I'm the (self-proclaimed) "Espresso Guy." I created this website to educate the home espresso making newbie and to provide recipes, tips, and troubleshooting steps for those already pulling their own espresso shots. If you're having trouble deciding what to buy, there's guides on buying beans and equipment.
A few years ago I reported news of a crowdfunded, open source espresso machine right here on this very blog. While the details weren’t very clear, it sounded promising — a PID controller, a reasonable price, and the design looked very slick.
But like many Kickstarter projects before it, the ZPM Espresso machine has gone bust. The downfall is profiled in a lengthy NY Times article.
If nothing else, failed crowdfunding projects like this should serve as a reminder that you have to be careful with crowdfunding. Manufacturing a custom design is complex. If the people behind the project don’t have experience it’s best to stay away — no matter how good the espresso might be.
The Globe and Mail had a particularly good article last week about making espresso at home. Food writer John Sufrin recommends focusing on buying a good grinder for your espresso setup, an important point many folks seem to ignore.
After using pre-ground coffee for his espresso — a major no-no — Sufrin describes the massive improvement in his espresso after switching to a Mazzer burr grinder:
Immediately my espresso was exponentially better, and after a bit of tweaking, it became great. It was complex and slightly viscous, with crema as rich as the head on a pint of Guinness.
My own experience is not unlike Sufrin’s. The first high end grinder I had was a hand-me-down from a local grocery store. Immediately the quality of the espresso on my cheap Krups machine went from a nasty brown sludge to an almost cafe quality drink.
If you want to improve your espresso it’s absolutely true; a good burr grinder is a worthwhile investment.
Posted in Blog
StackExchange now has a beta website devoted to asking and answering questions about coffee, espresso and related topics.
If you’re not familiar with StackExchange, it’s a crowd-based Q&A site with many different topics. Originally it was for technology, but they’ve branched out into a variety of other areas.
So far there’s some interesting content, including whether there’s a difference between Greek and Turkish-style coffee preparation, what’s the deal with bulletproof coffee (answer: it’s really gross) and even non-coffee things you can do with an espresso machine.
It’s certainly worth checking out if you have an esoteric coffee question burning in the back of your mind — perhaps someone out there has the answer.
Posted in Blog
Tagged coffee, q&a
Buzzfeed has a video (embedded above) that quickly demonstrates how various coffee-based drinks from around the world are prepared. While some of these beverages are clearly intended as deserts, others — like France’s cafe au lait or Greece’s frappe — are a daily regimen for millions of people.
If you’re interested in tasting coffee drinks from other cultures without an expensive plane ticket, check out the video and try them at home. Who knows, maybe you’ll decide espresso isn’t for you and it’s time to move to Vietnam and subsist on nothing but ca phe sua da.
Coffee educator Allie Caran digs into the details in making a perfect espresso in this three minute video over at Business Insider.
The main takeaway from the video is that there’s a lot of variables involved, and if you want to get the best espresso possible you need to know how to control them. To some extent that’s the goal of this site as well, but Caran’s explanations are much more succinct than mine.
Another point she touches on is the relatively recent trend of drinking sparkling water with your espresso. Some cafes — notably Blue Bottle here in San Francisco — provide a shot glass filled with sparkling water along with your espresso. Time will tell whether this trend is here to stay or is just a passing fad. If nothing else, drinking water after your espresso will make your dentist happy.