HomeRoast Digest

Topic: moka vs. espresso (26 msgs / 620 lines)
1) From: French Lewis
Hi all.
I have what may be an ignorant question but...what is
the difference between moka pot coffee and pump
machine espresso?   I've read that espresso by
definition is a certain mass of finely ground coffee
beans tamped to 30lbs and the shot is pulled in 20-27
seconds (or some similar numbers I don't remember them
exactly).   From having decent moka, I understand the
steam forces the water through the grounds, no
tamping, not as much pressure.   I guess I have never
had an espresso that made me say 'WOW!', I can take or
leave Starbucks espresso.
Can someone give me some indication of difference in
mouth feel, flavor depth, anything that would allow me
to discern between the two drinks if I was given a
blind taste test?   Also, does anyone have a
suggestion for someplace in Connecticut to go and get
a good espresso?
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2) From: miKe mcKoffee
Sorry to detract from the endless OT cyclist battle but thought I'd give a 
coffee related query a bit-o-input. From my perspective and experience Moka 
brew is more akin to strong Press pot in the cup than espresso. Espresso 
extraction uses much more pressure than steam alone can produce in Moka pots 
(or steam toys) and results in extracting flavor elements that can be 
extracted no other way. I'm not an "espresso hound" per se' yet my primary 
method of brewing is espresso extraction with Miss Silvia. My primary "cup" 
is not a straight shot but an Americano, specifically an accidentally 
invented by me cross between a traditional Cafe Crema/Suisse and traditional 
Americano - double PF load 5oz pull in 25sec plus 5oz hot water. It's a 
silky smooth crema laden rich full cup with all the brightness of Vac or 
pour-over brewing and body of Press or Moka pot. IMO the ultimate "cup of 
coffee strength" brewing method.
Stop by anytime and I'll brew you a sample! (usually 3 or 4 different 
roasted varieties to choose from rest ready, always at least one of a dozen 
or so Kona's)
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer etc.http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm

3) From: Brett Mason
I have an Espresso Toy - specifically the Starbucks Barrista... How
would I make an Americano well using this "smaller and less powerful
than the good machines" espresso maker?
Any tips would help!
On Sat, 19 Feb 2005 00:09:25 -0800, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
Brett Mason
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

4) From: French Lewis
thanks for the invitation.   I'm sure the americano
would be well worth the trip, but since it seems you
are in Washington state, I'd have a hard time
justifying the expense of the round trip airline
ticket *and* the new espresso machine that I would
need after being spoiled by the americano to my wife.
--- miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
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5) From: AlChemist John
And to add to an on topic discussion :), espresso tends to be a "clean" 
flavor, where moka is "muddy".  Now, I did not say good and bad.  Both are 
a thick, heavy drink.  In my mind, there is no mixing them up.
Sometime around 00:09 2/19/2005, miKe mcKoffee typed:
Topic drift:
I have taken to pulling a 2 oz espresso, and toping off with that 2 oz of 
water (from the group head after puck dump) and an oz of milk.  It is very 
rich and strong, and I have no desire to add sugar to is (my drip gets a 
dash of sugar and milk), but is gone too quickly.  Aside from "good", what 
is it I am making?  Is this an Americano?   I have tried MM 5+5, but found 
it still wanting sugar and milk by my palette.  Aside from that, I can't 
get a non-channeling 5 oz pull.  Sprays everywhere.  Does anyone who is 
crotchless pull that volume?
Really nice to have you back Mike!
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.dreamsandbones.net/blog/http://www.chocolatealchemy.com/

