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Old 12th September 2008   #201
hippy
 
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Crack pipe
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Old 13th September 2008   #202
Penny Farthing
MMMMMMMMM...mouthwatering Crema there.
I never get a single stream of coffee as pictured, my machine produces two distinct streams from the seperate spouts on the...

More gumpf follows;

Why baristas like to watch

A smart barista will intently watch the stream of espresso pour out during an extraction. While appearance alone isn't definitive proof of a good cup, it does go a long way in verifying the barista's technique. Describing what the barista is looking for requires we first review a few terms, some of which are excerpted with permission from the [COLOR=#735526]Espresso Glossary[/COLOR] by Mark Prince:
Blonding denotes the color transition of a pour from dark brown and tiger-striping to a light, uniform pale blond. This normally occurs in the last third of the pull and is a signal to end the pour. This overly-blond portion of an espresso is thin, nearly flavorless, and if allowed to continue too long, will dilute the body and taste characteristics of an otherwise enjoyable shot.
Channeling is the rapid passage of water through fractures in the coffee puck, which produces a thinner, under-extracted espresso. When it occurs, you'll often see sudden appearances of blond streaks in the stream of espresso; sometimes the puck will even have pencil lead-sized holes where channeling occurred.
Crema is one of the sure signs of a properly brewed shot of espresso (in non crema-enhancing espresso machines) and is created by the dispersion of gases— air and carbon dioxide —in liquid at a high pressure. The liquid contains emulsified oils, and forms a dark golden brown layer resembling foam on top of an espresso shot. [excerpted M.P.]
Extraction is the act of forcing hot water from the boiler though ground coffee, which in turn "extracts" flavors, oils, colloids, lipids and other elements that turn water into brewed coffee or espresso. [excerpted M.P.]
Golden rule is a common phrase that describes the ideal extraction time and volume for an espresso. The [COLOR=#735526]Instituto Nationale Espresso Italiano[/COLOR] (PDF) provides a working definition of the characteristics of an ideal espresso, although I consider these parameters more "golden guidelines" than hard and fast rules. My own brief definition of an espresso is an extraction using approximately fourteen grams of coffee to produce a sixty milliliter double in 22 to 32 seconds (timing from the moment the pump starts).
Over-extraction occurs when too many coffee solids are extracted, resulting in a strong, harsh flavor. The visual signs are a low-volume extraction having a dark, thin crema. A dark "halo" at the edge of the cup is another classic indictor of an over-extraction, or of brew water that is too hot.
Pre-infusion: the act of pre-wetting the bed of ground coffee inside an espresso machine before actually commencing the brew. Some espresso machines do this by using the pump; water is pumped to the coffee for a second or two, and then halted for another second or two. After this pause, the pump activates again, and continues brewing the shot. Super automatics and some automatic espresso machines use this pre-infusion.
Another type of pre-infusion is called "natural" or progressive pre-infusion, and occurs in espresso machines equipped with an E61 grouphead. When the pump is activated, a secondary chamber must fill prior to full pressure being applied to the bed of coffee. This gives a 3 to 7 second saturation time for the grounds before the pressure builds up. This type of pre-infusion is preferable to pump and pause active pre-infusion.
There is a school of thought that progressive pre-infusion improves overall extraction from the coffee. [excerpted M.P.]
Tiger striping and mottling are leading visual indicators of a good extraction. Tiger striping is formed by the contrast of darker and lighter crema in the espresso stream; ideally it begins early in the pour and is sustained through the end. Mottling is the in-cup confirmation of a good extraction; it is the darker brown speckling and reddish-brown splotches formed on the surface of the crema.
Under-extraction occurs when too few coffee solids are extracted, resulting in a weak, dull flavor. The visual signs are a rapid, high-volume extraction having a uniformly light blond crema.
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Old 13th September 2008   #203
mooks
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penny Farthing View Post
I never get a single stream of coffee as pictured, my machine produces two distinct streams from the seperate spouts on the...
It's one of the things that annoys me about portafilters these days - I tend to only have single espressos, but now I'm being FORCED (forced I tell you - goddamnit) to have a double or two singles because I can't get a single out of the double spout, without holding the cup up, and then I can't watch, so where's the fun?

