HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Alex izzo update (9 msgs / 189 lines)
1) From: Tara Kollas
Okay - so this is late.  And I don't have too much to add about Alex himself
(I suppose Alex could be a "she," but not here), unfortunately.  Because the
success or failure of my espresso has nothing to do with Alex.  I have no
skill at making decaf espresso.  Or half decaf espresso.  I can tamp like
mad, or make the grind fine enough to choke any machine and it seems to
blond after about 10 seconds (if I'm lucky).  My solution?  I've given up.
If I'm making espresso, it's full caf.  And that's it.  So I roasted up the
remainder of my Lot 30 Harar, waited a few days and heated up Alex.  The
pressure light comes on after about 1/2 hour - but I've discovered that it
really needs another 1/2 hour to come up to temp.  So after an hour, I grind
my beans (I have a MACAP stepless - I set it at about 2 1/2), dose, tamp, do
the water dance and then lock in the portafilter.  I'm also at a bit of a
disadvantage since, with my last machine, I had the PF made bottomless and
I'm still not used to the spouts.  Must fix that one day.  It seems good,
looks good and blonds at just about 25 seconds.  Problem?  I've had a sinus
infection for the last week and between that and the z-pack I'm taking, I
can smell nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Drinking coffee when you can't smell it
sort of stinks.  Pun intended.  Did taste good?  Sort of.  I could tell I
was missing something, and had that metallic taste that I know was me and
not the coffee.
Good points?  Alex is easy to use.  I use the pourover feature.  But no-one
else in my family drinks espresso.  So it's not, to me, a bother to have to
refill after I'm done for the night.  So far Alex gets a thumbs up.  The
only bad point is his shear size.  He is enormous.  To me, at least.  But he
does impress guests, I must say.  Hopefully I can report more when I can
really taste things again.

2) From: MichaelB
Tara,
Decaf espresso needs to be treated radically differently than regular. My
wife drinks only decaf so I get a lot of practice using it. In my experience
it is best between days 1-4. No resting, start using it right away. And by
day 5 it is starting to fade and produce runny shots. I grind considerably
finer than reg, anywhere from 2-5 bumps on the Mazzer. And I use a dose
of 15% to 20% more grinds too. But don't tamp any harder, and pay careful
attention to distribution in the basket. The older it gets the more prone it
is to channeling. I don't blame you for giving it up - after all it doesn't
taste quite as good as reg - but it is possible to extract excellent shots
with the above variations. BTW, hope you start smelling again :-).
On 4/12/07, Tara Kollas  wrote:
<Snip>
--
MichaelB

3) From: Floyd Lozano
The solution is to pull shots of regular espresso, swish, and spit!  All the
taste, almost none of the caffeine!!
-F
On 4/12/07, MichaelB  wrote:
<Snip>

4) From: French Lewis
Tara,
I've found the decaf Komodo Blend to produce excellent
espresso.    In my hands, with a La Pavoni Europiccola
lever machine, the Komodo espresso (roasted 15sec into
rolling 2d on a HotTop) is better than any shot of
Donkey, roasted to any level on the Hot Top.
Good luck if you decide to return to decaf.
french
--- MichaelB  wrote:
<Snip>
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5) From: Tara Kollas
I'll have to try that.  I tried a few more doubles tonight with the Harar
and it still just tastes off to me.  Everything has that sort of metallic
taste to it.  And I mean everything, not just coffee.  So I'm thinking until
I'd done with the sinus issues, it will continue to be weird.  I'm not sure
it's worth practicing on Alex for now, since I won't have any idea what
tastes good and what doesn't.  I'm sad that I'm almost out of my Lot 30 -
that was the first coffee for which I bought 20 pounds, thinking I was crazy
and would never use up that much before it went off.  Lasted less than a
year.

6) From: RK
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Tara, even though you are suffering with sinus trouble and it has made =
your taste metalic, it is still a good time to practice pulling shots on =
the Alex.
getting the cooling flush down so you know the time it takes to get your =
temps correct, different grinds for different beans so you can dial your =
grinder in for different beans. Then when you are back in tune for =
tasting you will not waste any time or beans when you pull your shots.
Get to feeling better
RK

7) From: Robert Wachbroit
I'm very curious to hear why you decided on the Alex, given that  
there are several fine machines in that price range. It doesn't sound  
as if the option of easily  connecting to a water line was an  
important consideration. (Sorry if this has already been discussed. I  
couldn't find anything else about this in the archives.)
--Robert
On Apr 12, 2007, at 7:50 PM, Tara Kollas wrote:
<Snip>

8) From: Tara Kollas
Rotary pump was the biggest factor.  The other rotaries I considered were,
in one case, a good bit more expensive and required plumbing in (La Spaz and
Vetrano).  Actually, I had it down to the Alex or the Andreja (or a Micro
Casa a leva - but the exposed plumbing just made me nervous, having two
small kids in the house - as it is, the 2 1/2 year old is absolutely
fascinated by the portafilter of all things).  Also key was the supplier.  I
was going to buy from Tom or Chris Coffee, and that was it.  I won't go into
details or name names, but I had an issue with another company responding a
relatively inexpensive item that I had problems with - no way was I going to
have to fight with someone after spending over $1500.
On 4/15/07, Robert Wachbroit  wrote:
<Snip>

9) From: miKe mcKoffee
Good reasoning Tara. The Alex really fills a needed niche, those who want a
rotary HX but aren't ready to direct plumb yet. Absolutely agree service
reputation of vendor equally or even more important than just which machine
to purchase. My personal espresso equipment recommended vendor list isn't
quite as restrictive but Tom & Chris definitely high on it!
Pacific Northwest Gathering Vhttp://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGV.htmKona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/	From: homeroast-admin
[mailto:homeroast-admin] On Behalf Of Tara Kollas
	Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 8:46 AM
	
	Rotary pump was the biggest factor.  The other rotaries I considered
were, in one case, a good bit more expensive and required plumbing in (La
Spaz and Vetrano).  Actually, I had it down to the Alex or the Andreja (or a
Micro Casa a leva - but the exposed plumbing just made me nervous, having
two small kids in the house - as it is, the 2 1/2 year old is absolutely
fascinated by the portafilter of all things).  Also key was the supplier.  I
was going to buy from Tom or Chris Coffee, and that was it.  I won't go into
details or name names, but I had an issue with another company responding a
relatively inexpensive item that I had problems with - no way was I going to
have to fight with someone after spending over $1500.


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