6) From: Gary Townsend
I have an Espresso Toy - specifically the Starbucks Barrista... How
Since I'm at 'work' today, and it's a rainy day, I'm enjoying an
americano ( I was highly influenced by miKe a few months back, and
now, I'm also hooked on them!)
At home, I use my 'lil Gaggia Espresso machine. At my office, I have a
Krups II Cafe Duomo, or a higher priced steam toy.  I admit that I
only paid $22. at a thrift shop for it, but I bought it solely for use
as a drip machine. Then I tried making espresso with it, and learned a
few tricks that seem to make 'decent' espresso- like shots. Makes a
passable americano, and gets me thru the day!
Pre heat the machine. 
1 I load 4 oz of water into the boiler, and turn it on. I leave the
cap off, until the water starts to roll. I insert the basket into the
PF and lock it in. I prepare the real shot, while this is going on.
Measuring the water, grinding the beans, and waiting for the pre-heat
cycle to finish. I pour the water in and get it going 1st ( Cap still
off )
I wipe the PF basket dry, and load, tamp, and lock it in as quickly as
I can. Then I wait for it to begin to roll, and cap it.
Preheat the coffee cup
I use an electric hot water kettle, and keep it hot, so the water is
ready, before I start the espresso portion. I usually make a 2X4 or 2
parts espresso to 4 parts water. I put 4 oz of water in my cup, and
place it under the PF ( I chopped mine...makes much more room to get a
cup under it!) and pour the shot onto the 4 oz of hot water. I think
it tastes better, as the mug is hot, the crema is preserved, by going
directly into the mug, and it tastes pretty darn good, to me.
I use a Bodum Meloir 8 FP at work, and I alternate between the 2
methods, using the same roast, I can compare the flavors, and I dial
in my roasts to the brewing methods that I find enjoyable. Someday,
I'll step up to the plate, and buy a monster dream machine...and then
I'll use my 'lil Gaggia at work, to get me thru those long afternoons!
Grind as fine as you can get away with, and lightly tamp ( my baskets
are marked and I fill just above the '4' mark, and tamp to the line
with about 10 - 15 #'s. Anymore than that, I end up choking the
machine...once you choke the machine, you'll know when you have ground
too fine, or tamped too hard. I picked up a few very cheap $5.
espresso machines at thrift shops and clean them up, and 'experiment'
on them. Then I give them to friends that like my coffee, and someday
( insert evil laugh ) they will start roasting on their own! Then, if
I'm out of say...harrar, I can stop by their place and 'borrow' a cup
or 2, until my next shipment comes in!
(Feeling a little like Dr Evil)...where's my hairless cat? ;-)

7) From: Brett Mason
Thank you - this is the info I was looking for!  I'll adapt it to my Barista...
This week I gave away 2 hot air poppers and a lb of green beans - I
also sold 6 lb for a $06 budget infusion...  Two more homeroasters in
the making.... I barely had time to send any emails...
On Sat, 19 Feb 2005 09:34:44 -0600, Gary Townsend  wrote:
Brett Mason
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

8) From: Les
Mike got me hooked on Americanos.  His analyse is right on!  However,
I like a good 2x4 Americano.  I pull a triple basket (25 grams) 2 oz
ristetto in 22 seconds with an 8 second preinfusion  and add 4 oz of
water.  I think it is a little more silky, and like Mike's brew it
ends up  "regular" strength.
On Sat, 19 Feb 2005 00:09:25 -0800, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:

9) From: Steven Dover
I have the Rio Vapore - same as the Barista. Now, make no mistake - I don't
want in on this hell raisin' but...if there's nothing wrong with the
machine - it will make a good, honest, espresso. If it doesn't - something
is wrong with the grind, the tamp pressure and/or one's technique. The most
expensive machine in the world will not make good espresso if the operator
doesn't do things right. I.e., a "good machine" is no better than the one
who's operating it. No offense intended. - Steve D.

10) From: Les
I have pulled some really good shots on a Rio Vapore.  It isn't a steam toy.
On Sat, 19 Feb 2005 19:21:23 -0600, Steven Dover  wrote:

11) From: Gary Townsend
Les, I was mistaken!
I checked out the machine at the CoffeeGeek reviews, and think that
its just like my home machine [Gaggia Espresso]...There are a bunch of
them [Barista's] up 4 sale on the eBay. The Ria Vapore is a Saeco??
There seems to be another version Starbucks Barista, made by another
Co. an Estro ???  Is this the same machine, Brett??? It had decent
reviews, there.
On Sat, 19 Feb 2005 19:04:19 -0800, Les  wrote:

12) From: Angelo
A suggestion: get friendly with one of the Starbucks' "associates", or 
whatever they call their employees these days. They can subtract their 
employee discount from your purchase price...So, if you buy when the item 
is on sale AND you get an employee discount, you will get a good deal...
BTW, I was given discounts by these kids after just meeting them..They just 

