Monday, February 15, 2010

To clean or not to clean...that is the question

Instead of reinventing the wheel I ran across this great article that discusses cleaning tips for your espresso machine and parts.

I highly recommend reading this especially if you just recently purchased a new home espresso machine.

Happy cleaning!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Coffee Fun Worldwide

Steve Sackmary, whom we had the pleasure of meeting at our tasting last weekend, just started a coffee-related website, Coffee Fun Worldwide, which can be found here:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rise of the machines

To say that I'm a coffee junkie would be an understatement. I have gone through my fair share of espresso machines over the years and none of them come close to my current machine by Nuova Simonelli. I'm currently using the Nuova Simonelli Oscar and love it! This is a rock solid machine that's easy to use and easy to maintain. Weighing in just under 40lbs it's perfect for any home barista. Some of the features that I like are:

1. easy to use

2. easy to clean
3. large boiler 2.3 liters
4. comes with 2 portafilters, yes 2!

I've had mine for over 2 years now and the only thing that I have had to replace is the gasket under the group head, which btw is extremely easy to do. If I had a complaint about this machine it would be that there's no easy way to determine the water levels without opening up the lid and looking down into it. For some this may not be an issue especially if you're running it through a water filtration system. I plan on doing that soon. With the depth measuring in at 16" it's the perfect size to store you espresso glasses, coffee cups, milk frother and tamper. This machine gets 2 thumbs up from me and I highly recommend it if you're looking for a great home espresso machine.

My previous machine that I owned was the Expobar Brewtus III. Talk abo
ut a beautiful Italian machine. This machine has 2 large double boilers, a large drip pan, 2 pressure gauges, 1 for steaming and 1 for brewing. Another nice feature that you don't see on most machines is that it has a hot water tap. The digital temperature displays is another nice feature about this machine. The steam wand on this machine is larger than most steam wands you see on home espresso machines as well, so it will froth your milk in seconds. Keep in mind since this machine has 2 boilers it will take a little longer for the machine to warm up. It takes about 18-20 minutes for the machine to warm up but trust me you won't be disappointed for the wait. Like the Oscar there's no easy way to visually see the water levels but again this won't be an issue if you have it attached to a water filtration system. Also it uses an Electronic Boiler Refill Control which uses probes mounted inside the boiler to detect the water level. It will also turn the boilers off for safety if the reservoir or boilers run out of water.

If the Oscar and Brewtus are out of your price range then I would recom
mend the Gagia Baby Twin. This is a nice home system that's compact in size but also has double boilers. One boiler is for brewing and the other boiler is for steaming. I use this machine for when I travel (road trips/camping) because it's so small and light weight so it's pretty easy to move around. Like the Oscar and Brewtus the Baby Twin comes with a commercial size portafilter with a nice size handle. One very nice feature that the Gagia has are the 2 programmable buttons on the front of the machine. These buttons are easy to program and are used to dispense the desired amount of espresso. Like the Oscar and Brewtus the top of the Gagia gives you plenty of room for all of your supplies; not as much room as the Brewtus and Oscar but then again it's a much smaller machine, hence the name Baby Twin. A couple of things that I don't like about this machine compared to others are:

1. Power button is on the back of the machine. Can be an issue depending upon where you have your machine placed.

2. The steam wand is quite small compared to the Brewtus and Oscar.

These are the 3 machines I recommend depending upon your budget. You really can't go wrong with any of them and it really just depends on your preference and features that you consider "must haves". My recommendation to you is to test these machines out if you can find a local dealer that stocks them. If you're in Austin, Texas Coffee Traders carries these brands. Texas Coffee Traders will also walk you through on how to use the machine and will show you how to draw shots correctly with your machine. How cool is that?

Happy brewing!

There is Nothing Coffee Cannot Do

This just blew my mind:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pictures from our Tasting

The lovable Chris Gomez has posted his photos of our cupping last Sunday. Check 'em out!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Yes, we have a blog now.

Here at Juan Pelota Cafe, we're rockin' it like it's 1999.

Ah, 1999. Lance had just come back to win his first Tour, the world has about to be destroyed in an unspecified millennial cataclysm, and the masses had newly become infatuated with a trend called "blogging," wherein people shared personal information online, ostensibly with more than 140 characters.

Our new blog won't be too much different. Here the happy, healthy and informationally-wealthy baristas of Juan Pelota Cafe will log in to share their coffee knowledge and the latest cafe news.

Our first dispatch: Nicole is back!

After a long hiatus in the Pacific Northwest, our very first barista is back behind the Juan Pelota counter. (I'm sure the flowered apron is soon to follow.)