A few of months ago, I dived into the world of espresso brewing
Then, I looked online
Some quick specifications
- Single boiler
- "Italian" 15-bar water pump
- Single, double shot pre-programmed buttons
- Steam-wand with removable turbo frother attachment
- Removable water tank
- Pre-brew infusion
- Included accessories:
- Single shot filter basket (dual wall type)
- Double shot filter basket (dual wall type)
- Milk jug (100 ml maybe, just enough to steam 2 shots worth of milk)
- Plastic scoop-tamper combination tool
- Unclogging needles
- Manual with recipe for different espresso-based drinks
How about latte?
|Not too shabby 'lah', pardon the big bubbles, something was wrong with the crema|
- Single boiler -- you can't texture milk while brewing your espresso, because water for steam and espresso brewing are of different temperatures.
- You can't steam milk without brewing something -- for reasons unknown, you must brew something beforehand or you'll get a very weak flow of steam.
- You can't steam milk for too long -- related to the previous point, the steam pressure will drop after you steam your second jug of milk.
- Inconsistent steam pressure -- steam pressure is inconsistent, requiring you to start steaming on the "sweet spot" time-window (explained later in tips).
- Low steam pressure -- holy shit almost everything is related to steam! Yep, after using the more expensive machine, I now truly understand why it took me so long to learn how to texture milk -- simply because the pressure is lower than what they use in YouTube.
- Fluctuating brewing temperature -- it's easy to get inconsistent brews because the boiler is controlled via on-off signals (not PID controlled), requiring you to purge a bit of water before actual brewing to get consistent temperature
- Weaker and inconsistent brewing pressure -- if you're not careful with grind-size and tamping strength, nothing will come out, and brewing pressure will be inconsistent right after you use the steam wand, requiring you to (again) purge some water.
Tip and Tricks
- Purge 2 shots worth of water after warming up -- this is a rather universal tip applicable to all machines -- to get rid of stale water in the boiler from previous sessions, and specifically for this machine, to get ready for steaming.
- Purge 1 shot of water right before brewing, every time -- before you load your filter basket with coffee grounds, purge 1 shot of water from the machine to stabilize the water temperature and pressure.
- Pay attention to grind size -- grinding too fine will clog the filter and you'll get drip-coffee or nothing at all. Adjust grind-size according to flavor and crema output.
- Two scoops of beans -- I found out in general you'll need only 2 scoop (the included scoop, full, leveled) of beans for double-shot.
- Don't tamp like a gorilla -- tamping too hard will clog up the filter, especially if you use finer grind sizes, you'll get drip-coffee (again). 20 lbs of tamping pressure doesn't work well on this machine.
- Position your cup slightly outward -- this is to let the espresso flow gently through the rim of the cup to prevent big bubbles from forming in your crema (yeah, that photo up there)
- Remove the turbo frother -- seriously.
- Pay attention to steam pressure -- the steam pressure is usually weak for the first use after warming up. If it's too weak, purge steam until the light blinks, then turn it off and wait until it stops blinking, then try again. Always texture milk after you make sure the steam pressure is okay.
- Don't steam more than a jug of milk at once -- alternate between brewing and texturing milk to get a more consistent steam pressure.
- Don't panic if your milk doesn't swirl -- it's perfectly normal, really. It takes a while for the swirling to occur on this machine, so don't move the steam wand around. Position your jug flat (base of jug parallel with ground), rest the wand on the spout, nozzle slightly below milk surface, angle towards rim of jug with nozzle almost touching the rim.
Observe the sound:
- "bloop bloop bloop" - nozzle too high, position the nozzle down the surface of the milk (by moving your jug, along the wand, guided by the spout of the jug)
- hissing like some bomb charging before exploding with no bubbles seen (sorry, out of vocabularies to describe) - this is probably the correct position. Tilt the jug slightly to expose the nozzle, up and until you hear a high pitched hissing sound with small bubbles forming on the milk surface, then tilt back.
How much bubbles to make depends on the milk, you'll need to go through trial and error. Don't worry about the big bubbles, this is perfectly normal for this machine -- once the milk start to swirl, stop producing more bubbles and concentrate on eliminating the bubbles.