06-22-2020, 01:12 PM
#1
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I am not a huge espresso fan, but once in a while I really enjoy a good espresso.
There is one or two good coffee shops in the entire city. With limited mobility its been VERY hard to find a place that makes an espresso superior or even equivalent to a Nespresso shot.

At the same time, nearly all new-er restaurants, cafés, and the like have an impressive espresso machine with a barista-looking person behind it. I was excited when I saw that happening. "Competition", came to mind. More people exposed to good coffee!

At home, a relevant number of households have a single serving coffee machine capable of making acceptable to almost exciting espresso. Again, " higher bar to reach for all coffee, food and drink industry" came to mind. Didn't happen.

Why is it so hard to find a good espresso?
I crave for one of those that keep your palate buds excited for the next hour!

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 06-22-2020, 04:42 PM
#2
  • 2Chops
  • Member
  • North Central PA
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Not all specialty coffee shops have good coffee.  I've been in some where it was horrible and had to toss it after the first sip.  The kiosk at the Denver Convention Center is one such place.  It has been 4 years since that awful cup and it still haunts me.  

Good espresso depends on good beans roasted within a few days of being put to use. Preferably the shop uses a blend of bean origins which is better for more consistent flavor profile.  Single origin for espresso is iffy and always inconsistent from batch to batch.  Also, if the grinders aren't cleaned regularly, there will be old oils in the burrs that will get rancid and affect the flavor.  Especially in the warmer months.  And of course the espresso machine should be clean & in good running order, with the water filters changed regularly.  

Many variables go into a good shot.

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 06-22-2020, 04:52 PM
#3
  • Garb
  • Senior Member
  • Oregon
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It all depends what city you live in as well as which part of the country, if you're in the USofA. A good pour over can sometimes best a mediocre espresso.

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 06-22-2020, 07:28 PM
#4
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There is no problem finding good espresso in Miami.  We have a large number of small Cuban restaurants, most of which have a takeout window for Cuban coffee.  The  term Cuban coffee essentially refers to a sweet espresso shot.  Most Cubans use a Moka pot to make espresso at home, but the Cuban restaurants all have a commercial espresso machine.  Some Cuban restaurants grind their own beans, but many don't.  Cafe Bustelo and Cafe Pilon are the more popular brands for making Cuban coffee, both at home and in restaurants, and produce a consistently good shot of espresso.

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 06-23-2020, 04:20 AM
#5
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Thank you for your thoughts and comments gents. There very very few things I can hold against the welcoming Twin Cities. Wonderful outdoors, great stores of all kinds, great local breweries and the best possible attitude towards the cold winter. Coffee and bbq ... a couple decent shops and that is it.
Again, I wonder why that is. That’s all.
I guess demand is not there so nobody invests in controlling all the variables.

I did have a nice cup of drip coffee yesterday (and most days), so yesterday I did a special one to calm my espresso cravings. One of two of those a week should bring me to after the pandemia. We’ll see.

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 06-23-2020, 05:52 AM
#6
  • Rufus
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  • Greater Toronto Area
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(06-22-2020, 04:52 PM)Garb Wrote: It all depends what city you live in as well as which part of the country, if you're in the USofA. A good pour over can sometimes best a mediocre espresso.

What’s a pour over?

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 06-23-2020, 06:04 AM
#7
  • Garb
  • Senior Member
  • Oregon
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pour over is basically a filter placed over a cup or carafe and hot water poured over the ground coffee slowly to not scorch the grind. I only use this system when on a road trip but always the coffee is exceptional. I just prefer having a few cups from my drip machine to start my day. Google it and you'll find options that will suit your needs.

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 06-23-2020, 07:46 AM
#8
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(06-22-2020, 07:28 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: There is no problem finding good espresso in Miami.  We have a large number of small Cuban restaurants, most of which have a takeout window for Cuban coffee.  The  term Cuban coffee essentially refers to a sweet espresso shot.  Most Cubans use a Moka pot to make espresso at home, but the Cuban restaurants all have a commercial espresso machine.  Some Cuban restaurants grind their own beans, but many don't.  Cafe Bustelo and Cafe Pilon are the more popular brands for making Cuban coffee, both at home and in restaurants, and produce a consistently good shot of espresso.

Now I am craving a Bustelo from a Moka Pot. 
But one is simple solution!
[Image: 170px-L%27Omino_Bialetti_2008-12-30_.svg.png]

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 06-23-2020, 08:41 AM
#9
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(06-23-2020, 07:46 AM)lloydrm Wrote: Now I am craving a Bustelo from a Moka Pot. 
But one is simple solution!
[Image: 170px-L%27Omino_Bialetti_2008-12-30_.svg.png]

Yes, simple indeed! It's how most Cuban families make espresso at home.