A naked portafilter means you can keep an eye on how the shot's developing, but also because it should end up in a single stream, you can get a single shot in the one cup.

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Old 13th September 2008   #204
Penny Farthing
Naked and Crotchless!
If I had the requisite tools and the space I would be giving this a go
http://www.home-barista.com/forums/h...ter-t1437.html lol
Bit expensive to buy and no UK stockists as far as I know :-(
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Old 13th September 2008   #205
mooks
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penny Farthing View Post
Naked and Crotchless!
If I had the requisite tools and the space I would be giving this a go
http://www.home-barista.com/forums/h...ter-t1437.html lol
Bit expensive to buy and no UK stockists as far as I know :-(
I'm currently waiting for a new portafilter from Gaggia, since the handle snapped on my other one. It's taken them since May so far, but I'm still hopeful. Once the new one comes through, I'm tempted to take off the bottom and see what happens.

Judging from my shots at the moment, they'll go everywhere except the cup. Probably best tried when there's nobody else in the house...
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Old 13th September 2008   #206
Penny Farthing
Having said no UK stockists...wahey!
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Old 13th September 2008   #207
mooks
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penny Farthing View Post
Having said no UK stockists...wahey!
"Does not fit the Gaggia Cubika."

FUCK IT!

Nothing fits the bloody Cubika. It's a bloody conspiracy...
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Old 14th September 2008   #208
Penny Farthing
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooks View Post
"Does not fit the Gaggia Cubika."

FUCK IT!

Nothing fits the bloody Cubika. It's a bloody conspiracy...
No fair :-(
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Old 14th September 2008   #209
Bainbridgedonor
 
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To be honest the cubika is a bit of a wanky halfway house sort of machine, hence the fact that the serious stuff doesn't work with it!
By the way I have a bottomless portafilter and it's fucking awesome! You could just hack off the bottom of the broken portafilter as practice? Remembering to take the basket out first though!
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Old 14th September 2008   #210
Nahguavkire
 
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If any of you happen to be in Dublin either passing through or based I'd recommend Moynihan & Dent coffee and tea sellers in Georges Street Arcade, best coffee available anywhere!!
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Old 14th September 2008   #211
mooks
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dixon Bainbridge View Post
To be honest the cubika is a bit of a wanky halfway house sort of machine, hence the fact that the serious stuff doesn't work with it!
By the way I have a bottomless portafilter and it's fucking awesome! You could just hack off the bottom of the broken portafilter as practice? Remembering to take the basket out first though!
I've noticed, but it only cost me £35 so I can't really complain - and it's taught me how to make the best of a bad job. I will probably upgrade in the next couple of years, but even for a Gaggia Classic you're looking at £250. I may as well save a little longer and go for a Pavoni...
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Old 14th September 2008   #212
MrSmyth
so if the cubika is a no-no what is the best alternative?
was going to be given one at christmas but if the thingy mentioned above is not available for it then maybe i'll get something else?
have had cappuccinos made with illy in a cubika which were very good but not tried an espresso.
are la pavoni any good?
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Old 16th September 2008   #213
Penny Farthing
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSmith View Post
so if the cubika is a no-no what is the best alternative?
was going to be given one at christmas but if the thingy mentioned above is not available for it then maybe i'll get something else?
have had cappuccinos made with illy in a cubika which were very good but not tried an espresso.
are la pavoni any good?
Maybe a baby?
Pavoni is kinda very expensive. Which is fine if you have a large wallet.
Roger Moore likes 'em. see "Live and Let Die" for details :-)
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Old 17th September 2008   #214
Bainbridgedonor
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mooks View Post
I've noticed, but it only cost me £35 so I can't really complain - and it's taught me how to make the best of a bad job. I will probably upgrade in the next couple of years, but even for a Gaggia Classic you're looking at £250. I may as well save a little longer and go for a Pavoni...
£35? Fair enough, that's a bargain! The la pavoni are beautiful to look at but I have a friend who has one and it's a bit if a bitch to use, quite hard to get consistently good shots. I'd say a gaggia classic is a good bet or if you can spend more then a Rancillo silvia is the next obvious step up. That what I got a couple of years ago and I love it!
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Old 17th September 2008   #215
Jacquidonor
 
