Author Topic: Espresso Machine  (Read 7964 times)

Bird In Hand

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #50 on: June 12, 2018, 09:59:36 AM »
TDES. Just saying.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/12/26/cure-yourself-of-tiny-details-exaggeration-syndrome/

If you have a hobby and you're not into the tiny details, I can't relate to you :)

:D  I love this.  Maybe part of the issue here is that some people don't realize that coffee is a hobby for some of us?
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Bird In Hand

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #51 on: June 12, 2018, 10:47:54 AM »
I never drink espresso outside Italy as it's bitter and horrible.  That includes the espresso from a family member's fancy home espresso machine and the espresso from the fancy coffee places in other countries.  I'd much rather coffee from a moka pot, whether that's espresso or not, or plain drip filter coffee.

Hula Hoop -- peace.  Even if I happen to think you're calling it by the wrong name, I wish you nothing but enjoyment from whatever it is you make in your moka pot.  De gustibus non est disputandum.

For me, coffee (in particular espresso from a 9-bar espresso machine, but sometimes coffee from Aeropress, pour-over, and French press) is one of the greatest small pleasures in life.  Every day I find joy in the ritual of preparing and consuming an espresso or espresso-based drink.  Along this journey -- 5 years and counting -- I've incorporated other interests like hardware/software (I built a custom computer to control brew temperature, etc.), data science (analyzing the effects of grind fineness, brew temperature, water/ground ratio, etc., on the taste), and even art (learning how to steam milk properly and use it to create latte art).

I've spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 on equipment -- chosen carefully to yield the highest quality for a price within my budget.  The daily cost of the equipment is about 40 cents, the per-use cost is about 20 cents, and both are shrinking daily.  The equipment has enabled me to pursue what has become one of my favorite hobbies.  I have no regrets about it whatsoever.
"Overcoming the inertia of procrastination since tomorrow"

Hula Hoop

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #52 on: June 12, 2018, 12:50:11 PM »
Wow Bird in Hand - that is amazing.  I didn't realize that coffee could be a hobby but, of course, it makes sense as I know people who are really into creating and consuming other drinks like wine and beer.  Anyway more power to you if the cost per drink is 20-40 cents.

Speaking of which, I went to Naples for work recently and everyone here says that they have the best coffee in Italy.  I had an espresso in a random bar and it was out of this world.  I wonder what their secret is? 

J Boogie

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #53 on: June 12, 2018, 02:31:20 PM »
Oh man, there are so many theories out there - about Italy in general but Naples to be specific.  Here are a few.

-Their water is better. Volcanic mineral water

-They use lower quality beans - Robusta along with Arabica. I've never had any espresso that wasn't 100% Arabica as far as I know. It's counterintuitive, but might be a factor. I've never been to Italy or Europe BTW, so I have no idea.

-They use only freshly roasted beans

-Their baristas are better

-They rarely have milk in their coffee, so because of this they've had to always make espresso delicious enough to drink straight up

Hula Hoop

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #54 on: June 12, 2018, 03:07:31 PM »
One thing that my husband always says is that certain coffee bars clean their machines better than others and that's why their coffee is better.  But here in Italy, even the bad espresso is way better than what you get anywhere else.

I agree that people generally just drink plain espresso here maybe with some sugar in it so it has to be good quality.  I generally get a cappuccino at the bar at around 10 am (cappuccino here is strictly a breakfast drink so 10 am is about the limit apart from tourists) and I often notice that I'm the only person in the bar drinking coffee with milk even at that hour and I'm usually also the only foreigner.  Everyone else is knocking back an espresso or possibly a caffe macchiato (ie espresso with a tiny amount of milk).

J Boogie

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #55 on: June 13, 2018, 07:49:57 AM »
One thing that my husband always says is that certain coffee bars clean their machines better than others and that's why their coffee is better.  But here in Italy, even the bad espresso is way better than what you get anywhere else.

I'd agree with keeping your machines clean making a big difference. The flavors we look for in espresso are so subtle and fleeting and that the tiniest amount of rancidity or staleness of the residue can overpower.

Some people who live in Italy say their espresso ISN'T better, but foreigners get swept away with the romance of Italy to the point where the pasta, the pastries, the fruits, the wines etc all taste incredible when you're in a euphoric state.

Unfortunately, a blind taste test is impossible due to the short lifespan of an espresso shot. Getting a shot flown in from Italy just wouldn't work :)

 

sparkytheop

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #56 on: June 13, 2018, 09:32:00 AM »
One big thing I noticed is that in Italy, coffee was at a drinkable temperature. Here in the states it's always made so damn hot I have to let it cool down for a long time to drink it.

I own an espresso machine and it's been worth the cost for me. I can make it the perfect temperature for me. I've also started rotating my own beans when there is a good breeze and I have the time. I'm not as good as my brother with roasting, I'm still dialing it in to "just right", but I'm getting much closer!

Hula Hoop

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #57 on: June 13, 2018, 12:44:42 PM »
One big thing I noticed is that in Italy, coffee was at a drinkable temperature. Here in the states it's always made so damn hot I have to let it cool down for a long time to drink it.

If you're talking about cappuccino (or caffe latte) that's because it's meant to be kind of slightly warmer than lukewarm.  If it gets too hot, the milk loses it's sweetness.  Now that I'm used to Italian cappuccino I always notice that they heat the milk too much outside Italy which makes the cappuccino not taste as good.

grantmeaname

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #58 on: June 13, 2018, 04:34:42 PM »
If you have a hobby and you're not into the tiny details, I can't relate to you :)

When those tiny details equal insane amounts of money, I get it.

