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Welcome to Badgett's Coffee eJournal
"All the Coffee That's Fit to Print"T
Issue No. 57 February 8, 2002
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In This Issue:

1. Welcome
2. Some Words from Our Sponsors
3. The Hottop "Bean Roaster"
4. A Daily Dose of Wisdom from the Rebbe
5. Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee
6. Reader's Comments
7. Fair Trade And Development
8. Anatomy of American Espresso by Dr. Joseph John
9. Links to My Friends
10. Feedback


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1. Welcome

A hearty and robust thank you to HV for his great review of a
new coffee roaster, the Hottop Bean Roaster. I will endeavor to
keep you posted on the progress into the market of this roaster.

Coffee lovers are a passionate lot and no one shows his passion
about espresso more eloquently than Dr. Joseph John of Josuma
Coffee Company. If you haven't yet tried his Malabar Gold
espresso you have missed a great espresso. In case you skip the
ad, you can get it at www.1st-Line.com.

There may come a time in the near future when I will be forced
to charge for subscription. I don't have the expense of paper,
printing, and postage, but there are expenses associated with
publishing this journal that are not covered by advertising
revenues. This journal is a labor of love, but sometimes even a
labor of love has to at least cover its expenses. I welcome your
comments and I also welcome voluntary donations. If you would
like to donate a modest amount (I suggest $12 per year), please
send to BCE, 305 N. Vendome Ave., Margate, NJ 08402. I will
donate 10% of all voluntary donations to Coffee Kids, a great
organization that does good things for the children and families
who live in coffee-growing communities around the world.


My goal with this journal is to promote good coffee. I want to
learn, educate, and entertain. I publish every other Friday via
email and readers include coffee consumers, home roasters,
coffee geeks, retailers, growers, roasters, equipment dealers,
and anyone else who shares our passion for our most wonderful
beverage. If you want to learn more about the fascinating world
of coffee, this is the place. I don't sell anything and
subscription is free.


If you want to advertise here or submit an article please
contact me for the ad rates.
mailto:robert@badgett.net


DISCLAIMER: All information contained here is obtained by
Badgett's Coffee eJournal from sources believed to be accurate
and reliable. Because of the possibility of human and mechanical
error as well as other factors, neither Badgett's Coffee
eJournal nor its publisher, Robert L. Badgett, is responsible
for any errors or omissions. All information is provided "as is"
without warranty of any kind.


To subscribe or unsubscribe, click here: http://www.badgett.net
If you have problems with subscribing or unsubscribing, please
contact me directly. mailto:robert@badgett.net


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2. Some Words From Our Sponsors

1st-line Equipment proudly offers the following:

Green beans (including those from Josuma Coffee Co.)
http://www.1st-line.com/coffee/greenbns/retail.htm

Espresso machines and good coffee items for your home
http://www.1st-line.com/machines/home_mod/

& Commercial equipment
http://www.1st-line.com/machines/comm_mod/commmodl.htm

Visit our newly expanded website, with online ordering and
reviews, at http://www.1st-line.com


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White Horse Coffee & Tea: Microroastery and Fine Art

Located in scenic Sutherlin, Oregon, we are a microroastery and
blend small-batch roasting of premium arabica coffee with fine
art. Aside from an extensive selection of fine coffees and
loose-leaf teas, we have a beautiful art gallery with original
oil paintings by Kristin Lusk. Please visit us at
www.whitehorsecoffee.com


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Custom Imprinted Coffee Mugs
Fast Delivery - Competitive Pricing
For Details Call Doxpress: 800-999-3676
http://www.formsonline.com/coffee.htm


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"Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of
me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend."
-Albert Camus
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3. The Hottop "Bean Roaster"
--------------------------
The Taiwan based Chang Yue Industrial Corporation was founded in
1984, starting with the production of small household products.
Currently it has a wide line of kitchen appliances sold under
the "Hottop" brand, with a major market share in food
dehydrators, used, among other things, to keep off-season
products, such as herbs, mushrooms, etc.

