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  1. #1
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    Just made my first espresso at home, now improving it...?

    Hi people,

    Just posted the following yesterday to my Facebook page:
    ________________________________________________

    I just made my first espresso with the “De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker” that I got for my birthday, using a blend of Indian Mysore Nuggets Extra Bold, and Indonesian Organic Balinese Krishna Blue Moon beans, from Burman Coffee Traders, that I dark roasted to second crack here at home a few days ago. I made a 20 ounce iced Cafe Americano with it, using 4 shots.

    Ohh! Ohh! Mine eyes have seen the glory!

    I have relatively little experience with espresso, having previously only being able to get it from Starbucks, and I realize that this is an art and I'll have to practice it a lot, to become excellent at it, but this is one fine outstanding mug of coffee for a first try!
    ________________________________________________

    OK, as you can see, I've learned how to prepare, roast and brew the best I've ever had, at home, at least with coffee so far. I got a Technivorm MoccaMaster 4 years ago, for brewing at the right temp, the Freshroast SR500 for roasting, last summer, and the De'Longhi espresso machine this summer. The way I've been able to afford these, while barely paying the bills, has been to get one each summer for my birthday in June. I also learned that flavor is reduced within hours of when you grind beans, so I grind per cup, and I only roast enough for about 5 days at a time, because I also noticed flavor reduction a week after roasting.

    So the results yesterday were great for a first try, but being this was my first espresso attempt ever, there must be room for lots of improvement, right?

    So if I may ask for some suggestions?

    Yesterday, I ground the beans fine-medium, but the result in the espresso cup, tamped it moderately, put an espresso cup under it, and brewed. It came out very dark, had the crema on top ( maybe 1/16" ) and 4 shots in about 20 ounces of iced water with some ice and half & half was amazingly good, though I finished it around 6:30 PM and didn't get to sleep until 4:45 AM. ( not a problem - self employed from home, usually get to sleep around 3-3:30 AM )

    Tonight I ground it on the very finest setting that my grinder will do, and cut back to only 2 shots in the 20 oz mug and it tasted weaker but at least I won't be bouncing off the walls? Kinda liked the 4 shots though. Bwahahahahah...

    So, what would you all suggest for improving this, without costing money I don't have?

  2. #2
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    congratulations on your first espresso.

    flori
    blogger, coffeeloversofworld.com

  3. #3
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    Wow, yes, I would keep the four shots for my morning wake-up. Isn't it amazing how much better coffee tastes when you do the whole process yourself. It also gives you a good idea of what Starbucks is putting out there. There are a lot of people who don't know what a good cup of coffee actually tastes like. Congratulations on your awakening. No pun intended!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by CavalierCoffee View Post
    Wow, yes, I would keep the four shots for my morning wake-up. Isn't it amazing how much better coffee tastes when you do the whole process yourself. It also gives you a good idea of what Starbucks is putting out there. There are a lot of people who don't know what a good cup of coffee actually tastes like. Congratulations on your awakening. No pun intended!
    Thanks guys! But no suggestions?

    Oh, and I read a few years ago, about unfiltered coffee raising LDL - bad cholestrol. This espresso isn't filtered. Not sure how to handle that now...
    Last edited by Melissa2013B; 08-07-2013 at 11:24 PM.

  5. #5
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    Congratulations on making and enjoying your first espresso.

    I like the way you acquired your coffee making equipment a little at a time. When most people think about getting everything all at once and realize how much it's going to cost, they change their minds.

    It sounds like the first method that you used worked fine for you. And now you know that drinking that much coffee at 6:30 PM wasn't a good idea!
    Experiment until you get everything exactly the way you like it, and stay with what works for you.

    As you probably know by now, grinding the beans on the very finest setting wasn't such a good idea. I'm guessing the coffee was bitter and not so good.

    Since you prefer making your iced coffee with 4 shots, then make the coffee with 4 shots....just drink it earlier than 6:30PM.

    Rose

  6. #6
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    You really don't need to be concerned about the unfiltered coffee raising LDL cholesterol.