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Like you all, the first coffee of my day is as essential to my good day as, well, riding my bike in..
The best feature of my office is the beautiful machine that makes me that coffee. I was really looking forward to it this morning; some dunce overfilled the grinder and now it's not working ;(
I had to have instant.
Really wasn't great.
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Old 17th September 2008   #216
mooks
 
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Went to Starbucks in Farringdon yesterday and had a mug of their filter coffee. Am I going to get lynched if I say I didn't think it was too bad? It hit the mark caffeine-wise, had an interesting coffee flavour with a hint of spice and was fine for sitting down with while I had my lunch.

On a slightly different note, I bought a Krups Pro-Aroma (filter coffee maker) for the office today - the half empty cup of instant and coffee-mate that I couldn't force down three days ago has forced me into action.
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Old 17th September 2008   #217
Bond
http://www.origincoffee.co.uk/index.htm

This is great, chops that illy and lavazza muck every time, few outlets outside the SW now too...
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Old 17th September 2008   #218
mooks
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bond View Post
http://www.origincoffee.co.uk/index.htm

This is great, chops that illy and lavazza muck every time, few outlets outside the SW now too...
My other half is from Constantine, where Origin is based. May not sound much, but it's a tiny village in deepest, darkest, in-bred Cornwall. You would never expect some of the best coffee I've ever had to come from somewhere like that...
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Old 17th September 2008   #219
flyingpig
 
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I just recently got some beans off these people, proper nice! http://www.thebeanshop.co.uk/
I only use a manual grinder and a bialleti moka express, no good for proper espresso (no crema) but very happy wi latte and capp's results. I recommend their celebes kalossi.
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Old 17th September 2008   #220
rusty
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mooks View Post
On a different note, descaled my Gaggia over the weekend and it's now pumping out oodles of crema-packed goodness.
How do you descale it? I've got a gran gaggia that I'm going to start using but it's been sitting in a cupboard for about 5 years.
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Old 17th September 2008   #221
nimhbusdonor
 
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you can buy little bag things you put in a boil, i think
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Old 17th September 2008   #222
big daddy waynedonor
 
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if you're in town then the kitchen dept in selfridges has descaling packs for the gaggia
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Old 17th September 2008   #223
fonok
got this little froth maker thing at IKEA for two quid. small dildo lookin, vibratin' grey thing that takes two AA's an the little motor spins a piece of metal around. kinda like an egg-beater but smaller, use it while heating the milk to go with you expresso. so i thought two quid, i give it a go.
it fuckin works! its been soya latte every morning since then.
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Old 17th September 2008   #224
rusty
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fonok View Post
It's been soya latte every morning since then.
Soya lattes taste of cardboard. If I was lactose intolerant/vegan I'd just drink americanos or espressos.
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Old 17th September 2008   #225
fonok
na mate, just gotta go with the right stuff. alpro n provamel are nice to make lattes with, some cheaper stuff is just revolting. its kinda lighter than with cows milk. well im coffee addict an vegan, so guess just adapted
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Old 18th September 2008   #226
mooks
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rusty View Post
How do you descale it? I've got a gran gaggia that I'm going to start using but it's been sitting in a cupboard for about 5 years.
I bought some Gaggia descaler from here: http://www.houseoffraser.co.uk/on/de...622&cgid=00030

It's still free delivery so it's cheaper than most places.

You basically dissolve the powder (tartaric acid) and then run it through the machine, leave it for twenty minutes and then run it through again. Be warned though - I had to completely change the way I made coffee since the flow was a lot faster than I was used to so had to tamp the coffee a lot harder.
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Old 18th September 2008   #227
Penny Farthing
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooks View Post
I bought some Gaggia descaler from here: http://www.houseoffraser.co.uk/on/de...622&cgid=00030

It's still free delivery so it's cheaper than most places.

