Tuesday, October 31, 2006


the vibiemme: real shot

to continue from yesterday's test shot on the vibiemme domobar super electronic -- a.k.a. caesar -- this morning i wanted to pull a real shot. being out of real espresso, i fell back on my "desperation" illy.

i flushed 3 oz. water out the grouphead to try to get the temperature where i wanted it; as i ran water into the empty cup through and empty portafilter, caesar's pump gauge rose to 4 and hung there for a moment before slowing falling back to 0. his boiler pressure gauge stayed solid at 1 bar.

then i ground the coffee at the usual setting on the mazzer mini, dosed, tamped, and just went for a double.

as soon as i pressed caesar's manual pour button, the pump started moving. about 5 seconds into the shot, it registered at 6 -- and there it stayed.

uh-uh. either i had a channel problem, had ground waaaay to coarse, tamped too lightly, or had seriously stale coffee.

with canned illy, guess which it was? (sigh) needless to say, i tossed that shot.

i need to get some high-quality fresh espresso fast! but by grinding the illy much finer, i did get a minimally acceptable shot for breakfast this morning.

i'm finding that the gauges really help making a good espresso. there's no temp surfing -- in fact i bet i probably don't even have to flush water thru the grouphead since caesar holds his temperature so well.

so while some might look at caesar and think "wow, it'll be hard to pull shots on that fancy thing," i think it's easier. the gauges take so much of the guesswork out of it.

you can start your shots in the correct zones for good brewing, and if your coffee or anything isn't right, you can know by 10 seconds or so into the pull.

no surfing, no flushing, and i don't have to wait for steam, of course. in fact after i pull a shot, i can look at caesar's boiler gauge and watch it in about 2 seconds leap to 1.1, perfect to start steaming.

i just grab caesar's steam wand by its rubber sleeve (this could be thicker, by the way! even the rubber gets a tad warm after 40 mins!), move it swiftly over the drip tray, open the valve to blow out any air for a second or two, and he's good to go.

doing this today i found that caesar gives off the finest, quietest, driest steam i've seen in a home machine. this could bode well for excellent microfoam!

more on steaming milk tomorrow. as soon as i can get some great coffee, i'll post my own "espresso porn" pix.

previous reviews blandly stated that caesar is capable of the so-called god shot. on this score let me simply remind everyone that a barista goddess like sherri johns or a champ like paul bassett can pull god shots from a toy piano.

it's in the mad skillz, yogis and yoginis. no matter what machine and grinder you have, you will only get the best results using great fresh coffee -- and developing your barista abilities!

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posted by fortune | 8:36 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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