    But, you said you're adding Half & Half to your coffee. I'd be more concerned with that, depending on how much you're adding. They sell low fat Half & Half, and since you're making iced coffee with your espresso shots, you may not be able to taste much of a difference.

    Rose

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkRose View Post
    Congratulations on making and enjoying your first espresso.

    I like the way you acquired your coffee making equipment a little at a time. When most people think about getting everything all at once and realize how much it's going to cost, they change their minds.

    It sounds like the first method that you used worked fine for you. And now you know that drinking that much coffee at 6:30 PM wasn't a good idea!
    Experiment until you get everything exactly the way you like it, and stay with what works for you.

    As you probably know by now, grinding the beans on the very finest setting wasn't such a good idea. I'm guessing the coffee was bitter and not so good.

    Since you prefer making your iced coffee with 4 shots, then make the coffee with 4 shots....just drink it earlier than 6:30PM.

    Rose
    Actually it was the fact that, that day I'd had a large iced coffee at Red Lobster for a mid afternoon lunch, and THEN had the 4 shots later. LOL

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkRose View Post
    You really don't need to be concerned about the unfiltered coffee raising LDL cholesterol.

    But, you said you're adding Half & Half to your coffee. I'd be more concerned with that, depending on how much you're adding. They sell low fat Half & Half, and since you're making iced coffee with your espresso shots, you may not be able to taste much of a difference.

    Rose
    I just use one of those little restaurant cups with the peelable covers and understand those are 15 calories.

  9. #9
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    De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

    A few questions, now that I've been doing this some, with this machine:

    I had a friend over for some espresso, who used to work at Starbucks. I guess I wasn't tamping it hard enough. She says they were taught to put 30 lbs of pressure on the tamp stick. That seems to require really leaning on it, or maybe jumping up and down, I;m not sure. It appears that I finally got the grind right, though, as we both had awesome Cafe Americanos, hers warm and mine iced.

    But this machine comes with a 1-shot cup and a 2-shot cup. I like my 20 oz iced Americano with 4 shots. In fact I'm getting so spoiled, it's hard to go back to brewing a regular coffee now.

    It's tedious to make 4 single shots, have to empty the cup out, wash it, and all that, so I tried the 2-shot cup.

    But for catching the espresso, I'm using this little ceramic espresso cup that we got at a tourist counter in Kansas years ago, and never had anything to put in it, until now.

    So I preheat the water, pack the coffee into the cup, the green light comes on, and I put the ceramic cup under it and turn the pump on. It starts out dark and lightens up as the cup fills. The green light goes out after the cup fills about 1/3 of the way, indicating that the water needs heating again. I turn the pump off when the cup is about 2/3 full, because it keeps coming out and fills it the rest of the way, with the crema and all. But that's just one shot, from a 2 shot cup on top.

    So I pour the ceramic cup over the ice in my big mug and come back for the second shot from that same 2 shot cup. The green light is on again, indicating that the water is at temp again.

    I do the same thing, the espresso comes out dark at first, then lightens up, I finish that cup and pour in over my ice.

    But I don't get the impression that the espresso is as strong, doing it this way, as it is if I do 4 individual shot cups full.

    Am I doing something wrong, or is it just best to do the 4 individual shots instead of using a 2 shot cup to hold the coffee on top?

  10. #10
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    An Espro tamper, while pricey, would help with your tamping pressure. The Espro handle is spring loaded so that it snap compresses at 30 lbs. The total pull time should be 25-30 seconds. I like to go for 25 as I find 30 is often over-extracted. The two controls you have on pull time are tamp pressure and grind level. Since the tamp pressure should be fixed at 30 lbs, that means the real control is with grind level. If you don't have a good espresso grinder, you need to get one. Water temperature should nominally be 200F. However, you will find that the bean blend or type and roast level may dictate a water temperature between 198 and 202 F for the best taste. You can evaluate the taste as follows: bitter means the water temperature was too high, and sour means the water temperature was too low. When you get it "just right" there will be a flood of complex flavors of chocolate, fruits, etc. - you will know it when you get a really good espresso.

 

 
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