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Date: 29 Apr 2007 16:41:18
From: Jim
Subject: Novice compares his espresso to a couple Seattle options, part 1
Last week, I posted asking for suggestions for the best Seattle
espresso. Since I'm more or less clueless on how to make "good"
espresso, I wanted to see how pros vary from mine (home hot air roasted
Sweet Marias Monkey blend, Gaggia MDF, Gaggia Classic).

I tried two this weekend.

Cafe Victrola, the one on 15th Ave E. (because it was walking distance).
WOW! It was VERY tasty. Intense, but not bitter. Kind of a spicy or
herbal character missing in my attempts. No question about it, it was
BETTER than what I've ever made. Something to aim for. I ordered a
double or doppio, whatever... I first noticed that I probably got
barely 2 oz. I usually pull closer to 3. I noticed that she was VERY
methodical and robotic about how she tamped it. Pull time seemed
normal. She also did some nice latte art for the customer in front of
me. Wife got an iced sugar free hazelnut. It was good, not as intense
of an espresso flavor as I make (more milk to espresso ratio, I think).
Unlike $tarbucks, they did NOT overdo the syrup. Cost was $5
something for both.

Today I tried another local shop (not on the suggestion list, nameless
for now). It's a very new shop, just opened about a week ago. It was
okay. No better than what I make. The pull time seemed long. The
quantity was more, probably closer to 3 oz. like I usually do it. I
also think that the cup was not heated right, because it cooled down
mighty quick. It was also more bitter that Victrola, or even mine. I
think it was over extracted. It did leave a dried foam on the side of
the cup. The wife got a latte. Good, nothing spectacular. He
attempted a design on top, was better than I do but nothing special.
When I tried it minutes later, it was very hot. I did not that he did
not use a thermometer with the steamed milk (I steam to 150 degrees at
home). Perhaps he over did that? I get the feeling that they are new
at it, and they may improve. On a positive note... they were very
friendly and the price for both was only $3.85.

I'll post on the other suggestions as I try them...




 
Date: 06 May 2007 09:25:21
From: Dave Ewald
Subject: Re: Novice compares his espresso to a couple Seattle options, part
Jim wrote:
> Last week, I posted asking for suggestions for the best Seattle
> espresso. Since I'm more or less clueless on how to make "good"
> espresso, I wanted to see how pros vary from mine (home hot air roasted
> Sweet Marias Monkey blend, Gaggia MDF, Gaggia Classic).
>
> I tried two this weekend.
>
> Cafe Victrola, the one on 15th Ave E. (because it was walking distance).
> WOW! It was VERY tasty. Intense, but not bitter. Kind of a spicy or
> herbal character missing in my attempts. No question about it, it was
> BETTER than what I've ever made. Something to aim for. I ordered a
> double or doppio, whatever... I first noticed that I probably got
> barely 2 oz. I usually pull closer to 3.

victrola pulls ristrettos, and it sounds like you are pulling
traditional shots. to better compare and maybe use your observations of
the baristi to push inform your own technique, get a pound of their
espresso to use at home so you can compare the flavor to what they
served you, victrola's espresso is pretty different from SM's monkey...

have fun.

d


 
Date: 29 Apr 2007 19:28:09
From: Cordovero
Subject: Re: Novice compares his espresso to a couple Seattle options, part 1
> not use a thermometer with the steamed milk (I steam to 150 degrees at
> home). Perhaps he over did that?

I have a fellow seminary student who pulled shots at Starbucks for a while,
and he told me they required him to steam the milk until, well, I forget the
exact number, but it was WAY higher than the 160 I consider my upper limit
[I think he said 180 or 190 but am not sure]. I was floored. He was
shocked I steam to such a low temp (around 150).

C




  
Date: 30 Apr 2007 14:06:27
From: Randall Nortman
Subject: Re: Novice compares his espresso to a couple Seattle options, part 1
On 2007-04-30, Cordovero <cordoveroremovexxx@yahooxxx.com > wrote:
>> not use a thermometer with the steamed milk (I steam to 150 degrees at
>> home). Perhaps he over did that?
>
> I have a fellow seminary student who pulled shots at Starbucks for a while,
> and he told me they required him to steam the milk until, well, I forget the
> exact number, but it was WAY higher than the 160 I consider my upper limit
> [I think he said 180 or 190 but am not sure]. I was floored. He was
> shocked I steam to such a low temp (around 150).

