Saturday, November 04, 2006


the vibiemme: dialing in the dancing goat

to pick up from yesterday with the vibiemme domobar super electronic -- a.k.a. caesar -- i woke up this morning determined to dial in the grind for jessica's dancing goat, her holiday blend, and also don schoenholt's gillies deluxe dark 2.

as espressohounds know, my ailing italian princess the rancilio silvia -- like all silvias -- is fanatically picky about grind. dear carlos expobar isn't quite so particular.

how would caesar be? after blowing thru 1/2 my pound of dancing goat, i can tell you that to pull a "good" caesar double shot, one where the pump gauge stays between 8.6 and 9.2 bar, and where the boiler pressure gauge hovers at 0.9 to 1 bar, and in which you get 1.5 oz espresso in 25-30 seconds, takes some work on the dial-in.

all quality espresso machines have learning curves. this is to be expected: i think it took me 2 weeks to learn to pull decent shots on silvia.

anyway, in the end, i had to move my mazzer mini grinder 3 notches finer for the goat, and lighten my tamp. normally i grind my espresso on the mazzer where most people do, right at the notch indicated by the arrow decal.

but for caesar i had to go finer, to the left of the arrow decal. jessica's holiday blend ground at about the same place. don's deluxe dark 2 -- as is usual with his coffees -- had to go much, much finer, 7 notches to the left.

btw, i think jessica's holiday blend makes a better americano than an espresso. and this was a good test, because it allowed me to open caesar's hot water wand for the first time.

on most espresso machines of my acquaintance, you open the hot water wand, and out comes, well, a stream of hot water. on caesar the water wand has a very fine screen on its head, so you get a cloud of hot steamy mist that condenses to water in the cup.

anyway, pulling the goat this morning as i said above, took some time. the best shot i got didn't pull quite as smoothly as i would like.

let me describe what happened: i ran 3 oz. of water into my cup thru an empty double portafilter. the heating lamp was off; the pressure gauge read 1 bar; and after the water came through, the pump gauge hovered at 4.

and at 4 it stayed when it came time to pull the shot. i pressed the manual pour button and caesar's pump started to work.

coffee began to flow at 7 seconds, and until then the pump stayed at 4. as the coffee ran into the cup, the pump gauge suddenly swung up to 12!

it stayed at 12 for about 3 seconds, and then settled to 10. at 15 seconds, it began to fall to about 8.5.

the heating lamp came on at 17 seconds, and suddenly the pump gauge fell to 6. what was that about?

caesar, what are you trying to tell me? i stopped the shot at 25 seconds.

the heat lamp turned itself off. the coffee wasn?t great, but it was drinkable.

and the puck in the portafilter was only barely soupy. i think i may still be grinding a tad too fine.

but what caused the pump gauge to fall to 6? i?ll have to research that. . .

in the meantime, i'll drink my holiday blend americano and return to writing applescripts for my macbook pro's speech application.

my husband thinks it's dorky to talk to your computer, but i'm very lazy, so i myself love saying "open itunes!" and having it actually pop up! "play cd!" and lo, it plays.

complete ease of use is simply telling the macbook pro "minimize firefox! switch to finder." maybe i?ve completely lost it, but i even like the knock knock joke the machine knows. . .

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posted by fortune | 12:49 PM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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