With most of these products relying on closely controlled
temperature and air-flow, the step towards designing a coffee
roaster seems only a small, and logical decision. This new
product, called the Hottop "Bean Roaster", is said to be
launched within the next months. A picture of the machine can be
found on:
http://www.hottop.com.tw/food_dehydrator1.html

The following is a review of a 220V (European) pre-production
sample of this machine, and not the definitive model. This means
that some features discussed here may have been changed when the
final production version is launched and vice versa.

Design & styling:
-----------------
The Hottop "Bean Roaster" is a drum type coffee roaster, and
basically looks like a scaled down version of a commercial
machine, including an external cooling tray. The machine is
quite large (measuring about 50cm × 25cm × 30cm), and quite
heavy (around 9kg); most of the machine's internal frame is made
of stainless steel, as is the highly polished roasting chamber.
All this gives this roaster the impression of a well-designed,
well made, and very sturdy machine. I think many consumers would
like its "retro" styling. It would certainly fit very nicely
next to a KitchenAid blender.

The Hottop is a fairly "pure" drum roaster with little airflow.
The fan on the back of the machine doesn't move vast volumes of
(hot) air through the drum, but is mainly used to draw the smoke
through a build-in filter. Of course, when roasting the large
batches of coffee that the Hottop can do, there is bound to be a
lot of smoke. The air filter reduces the amounts of smoke
somewhat, but proper ventilation is still necessary.

An interesting feature of the Hottop is the large window in the
front cover, enabling you to actually look inside the drum and
see what colour the beans are. I like that a lot, and it turns
out to be important too. The front cover of the drum chamber can
easily be removed by loosening only one knob. This enables one
to clean the window and also gives access to the drum. The
latter can be taken out for a thorough cleaning by removing a
set of four screws.

Roasting:
---------
After selecting the desired roast profile from seven presets,
the machine begins a preheating cycle of about five minute,
depending on ambient temperature. The copious amounts of steel
require such a warming-up. This can be seen as a downside, since
it takes more time to roast a batch. On the other hand though,
it does make the machine fairly insensitive to variations in
ambient temperature, since the roasting always starts when the
machine has already reached the same, stable temperature.

Anyone familiar with hot air roasters will appreciate the low
amount of noise this machine produces - it is quiet, very quiet.
To draw attention, the machine gives audible signals at the
start, and end of the roast cycle, and at the end of the cooling
cycle.

After the preheat cycle, the machine indicates that it is ready
to start roasting. The machine can be used with batch sizes from
250g up to 300g of green beans. When the desired amount is
poured in, the machine will roast the batch according to the
selected profile.

One minute before the roast is done, the Hottop beeps again,
indicating that it will start cooling the beans shortly. At this
point, the "Plus" button can be used (up to four times), to
increase the roast time by ten seconds. While this may sound as
a short period of time, it does make a significant difference in
colour, because the Hottop features a "fast finish" profile. The
time between first, and second crack is only about one-and-a-
half to two minutes.

Contrary to most coffee roasters currently on the market, the
roast settings on the Hottop are controlled both by roast time
and temperature, though higher settings still result a darker
roast. By varying the batch size, one can obtain different
temperature curves.

With the default 250g batch size, setting #2 produces a medium-
brown roast, while setting #5 yields a moderately-dark brown,
slightly oily roast. The higher settings produce roasts that are
a bit too dark for my taste, but these settings come in handy
when doing 300g loads. Basically, increasing the amount of beans
by 40-50g, requires a setting one click higher to obtain the
same roast colour.

The machine seems to do a good job in closely following the same
curve quite consistently - the same amount of beans roasted at
the same setting yields very much the same results. It takes
some experimenting with roast profiles, and batch weight to get
a desired result, but once you get the hang of this, it is
fairly easy to reproduce.

Getting consistent results by manually stopping the roast is a
little harder, since, as said, the time between first and second
crack is quite short. Often, the sound of second crack "blends
in" with the loud snaps of first, making it hard to pin-point
the roast stage.

