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Owner experience with the Eva Solo Café Solo

Postby jbviau on Tue May 15, 2012 5:26 pm

Image
1.4 L, 1.0 L, and 0.6 L Café Solos (left to right)

As a Café Solo fan since Dec. 2010 when I found my 0.6 L Solo on eBay for a song, I've occasionally been frustrated by this brewer's obscurity. The inflated retail price is mostly to blame, I think. Anyway, now that we've got a few more users thanks to the recent Groupon deal, I thought it might be a good time to create an "owner experience" thread in order to generate discussion, share recipes, tips, and info., etc. Feel free to chime in!

I'll update this first post periodically so it can serve as a reference. Here are some links to start with:

HB:
2012 Groupon deal: Cafe Solo Groupon Deal
Opinions of the Eva Solo?

CG:
2012 Groupon deal: http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/578574
Mark Prince's 2005 QuickShot review: http://coffeegeek.com/proreviews/quicks...lo/details
QuickShot discussion: http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/articl...ots/109631
Eva Solo generations re: lid styles: http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/554884
http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/12383
http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/153743
http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/378402
http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/417245

Other online sources:
Expensive replacement parts (scroll down): http://www.unicahome.com/catalog/item.a...tnerID=SLI
Bitter Press comparison with a plungeless French press technique (cached; no images): http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s...clnk&gl=us
Green Coffee Buying Club traveling road show with reviews (membership required): http://greencoffeebuyingclub.com/index....ic=13007.0

Brew guides:
Intelligentsia: http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/brewing-guides
Stumptown: http://stumptowncoffee.com/guide/cafe-solo/
Has Bean: http://www.hasbean.co.uk/pages/Eva-Solo-Brew-Guide.html
ROASTe post comparing the three guides above: http://www.roaste.com/CoffeeBlogs/jbvia...ing-guides
Verve: http://www.vervecoffeeroasters.com/pages/education
"It's not anecdotal evidence, it's artisanal data." -Matt Yglesias
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Postby SimonPatrice on Tue May 15, 2012 10:52 pm

I think it's a great idea! Thanks for starting the thread. It is indeed hard to find user info on this brewer so I hope this thread will help.

To get things started, about water temp, pouring it directly on the grounds or on the side, etc. I have found that pouring 212F water in the preheated carafe and then dropping the coffee on top works out well. I had seen a barista do it that way at Café Myriade (Montreal) and was intrigued but the best coffee I've brewed so far have been brewed that way. Of course, you do have to stir a little bit after pouring the coffe in. :mrgreen: I generally start a 4:00 timer after that gentle stir.

Can't wait to read what others have to say about this brewer!
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Postby jbviau on Tue May 15, 2012 11:40 pm

Hi there. You know, I've never tried adding the water first. The reasoning behind doing so seems sound, i.e. reduce agitation in order to facilitate a gentle extraction (just a guess; I see parallels here to keeping the kettle spout close to the coffee bed with pour-over coffee). Maybe I'll give your way a try. I typically add the coffee first, then pour water against the side of the neck of the carafe so that it slides down the walls. Again, this is to minimize turbulence, though I do stir for 10 sec. or so immediately afterward before inserting the filter assembly and zipping up the jacket.

How much coffee and water are you using in the 1.0 L Solo? With its 0.6 L baby brother, I usually do either 28-30 g. for 450 g. or 22-23 g. for 360 g.
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Postby SimonPatrice on Sun May 20, 2012 11:06 pm

Sorry, I didn't reply sooner. I thought I had done so already. :? I only own the 0.6l model. For my morning cup, I go with 20 g. coffee to 333 g. water. I've done 24g./400g. with great results and I use 30g./500g. if I have company. I think 500g. is pretty much the maximum you can put in there effectively. What water temperature do you use? Have you found certain types of coffees that shine more than others in the Eva?
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Postby EricBNC on Mon May 21, 2012 2:29 am

This is what I tried recently:

45g Rwanda Coko Coop coffee, 500mL 205 degree water poured quickly followed by continuous and vigorous stirring of the slurry for 50 seconds. After 50 seconds I insert the filter and immediately pour the coffee into a decanter.

Anyone else care to try this method and compare notes?
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Postby jbviau on Mon May 21, 2012 10:09 am

SimonPatrice wrote:What water temperature do you use? Have you found certain types of coffees that shine more than others in the Eva?

I'm not sure about temp. (as I hide my face in shame). Probably around 205. I usually wait 20 sec. or so after my Aroma kettle has clicked before pouring. One of these days I'll get a decent thermometer and do some measurements. Any suggestions? About coffees, that's an interesting question that I can't answer with any confidence. Generally speaking, my experience has been that if the Eva can't make a given batch of beans taste at least good, then nothing can.

EricBNC wrote:This is what I tried recently:

45g Rwanda Coko Coop coffee, 500mL 205 degree water poured quickly followed by continuous and vigorous stirring of the slurry for 50 seconds. After 50 seconds I insert the filter and immediately pour the coffee into a decanter.

Anyone else care to try this method and compare notes?

Eric, what grind are you using? Let me know so I can give your way a try. I take it you liked the results?
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Postby EricBNC on Mon May 21, 2012 2:25 pm

jbviau wrote:Eric, what grind are you using? Let me know so I can give your way a try. I take it you liked the results?

I set the Preciso at 20 macro (right in the middle) with the micro right in the middle too, so finer than usual for metal filter brew. Also, I will withhold taste comments till you get to try it.
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Postby jbviau on Mon May 21, 2012 5:11 pm

Thanks. Ok, I tried your experiment. Won't be doing that again!

Stuck with 20F on the Preciso for the sake of consistency (mine's at around 6 for espresso in case our calibrations don't match up closely). The first sip was a little bitter, borderline overextracted. That initial impression faded, though, and I was able to drink the whole cup as it cooled. I'd had the same coffee--Brown's Finca Vista Hermosa Edlina micro-lot--this morning brewed the usual way in the Eva, so my memory of its flavor profile was relatively fresh. The acidity really jumped this time in comparison, but I thought the aromatics were muted, the subtle salted caramel notes were missing, and that crisp finish (sometimes described as having a "mineral" quality) was squashed. What I lost was more than the muscularity I gained tastewise. Also, I got more mud at the bottom of the cup due to all that stirring. And my arm is sore now (not really 8)).

I haven't tried coffee from the Trifecta, but I'd hope the turbulence it introduces during the brew phase is handled better than I could manage this afternoon in the Solo!
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Postby EricBNC on Mon May 21, 2012 5:54 pm

The amped up acidity is what I liked about it - I am not finished experimenting though - coarser grinding, less contact time, etc...

The coffee experiences a profile change which is what I found interesting and sort of "Trifecta like" - the trick is nailing the profile that suits your individual taste. :wink:
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Postby SimonPatrice on Mon May 21, 2012 9:07 pm

jbviau, regarding temps, after running a few tests, i realized that if the carafe has been preheated and I pour some 212F water in it, it gets down to 205-207F by the time I get my thermometer. So taking into account that the coffee itself will cool the water some more, I haven't tried using cooler water.

EricBNC, your experiment sounds interesting. I'm curious though, is the high coffee/water ratio because of the short steep time or this is what you normally use?

I'm drinking a really good Heart Ethiopia Sidamo right now out of the Eva. Ethiopia sure has some funky coffees.
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