Tagged: Espresso machine Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Michael Krakovskiy 1:15 pm on October 20, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Culinary Institute of America, Edamame, , Espresso machine, , , inch chef, J. A. Henckels, , , , , Martha Stewart, , Solingen, , The Apprentice, Twin Signature chef,   

    The Martha and the other Jamie. 

    I was watching The Apprentice: Martha Stewart and noticed that The Martha has a pretty nice espresso setup in her kitchen. There’s a two-group commercial machine, not a La Marzocco Linea (wow, you can pick one up at Amazon these days) or Synesso Cyncra, but still a pretty serious piece of machinery. There’s a commercial grinder that I can’t identify, as well as smaller grinder, probably for decaf, that looks like a $500 Pasquini Moka.

    Jamie Oliver, on the other hand, used to have a cool looking, but crummy FrancisFrancis! machine. Luckily, unlike with espresso machines, you don’t need a very expensive knife to do food prep like a pro. Jamie, for instance uses a decent, but inexpensive Twin Signature chef’s knife. He uses a few other knives, but the exat brands and models are a subject of heated discussion


    Ad:
    I recently purchased a J.A. Henckels 8 inch chef’s knife, and I could not be more pleased with it.

    Culinary Institute of America publishes this classic knife-fu book. A must have.

    Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook: I (well, actually my wife) learned about edamame from this book. Fanseee.

    Edamame. The best snack ever.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 4:11 am on August 11, 2003 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 220V electricity, , , , , , , Dead Programmer's Cafe, , Espresso machine, , meteorologist, , , real Dead Programmer, ,   

    Dead Programmer On Coffee 

    often tells me that I should move to Seattle. But there is one reason why I would actually want to move there. And that reason is Espresso Vivace.

    You see, this dude Schomer served in the Army as a metrologist. No, not a meteorologist. A metrologist, a person who measures stuff for a living. When he became a civilian again he decided to apply some of his skills to making espresso.

    Good espresso is very hard to make. It’s no secret, really. And it’s rather well known what you need to do to make good espresso. To oversimplify things you need:

    a) very fresh, properly roasted high quality coffee beans
    b) pure water with a certain degree of hardness
    c) a good quality burr grinder with very fine grind adjustment
    d) a La Marzocco espresso maker with perfectly adjusted for water temperature and pressure
    e) a perfectly fitted espresso tamper (such as one made by Reg Barber)
    f) a thick walled ceramic cup
    and
    g) a barrista who knows what he or she is doing.

    Now, the barrista must be able to do the following things:
    a) correctly adjust the grinder and grind enough beans for one shot. This is a tricky trial and error process – the grinder must be adjusted depending on ambient temperature and humidity.
    b) fill the portafilter very evenly with the correct amount of coffee grinds and tamp them down with enough force
    d) make sure that the group doesn’t have enough time to cool down
    e) place the group into the machine and press the brew button, shutting it off after a correct period of time
    f) judge the quality of the resulting espresso shot and throw it out and make a new one if it’s no good
    g) keep the machine in immaculate state of cleanliness

    All of these steps are important. David Schomer came up with a way to measure and reduce already small temperature fluctuations in La Marzocco machines. He also added extra cooling fans to his grinders to prevent coffee from heating up when ground. He custom made ergonomic perfectly fitted tampers. He measured, modified hardware and technique and then measured again, sharing his secrets with the world.

    Right now I am between espresso machines. When my last machine gave up the ghost (word to the wise, don’t buy any consumer grade Nuova Simonelli machines. If they die, you won’t be able to get any service for them) I decided to get nothing other than a used single group La Marzocco. I can’t afford a new one as it costs around 6 grand, but used ones can be had for as little as $1000. One of the problems is of course that it uses 220V electricity, but I’d be willing to pay an electrician to install a 220V outlet for me. Of course some lucky bustard got an experimental 110V machine, but no such luck for me. Besides, I want the real thing. I am horribly tempted to get an ECM Giotto machine that comes recommended by Schomer himself though…

    Nah, I don’t want to leave New York just because there no good espresso places here. It’s cheaper just to make my own. Or even one day I might open the real Dead Programmer’s Cafe here. Maybe if I find a partner..

    This all kind of reminds me – I am all out of coffee beens. Time to order some more.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 10:20 am on February 18, 2003 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ballast tamper, , , , , , , Espresso machine, gas turbine engine, , , Plymouth Fury, , , , Tamp, Titania-Mania My Titanium, , titanium body car, ,   

    Titania-Mania 

    My Titanium fetish is well documented in my journal. Well, here’s more titanium stuff:

    There’s this guy on an island off the coast of Canada who makes the best espresso machine tampers. A tamper is a little plunger that is used to pack coffee ground into a portafilter. Tamping is one of the most critical stages in making espresso. It’s almost impossible to get good espresso without proper tamping. In fact, I’ve never seen a barrista in New York do a proper tamp. The one reason why Starbucks coffee became more drinkable is because they use automatic machines these days that tamp the grounds themselves.

    I don’t own a Reg Barber tamper because I already had and Ergo Packer, which is also very finely made and instead of having a flat bottom like all other professional tampers or rounded bottom like all the crappy ones, it has a very slightly curved one. “Very scientific!” would cry characters from this novel.

    Anyway. Reg finally made a small batch of titanium tampers. Gotta get one.

    Moving on. In the book “Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed”, Ben Rich mentioned a special set of titanium shot glasses that his boss used for drinking with the generals. You see, the awesom SR-71 Blackbird was the first plane made entirely out of titanium. I wonder who has those glasses now.

    But these guys have excruciatingly pretty titanium stuff. Sake cups, mugs, beer glasses – all made out of titanium. Jewelry is also very nice.

    They can even make a street sign out of titanium for ya.

    You know, I don’t want a 1958 Plymouth Fury anymore. I don’t even want a 1948 Tucker Torpedo. All I want is a 1956 GM Firebird II, the first titanium body car with a gas turbine engine. Is that too much to ask for?

     
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