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My latest new toy .... *sip*
Home away from home
Joined:
2006/1/9 0:13
From Australia
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Okay, I am a coffee addict I must admit. But my passion for coffee evolved ever since I came to Australia and I must tell you that, when it comes to winter season, what you are craving for the first thing in the morning, is sipping a cup of warm Latte, or in a more Australian version, Flat White, which is my everyday coffee of choice.

Having bought take away coffee for almost half a year and almost sent me broke at a time (I had around 3-4 cups in a day), I decided to make my own coffee. Still new to 'proper' coffee (yes, no instant Nescafe` here mate), I went and bought a coffee brewer in 2005.

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Because I was tight on budget, and because I have little knowledge on how to make a proper coffee, I thought that was the best thing. Why you may well ask? Because, it was cheap. AUD$20 for that, so if I decided to halt my interest (like I always do), it would not be much of a loss anyway.

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It is non-electrical powered, so, you will need to put it on the gas stove or cook stove to brew the coffee. Here is how it looks like when you unscrew the top half. It reveals the filter basket, where you put your grounded (grind) coffee.

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Lift the filter basket out, and that is the bottom part, the vessel, where you fill in with fresh water.

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At the side of the vessel, there is a purge nozzle tip. The reason for this is to control the pressure when the water in the vessel is boiled. You wouldn't want the whole thing to explode when the pressure builds up :p

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Here is what the bottom side of the filter basket looks like. The tip of the channel tube actually touches the water level in the vessel, so when the water boils, and when enough pressure has build up, the water will forced its way up through the tube channel and through the filter.

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That's where the brewing process is begins. Filtering water through the ground coffee beans, and you get proper filtered coffee. And up it forces its way through another tube channel, and this is where it all flows out into the catchment cup.

From there, you just need to turn off the stove, and pour it into you cup. Is it good? Nope, this is the worst technique/method, and it requires a slightly coarse ground coffee in order to work. And this is not espresso coffee, this is just normal filtered coffee with no much difference than using a plunger.



ENTER 2006.

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I got myself a 'proper' espresso machine. This thing was on sale at the time I purchased it. The price tag was AUD$60. I thought it was a bargain hunt for a neat small working proper espresso machine. It is a Breville ESP4.

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The reason why it is so cheap is because it is a boiler espresso machine. How it works is like my previous unit, but this is electrified, and creates more pressure at the filter basket.

It wasn't the best compared to the more expensive ones in the market but I'll get into that after this. There are not many units in the current market in the forms of boiler. Most systems these days uses an internal 15 bar pump, which can generate pressure and heated water in a matter of minute or even seconds.

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While this thing has an added bonus over my previous unit, in the sense that it has got a steamed froth maker, where you make froth from the milk for all those cappuccino, latte, flat white cream look alike milk toppings. However being a boiler means it take about 2-4 minutes for the water to boil in the vessel, before you can start extracting espresso out of the filter and use the froth, because this is where the pressure in the unit builds up enough to force water through.

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It also has a proper dual wall crema system at the filter basket, but it doesn't really produce any crema at all (search wikipedia for the definition of crema) given its 4-5 bar only pressure that can be generated out of a boiler unit.

It was good, but not the best. I have used it for more than a year now to make my own coffee every morning. The most annoying thing is the waiting time for the boiler to boil, which results in around 15-20 minutes of total time just to make a cup of coffee, after factoring in the time to make the froth with the milk.


ENTER 2008

WELCOME THE DADDY

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This new kickarse ESPRESSO (there is a need to address this :p) machine is from Breville, model BES820. In fact, it is so good it's labeled as BREVILLE PROFESSIONAL 800 COLLECTION - PROGRAMMABLE ESPRESSO MACHINE.

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The first thing you will notice is, it is commercially graded (means it can be used in commercial standard) because of its full stainless steel construction. It has proper pressure reading gauge, programmable water function, hot water system, auto purge, Italian made 15 bar unit, and many more features.

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The good thing is, being a 15 bar unit, means, it only takes a matter of seconds before the system is ready to be used. For this unit, it takes about 10-20 seconds to warm up and ready to go.

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With an Espresso Pressure Gauge monitor, it is very helpful in assisting you in optimum coffee extraction, so you know your coffee will always taste right each time.

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It comes preset with the correct amount of extraction per filter cup size. So if you decided to make 2 shots of coffee, then press the button on the right and it will automatically extract 60ml. If a single shot, it will only extract 30ml. Very important because the system came with 2 different filter baskets, a small one for single shot, and the larger one for double shots. So 30ml & 60ml is the perfect amount for the filter basket because anything more than that, you would lose the taste or we call it over-extraction.

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This is the top section, where you place your cups and mugs. It is a heating platform, so it is warm when the unit is operation, and to extract the aroma out of the coffee, the best way to do this is to ensure everything is warm. Warm cups, warm filter, warm everything.

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Another added features is the warm water dispersing unit. Say, if you want to make a cup of tea instead, you can use this machine to disperse warm water only. Very convenient.

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This is the dedicated hot water wand for all your hot water needs.

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Here is the frothing wand. They are both 360 degrees swivel directional, so work at any position you are comfortable with. Where as my previous system, it is fixed.

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Here is the filter unit, this thing weights in at 500g, pretty heavy compared to any other units you can find in the market, usually weighting in at just under 250g. It means this is solid construction.

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Not forgetting the massive 2.2litre capacity water tank. Enough to make plenty of coffee :)

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Take note the quality and construction of the water extract wall.