The window on the front cover is a convenient feature here,
allowing a good view on the beans in the drum, and making it
easier to monitor the progress of the roast. Still, one has to
be really focused on the job, and anticipate the process to get
it exactly right.

In this stage of the roast one would prefer more control over
temperature and possibly air-flow. The lack thereof is a
downside, but one that is inherent in all other coffee roasters
aimed at the consumer market. This isn't a mass selling product
in the first place and the vast majority of consumers will
probably prefer convenience over control.

Cooling:
--------
At the end of the roast cycle, or when the roast is prematurely
interrupted by pressing the "Eject" button, the machine expels
the beans from the roaster, dumps these on the cooling tray, and
starts stirring the beans. This cooling cycle takes about 15
minutes.
While this isn't quite as quick and decisive as I would prefer,
the beans are moved out of the hot environment of the roasting
chamber very rapidly, which I think it a good thing. Though it
doesn't arrest the roast immediately, the exposure to ambient
temp, does significantly lower the bean temp in a fairly short
amount of time. Within five minutes the beans have already
cooled down sufficiently to touch.

Of course, it would be better to have a fan drawing air though
the beans in the cooling tray. This is certainly possible, but
would require some important changes in the design, such as
creating a duct for the cooling air. To keep chaff from being
sucked into the machine, the second tray would have to be made
of wire mesh or similar material.

Overall:
--------
On the whole, I am quite impressed with the Hottop "Bean
Roaster". The only serious competition for this machine is the
Swissmar Alpenrost, but in my humble opinion, the Hottop offers
a few benefits over the Alp. It does look much nicer, but more
importantly, it features external cooling, and a window to
monitor the roast. Also, it has a larger capacity, it's easy to
use, easy to clean, and the results I've been able to produce
with this machine so far have been very good - very nice, evenly
roasted beans on all presets. Compared to hot air roasters, the
Hottop's "slow start/fast finish" profile makes for a more
mellow, sweet cup, with plenty of body - very suitable for
espresso. If it is as reliable in the long run as it appears to
be, the Hottop roaster will be an excellent choice for most
hobbyists.

One thing that I would urge the manufacturer to consider, is to
design a more intricate version of the current machine,
incorporating all features discussed here (forced air cooling,
more advanced temperature control, possibly even custom roast
profiling via an USB port, etc.) and market it as a
"professional" version (call it the "Hottop Pro Roaster", or
somesuch). Since the Hottop roaster is one of the most rugged
designs I've come across so far, I think such a "Pro" model
would make an excellent low-budget alternative to the multi-K$
sample roasters. Such a move would certainly broaden their
audience, addressing both the consumer market, as well as the
professionals and serious hobbyists.

A Hottop company spokesman said that the company is diversifying
their line of household equipment, with a focus on coffee
related items. The Bean Roaster is one of the first products in
this branch, and, by the looks of it, it certainly has the
potential to become a success. Such a start makes one all the
more interested in the company's next steps into the coffee
market...

I'll keep you posted.

HV


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"The most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give
a large part of one's self to others."
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
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4. A Daily Dose of Wisdom from the Rebbe
-Words and condensation by Tzvi Freeman


Escape
------

Man, on his own, cannot reach higher than his own ego. He cannot
break out of his own skin, he cannot lift himself up by pulling
at his own hair. All of his achievements are tied to his own
ego. All that he may comprehend is defined by his own subjective
perception. He is a prisoner by virtue of existence.

So G-d threw Man a rope. He gave him tasks to fulfill that are
beyond his comprehension, thoughts to fathom that take him
outside the hollow of his subjective universe. All that is
needed is his willingness to leave himself.

We are all prisoners. But we sit on the keys.

Brought to you by http://www.chabadonline.com/magazine


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"Human subtelty will never devise an invention more beautiful,
more simple or more direct than does Nature, because in her
inventions, nothing is lacking and nothing is superfluous."
-Leonardo DaVinci
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5. Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Great coffee does not stop when it is delivered to you. The
brewing process is the last and probably the most important
stage in enjoying great coffee. Therefore, we highly recommend
you read this entire section so you get the most out of your
Quetzal Tarrazu.