13) From: Brett Mason
I appreciate your digging into this one...
The Saeco Estro Profi and Rio profi are identical models. This model
is now marketed by Starbucks as Barista - as their exclusive brand.
Here's a link I used to identify the machines:
 http://www.partsguru.com/Page4.htmlAlthough I am usually absolutely right about everything to which I
write, and you all know it, (and silently agree of course), I don't
make very good espresso very often, and my microfoam is more like hot
milk with various bubbles on top.  Looks nice as a Capp...
All ideas welcome!
On Sun, 20 Feb 2005 00:04:01 -0600, Gary Townsend  wrote:
Brett Mason
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

14) From: Gene Smith
Brett, I know you are starting out by running the steam until the light 
goes off  indicating the boiler has kicked in, and then waiting until just 
before it turns on again to start foaming, right?
The only other question is: does the light stay off throughout steaming, or 
does it come back on?  Mine started coming back on before I was dones 
steaming and got progressively poorer at turning out foam.  I cured it by 
descaling.  It now happily steams fiercely from start to finish of foaming 
a full cup of milk.
NOW...having said that, let me add a couple of things Tom has said that 
bear on the discussion.  Firstly, Tom says that it ain't real microfoam if 
you have to stir it - which is to say, it should not be foam sitting on top 
of steamed milk.  BUT, on one of his pages he also suggests that perhaps 
the espresso shot(s) should be made first, because the foam is fragile and 
tends to separate out if it sits and he thinks the coffee can stand the 
wait better than the foam.
Me, I just go ahead and make the steamed milk/foam first and stir it a bit 
when I'm finished making the shot.
Hope some of this helps Barista/Saeco users.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

15) From: Gary Townsend
I spent a 1/2 hour on eBay looking at *$'s Barista machines, and put a
dozen machines 'on watch'. I am interested to see what the final
selling prices are... There are a few 'package' deals available with 4
-6 #'s of their brand name espresso included, presumably to help you
dial in your grinder etc, so that you aren't wasting 'the really good
stuff' from SM ;-)
All in all, say wahat you want about eBay...I've had a few minor
scrapes (usually, carrier related breakage...but that's what insurance
is for...but I've gotten some decent deals, too! My rule of thumb is
no more than 33% of the 'internet froogled price' and I usually win
bids at the lowest price, as I was the only bidder. I won a Sunbeam
C-30 'Coffeemaster' for $10. Works great! And I won a Bunn VPR for
$50. That is in perfect condition.
Gary...maybe I'll get lucky and get a Mazzer for $50.
There's a couple of La Marzocco Linea Series 2 machines, that are
still under my 33%  guideline, that would look great on my home

16) From: Gene Smith
While you is a-Frooglin', Mr. Gary, don't forget that the Barista is 
regularly discounted a hundred bucks at Xmas time.  The one my girls got me 
was at that price and the manager had trouble finding the box, 
necessitating a bit of a wait, so he knocked off some more for the 
inconvenience!  Ended up a shade over $200 brand new, as I recall.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

17) From: Gene Smith
And, as if all the *other* variables to steaming milk weren't enough, it
must also be remembered that milk - as we are so often reminded of coffee -
is an organic product, and subject to the oddities thereof.  I mention this
because I just steamed up a crappuccino using milk I had just bought - the
only variable in my usual technique.  Bubbles tended to be big and the
whole thing collapsed before I could pour the coffee into it.  Helps to
find a local dairy source that produces consistently good results.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

18) From: Jerry Procopio
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
When I got my *S's Barista about a year ago I went to several of the 
*S's shops in the Chesapeake/Virginia Beach area because I had just 
missed their $50 off holiday sale.  I was hoping to get a manager to 
give me the sale price anyway.  No luck.  They weren't even nice about 
the way they said no.  They acted like I was some smelly street person 
begging for a free cup of coffee.  I returned home, got on e-bay and won 
a "new in the box" *S's Barista with warranty for $150.  I think *S's 
has also raised their price on the unit during the last year.  I got 
lucky - when it arrived it was as advertised.  On ebay it is always 
buyer beware.  I've picked up some real crap there too.  If I had it to 
do over again, I would have waited a little longer, saved my allowance 
until I could afford a Silvia and made my purchase thru Sweet Maria's.  
I was new and ignorant then.  Now I'm just old and ignorant - but I see 
a Silvia on the horizon.
P.S.  By the way, that is the last time I have been through *S's doors.  
Gene Smith wrote:

