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.
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
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>
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> Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around http://mail.yahoo.com
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.
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
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>
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>
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.