The recipe for brewing a great cup of coffee relies on four
fundamentals:

Proportion, Grind, Water & Freshness

PROPORTION

We recommend using two tablespoons for every six ounces of water
to extract the full flavor of your Quetzal Tarrazu. If your
brewed coffee tastes too strong, add small amounts of hot water
to taste. Using too little coffee can result in over-extraction
of the coffee and bitterness in the cup.

GRIND

Always use the correct grind for the brewing method. Grinding
the beans just prior to brewing, results in about a fourth more
flavor in the cup. If coffee is ground too fine for the brewing
method, over-extraction will produce a less desirable, possibly
bitter cup of coffee. Likewise, too course a grind will lead to
under-extraction, and a lifeless, weak cup of coffee. Since
beans should be ground before brewing each time, it is an art
you will master after only a few trials.

In general, the longer that coffee and water spend in contact
during the brewing process, the coarser the grind you should
use. Here's a chart of recommended grinds for various brewing
methods:

French Press (Press pot) - Coarse flakes like bread crumbs,
feels like a coarse sand paper.

Automatic Drip Brewer - Flat bottom paper or metal (gold) wedge
shaped filters - medium grind. Your fingers should be clean if
you run them through the coffee.

Paper wedged shaped filters - Just a bit finer than flat bottom
filters.

Espresso - Very fine, has a consistency between flour and table
salt.

WATER

Always use fresh, cold water. If the tap water where you live is
distasteful due to hardness or treatment, consider using bottled
water or a filter system. Never use softened water! Remember, a
cup of coffee is 98% water. If the water doesn't taste good, the
coffee won't either.

The temperature of the water is also important. When brewing
coffee using a hot water method, generally the ideal temperature
should be between 190-200 Fahrenheit. This permits ideal
extraction of essential flavor and oils from the grounds. Water
that is too hot will over-extract, yielding a less than
desirable cup of coffee. Likewise, water that is too cold will
under-extract, yielding a thin lifeless cup.

FRESHNESS

Always start with freshly roasted gourmet coffee. Coffee
maintains its peak freshness best, when kept in an airtight
container, in a cool, dry place. There is much controversy as to
whether it should be stored cold or not (i.e. refrigerator /
freezer); Cold storage is probably only necessary when sealed,
long-term storage is desired. Ultimately, the most important
factors to remember are keeping the coffee away from air
(oxygen) and moisture, which can degrade the freshness of your
coffee.

A few other things to remember:

Coffee is best if served immediately after brewing,
and will retain its peak flavor for up to 20 minutes on the
warmer. We recommend you transfer your brewed coffee to a
thermal carafe to hold for a longer period of time.

Don't forget to take care of your equipment! A clean
coffee brewer is critical to great tasting coffee. Periodically,
use a mild detergent or baking soda to remove build-up, film and
oil.


Copyright © 2000 - 2001 Quetzal Coffee Co. All rights reserved.
Todos los derechos reservados
http://www.quetzal-coffee.com/index.html


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"The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by
the level of thinking that created them."
-Albert Einstein
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6. Reader's Comments

From: "Randy G."

A small amount of research on the Internet will show you that
the statement, "... Kopi Luwak, made from berries that have
passed through the digestive system of Indonesian monkeys..." is
incorrect. The coffee, if the entire story is not a myth
designed to increase the price of coffee to a ludicrous level
and is indeed true, is reportedly passed through the system of a
small marsupial called the paradoxurus which is a tree-dwelling
animal that is a kind of civet, an animal related to the
mongoose.

