HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Good Eats espresso episode tonight (10 msgs / 258 lines)
1) From: Sandy Andina
Anyone catch tonight's episode of Alton Brown's "Good Eats" on Food  
Network? (Coming up again at 3am Eastern, 2 Central, 1 Mountain and  
midnight Pacific).  He pretty much nailed it, except I think that  
after visiting Atlanta's Cool Beans roastery he could have mentioned  
home roasting (unless he did when I was greeting the pizza guy at the  
front door and I missed it).  He was using a Rocky with a doser and  
what appeared to be a Saeco or Rancilio Audrey (Silvia's progenitor)  
semi-auto (smaller PF with plastic spouts, unlike a Gaggia but much  
like a Saeco)--the froth wand looked like a Gaggia.  Surprised that he  
passed over the Silvia as having too many bells & whistles, since it  
is in essence a bigger, more solidly built version of the machine he  
used, with a better steam wand and pro PF to boot.  To his credit, he  
advised ditching those plastic cat-toy tampers included with the  
machines and instead buying a good solid heavy pro tamper.  His froth  
was a little too bubbly (he kept heating the milk to over 160 and then  
making big-bubble foam on top--when most experts advocate stretching  
the milk till about 90, and then turning off the steam by 160 and  
removing the wand).  What I didn't understand was when he was using a  
French press as a "budget" way (i.e., sans machine) to make strong  
coffee as a pseudo-espresso  base for lattes, he then topped the  
coffee with steamed milk and a dollop of foam, without explaining how  
to get steamed/frothed milk without an espresso machine. I didn't see  
any stovetop frothers, saucepans, or Aerolatte mini-whisks lying around.
Peace & song,
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
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2) From: Yakster
Missed it, but have heard of frothing milk heated first in microwave
or stove with a French Press (like a butter churn) or one of those
battery operated wands.
I have tried neither, but the French Press is very versitile, even
standing in for an easy way to try cold-process coffee.  (Have tried,
didn't stick with)
I wonder if you can watch episodes online?
-Chris
On 6/9/09, Sandy Andina  wrote:
<Snip>
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3) From: Allon Stern
On Jun 10, 2009, at 2:07 AM, Sandy Andina wrote:
<Snip>
I stumbled onto the show accidentally in the last 10 minutes, said  
"wow, I'm gonna have to see this, but not piecemeal" and set up the  
later showing to record; it's on the TiVo waiting for my spare time  
to miraculously appear out of nowhere.
-
allon
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4) From: Hap Maguire
Chris
Lurker coming out here. This is something I actually have knowledge of. We
have a Frabosk Cappuccino Creamer that does an excellent job of frothing
milk. I add a touch of Vanilla to skim milk and churn it in the CC to
frothing perfection. My wife and I prefer it to the frother on our Gaggia
Classic. The trick is to prewarm the milk in the microwave and voila,
frothed milk that is second to none. Its weird though that the milk we use
varies in its frothing quality from dairy to dairy and from freshest to not
so in no particular order. I can say though that skim seems to do the best
job between the varieties out there.
Hap
On Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 7:35 AM, Yakster  wrote:
<Snip>
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5) From: Sandy Andina
I am aware of all the ways to froth milk sans machine (I used to  
travel with an All-Clad non-powered wing-type espresso maker--till it  
broke--and a battery-operated frothing wand for pre-warmed cream,  
though it works best on ice-cold skim milk). I'm just surprised that  
Brown didn't mention ANY of them when he poured the steamed milk and  
topped the french press cafe au lait with a dollop of foam. I'm sure  
he cheated and just used what was already in the pitcher from his  
espresso machine.
I also noticed that when he was weighing his portafilter to  
demonstrate proper dosing (before the segment in which he recounted  
espresso machine history and then addressed the various types of  
machines), the PF he was using appeared to be a professional-size-and- 
style one from either a Gaggia or Silvia (probably a Gaggia), but when  
he actually *made* espresso he had switched to the PF from what looked  
to be the Saeco Vapore (there was a strip of red tape covering the  
machine logo, as is his usual practice).  To his credit, he at least  
tamped with a real tamper, and didn't use a pressurized basket.
