear water backflushing during quiet periods throughout the day, and likewise popping out baskets for a quick scour of the spouted p/fs as well. Then, at the end of the day, the machine gets another detergent backflush, and a final portafilter scour – it hopefully all just helps a little in the pursuit of sweet, clean espresso!

And also, once or twice each week, the team now has a very skilled helping hand from our newest barista Tabea, who hails from Bonanza Coffee Heroes in Berlin – great barista!

…Your espresso today is:



November 6, 2009

My new RB tamper base for our new machine landed freshly bespoked from Canada today!


A 53.2mm American curve in weighty stainless steel. The guesstimated extra .2mm seems to create a perfect fit – glad I didn’t opt for the extra 1/10th of a mm I considered though – just might have been too snug! There is an instantly noticable difference in the extractions (apparent visually via the naked) in comparison to the flat tamper that came with the machine, and I would go as far as to cautiously suggest that it’s a positive one..! What the crucial difference in taste is needs more assessment though. Perhaps for the single basket (whilst the fit is fine), the base might not be particularly suitable – but I have high hopes for its use with the much prefered doubles! The extra weight and craftsmanship of the RB just oozes quality, as well as practical potential, and whilst changing back to the shorter handle I have initially feels odd, it then begins to feel like getting reacquainted with an old friend (too sentimental?)..!