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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2006
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    4

    Lattes at home??

    I went to two different cafe's this weekend and had the best vanilla lattes I've ever had. These were both privately owned, small cafes. The lattes were incredibly rich (even with skim milk) and flavorful and the froth very creamy.

    My question is whether this is something that can be replicated at home with a consumer machine? I have the Kitchenaid Proline and while my lattes are good, they don't have this richness.

    Was it the machine? The beans? Syrup?

    What machine will help me come closest to this experience?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2006
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    Canada
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    149

    Re: Lattes at home??

    Quote Originally Posted by eroell
    I went to two different cafe's this weekend and had the best vanilla lattes I've ever had. These were both privately owned, small cafes. The lattes were incredibly rich (even with skim milk) and flavorful and the froth very creamy.

    My question is whether this is something that can be replicated at home with a consumer machine? I have the Kitchenaid Proline and while my lattes are good, they don't have this richness.

    Was it the machine? The beans? Syrup?

    What machine will help me come closest to this experience?

    Thanks!
    A good espresso machine with a good commercial grade grinder paired with a good fresh roast should give you espresso and cappuccino/lattes... that would exceed the quality of all but specialty cafes.

    A good espresso machine would be capable of generating 8 bars+ of pressure and have a good sized boiler with commercial grade parts. It'll be an investment but for excellent espresso, well worth it.

    Same with the grinder. It'll be an investment too but a grinder capable of ensuring a fine, even grind for ideal extraction is a must if you're looking for exceptional espresso.

    Absolutely a good prosumer machine and some practice with espresso pulling will get you great shots. I've got a Rancilio Silvia machine and a Rancilio Rocky grinder and while it took a bit of time to learn how to use them my espresso is better now than anything I could buy in a cafe.
    Grinder: Macap M4 stepless, Zassenhaus kneemill
    Machine: Quickmill Vetrano, Olympia Cremina '67
    Brewers: Yama 5cup, ibrik, Bodum e Santos, french press, pour over drip
    Roaster: Hottop programmable

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2006
    Location
    Austin, Tx
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    316

    concur

    I agree with the last post. For me at home I use a simple little kitchenaid that I think cost me 20$. I then cram about twice the suggested amt. of espresso in the basket. Its all about getting to know the little buggers...but no it will never match my Faema's abilities.
    I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Lansale, PA
    Posts
    34

    Re: Lattes at home??

    I went to two different cafe's this weekend and had the best vanilla lattes I've ever had. These were both privately owned, small cafes. The lattes were incredibly rich (even with skim milk) and flavorful and the froth very creamy.

    My question is whether this is something that can be replicated at home with a consumer machine? I have the Kitchenaid Proline and while my lattes are good, they don't have this richness.

    Was it the machine? The beans? Syrup?

    What machine will help me come closest to this experience?

    Thanks!
    A fully automatic espresso machine with built-in conical burr grinder and Pannarello frother will give you the most convenient experience with the best Latte and Cappuccino.
    Remember that you are not making your home a Coffee shop, yet you can duplicate the taste and quality with fully automatic machines.
    Good luck.
    Passionate about Coffee and coffee makers. Enjoy sharing experience in repairs and improving knowledge about Specialty coffees.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2006
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    Canada
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    149
    Coffee shops, unless they're very concientious about quality, can't out do a dedicated home barista. I've had coffee shop espresso's pulled on good automatic machines and they don't come close to what I can do at home with my entry level, non HX, semi automatic single boiler.

    For one the staff aren't trained to dose, distribute, tamp and pull for espresso. That and I suspect they're more apt to pull lungos since the average consumer probably won't pay $5 for just 2 oz of espresso nectar so instead of pulling for ideal extraction they're pulling for volume. I recently ordered a cappuccino from a specialty cafe and it looked and tasted more like a latte.

    The beans, unless they're delivered fresh roasted and often, probably aren't all that fresh either. To make matters worse, most grinders I've seen have hoppers so oily from the beans you can't see through them. Makes me wonder if they ever get cleaned. How old the beans they use are and how long they've been sitting in the hopper along with the grounds that never got dosed for a shot is anybody's guess.

    I dose for the shot so my grinder never has beans sitting in it and is swept clean at the end of every pulling session. I also roast my own and while the roasts may not be as good as a professional roasters, they're always fresh.

    All in all I'm extremely hard pressed to find a cafe anywhere that offers straight espresso shots or cappuccinos as good as what I make at home. All it takes is a commercial grade grinder, a good tamper, a reliable prosumer espresso machine, fresh beans and the desire to learn barista technique and understand your machine. You can go automatic but having direct control over essential espresso extraction variables will give you the best results, IMHO, that will not only make the best lattes you've tasted possible but exceed them. It's an unfortunate misconception that good coffee is only achievable by professionals with professional equipment.
    Grinder: Macap M4 stepless, Zassenhaus kneemill
    Machine: Quickmill Vetrano, Olympia Cremina '67
    Brewers: Yama 5cup, ibrik, Bodum e Santos, french press, pour over drip
    Roaster: Hottop programmable

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    4

    Latte's at home

    Thanks mrgnomer. What prosumer machine do you use? I tried a semi-autormatic and didn't like it at all. The jura-capresso made watery espresso and gave you very little control over it. Just my opinion.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2006
    Location
    Canada
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    149

    Re: Latte's at home

    Quote Originally Posted by eroell
    Thanks mrgnomer. What prosumer machine do you use? I tried a semi-autormatic and didn't like it at all. The jura-capresso made watery espresso and gave you very little control over it. Just my opinion.
    No problem, eroell.

    A semi automatic requires a bit of skill on the part of the operator to get the grind, dose, distribution and tamp right before pulling the shot. Nine bars+ of pressure are hitting your puck and if your grind isn't even and if the puck isn't level, evenly dense and sealed well in the basket that pressure will just blow right through and only a small portion of the puck will get over extracted. It takes practice but once you get the technique right true espresso will be yours to enjoy.

    I've got a Rancilio Silvia paired with a Rocky doser grinder. The Silvia is a tank with lots of brass and some commercial grade components. It's an entry level machine, so the price is pretty good but it is limited by virtue of it's design.

    The Silvia falls into the love/hate catagory. You either love her for what she's capable of or hate her because she's such a female dog to use. With the Silvia you get a no assist on anything machine capable of delivering but you've got to be spot on with your espresso technique or she'll rip through you without mercy. The hate side hates the Silvia mostly because of this reason. She's a hassle to use if you're not into being a hands on home barista.

    There's cheaper alternatives to the Silvia on the market and there's some heat exchanger machines coming out that are getting close to the
    Silvia's price point so you could say the age of the Silvia might be drawing to a close. Still, you can abuse the snot out a Silvia and for the money I think she'll outlast any other machine in her class.

    Regardless of the machine, if you're serious about espresso a very good grinder is an important investment as well. The espresso out of any machine will only be as good as the beans and the grind that goes in.

    Gaggia makes some good machines similar to the Silvia and the Starbucks Barista is also a less expensive alternative. These machines are single boiler, non heat exchanger machines. Personally I like solidly designed, commercial grade, fully manual machines and nothing from Jura or Saeco ever caught my eye.
    Grinder: Macap M4 stepless, Zassenhaus kneemill
    Machine: Quickmill Vetrano, Olympia Cremina '67
    Brewers: Yama 5cup, ibrik, Bodum e Santos, french press, pour over drip
    Roaster: Hottop programmable

 

 

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