I would guess that this is for food safety reasons. They know that
many of their employees are going to be a bit lazy about keeping that
milk clean, chilled, and fresh, so they want to get it hot enough to
kill any nasties during the steaming. Essentially, they re-pasteurize
it just before serving.

BTW, instant kill temp for most pathenogenic bacteria is 160F. They
probably specify a bit higher than that just to have a margin of
safety (to allow for bad temperature readings and careless employees).

--
Randall


   
Date: 30 Apr 2007 13:26:48
From: Jim
Subject: Re: Novice compares his espresso to a couple Seattle options, part
Randall Nortman wrote:

> On 2007-04-30, Cordovero <cordoveroremovexxx@yahooxxx.com> wrote:
>
>>>not use a thermometer with the steamed milk (I steam to 150 degrees at
>>>home). Perhaps he over did that?
>>
>>I have a fellow seminary student who pulled shots at Starbucks for a while,
>>and he told me they required him to steam the milk until, well, I forget the
>>exact number, but it was WAY higher than the 160 I consider my upper limit
>>[I think he said 180 or 190 but am not sure]. I was floored. He was
>>shocked I steam to such a low temp (around 150).
>
>
> I would guess that this is for food safety reasons. They know that
> many of their employees are going to be a bit lazy about keeping that
> milk clean, chilled, and fresh, so they want to get it hot enough to
> kill any nasties during the steaming. Essentially, they re-pasteurize
> it just before serving.

Maybe he intended it, but he seemed a bit nervous through the whole
thing, so maybe it was just a sloppy job. I *was* watching every move,
which is why I'm going out to sample "pro" coffee (to see the
difference, perhaps learn some technique), so maybe that made him
nervous. In the end, I think my technique was just as good as his. But
they're new, and they may improve. For example, he frothed the milk and
got some foam, holding the pitcher in his hand (to estimate temp?). But
then he walked away to grab a cup with the wand submerged for a while.
Too long, I think. Or maybe I'm just pickier than he is!

I'll tell you one thing, the woman at Victrola had much better
technique. She looked almost robotic when tamping. I suppose that's
the way she was trained to do consistent tamps. The other guy kinda
looked like he was winging it.

>
> BTW, instant kill temp for most pathenogenic bacteria is 160F. They
> probably specify a bit higher than that just to have a margin of
> safety (to allow for bad temperature readings and careless employees).
>


   
Date: 30 Apr 2007 14:07:48
From: Randall Nortman
Subject: Re: Novice compares his espresso to a couple Seattle options, part 1
On 2007-04-30, Randall Nortman <usenet8189@wonderclown.com > wrote:
[...]
> BTW, instant kill temp for most pathenogenic bacteria is 160F. They
> probably specify a bit higher than that just to have a margin of
> safety (to allow for bad temperature readings and careless employees).

"pathenogenic"? Where did my fingers come up with that? I meant, of
course "pathogenic".


  
Date: 30 Apr 2007 02:47:40
From: Michael D. Sullivan
Subject: Re: Novice compares his espresso to a couple Seattle options, part
On 4/29/2007 10:28 PM, Cordovero wrote:
>> not use a thermometer with the steamed milk (I steam to 150 degrees at
>> home). Perhaps he over did that?
>
> I have a fellow seminary student who pulled shots at Starbucks for a while,
> and he told me they required him to steam the milk until, well, I forget the
> exact number, but it was WAY higher than the 160 I consider my upper limit
> [I think he said 180 or 190 but am not sure]. I was floored. He was
> shocked I steam to such a low temp (around 150).

At Starbucks the standard seems to be that the froth should be the
consistency of meringue or the whipped cream that comes out of a
pressurized can -- very thick and dry, not pourable microfoam.

--
Michael D. Sullivan
Bethesda, MD (USA)
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