I completed my Saeco Aroma espresso upgrade this week, adding a frothing pitcher, steel tamper, non-pressurized portafilter and the cutest little red knock box from Seattle Coffee Gear.
For the past three days, I have been able to make espressos strong enough to double as paint remover, so it has definitely been worth it. I may have to work on my tamping technique, however. Per Seattle Coffee Gear’s instructional video, I should be using 30 pounds of pressure. So far, I have been pressing down on the tamper while jumping up and down, applying the full 250 pounds of me as pressure. The result is an almost pitch-black brew for the first ounce, dark brown for the second ounce, and the equivalent of the first ounce using the pressurized portafilter for the third ounce.
Vally, Jennie and I may have ulcers by the end of the month, but I’m definitely extracting the full flavour of the coffee now.
The only part I’ve had problems with is the knock box. It is small, red and adorable, but it was definitely not designed for six double shots every day. By the time I am finished making espresso, I’ve also made an incredible mess of splashes and puck pieces all around the knock box.
Next week I’ll try frothing.
Somewhere between the 14th and the 16th shot of espresso yesterday I realized that I may have been overdoing it. As a consequence, today is a bit rough. It is hell growing old. Fortunately, I am nowhere near as miserable as Jennie, who claims she feels as if live rats are chewing on her intestines. Yum.
Today is a day to grow up. I’ve released the winged vermin that is my sparrow (member of the weaver finch family, actually, but let’s just ignore that for now, shall we?) and he/she/it happily joined a group of other sparrows (yes, once again, weaver finches, not sparrows). I’m going to spend some time this afternoon cleaning my office, as the various bird droppings on the windowsill, book shelf, desk and cabinets do not improve the feng shui. I should have taken some final pictures before letting the little bugger go.
So, what do you think of killing your pets to make
toys and fashion accessories, erm, art? Huh. I guess I should have added that the pets link IS NSFW!!! (as mentioned now by several people who had to hastily clear their browser caches) Sorry about that.
Due to popular demand, here are the floofy broon ships. Or fluffy brown sheep, when I’m not trying and failing miserably at a Scottish brogue. So, first the entire herd, in their knee-high glory. I took the pics this morning, and nobody wanted to stand still, so they are all a bit blurry.
The Whole Gang
Leading the herd is Monica (preggers), who is the old gal at two. She is the friendliest of the bunch, willing to come up and sniff your fingers in the hopes of finding something tasty. Considering she is a sheep, tasty is pretty bland.
In the middle is Cimmaron, a sprightly (and, of course, knocked-up) one-year-old. She already lost her winter coat, so she looks much smaller than the others. She is also the most skittish of the bunch, usually staying in between the other two. Maybe she realizes I’ve been thinking of how good her lambs are going to taste as barbeque . . .
Following behind is Mister Studly, aka Luxor. He thinks he’s so cool. If he ever gets brave enough to butt me, I’m drop-kicking him over the fence.
So, that’s the herd. The lambs are due sometime between May 1 and June 30. Should be fun. In the meantime, I am following my gut instinct and reducing my mochas from six shots to four. It’s nice to finally have decent espresso at home, but the hole in burning through my stomach lining is somewhat unpleasant. Yeah, I know that has nothing to do with sheep. 😛
We go through a coffee grinder about once every six months. Either it breaks, or we get tired of sub-par grinding. Our last grinder was actually quite sturdy, but it used a blade, and I could never get the grinding just right for our French Press. Our new grinder is a burr grinder, which I much prefer.
If you enjoy the aroma of freshly-ground coffee, the Capresso Burr Grinder Model 551 is for you. The poorly-fitting connection between the grinder body and the ground coffee container emits a constant shower of grinds during grinding, gently dusting everything within two feet with a coffee coating and filling the room with that yummy coffee smell. As a bonus, the highly static grounds container sends forth another glop of grinds as soon as you move it from its base, and yet another when you pop open the lid. If you want to minimize the initial powdering, you have to press the catcher tightly against the main body during grinding.
Fortunately, I have big hands, so I can do this with just one hand. This is fortunate because the start button for the timer takes a few seconds before it actually stays down. A small-handed person would have to focus on holding the button down and enjoying the coffee dust batch for the first two or three seconds rather than focusing on minimizing the spray.
At this point, I like to wave a finger back and forth over the edge of the catcher body and watch the grounds line up and sway in time with my finger. I find this play of static and grounds quite mesmerizing. My wife finds it, and the mess, quite huff-inducing. You can’t please everyone.