[Image: wBUUvyu.jpg]

[Image: IC2OtDS.jpg]

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 06-23-2020, 02:55 PM
#10
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Are we talking about the same thing? Isn’t espresso this:

[Image: anatomy-of-espresso-01_tcm92-20158_w1024_n.jpg]

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 06-23-2020, 03:08 PM
#11
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(06-23-2020, 02:55 PM)mike_the_kraken Wrote: Are we talking about the same thing? Isn’t espresso this:

[Image: anatomy-of-espresso-01_tcm92-20158_w1024_n.jpg]

Yes.  The head flows down just like a Guinness...

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 06-23-2020, 06:57 PM
#12
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(06-23-2020, 07:46 AM)lloydrm Wrote:
(06-22-2020, 07:28 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: Cafe Bustelo and Cafe Pilon are the more popular brands for making Cuban coffee, both at home and in restaurants, and produce a consistently good shot of expresso.

Now I am craving a Bustelo from a Moka Pot.

+0.61803

In Italy, I have enjoyed many tasse of espresso; they were delicious, and I enjoyed them very much.  We like Cuban Coffee, too.

But, in the United States, and in my own home, I find that my own laziness supersedes my unsophisticated appreciation of good espresso.  

My lazy-man substitute for espresso is a good tasse of coffee brewed in a moka pot.  

In our household we cook on an induction cooktop, so we brew "stovetop expresso" in a GAT Carmen 6-tasse moka pot, because the Carmen works on induction where the classic aluminum Bialetti moka pots do not.  And, although we have a decent Baratza grinder that we use for our daily vacuum pot brew, we buy LaVazza (Gran Selezione) preground coffee (which we store in the freezer) exclusively for use in the moka pot.

Moka pot coffee is not a complete substitute for a well prepared espresso; we all can agree on that.  But I think that a well prepared (requiring much less work) moka pot brew is more satisfying than an ill-prepared (though requiring much more effort) brew from an expensive espresso machine.  That is my story, and I am sticking to it.

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 06-23-2020, 08:35 PM
#13
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Having had many poorly made espresso shots (many by my own hand), I can only agree. Espresso is either well executed, or a failure. There is no in-between. As an aside: I’ve purchased blue bottle online and have had good results making espresso shots. It’s expensive, but reliable. (Yes, I’ve had it in CA - and while I recognize the trendy allure, it’s quite good coffee)

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 06-24-2020, 10:18 AM
#14
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IMO espresso and Moka Pot are different methods of making coffee. Just like Melitta, Hario and Chemex are approaches to the same method: pour over coffee. 
For all of them, good ingredients (right coffee and grind for each of them) and proper execution (water quality and temperature, steam pressure, speed of extraction) are key for the outcome. All have their place. 
Good espresso is a LOT harder to make than any other method. But, when you get a good one is SO good!

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 06-24-2020, 09:43 PM
#15
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Why is decent espresso so hard to find?

Do try to make espresso and you will know.
Too many things are critical when making espresso.
A few gram more or less coffee in your moka pot or French Press? 
No problem. It will certainly ruin your espresso.
Coffee ground too coarse or too fine, just a little bit?
No problem with moka or FP, but will ruin your espresso.
Water temperature?
Same here.
Coffee is 6 months old?
Same here.
Preground coffee in an espresso machine?
A desaster.

When I started making espresso, it took months to get things right.

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 06-24-2020, 10:12 PM
#16
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Which is more difficult: getting a great shave consistently, or crafting espresso at home consistently?

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 06-25-2020, 10:33 AM
#17
  • 2Chops
  • Member
  • North Central PA
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[Image: NoWxREx.jpg]

Our Cuban's are one of our biggest sellers.  I adapted the traditional preparation method to better fit a busy cafe environment, with out sacrificing taste.  Probably one of my proudest drinks.  Some of our guests were born & raised in Cuba, moved to Miami and now here in PA.  They say it's just like what they grew up on.  Simple, sweet and invigorating.

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 06-25-2020, 10:35 AM
#18
  • 2Chops
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  • North Central PA
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(06-23-2020, 08:35 PM)mike_the_kraken Wrote: Having had many poorly made espresso shots (many by my own hand), I can only agree. Espresso is either well executed, or a failure. There is no in-between. As an aside: I’ve purchased blue bottle online and have had good results making espresso shots. It’s expensive, but reliable. (Yes, I’ve had it in CA - and while I recognize the trendy allure, it’s quite good coffee)

I have to agree.  Espresso is either or.

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 06-25-2020, 04:16 PM
#19
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Here is the Cuban "cafecito," which is the shot of Cuban style espresso often made in a Moka pot.

Among espresso aficionados, there will always be a debate as to whether a Moka pot makes true espresso.  Certainly a huge number of Italians think they're making great espresso at home using their Moka pots.  Ultimately it's all about enjoying your espresso.  If you enjoy it by using a Moka pot and ground coffee you purchased at the grocery store last week, that's fine.  If you enjoy it by roasting and grinding your own beans, and using a beautiful and expensive espresso machine, that's fine too.       

  
[Image: mFzUyon.jpg]

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 06-25-2020, 04:29 PM
#20
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I use one of these and a nice hand grinder. Fairly inexpensive setup - but everything still has to come together just right. 

[Image: Flair-Espresso-Maker.gif]

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