You basically dissolve the powder (tartaric acid) and then run it through the machine, leave it for twenty minutes and then run it through again. Be warned though - I had to completely change the way I made coffee since the flow was a lot faster than I was used to so had to tamp the coffee a lot harder.
And never ever use vinegar (whatvever anyone sez).
It rots the rubber seals in your machine!

Good to know that HoF do the Gaggia descaler, ta very much for the link.
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Old 19th September 2008   #228
Bond
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooks View Post
My other half is from Constantine, where Origin is based. May not sound much, but it's a tiny village in deepest, darkest, in-bred Cornwall. You would never expect some of the best coffee I've ever had to come from somewhere like that...
Obviously Origin is just a brand but a few of the guys there really know their stuff - I think a member of staff is a judge on the UK barista champs and a cafe in Wadebridge is owned by the new UK Champ! http://www.enjoy.origincoffee.co.uk/...asp?NewsID=180
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Old 20th September 2008   #229
rusty
 
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I recently came into possesion of a Gran Gaggia (parents have had it kicking about for ages and I nabbed it). It's a pretty low-end machine but it'll do as an interim before I buy a better one next year.

A few questions.

I had a bag of ACS coffee that was ground for a stove-top pot in April. I bought quite a bit of it and haven't finished it yet so I used that. Result: no crema, blonding after only a few seconds.

I then, last night, bought a red label pot of Illy coffee from Tesco. Result: crema but still blonding after about 20 seconds.

I've got a very rubbish tamper so I think I'll get a nicer one (any suggestions) but what are the opinions with the grind? I thought that the red label Illy stuff would be a good grind but it still seems a bit coarse.

Another question. Is there any benefit in taking off the group head and cleaning it?

And, what dosage should I use? I'm just guessing really.
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Old 20th September 2008   #230
Penny Farthing
Quote:
Originally Posted by rusty View Post
A few questions.

I had a bag of ACS coffee that was ground for a stove-top pot in April. I bought quite a bit of it and haven't finished it yet so I used that. Result: no crema, blonding after only a few seconds.

I then, last night, bought a red label pot of Illy coffee from Tesco. Result: crema but still blonding after about 20 seconds.

I've got a very rubbish tamper so I think I'll get a nicer one (any suggestions) but what are the opinions with the grind? I thought that the red label Illy stuff would be a good grind but it still seems a bit coarse.

Another question. Is there any benefit in taking off the group head and cleaning it?

And, what dosage should I use? I'm just guessing really.
I'd say the ACS is stale by now, hence no crema and rapid blonding.

I would say the rapid blonding with your fresher Illy may be due to you not tamping the coffee hard enough?

I use a plastic (!) tamper and manage to get crema most of the time without much blonding.

As for dosage, it is for taste really. Too much and you'll know about it (sweats and etc) too little and there is no 'kick'

Keep trying!
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Old 20th September 2008   #231
Penny Farthing
Quote:
Originally Posted by rusty View Post
Another question. Is there any benefit in taking off the group head and cleaning it
Yep. Give it a good clean. It cannot hurt. Easy peasy too. Just unscrew and scrub/wipe.
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Old 20th September 2008   #232
justMouse
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penny Farthing View Post
Too much and you'll know about it (sweats and etc) too little and there is no 'kick'
Hehe a poison isn't defined by what the thing is, it's how much you have of it. The sweats are pretty horrid...
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Old 20th September 2008   #233
mooks
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penny Farthing View Post
I'd say the ACS is stale by now, hence no crema and rapid blonding.

I would say the rapid blonding with your fresher Illy may be due to you not tamping the coffee hard enough?

I use a plastic (!) tamper and manage to get crema most of the time without much blonding.

As for dosage, it is for taste really. Too much and you'll know about it (sweats and etc) too little and there is no 'kick'

Keep trying!
To be honest, I've been using Illy for the past 4 or 5 years and I've never had perfect results - and I've tried all kinds of stuff in terms of technique: really hard tamping, filling the portafilter as much as I can etc etc. It tends to taste stale even when you've opened a fresh tin.