19) From: Brett Mason
Gene, I began doing the light thing on pulling the shot, but it didnt
occur to me I should do the same with the milk.  I will try that in a
little while (afternoon lattes)...
I just purchased a new steam wand tip reputed to make better micro
foam, and it is now installed.  I think I must do better surf the temp
with the steaming...
What do you do for descaling the Saeco?  I have CLR, but the dialoge
the last two days indicated this is a bad idea, so I have not gone
there yet...
On Sun, 20 Feb 2005 11:39:04 -0600, Gene Smith  wrote:
Brett Mason
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

20) From: Gene Smith
Oh, you have to or you get pitiful steaming results.  The boiler has pretty 
good punch when it's heating, but limited capacity means you won't get 
through steaming the amount I regularly do (1 cup) without it cutting out 
and having to reheat.
Which tip?  And was it just a straight replacement?  I'd consider an 
alternate tip if it is just a matter of unscrew old/screw on new...but I'm 
unwilling to fiddle with adapters or thread cutting, etc.
Next order, I intend to get what Tom sells...but the last descaling deed 
was done with plain old white vinegar from the supermercado.  I just dumped 
some (half-a-cup, maybe?) into the water tank and ran it through.
I *did* have to figure out my technique hadn't been all that bright the 
time I did it before, when I kept blowing steam out through the steam wand. 
This last time I switched to pumping the heated water through the steam 
wand and got much better results (Duhh).
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

21) From: Brett Mason
Pitiful steaming - yes that describes my expertise so far...
Steam Wand tip - I bought one with 30 degree holes, but the threads
weren't right.  3 trips to Home Depot for brass gadgets, and teflon
tape, and - It seems to get the job done...  Thankfully
Starbucks/Saeco didn't go with a standard size, knowing I would like
to make the (*&^(*& drive to Home Depot and losing 4 days trying to
get better microfoam...
I will go for the vinegar solution rather thanthe CLR...  I'm too
cheap to do the proper SM recommended solution.  Maybe after I sell
more coffee, I can cover the expense...  My *$ Barista cost me $2 at a
yard sale, and works way beyond its price...
Thanks for your insights,
On Sun, 20 Feb 2005 16:08:58 -0600, Gene Smith  wrote:
Brett Mason
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

22) From: marty purselley
Is the Moka type drink what I could expect with the Bialetti stove top
style espresso pots?  I've been thinking of getting one for the
camper.  Also, in my searching, I've ran across quite a few gasket
sets-do they wear out frequently?
On Sat, 19 Feb 2005 07:29:00 -0800, AlChemist John  wrote:

23) From: Edward Spiegel
At 8:54 PM -0600 2/21/05, marty purselley wrote:
Stovetop Espresso makers and Moka Pots are the same thing. They make great coffee as long as one uses them correctly (drip grind rather than fine grind, no tamping and medium heat). I have a 2-cup bialetti that makes great coffee.

24) From: Frank Haist
Agree with Edward's post in regard to this. It can be quite easy to cook 
the coffee in a moka pot. Medium heat is best and don't forget the thing 
on the stove. In terms of gaskets, I've used the same gasket for a 
couple of years without needing a replacement, but I keep a couple on 
hand (note, the warning about cooking the coffee comes from multiple 
experience, and the gaskets survived those). Be careful with the 
handles. Those can break off when twisting the top off and those are a 
bit more difficult to find replacements for. When I was in Italy last 
year, I was surprised to see stores with baskets of moka pot handles. 
Evidence that those tend to break.
marty purselley wrote:

25) From: Gene Smith
The other guys who have responded are clearly more compos mentis than I, 
Marty.  It takes a long time to wear out a gasket with 'normal' use.  The 
trick is to leave it on heat for an hour or two...that way you get the nice 
black patina baked onto the aluminum *and* melt the gasket.  Melted 
gaskets, by the way, are Great Big Fun to scrape off.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

26) From: Angelo
The Barista (Saeco) is not really a "toy" machine. I had one for years 
before i got my Silvia, and it produced some excellent cups of coffee. An 
Americano is easy. Just pull your shot of espresso and dilute it with hot 
water to taste.
The drink Mike is speaking of will be a bit more difficult with the Barista 
due to its smaller boiler. You would have to run 5oz of water THROUGH the 
coarser grind to prepare the espresso part, and then add the hot water.
Problem is that the small boiler will not produce that much at the proper 
temp. The Silvia barely makes it...

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