here are a few links:
http://www.dreamship.com/kopi_luwak.htm

http://www.thecoffeecritic.com/fusion3/html/kopi.shtml

check out this image:
http://www.ravensbrew.com/NewFiles/kopiluwak.html

CECIL ADAMS writes:
"Some people have expressed skepticism that kopi luwak consists
entirely of pre-eaten beans, and from a quality-control
standpoint it's hard to imagine what you would do to guarantee
100 percent authenticity. But I cherish the thought of some
yuppie complaining that his coffee isn't pure shit.
Meanwhile, somewhere a civet is rubbing its scraped perineal
glands and thinking: Ah, sweet revenge."
at http://www.straightdope.com/columns/010525.html


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Daily Lift #965 Calm Your Mind

"Calm your mind." Practicing this skill is a major stepping
stone to mastery of serenity. We have a constant stream of
thoughts that surface automatically. Some of these may be
beneficial. For many, however, their stream of consciousness is
the source of distress and unresourceful emotional states.
Calming your mind enables you to experience serenity.

An easy to apply tool to help you calm your mind is to
soothingly repeat the word, "Serenity" over and over again. By
focusing your attention on this calming word, your mind is free
from thoughts that are not conducive to serenity.


(From Rabbi Pliskin's new book, Serenity, p.110, available from
Artscroll.com)
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7 Fair Trade And Development


Our Approach to Social Justice in the Coffee World
Five hundred years of colonization has not brought the benefits
of modernization to the world of coffee farmers and their
families. Instead, farmers are dependent on a fickle trade
system that changes the price paid on the basis of speculation
and market manipulations. It is rare that the coffee price paid
to farmers reflects their real inputs of labor and materials,
let alone a reasonable profit. Further, international coffee
commerce can be so packed with middlemen that only a pittance
trickles down to the coffee farmer/producer. This situation is
not unique to coffee nor to the third world. In fact, these are
the dynamics of primary crop production the world over -
including here in the United States (and that's why we supply
coffee for Farm Aid!). For small-scale coffee communities,
however, there are no strong National Farmers Unions or Farm
Bureaus to fight for their economic and social rights.

Since our inception, Dean's Beans has been actively involved in
the ecological and social struggles of the farm communities we
support. We have been involved as international election
observers, designed and supported women's banks and health
projects, and fought for territorial and ecological protection
for indigenous communities. We have provided financial and
logistical support for many groups trying to better the life of
farm communities and protect the third world environment. We
have tried to provide a model of involvement for other
businesses, to show that "business as usual" can take
responsibility for the system within which it profits, and that
a successful business does not require ecological or economic
oppression.

We have now committed to becoming the first all-organic, fair
trade coffee company in the country. Under internationally
recognized fair trade rules, farmers are guaranteed to receive
meaningful prices and credit terms that assist rather than
hobble them. We have already purchased our Guatemalan, Sumatran,
Peruvian, Nicaraguan, Costa Rican, Ethiopian and Mexican organic
coffees in accordance with fair trade rules, and we will
continue to seek out organic fair trade coffees until all our
purchases are so qualified. Our Fair Trade practices have been
certified by Transfair USA, an independent certification agency
- if it's not certified, it's not Fair Trade. This represents a
substantial cost commitment on our part, and puts us at a
serious cost disadvantage to "those other guys". However, we
have also determined to keep our prices the lowest for organics
in the country for at least another full year.

We have joined with seven other small roasters nationally to
found the world's first roasters' cooperative, Cooperative
Coffees, Inc., whose mission is to make fair trade coffee
available directly from the farmer to any roaster who wants to
participate in this important movement. We are also working
directly with the farmers to evolve the next generation of fair
trade - a system that is not linked to the manipulations and
speculation of the world coffee market, but rather one based on
the true cost of coffee and the reasonable needs of the farmers.

We'll keep you informed of our continuing efforts to work with
the farm communities in a true partnership that respects the
earth and honors the labor of its peoples. Stay with us.


Hop Brook Farm | New Salem MA 01355 | (978) 544-2002
Info: dean@deansbeans.com
Website: www.deansbeans.com

© 2000 Dean's Beans®


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"Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your
way." -Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)
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8. Anatomy of American Espresso
by Dr. Joseph John

Although its origin lies overseas, espresso has captured North
American consumers' fancy over the last 20 or so years. One
cannot walk two blocks in any city in the U.S. or Canada without
passing a coffee store or café that claims to make espresso.
Espresso and its milk-based cousins--cappuccino, latte--are
everywhere.