On Jun 10, 2009, at 2:40 PM, Hap Maguire wrote:
<Snip>
Peace & song,
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
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6) From: Yakster
I did check out the video clips on the Good Eats section of Food Network's
site, and they do have a two minute video clip for French Press faux latte:http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/french-press-faux-latte/19798.htmlEverything goes along fine until the last 18 seconds when mysteriously a
stainless steel pitcher appears with steamed milk with froth with no
explanation of where it came from.
-Chris
On Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 2:20 PM, Sandy Andina  wrote:
<Snip>
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7) From: Doug Hoople
Sometimes knowing too much is a bad thing.
I've had a quick look at this guy's coffee segments, and you can nitpick
them to death. I personally found myself annoyed at them and found him
patronizing and inaccurate. All in the name of popularizing the subject, I
know, but still...
But, like I said, you can know too much, and it can ruin an otherwise
perfectly good thing. I despised the movie 'Wind,' nominally about America's
Cup racing, when many others, sailors among them, absolutely loved it. The
liberties they took with the racing technicalities were mind-bogglingly
wrong, destroyers of the story line, rendering the whole thing utterly
ridiculous. I was a pretty serious racing sailor at the time, and I simply
couldn't stomach it, in spite of great cinematography and spectacular sailng
footage.
Same thing here? Too much coffee insider information? Too easy to spot the
flaws in Brown's little skits and episodes and sweeping stereotype
statements? Maybe.
Could be that, to newbies, the guy is providing a valuable service. I guess
it's all in your perspective.
On Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 2:20 PM, Sandy Andina  wrote:
<Snip>
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8) From: Yakster
I picked up a Bunn BTX coffee maker at a thrift store recently for those
times when I have too many guests and too little time to make coffee with an
Aeropress.  I haven't decided yet if it will make great coffee or even good
coffee, it is said to brew at the correct temperature (by having a heated
water reservoir that is never empty, like a coffee maker you'd find at work)
and brew quickly (around 3 minutes).  While poking around the Bunn site and
other sites looking for brewing tips, I ran across this article on an
obscure section of the Bunn site.http://www.bunnomatic.com/retail/e_breaks/e_break.html#CTipsmeasuringIt talks about measuring for coffee, but the part that applies to this
thread is the intro where Kevin Sinnott talks about how there's always a lot
going on behind the scenes on a cooking show that doesn't get shown to the
viewer.  Kind of like the smoke and mirrors with the French Press Latte
where you think your following along until someone off camera hands Alton a
pitcher of freshly steamed, frothed milk.
It would be nice if I had someone off-camera in my kitchen to do the same
for me, but we can't all be Alton or Emeril, I guess.
I found all three articles on this page (hit top or start
here)
interesting.
The jury is still out on the Bunn.  I like the fact that it came with a
steel spring for descaling and was basically NIB (new in box) at the thrift
store, but I'm not a big fan of automatic coffee makers and I'll have to
either buy some commercial coffee or roast enough coffee and rest it enough
to try it out in the Bunn without the bloom making a mess in the funnel.
The same Kevin Sinnott has a review of a newer Bunn model
herethat has some
tips on using this, but in reality, I'd probably be happy with
a large pour-over that lets me control the brew temperature, I just couldn't
help myself when I saw this on the shelf, knowing that someone else would
come along and get it if I did not.  I've been back since and seen that they
have or had another that looked to be in the same condition.
-Chris
On Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 3:04 PM, Doug Hoople  wrote:
<Snip>
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9) From: Sandy Andina
He is definitely doing far more good than harm for both newbies and  
the coffee community, but it is fun to point out the little  
inaccuracies in this supposed authority's declarations of expertise.
On Jun 10, 2009, at 5:04 PM, Doug Hoople wrote:
<Snip>
Peace & song,
Sandy
www.sandyandina.com
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10) From: Allon Stern
On Jun 10, 2009, at 9:43 PM, Sandy Andina wrote:
<Snip>
Very true. I got to watch the episode last night (along with my 2  
year old, who watched, enthralled :)
I'm mildly disappointed that while he discussed the merits of burr  
vs. blender, he did not mention the "false burr" grinders. While a  
"false burr" grinder is definitely better for drip than a chopper,  
you really can't use one for decent espresso.
-
allon
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