"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2010 - All rights reserved
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Three Guests for Coffee - Eight Legs - Do the Math
Sunday, January 17, 2010
As two or three previous chapters here have indicated, our rural lifestyle combined with the busy people we call friends and acquaintances not to mention ourselves all combine to make having folks over for morning coffee a rare occurrence. Many of our friends have menageries which might be any combination of horses, goats, sheep, Guinea hens, dogs, and cats, and who knows what else. One fellow even has a small herd of cattle that are stock descended from his father's original herd.
Yesterday we had two friends over for a morning cappuccino. Susie, a neighbor up the road within hiking distance, we have known for over a decade, and Hilde whom I met through the newspaper I use to run and my wife met at a fire/law enforcement safety fair. It was only years later we realized we both knew her.
I had recently answered an advert in Craig's List for a patio sliding door. We have one that is very worn out and needs replacing so the deal looked good to me! I looked at the e-mail addy in the ad I recognized it as Hilde's. Well.. as it turns =out, with every sliding door comes a free German Shepherd. She had a dog for which she was needing to find a home, and she knew we were GSD people. To make what could be a very much longer story short, we bought our one GSD over and they got along great, so a week later (yesterday) she brought the dog over here, and all went so well, even with our cats, that we have adopted him.
And Now, on to the Coffee Part of the StoryHildy and Susie have been friends for some time, so it was natural to have them over for coffee and apple pie.. After we had allowed the dogs to socialize outside for a bit we all came in, the ladies sat down at the table, and I made cappuccini for all. It was so easy to load the grinder and pull two doubles, and then steam milk for the guests, then go right at it again, making two more doubles then steaming milk for the two soy drinks. If you have been using a single-boiler machine for some time, you would revel in the simplicity and speed that a HX machine (or double boiler) can give you. I do not at all miss Silvia.
I made two milk-based for our guests, and two soy-based for my wife and myself. One of the parameters I have recently modified was to flush less (to a higher indicated temperature on the brewhead thermometer). Since I do not have a Scace device, and other methods of measuring brewing temperature are not sufficiently accurate, I had been guessing. Recently I had begun experimenting with temperature adjustments and found that flushing to about 2 or 3 degrees higher seemed to give better results in the cup.
It seems that this change was appropriate. As the first sips were taken I heard a few, "Mmmmm"s, and at the end of the sit-down breakfast, all four cups were emptied to the bottom. I am going to have to reevaluate the depth of my digital thermometer in the brewhead and check its accuracy against the digital probe. This is a good lesson, once again, that you cannot take any factor of the espresso-making process for granted. The beans, their age and their roast, the water quality, pressurestat (or PID) adjustment or the temperature surfing procedure you use, the brew pressure (OPV adjustment), and more; the grind, tamp, dose, distribution are all part of it as well.