But we're talking about a few hundred to spend on equipment up front. If you're a big time coffee drinker, and you drink a 3lbs/month, and you like to support your local coffee roasters who you know source responsibly so you pay $10/lb, you're paying 360 a year for coffee.  Let's say 500/yr if you include milk and sugar.

That's $5,000 over a decade. To be using equipment that doesn't depreciate much and allows you to get the most delicious result from your already expensive coffee habit, it'll make it $5,500 over a decade if you buy a $500 worth of espresso equipment (you can get a used gaggia classic and a gaggia MDF grinder easily for 500, and you'll be able to pull some solid shots and whip up solid microfoam).
I've certainly never been accused of not liking coffee before! I agree that part of the fun in any hobby is getting into the details and perhaps learning about the minute differences between a good cup and a great cup. But I think we differ on what a reasonable amount of money is. Homebrewing is by far the most expensive hobby I've ever dabbled in and you're talking about more money than even an expensive homebrewing habit in order to drink coffee. That might be more money than I'll pay for electricity this year! (Yes, maybe any given person here can easily afford throwing away half a grand a year on coffee. But this site argues frugality accomplishes more than just increasing your pile of benjamins. Frugality is inherently worthwhile no matter your income.)

IMHO one great effect of Mustachianism is taking the knowledge you accumulate in a subject and using it to get your hobby satisfaction for cheap or free. I learned about Sweet Maria's from this site, where you can get unroasted beans for $6/lb and turn them into roasted beans for not much more money with an air popper, heat gun, or cast iron skillet. Similarly, farther afield from coffee, think of the hobbyist who uses his car skillz to snipe a badly underpriced dream car off of Craigslist or Mrs. Frugalwoods' (in)famous free yoga. You don't enjoy coffee less if you roast it yourself or enjoy altering clothes less because you found a Zegna jacket for a song at the thrift store. You're becoming a badass by learning more about your field of interest and you're spending less in the process, so your fun for bucks fraction is improving in the numerator and denominator.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #59 on: June 14, 2018, 08:03:02 AM »
I agree that part of the fun in any hobby is getting into the details and perhaps learning about the minute differences between a good cup and a great cup. But I think we differ on what a reasonable amount of money is.

Right, and for me, a premium of 20 cents per brew (and dropping) is a reasonable price to pay for 5 years (and counting) of an awesome hobby with olfactory, gustatory, and stimulant benefits on the side.  So we differ on this.  So what?  Any further arguing boils down to differences in values and opinions over trivial matters.  What's the point, to root out heretics of the One True Mustachian Way?

Frugality is a wonderful thing.  So are hobbies -- even hobbies that cost money.  Hobbies, or even just certain indulgences that sometimes cost money, add value to our lives in ways that vary by person.  For me, not everything is an optimization problem where the only, or even primary, constraint is minimizing cost.  If you get your kicks living every aspect of your life that way, more power to you -- you'll probably be FI before most people here.  I think that's awesome, but mustachianism doesn't need to be asceticism-lite in every aspect of our lives.

Quote
IMHO one great effect of Mustachianism is taking the knowledge you accumulate in a subject and using it to get your hobby satisfaction for cheap or free.

I've learned how to propagate various plants, and I've made friends with other gardeners who share cuttings and plant seeds.  Have you looked at the price of plants at a garden center?  My gardening hobby has become way cheaper as I've learned more about it, and yeah, I feel pretty badass about that.

On the other hand, my coffee journey took me from a $10 Chemex type of pour-over, to a $25 Aeropress, to a ~$300 Gaggia espresso machine*.  Given how much I've enjoyment I've derived from learning about, preparing, and drinking espresso, I feel pretty badass about that, too.

*For the record, I was considering the Gaggia, a Rancilio Silvia ($700), and more expensive machines with electronic temperature control.  After extensive research I decided that the Gaggia was close enough in features to the Rancilio for my purposes, and that I could eventually figure out how to roll my own temperature controller with existing hardware and sensors.  That's exactly what I did, and (IMO) my $300 Gaggia performs as well as a fancy $800+ machine.  Not only that, but I could likely sell the Gaggia for about as much as I paid for it, due to my modifications.  There's your $#%^! badassity!  :D
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J Boogie

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #60 on: June 14, 2018, 09:51:04 AM »
Buying an automatic espresso machine wouldn't quite fit our shared values.

But when it's manual, there's so much you can do.

We like to fine tune and feel the satisfaction of achieving great results with our own two hands.

There's something so satisfying about getting dialed in perfectly and seeing that thick syrupy espresso slowly drip out.  Unlocking the flavors that used to just be coffee flavor.

DIY espresso culture is all about getting the most of out of your equipment. The Gaggias and the Rancilios are pretty high quality, but they're not plug and play. You gotta figure things out, understand at least a little about the physics and chemistry of the process, and it's super fun. The best part for me is that it's social. I'm super into woodworking too, but I can't really share that with family/friends all that well. I can make things for them occasionally, but can't invite them behind the scenes casually. It's noisy, dusty, and dangerous. Whereas making espresso for them delights them.


Bird In Hand

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Re: Espresso Machine
« Reply #61 on: June 14, 2018, 11:01:47 AM »
The best part for me is that it's social. I'm super into woodworking too, but I can't really share that with family/friends all that well. I can make things for them occasionally, but can't invite them behind the scenes casually. It's noisy, dusty, and dangerous. Whereas making espresso for them delights them.

That's a great point!  Almost everyone who visits our house drinks coffee, and it's fun for me to prepare them something they might otherwise pay $5 for at a fancy cafe.  On the rare occasions when my latte art is up to par, I love presenting that to my wife or a guest and seeing the delight in their eyes.
"Overcoming the inertia of procrastination since tomorrow"