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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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  • All espresso machines are not created equal. I realize this is obvious, but it’s an interesting experience. The general consensus on the Internet is that a proper pull is 14g of espresso, tamped at 30 pounds with a twist (though the pressure and rotation amount of the twist are hotly debated), ground to adjust for 25-27 second pull at 9bar of brew pressure, and with a 202-203F brew temperature. The problem is that all of these folks are a) using 58mm commercial portafilters b) using machines with decent temperature control (be it through PID or HX) and c) are working with machines that can create and sustain at least 9 bar of pressure. Our machine at home, no matter how hard I try, can’t seem to accommodate more than about 12g of espresso, and it’s much more comfortable with about 10. It likes to be tamped on the gentle side, somewhere in the 15 pound range; if overloaded on grounds or over tamped it tends to bog, and produce a 40-50 second shot that is bitter and undrinkable; a slight adjustment in the other direction and it pulls a shot in 15 seconds. Through experience, I’ve found that it tends to work best with about a 10g shot, 13 second pull, though that alone still ends up with a bitter shot. Leading cause of bitterness is brew water being too cool, so I tend to kick the machine into froth mode for a few seconds before brewing to bring the water and group temperature up to steam (sorry, I couldn’t resist). While this does a decent job getting the group and portafilter nice and warm, the initial blast out of the group then tends to be superheated steam, which scalds the grounds, so as soon as I come off the steam boiler, it helps to flush the group without the portafilter in place for a few seconds to diminish the initial blast. Assuming I get the portafilter tamped and loaded relatively quickly to keep its temperature up (as it is not made of a large chunk of metal to begin with, so it quickly cools), I can then pull a decent shot at an appropriate temperature. That’s a lot of uninteresting crap, but the end result is that all espresso machines are not created equal.
  • Waiting till the last minute to buy something, hoping the money will come in before the price rises, is not going to work. Ding! That sucked.
  • My orchids are just never going to live well in the kitchen; the light just isn’t good enough, and between the drafts from the window and the baking from the register, things just aren’t going to work out.
  • Implementing a logic solver in C++ is a lot more difficult than doing it in Prolog. Much more difficult.