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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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  • The roasting process seems to have the potential for causing some serious trouble. Yesterday I was trying to pull Sweet Maria’s Espresso Donkey shots on a roast from the previous day. Ten times in a row I pulled shots that channeled within 4-5 seconds after the preinfusion completed. I thought at first it was because I was forgetting to dry the portafilter basket. No luck. Varying the grind yielded nothing — I got a quick puke when it was made coarser than it should be, and a slow start (looking towards a 60-second pull) followed by a huge explosion when the channeling started with too fine a grind. I backflushed, I cleaned the dispersion screen and gaskets with the brush, I tried cooling flushes, vented steam/tap pressure, went through an entire tank of water, nothing worked. I tried pulling a few shots on pre-ground regular illy, and I got a fast pull (it’s ground a little coarse for my machine), but no channeling. I overtamped the illy to bring the pull up to proper timings, and got a shot that looked about right and didn’t channel. I pulled a decaf shot from the same bin, and lo and behold, no channeling. The only thing I could figure out is by that point I’d spent enough pucks to be in the dregs from the previous roast. It occurred to me that I’d baked the new roast; I couldn’t get the chamber temperature high enough, and ended up using the full 15-minute roasting cycle, so it really didn’t progress through the roasting fast enough; it’s the only thing I can figure out that can explain this weirdness.
  • Sliders are disgusting … yet I am drawn to them. I’d never had White Castle; one of the guys coming up from New York brought along a box of 100 of them. Like I say, they aren’t good … but I couldn’t help pounding back a half dozen. Crazy stuff.