But espresso connoisseurs familiar with Italian caffe complain
that more than 95 percent of the espresso in North America is
poorly made, and, in fact, undrinkable. Instead of being the
essence of coffee it is supposed to be, the average espresso is
weak, watery, bitter, burned, without aroma, unpleasant, and
generally unsatisfying.

Over 95 percent of espresso beverages consumed in North America
are milk-based; this alone seems to justify bad espresso. The
addition of milk and syrups, however, may hide bad espresso, but
they don't make it better. Imagine how much more flavorful a
latte would be if the underlying espresso tasted better.


Definition of Espresso

Original Italian espresso is about one ounce of a dark, smooth,
heavy-bodied, syrup-like, aromatic, bittersweet coffee drink
topped with a thick, reddish-brown foam of tiny bubbles. It is
not just six times stronger than a cup of coffee, as may be
implied by the smaller volume; the foam, or crema, that captures
the intense coffee flavors is as important as the liquid coffee
underneath.

In more technical terms, espresso is a colloidal dispersion
produced by emulsifying the insoluble oils in ground coffee.
These oils don't normally mix with water. But under intense
pressure (9-10 bars) generated by commercial espresso machines,
oils are extracted from ground coffee, formed into microscopic
droplets, and suspended in liquid coffee concentrate. If strong
coffee was all that was required, using less water in a drip
brewer in place of costly espresso machines would do the trick.

It is this emulsification of oils that distinguishes the
espresso from strong coffee. It markedly alters properties of
the beverage in terms of its mouthfeel, density, viscosity,
wetting power, and foam-forming ability. Volatile vapors
produced during espresso extraction hold coffee's aroma and are
captured in tiny bubbles of the crema. These aroma molecules,
later released in the mouth as espresso is consumed, find their
way to the nose through the pharynx. These oil droplets also
attach themselves to the taste buds and slowly release volatile
compounds until after the espresso is long gone.

This is why the crema is so critical. If there is no crema, the
oils in ground coffee have not been emulsified, and, hence, it
is not an espresso, but merely a strong coffee. Crema,
therefore, is the most critical indicator of a well-made
espresso. And rightly so.

What is remarkable about a properly made espresso is that the
maximum flavor is extracted from ground coffee while much of the
caffeine and excess acids are left behind. The high pressure at
which extraction is done and the small volume of water passing
through ground coffee account for this feat.

Commercial espresso machines deliver to the portafilter a
measured amount of near boiling water at a pressure of 9-10
bars. If coffee in the portafilter is coarsely ground and/or
loosely packed, water will gush out in a couple of seconds
without extracting enough solubles from the coffee. By grinding
the coffee finer and packing it tighter in the portafilter, flow
is impeded and water is forced into the coffee particles to
extract more of the soluble materials. The resulting strong
coffee takes about 15 seconds to produce.

When coffee is ground even finer and packed still tighter, the
process is slowed further. Hot pressurized water penetrates the
interior of coffee particles and spends its energy driving out
minuscule oil droplets in addition to extracting the solubles.
This produces a real espresso. In this process, hot water
dissipates most of its energy in the ground coffee and has to
ooze out of the portafilter under gravity. It takes roughly 30
seconds for this extraction.

If the process takes much longer, water spends more time in
contact with ground coffee and causes undesirable acids and
caffeine to go into the solution, producing an overextracted,
bitter espresso. If dosing and packing is held steady, the "shot
time" is a practical way of monitoring the extraction process.
The fineness of the grind controls the shot time.


What Is Wrong With North American Espresso?