Makes me wonder why I've persisted so long...
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Old 21st September 2008   #234
bombcup
 
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Hi everybody, first post.

I'm as geeky about coffee as you lot are about bikes, I ride a SS converted alu road bike which wouldn't win much acclaim round these parts so forgive me for not posting in the pictures thread.

Anyway, @ Mooks, try buying some really fresh beans. Illy is roasted several weeks or months before you actually use it and despite the nitrogen packed sealed can much of the CO2 and aromatic compounds vital to achieving rich crema have dissappeared by the time it reaches the cup.

When I have used Illy (whole bean and ground with a Mazzer) I can get reasonable crema for the first day after opening the tin but after that the beans stale incredibly quickly. The best espresso is made with coffee roasted between 1 and 3 weeks before use.

BTW, I've got no bike porn but plenty of coffee kit porn. Here's the home setup:

Espresso grinder



Espresso machine. KitchenAid (read unipack) grinder since upgraded.



Brewed coffee grinder

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Old 21st September 2008   #235
Ant
 
Ant's Avatar
Good first post :)

My coffee always comes out average. Th current thing is that I get crema for the first 5 seconds of the pull, then it goes dark then the pressure valve on the machine goes and sends steam out the top.

Tastes god enough to drink but that's about it.
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Old 21st September 2008   #236
bombcup
 
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Hmm, sounds like the pump pressure is set too high. For reasons best known to themselves, machine manufacturers often ship machines with brew pressure set to anything up to 12 bar, when ideally you want 8-9 bar for good extraction.

If you take a look inside the machine (unplug it first) there may be an adjuster screw on the pump. Turn it down 1/4 turn and pull a shot then repeat until the shots start looking and tasting better.

If you get no joy descale the machine which should help (you need to do this every 3 months anyway), and if that doesn't fix it then the over-pressure valve (OPV) may be at fault.

Happy fettling.
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Old 21st September 2008   #237
bombcup
 
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Actually, mulling this one over with a coffee, It's most likely scale causing a flow restriction and popping the pressure valve. I would try the de-scale first before pulling the machine apart.
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Old 21st September 2008   #238
smithchilddonor
 
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Anyone offer any advice on the best otp stove-top thingy to buy? i have neither room nor money for the real deal. also which is the best budget grinder?
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Old 21st September 2008   #239
Ant
 
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Thanks fella, I ussualy use the stove top but have recently gone back to my machine. My Mrs has a Gagia, I might try and use that.
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Old 21st September 2008   #240
Ant
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bombcup View Post
Actually, mulling this one over with a coffee, It's most likely scale causing a flow restriction and popping the pressure valve. I would try the de-scale first before pulling the machine apart.
Cheers, it doesn't do it with nothing in the basket.
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Old 21st September 2008   #241
justMouse
 
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Good first post Bombcup - welcome to the forum.

I'm still using the stovetop but have noticed that freshly ground beans is key to a good brew - I used to think Illy Red / Lavazza Gold were good coffees until I tried fresh ground. Now it's costing me a fortune but coffee so much better.
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Old 21st September 2008   #242
bombcup
 
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@Smithchild, Bialetti make about the best stovetop moka pots, but as with all mokas avoiding overheating and burning the coffee is very difficult. When using a new moka, make 2 brews and throw them down the sink to season the pot then drink the third. Don't wash it in detergent just give it a rinse, think of it like a wok.

Aeropress is a good alternative if you want an intense thick brew, but you can't beat pour-over filter cones or french press IMO for getting the delicate flavours out of the coffee.

The Gaggia MDF / Dualit burr grinder is very good for brewed coffee at around £60 but if you want to get into espresso in the future you would be wise to spend a little more now on a Rancillio Rocky at around £140-£180, an Iberital MC2 around £120 or a second hand Mazzer SJ at around £100-£150, plus £30 for fresh burrs. The Mazzer would be the last grinder you ever need.

@Ant, Yes it will probably only happen with a dosed baket because this gives resistance to the flow and ramps up the pressure. If descaling a gaggia use their own gaggia baby stuff or go to a home-brew shop and buy a big bag of tartaric acid for way less dough. The alu boilers in gaggias don't take kindly to citric acid or other proprietary machine descalers.

