Well, after having made a dozen coffees over the past few days (only 3 using the new Brewista scale), I’m starting to get into a 10 Step routine – which is a good thing for good, consistent coffee.
Before getting started, I placed my empty thermos mug on my scale, then tare (zero’d) it. I added water to the fill mark of the mug, and determined that my [amazon text=16oz thermos mug&asin=B002PY7AYS] holds 470 grams of water. (BTW, this is an awesome thermos – I’ve made coffee and forgotten the thermos at home – and returned home 7-8 hours later to a mug of coffee that is still hot! Additionally, you can fill it up, close the lid, and turn the mug upside down without a single drop leaking out! It also fits perfectly into the cup holders of my Jeep.)
Fill up the kettle – about 2 inches from the top. Put on induction stove, Boost mode.
Get out scale, place small cup on it, and tare the scale. Measure out 28 grams of beans.
Pour beans into grinder (set to 15), and start grinder. This takes about 10 seconds, and then empty doser back into the cup. Read More
Have been buying fresh roasted beans from Rogue Wave Coffee for the past few weeks, and just before Christmas, I tried a cup of coffee prepared using their pour-over technique – very tasty!
So, being the both feet kinda guy that I am, a few days later I’m on Amazon.ca, ordering some stuff:
- a Hario V60 Drip decanter,
- a Hario pour-over kettle and
- a package of filters
A couple days later I have the goods, and I’m weighing out beans, and adjusting my La Cimbali Jr. grinder that I had set really fine for espresso’s. The one downside with this grinder is that you need to spin the adjustment a lot of times switch between a fine espresso grind and the coarser grind necessary for pour overs. My grinder setting was at 3.5 – I ended up with a setting of 15 that I find pretty good.
When pouring, I was previously using a Starfrit scale my daughter bought. It’s great for measuring the beans, but kept shutting off when I was doing the pour – and there is no way to disable that function. It was a bit annoying, so off to Google land, in search of a more suitable scale.
I ended up ordering a scale from 49thcoffee.com (49th Parallel) – the Brewista Smart Scale. With this scale, you can set the auto shut-off to 60, 120, or 180 seconds, or you can disable it. It has a built in timer, and has 6 different modes, 4 for espresso, and 2 for manual pour.
The Brewista also has a special coating that makes it water resistant – you can even wash it off under running water without destroying it!
Right now I’m just using the 6th mode, all manual – I need to read up more on the automatic taring and timer modes – I tried the 5th mode, and found that the auto taring seemed out of place with the pour-over technique I’ve been doing. Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong – but the coffee is good!
- Favorite Beans
Here in Edmonton, I’ve found that Rogue Wave Coffee offers the freshest roasted coffee – you just need to let them know in advance when you want to pick up your beans. The result is coffee that has been roasted in the past 2-3 days. Coffee this fresh should be allowed to rest a little longer to ‘de-gas’ – otherwise you may find your coffee to have a somewhat metallic taste. The package their beans in paper coffee bags to facilitate the degassing.
The next freshest beans I’ve found are also roasted locally, by Transcend. I go to their main shop is on the southside, a block south of Argyll Road, just east of 99 Street. They also have a location next to the Garneau Theatre on 109 Street – parking can be tricky there sometimes.
At 3 Banana’s in Churchill Square, you can get Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso – bought a bag the other day for $22 for a 454g bag. These may not be quite as fresh roasted as the other two unless you catch them on the right day.
- Favourite Brewing Methods
When brewing coffee, I either use my espresso machine, an Aeropress, or more recently, a Hario manual pour-over. Using the espresso machine is pretty awesome – I can have an Americano in less than a minute. A latte I can make in about 90 seconds :)Lately I’ve been really enjoying the manual pour-over. It takes a little more time – about 5 minutes tops for a mug. When I’m camping, I pack Aeropress to make coffee. These are sold at Transcend (and other places around the city I’m sure). These make very good coffee! I just have to grind my coffee a little coarser than what I use in my espresso machine.
- Grind beans yourself
Don’t buy pre-ground coffee. Buy beans and grind them yourself. Use a quality burr grinder, manual or electric. Check out the coffeegeek and home-barista forums for recommendations, and buy the best you can afford.
Here is my current coffee set-up – yes, it might be bit excessive, but it’s been an investment that has been serving me well – even after almost 8 years!
While I plan out what I’m going to do regarding the intermittent control box behaviour in my espresso machine, I decided that it would be helpful to update the electrical schematic for it – especially since its using a non-standard control box.
The control box is actually one that is normally used in the Isomac Tea – a very similar machine to the Andreja Premium.
I figured that I should do some other maintenance on the machine – having received a few grouphead gaskets from Espresso Planet, I figured I would replace that first. Last time it was replaced was a couple years ago, and it was a bear to remove, so I’m going to try and replace it a little more frequently.
This was also a good time to clean the shower screen – which was quite plugged up. Replacing the grouphead gasket more frequently will allow me to clean this more frequently as well.
My Andreja Premium has been providing reliable service for the last 7 years – but just recently has been a little temperamental. Seems that the controller is overheating – and so for the past couple weeks, I’ve been running the machine without its stainless steel casing, and the controller sitting beside the machine.
The controller was actually replaced once before, and it’s a fairly expensive repair – it was around $400 to replace the controller and descale the boiler. Don’t really want to spend that again – just to have the controller get wonky a few years later again.
A couple things I’m considering:
1) Building a teak outer shell, with larger cutouts on the side to mount perforated stainless steel panels, as well as on the top. Would also extend the wiring to that the controller is mounted where the water reservoir used to be (added the plumbing kit shortly after buying the machine)
2) Building a teak outer shell as above, but instead of using the same controller, use a Raspeberry Pi, and do the iSpresso mod, adding the following features:
- Programmable PID Controller for precise boiler temperature control
- Programmable Pre-soak time, wait time, and brew time
- Controllable from web browser, iPad, iPhone (Android coming soon) on WiFi network
- Schedule allows programmable on / off timing for each day of the week
- LCD readout for system status, toggle buttons for operation
- Smart Connect for easy set-up to your WiFi network
Not sure if this mod would be easily ported to the Andreja or not, or if this would even increase the reliability – but it sure looks interesting!
[wpzon spec=”1″ asin=”B00GWTNYJW”]
Sites for reference :
- Raspberry Pi
- PROJECT COFFEE: ES(PI)RESSO MACHINE
- Makezine: Raspberry Pi for web initiated coffee
- Cloud texting enabled espresso machine
UPDATE: 2014-08-30 – Picked up some bubinga to construct a new shell frame – I liked the look of the wood more than the teak – it was also $20/bd ft. vs. $50/bd ft. 🙂 Still need to get some perforated stainless steel