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And also commercial styled 360 degrees bearing swivel system for both the hot water and frothing wands.

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Also comes with a free gift, a Breville coffee/spice grinder. This is not the best grinder I must admit. It works and is perfectly fine in grounding coffee beans. But the proper grinder you should get is a Burr grinder, any other grinder uses blade, which slices the coffee beans and turns them into powder if wrongly adjusted. I will be getting a proper Burr grinder soon but they cost well over $100 for one.

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Compare the trio, a huge difference isn't it? And the retail price for this unit is a whopping AUD$600+


Posted on: 2008/3/6 9:17

Edited by edgar on 2008/3/6 9:43:29
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Re: My latest new toy .... *sip*
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/3/5 20:12
From Kch
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Dang.. a Breville.

Not a coffee addict... but gotta love a good brew every now n then!

Posted on: 2008/3/6 9:27
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Re: My latest new toy .... *sip*
Home away from home
Joined:
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Yes baby, top of the range Breville Home Espresso Machine (eventhough it is also suitable for commercial use as well).

Posted on: 2008/3/6 9:32
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Re: My latest new toy .... *sip*
Just popping in
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sweet as mate... grats on that. You gonna have better-than-starbucks coffee everyday aren't you? I do miss the vietnamese drip coffee though...

Posted on: 2008/3/6 10:09
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Re: My latest new toy .... *sip*
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Joined:
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From Kch
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Ever notice how .. old.. Starbucks' machine is?

Posted on: 2008/3/6 10:15
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Re: My latest new toy .... *sip*
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Joined:
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Quote:

Vman wrote:
sweet as mate... grats on that. You gonna have better-than-starbucks coffee everyday aren't you? I do miss the vietnamese drip coffee though...


First, the coffee beans I used are from Mifeia, they are one of the best in the country. The coffee beans used at Starbucks are bad, they taste bad and smells bad. The reason why people loves going to Starbucks is because of its brand, the interior design, atmosphere, *ASIANS HANG OUT PLACE* and that they make nice ice coffee.

Is it really nice? Well, it isn't. The taste and smell are all covered by sweetness in the form of cream and ice-cream fillings.

Real coffee enthusiast drink coffee without sugar. I drink it that way, and you can taste every bit of the coffee, the aroma, the sweet bitterness and strength.

If you try and drink Starbucks coffee without sugar, you would die a slow death from the sourness and bitterness :p Not sure if it's because the lack of skills from these baristas; in fact, they shouldn't even be qualified as a barista, or could just be the poor source of coffee beans itself.

And for those of you who have not had the Vietnamese Coffee before, it is also a filtering form of coffee. But it is gravity fed, the extracts from the filter are pulled via atmosphere pressure without any force, hence the term 'dripping'.

Of course, for an enthusiasts like me, I have a couple of those filters as well (mainly because my gf is a Vietnamese :p).

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Here is what it looks like. Usually placed on top of a glass filled with 1/3 of condensed milk.

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Put grounded coffee into the filter basket, do not tamp, because once compressed, water will not be able to flow. Where as in espresso method, ground coffee must be tamped to suitable force to compact the coffee.

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Pour hot boiling water in, and cover with the lid. Wait for the coffee to be extracted / dripped into the glass, and on top of the condensed milk.

Once completed, stir them up, and pour into another glass full of ice cubes. Stir well and sip with straw. Yummm.....

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As for Vietnamese version of coffee, only get this brand for the ground coffee. The one I have, is straight from Vietnam.

Posted on: 2008/3/6 10:31
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Re: My latest new toy .... *sip*
Home away from home
Joined:
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From Australia
Posts: 2669
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Quote:

Fuyu wrote:
Ever notice how .. old.. Starbucks' machine is?


Could you take a pic and show me?

Those industrial coffee machine are generally huge, and cost thousands of dollars, and can make 4-6 or sometimes even 8 cups of coffee simultaneously.

Posted on: 2008/3/6 10:38
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Re: My latest new toy .... *sip*
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/3/5 20:12
From Kch
Posts: 2110
Offline
Quote:

edgar wrote:
Quote:

Fuyu wrote:
Ever notice how .. old.. Starbucks' machine is?


Could you take a pic and show me?

Those industrial coffee machine are generally huge, and cost thousands of dollars, and can make 4-6 or sometimes even 8 cups of coffee simultaneously.


No pics. An acquiantance from S'pore (she's in F&B industry) noticed it. Said the model they use in Spring's and airport's Starbucks is like old by 3 years at least. Said could be old equipment from KL side. Cost-saving? I wonder how often they need to upgrade or can they actually use the machine until it decide to not work anymore? Heh.. o_O?

/feels ashamed to ask these ques, as technically, I'm also (or was) in the hospitality industry.. just not the F&B side of things. ^^;;;;;;

Posted on: 2008/3/6 10:44
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Re: My latest new toy .... *sip*
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Technically, there are no upgrades for these coffee machines, even if they do, they are minimal, such as newer features. Only on paper though, because in technical terms, they will work as it is, and they only have 2 jobs. To pull espresso shots at a given pressure, and to make the froth.

That is espresso machines do, and nothing else. Occasionally, they do need to be serviced, especially the pump and also the heating mechanism (those copper loop tubes) needs cleaning to make sure they don't block. Also check for any corrosion if any, inside the system, or waste residue from the inlet of water supply.

Posted on: 2008/3/6 11:31
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Re: My latest new toy .... *sip*
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Edgar,you drink coffee in the late evening ? i think & prefer the java estate coffee - more romantic

Posted on: 2008/3/6 14:24
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