Cheers JustMouse, there really is no substitute for fresh coffee. Fresh beans, hand grinder, cool the kettle for 2 minutes, presspot. Easy.
  quote   reply
Old 21st September 2008   #243
Penny Farthing
Quote:
Originally Posted by bombcup View Post
Hi everybody, first post.

I'm as geeky about coffee as you lot are about bikes, I ride a SS converted alu road bike which wouldn't win much acclaim round these parts so forgive me for not posting in the pictures thread.

Anyway, @ Mooks, try buying some really fresh beans. Illy is roasted several weeks or months before you actually use it and despite the nitrogen packed sealed can much of the CO2 and aromatic compounds vital to achieving rich crema have dissappeared by the time it reaches the cup.

When I have used Illy (whole bean and ground with a Mazzer) I can get reasonable crema for the first day after opening the tin but after that the beans stale incredibly quickly. The best espresso is made with coffee roasted between 1 and 3 weeks before use.

BTW, I've got no bike porn but plenty of coffee kit porn. Here's the home setup:

Espresso grinder



Espresso machine. KitchenAid (read unipack) grinder since upgraded.



Brewed coffee grinder

Christ...I am green with envy!
  quote   reply
Old 21st September 2008   #244
pistaboy
 
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Bombcup - You appear to be some kinda oracle...... Welcome dude.
  quote   reply
Old 21st September 2008   #245
bombcup
 
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Haha! Yeah, just send any coffee q's this way, and hopefully someone might be able to tell me where I can get a 46T ring for a 5 bolt Suntour crank.

Ta.
  quote   reply
Old 26th September 2008   #246
rusty
 
rusty's Avatar
I've got about £50 or £60 to maybe spend on a grinder and tamper. Does anyone have any suggestions.

I'm looking at the Dualit 75002 and the Krups GVX231 as possibilities.

Does anyone have any opinions on tampers? The portafilter that came with my Gran Gaggia seems to be about 58mm but it looks more like 60mm when I measure it. The rubbish plastic tamper that I got with the machine is only 55mm and it really doesn't work to well. I think the Gran Gaggia has the same potafilter design as the Cubika so any Cubika owners care to tell me a good tamper to buy?
  quote   reply
Old 26th September 2008   #247
Penny Farthing
Quote:
Originally Posted by rusty View Post
I've got about £50 or £60 to maybe spend on a grinder and tamper. Does anyone have any suggestions.

I'm looking at the Dualit 75002 and the Krups GVX231 as possibilities.

Does anyone have any opinions on tampers? The portafilter that came with my Gran Gaggia seems to be about 58mm but it looks more like 60mm when I measure it. The rubbish plastic tamper that I got with the machine is only 55mm and it really doesn't work to well. I think the Gran Gaggia has the same potafilter design as the Cubika so any Cubika owners care to tell me a good tamper to buy?
I think you can score a lower end Gaggia grinder for £60 which I think will best the Dualit and Krups. In fact half that http://www.garraways.co.uk/p449614/G...nsGrinder.html
Search out some reviews and amke up your own mind 'tho. Innit.
  quote   reply
Old 26th September 2008   #248
Penny Farthing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penny Farthing View Post
I think you can score a lower end Gaggia grinder for £60 which I think will best the Dualit and Krups. In fact half that http://www.garraways.co.uk/p449614/G...nsGrinder.html
Search out some reviews and amke up your own mind 'tho. Innit.
Soz...don;t think it's a burr grinder? No time to search...
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Old 26th September 2008   #249
rusty
 
rusty's Avatar
ML is blade and about £25, MDF is burr and about £125, MM is burr and about £70 I think.
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Old 26th September 2008   #250
rusty
 
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Sounds like spending anything less than getting a Gaggia MDF or an Ibertal MC2 is just wasted money that will need upgraded very quick.

Does anyone have any opinions on the Ibertal MC2? It's £117 which is over my budget but I could wait maybe.
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