I love coffee


I mean, I really love coffee, but even I think buying a $450 coffee grinder for home use is a little excessive.

Wake up, get taste of coffee lovers' nirvana
The coffee situation at my house got out of control gradually. ... Thankfully, the Internet cured it. There I stumbled across a caffeine lover's nirvana, an encyclopedic site called CoffeeGeek.com. It listed hundreds of reviews of espresso machines, grinders and accessories. A comprehensive milk-frothing guide offered tips that start at the cow. (“The feed of the cow, the type of the cow, the state of lactation, etc.,” would result in subtle yet potentially noticeable changes in the foam's quality.)

By the time I got to the espresso glossary, which defined a portafilter sneeze as “the instant release of pressure in the brewhead,” which occurs on a pump and piston machine that doesn't have a pressure release system, I knew that here I would find the definitive answer to any coffee query.

I phoned Mark Prince, the site's founder and most prolific reviewer, to learn which espresso machine I should buy as a backup. But he promptly persuaded me to buy a grinder instead.

“A good grinder is far more important, but people always skimp on it,” Prince said. “I've made far better espresso with a $300 grinder and a $250 espresso machine than with a $50 grinder and a $2,000 espresso machine.”

and I thought everyone knew to grind their own beans, right before brewing your nectar:

“What's so important about having the right grinder?” I asked.

“When you grind beans, within the first minute they lose roughly 80 percent of the CO2 stored inside, and CO2 is one of the major flavor transporters between coffee and the cup,” Prince said. “The CO2 released inside of ground coffee will carry the oils and aromatics right inside the cup.”

IntelligentsiaCoffee.com is the best; we buy it too.

His grinder recommendations (be warned, most of these are counter-space hogs):

- The Bodum Antigua ($69.99 at WholeLatteLove.com) is the cheapest grinder he recommends, better-suited to grinding for a press pot because “the grind is too inconsistent for espresso.”

“Bodum 5671-57USA Antigua Burr Grinder, Matte Chrome Finish” (Bodum)

- Solis makes three good grinders at higher prices, including the Maestro Classic ($99 at Kitchen-Universe.com and “a good all-around grinder to even use for espresso”), the Maestro Plus ($149 at AabreeCoffee.com and “a little better built, with a weighted base and with more grind settings”) and the Baratza Virtuoso ($199 at 1st-Line.com, it has “a DC motor for better torque and a much beefier burr set”).

Solis Crema Maestro Classic Coffee Grinder
“Solis Crema Maestro Classic Coffee Grinder” (Solis Crema)

Maestro Plus Conical Burr Coffee Grinder Red
“Maestro Plus Conical Burr Coffee Grinder Red” (Solis)

- The Rancilio Rocky is “legendary in terms of home espresso grinders, one of the first consumer-built grinders that uses commercial parts,” he said. “It's like buying a Viking stove for your home.” It costs $295 at 1stInCoffee.com.

Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder
“Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder” (Rancilio)

- The Mazzer Mini is “the epitome of home espresso grinders, looks beautiful, built like a tank and has a stepless grind adjustment that no other brand offers at that price point.” It costs $429 at 1st-Line.com.

“Mini Mazzer -Timer” (Vaneli's Espresso Machines)

Given our affectations, my husband and I probably would have gravitated immediately to the Mazzer Mini even if Prince had not described it, after “a very long-term evaluation,” as “the best possible grinder for home espresso.” A tape measure determined the Mini would fit under our cupboards with half an inch of headroom to spare.

After ordering the grinder from 1st-Line.com (free two-day shipping is standard), I ordered Black Cat espresso beans from IntelligentsiaCoffee.com, which ships beans right after they have been roasted.

(article apparently from the NYT, but I couldn't find it online, or in my dead tree edition, while I drank my morning pot of espresso)

Tags: , /, /


Top buy!!
You did the right thing going to the experts (CoffeeGeek.com) about coffee machines and grinders. What you make the coffee with is just as important as the quality and freshness of the beans.
I wouldn't be surprised if you spend more money on coffee now, the coffee will taste so good you wil drink more than you used to!

If I drink more coffee than I do know, I may have heart palipitations. However, if my coffee tastes better, I'll just enjoy it more.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 21, 2006 2:55 PM.

Gold digging part three was the previous entry in this blog.

Coffee - the bean side is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.37