Much of the blame falls on improper or inadequate training of
the barista, the person working behind the espresso counter.
Other contributors to disappointing espresso quality include
poor choice of coffee beans, improper roasting and blending for
espresso, stale coffee beans, incorrect grinding, dosing, and
packing of the portafilter, and a limited understanding of the
percolation process. Of these the most serious errors are made
in the final processes--the grinding, dosing, packing, and
extraction--that occur in the retail environment. Unfortunately,
this is also where most consumers are learning about this new,
somewhat foreign, beverage.

In most cases, baristas do not grind coffee fine enough nor tamp
it with sufficient force, thus allowing water to gush through
the ground coffee in less than 15 seconds and often as quickly
as seven seconds. Coffee so produced is watery and no oil is
emulsified. Worse yet, if shots are made that quickly, all
blends, regardless of their quality, yield equally undrinkable
"espresso."

North American baristas also err in another important way by
running too much water through the grounds, making espresso
diluted, watery, over-extracted, and bitter. Instead of offering
the aromatic essence of coffee in a ristretto, with lots of
flavorful crema, the barista caters to the consumer who prefers
the watery version, believing that "bigger is better."

Coffee chemistry is counterintuitive. The sweet, desirable
components in ground coffee are highly soluble in water and are
extracted by the first ounce or so flowing through it. Running
additional water through the same ground coffee does not extract
more coffee flavors; there is not much remaining there to
extract.

Less-desirable components, such as bitterness, caffeine and
acids, are not as soluble in water, and only a small portion is
extracted by the first ounce. Running more water through the
grounds extracts more of these undesirable components.
Surprising as it may seem, strong, syrupy espresso is sweet, and
the diluted, watery version is bitter.


Making the Perfect Espresso

If a majority of baristas are now doing it incorrectly, is there
a better way to produce quality espresso? Yes indeed! The
prescription is actually quite simple. Dose and pack the
portafilter exactly the same way every time and adjust only the
fineness of the grind to maintain a constant extraction time of
about 30 seconds. Details follow.

Once each day, make sure the espresso machine is functioning
properly, dispensing a little more than 2 oz. of water (for a
double shot) at a temperature of 195-200 degrees Fahrenheit and
a pressure of 9-10 bars. Portafilter baskets designed for single
espresso shots seldom function properly, so I recommend using
the "double basket." Ensure your grinder burrs have sharp edges
to finely shave the roasted beans instead of crushing them.
Grinder performance is very critical.

Periodically rinse and season the portafilter by running hot
water through it when empty to reach operating temperature, then
wiping it dry. Dose and tamp the basket as described below and
draw an espresso. Discard this "seasoning" shot. Thereafter,
it's not necessary to rinse the portafilter after each shot.
Wipe it clean and dry it with cloth or paper.

Now you need to adjust the grind. Start by choosing a grinder
setting and grinding enough beans to flush out the previously
ground coffee in the chute. Discard. Do not use the doser for
these initial settings. To conserve test beans, grind just
enough coffee to fill the portafilter basket. You may have to
pull the doser handle many times to get all the ground coffee
out of the doser hopper.

Dose coffee into the portafilter up to the rim using a wooden or
plastic spatula to shave off the excess. If the basket is
properly designed, ground coffee in the double basket will be
about 14-18 grams. Following an initial light tamp, tap the
portafilter once to dislodge all loose ground particles. Pack
the grind to the same force every time--between 30 and 50 lbs.--
and, if necessary, use a bathroom scale to measure. Pack it with
a final twisting motion of the tamper to polish the ground
coffee surface.


For machines with a preinfusion cycle, the first droplet should
appear 4-8 seconds after the switch for a "short double" is
turned on. Watch the pour; it should ooze out like warm honey,
not gush out like water. Turn off the switch as the brew turns
lighter, indicating overextraction. Time the length of the pour
from the moment you turned on the switch.

Adjust the grind until it takes about 30 seconds to deliver the
espresso shot. If the shots take less than 30 seconds (from the
time the switch is turned on), the grind is too coarse and needs
to be made finer. If it takes longer, the grind is too fine and
will have to be made coarser.

