Posted by: Andre | February 5, 2011

Reviewing Blog

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They are planning to do some coffee equipment reviews coming up soon, and have some electronics up. Help support our partners if you’re interested. 🙂

Posted by: Andre | April 17, 2010

Bellman CXE25 Steamer

Well, actually it’s supposedly a coffee maker too, however I decided to modify this a bit and remove the coffee making spout (I bought this used, and the spout leaked…otherwise I may have left it on). Now I only use it to steam milk (and nut/rice milks!), and let me tell you…WOW does it have steam power! And with pressure that high (~1.5-2 bar as a guess) it must make terribly burnt coffee! But I can easily steam a small pitcher of milk in less than 20s (usually around 15s for the amount of milk I use) which makes enough milk for a full cappuccino and 2 macchiatos.

You can see in the pictures it has a safety over pressure valve in the back, but for normal operation has a thermostat. Makes steaming convenient, and with seperate units (open boiler espresso + high pressure dedicated steamer) I think for a low-end price range this is ideal. To get something similar I’d need a good dual-boiler system as a guess.

Heat-up time is about the same as my Caravel (with PID) and so everything is ready to go and I’m not usually left waiting. Also since I often do just straight shots, I can choose not to heat up the steamer most times. Very flexible and ideal for me at the moment.

Posted by: Andre | April 17, 2010

Nut Milks

I really like nut milks. They taste great, and best of all, make great macchiatos and cappuccinos.  In the west almonds work great, but in PNG I’m told there are many local nuts that are great both roasted and raw. I’m planning to experiment for sure! Also I’ve found that almond milk can be steamed higher than cow’s milk and doesn’t scorch as easily. The flavor can change to more toasted if you keep going, but I like to just get it up to the same temperature as the coffee. It also takes microfoam great.

My recipe for Almond Milk:

Materials List:
-Raw Almonds
-Filtered Water
-Raw Honey or Maple Syrup (optional)
-Cloth for Straining

(1) soak 1 cup raw almonds overnight (or at least 4 hours)
(2) rinse almonds a couple times to make sure water is clear (brown tannins from skin will flush away, this eliminates bitter flavors).
(3) add ~3 cups water for 1 cup almonds
(4) blend for ~5 minutes depending on how well your blender works, pulsing blender can work to allow pieces to settle and then grind them up.
(5) strain through cloth and press well
(6) return to blender and add honey to taste and mix – I usually add about ~1-2 Tbsp per cup of almonds

A couple of notes: almonds can be blanched instead of soaked and then skin removed, however I prefer soaking as it reactivates live enzymes in the almonds and is healthier to have them raw in my opinion. Also I’m still experimenting with rice milk, however with it being so high in starch it seems to absorb flavors and in general I try to limit high starch foods especially during the day.

Posted by: Andre | March 12, 2010

Refillable TWIST?


Hose Set

plus standard N2O refillable cylinder would make this a very respectable home setup. I plan to try to piece this together in a few months, but if anyone does this sooner please contact me and let me know what worked.

Posted by: Andre | March 5, 2010

Hydraulic Lever

The Bacchi Espresso

Some discussion:

Looks like this is a real espresso machine, uses steam to drive the piston and presumably has some sort of heatsink effect to use the boiling water for brewing at a more optimal lower temperature. Will be interesting to see if some more reviews and comparisons come up on this machine.

Posted by: Andre | February 4, 2010

Looking Towards a Commercial Lever

On the horizon of this project is the possibility of setting up a cafe in Port Moresby. Of course a lot has to happen before choice in just machine and such, but my plan is to acquire equipment before I go there in preparation for a small to medium sized espresso-based cafe. This will have to include roasting capabilities as from what I’m told no espresso shops or roasters exist there.

For a machine the Astoria Rapallo has caught my eye. I was actually hoping for a 3 group machine, but it may be more practical to go with a 2 group and expand to another 2 group if really necessary. Pair this with a couple Cimbali Max Hybrids and I think it will be capable of some good volume and great shots. The alternative is to try to find a good used vintage commercial lever.

I like the idea of a commercial lever as I would be comfortable servicing one myself for the most part. But also if I go with a vintage lever I could probably find one that is both 220V and gas operated, which could be quite a benefit to have that flexibility. The Astoria Gloria line (still available new as well) has this capability, and there also seems to be a ton of used Astorias around (mostly pump machines, but the levers are around).

Posted by: Andre | January 29, 2010

New Profiles

These two profiles are of a 3 bean blend. I roasted both at 400g back to back to see what the different outcomes will be on taste. The basic idea on one was medium heat for drying phase, then ramp to 1C at close to max heat. The other roast was higher heat for drying phase, then at about 80C back off the heat until around 120C then max heat to 1C…this is the one with a more pronounced concave curve.

I’ll post more impressions when I’ve had time for both, but so far results for the 2nd roast look promising…

Posted by: Andre | January 29, 2010

PNG Cupping and Crop

Posted up a page to keep current with coffee that’s available from my friend’s co-operative:

Some notes from our cupping session are there as well. There were 2 cuppers other than myself that participated, and I have compiled all our notes together. For the our skill level on cupping we had quite a lot of overlap and agreement, but held off on discussion until the session was over.

Posted by: Andre | January 23, 2010

Mypressi TWIST

Quite an interesting read, but I still can’t imagine using it often when gas canisters are necessary. It also seems to require a lot of pre-heating and I have a hard time thinking of who this device is marketed towards and what kind of person would benefit from it most.

Posted by: Andre | January 22, 2010

PNG Sample

A 1kg sample has arrived from PNG! I’ve just roasted it tonight in preparation for cupping tomorrow. I plan to have pictures of the cupping event along with scans of our score sheets. Keep in mind no one cupping will actually be a professional cupper, but it should give some good impressions.

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