It is not uncommon to have to adjust the grind setting four or
five times a day, depending on location and weather conditions.
Make these adjustments slowly, one step or notch at a time. Each
time remember to discard the ground coffee in the chute, grinder
and doser hopper.

The doser may be adjusted to dispense the correct amount of
ground coffee, 7-9 grams for a single shot and twice that for a
double. Unfortunately, for the doser to work properly, the
ground coffee hopper has to be half-full. This is acceptable
during busy times when ground coffee is used up in minutes.
During slower periods, grind only enough beans for each order.

Choosing an Espresso Blend

Most retailers do not roast or blend their coffees and are
dependent on a wholesale roaster to supply espresso blends for
their use. It's important to purchase fresh-roasted beans every
week and buy only a week's supply at a time so they are always
fresh. The roasting date must be stamped on the bag so the
freshness is obvious.

If the roaster believes that beans have to be dark-roasted and
oily to be in an espresso blend, look for a different roaster.
This shows a limited understanding of coffee bean
characteristics and even less about espresso.

If the average espresso extraction time for a retail store is
less than 20 seconds, all shots will be watery and bitter, and a
higher-quality blend isn't going to make a difference. A cheap
blend will suffice; no reason to waste money.

However, if you make the effort to produce a proper espresso,
you should select a blend that is consistent with the quality of
espresso the customers deserve. Check the blend's performance
drawing actual espresso (making brewed coffee to test espresso
beans is a meaningless exercise). The physical properties, such
as color, body and crema, and the flavor characteristics, such
as aroma and taste, must be appropriate and in proper balance.
Most blends focus entirely on flavor and perform poorly on
color, body and crema. The flavor should be clean and well
defined from a single coffee or two, built on a muted base.

The crema should be reddish brown, velvety, plentiful, rich, and
persistent, lasting many minutes before it breaks in the middle.
Linger over the cup as the crema releases the aroma of freshly
ground coffee. Taste it straight, without sugar or milk. Note if
it is mellow, smooth and sweet, with lots of body and low
acidity (high acidity is not a desirable feature of a quality
espresso). It should contain no unpleasant bitterness and not
even a hint of sourness. Check its finish. Observe how long the
aftertaste lingers in the mouth; it should be pleasant if the
experience is to be memorable.

Most retailers in North America can provide a much better
quality espresso and espresso beverage to the consumer without
major investments. It takes a better understanding of the
espresso process and improved training of their employees. That
the consumer is not demanding a better espresso is not a good
excuse. As was learned in the wine industry, delicious espresso
will promote coffee drinking, and bad espresso will hurt the
industry.

Dr. Joseph John is president of Josuma Coffee Co. in Menlo Park,
Calif., and designer of Malabar Gold, the company's Premium
European Espresso. He can be reached at 650/366-5453 or by e-
mail at josuma@aol.com.


Fresh Cup Magazine is a trademark of Fresh Cup Publishing
Company
Copyright © 1995-1997--All Rights Reserved.

Fresh Cup Magazine / 1-June-2000

Reprinted from the June 2000 issue of Fresh Cup Magazine, a
specialty coffee and tea industry publication based in Portland,
Oregon. For subscription information, call 503/236-2587 or visit
the Fresh Cup website at www.freshcup.com


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" One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank
account was, how big my house was, or what kind of car I drove.
But the world may be a little better, because I was important in
the life of a child." -Forest Witcraft
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9. Links to My Friends

Visit the links page on our website to get the latest links to
both coffee related and unrelated sites of interest. If you
would like to add your link, please contact me. Check it
out. You might find some old friends and make some new ones.
http://www.badgett.net


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"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that don't
work." -Thomas Alva Edison
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10. Feedback

Tell me what you think. What do you want more of..less of...what
would you change, add, or delete? mailto:feedback@badgett.net

Please direct all inquiries, comments, article submissions and
suggestions to: Robert Badgett mailto:robert@badgett.net

ISSN: 1534-4614 - Library of Congress, Washington D.C., USA

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© Copyright 2002 Robert L. Badgett. All Rights Reserved.

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