Chicago-Milwaukee Spring 2019 get together - Page 5

Talk about your favorite cafes, local barista events, or plan your own get-together.

#41: Post by Prairiedawg »

mdmvrockford wrote:Jim, I will still have my Quickmill Alexia with PID for tomorrow's GTG. Prospective local buyer does not want to learn home espresso brew and will stick with pods. After the GTG it will go on FS thread of home-barista.
I cannot think of a better way for a prospective buy to learn home espresso that to see it in action with some of the best coffee minds and skill sets plus excellent coffees all around then at your get together. What a perfect opportunity to learn how to use the machine, the only downside would be instant need for upgrade-itis due to the grinders, etc....
"Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"


#42: Post by earlgrey_44 »

Thanks Mike, for hosting and outdoing yourself with the wonderful Pad See Ew.

Very interesting to compare the Niche Zero to the Monolith. The noise level, ergonomics, and grind quality of the NZ impressed me as excellent for the money. The build quality did not seem objectionable in any specific way, again in the context of price.

As always, deee-lighted to learn new things and enjoy time with our charming gang.
Trust your taste. Don't trust your perception.

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#43: Post by ghostchili »

Thanks again for hosting. PM me for contact info. (That goes for all you guys) It was nice to meet you all!


mdmvrockford (original poster)
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#44: Post by mdmvrockford (original poster) »

You are very welcome earlgrey_44 and ghostchili!

I do thank EVERYONE for attending and for your patience with my cook-to-order main entree (Thailand pad see ew with marinated chicken). Despite cooking simultaneously in two identical size and shape pow woks, it still took WAY too long to make the dishes with the proper char level (baking to crispy surface) of the ho fun noodles. Proves yet again manufacturer rating for gas stove output does not translate to real world heat needed to cook the 12-inch diameter pow wok. But I suspect if I had commercial 36-inch diameter pow wok with commercial flames from fires of mordor, my smoke alarm would go off so much that local fire dept would arrive. And thanks to all (really) who fanned the smoke detector. And to earlgrey_44 and Mrs. Prairiedawg for assisting with peeling 18 cloves of garlic. And thanks to earlgrey_44 and another_jim for tip to quick clean off carmalization from carbon steel wok.

Most important (as before) it was great time with others. And great to meet new faces: ghostchili and vberch's friend Steven. My neighbor also seemed to enjoy the demonstrations. I certainly can tell he was sucking up the information. I know I had similar look at my first H-B get together (in 2012 or was it 2013). It certainly has been a privilege to get to know the gang and communicate outside HB with many of you.

I'll let the more experienced attendees comment on the specifics of the (a true embarassment of riches) roasted beans and equipment.

Global description we had:
* great coffee (e.g. George Howell, Klatch, master home roasts from another_jim and vberch).

* great reference coffee and espresso knowledge and experienced home baristas (e.g. another_jim, dominico, earlgrey_44, vberch).

* great grinders (e.g. Niche Zero, Monolith Con v1.0, Monolith Flat, Helor Flux, Helor 101, and Portaspresso, Apollo).

* great machines (e.g. Portaspresso, Robot, Flair 2.0, , Espresso Forge, Cremina with pressure gauge, Alexia with PID, Elektra Semiautomatica ).

* great libations (e.g. Alpha King Three Floyds beer, 2014 Cur Puiatti Traminer Aromatico, Kirkland 20 year Speyside single malt (Spring 2018 purchase), The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso single malt and great side dishes (e.g. salmon, two different home made pie/cake, cauliflower)

* most importantly, great time with coffee family and friends. Also this one is the most I have laughed at. Vberch, your guest, is a riot. Boss' circumstances of initial meeting of him was perfect (seriously). Still makes me laugh now while I am typing this.

Damn, these GTG sure are expensive:) Until proven otherwise this will be my upcoming travel espresso maker. I will order one with pressure gauge. Overall best pairs with planned travel grinder: my Helor Flux (Helor 106). BTW, vberch, Boss hates you LOL!!. Pi day 2015 GTG at my home, he sold me his extra Cremina.

Going clockwise from left: Steve, another_jim, dominico, Mrs. Prairiedawg, earlgrey_44, Prairiedawg. At this time my neighbor/friend had left for work and ghostchili left to partake in his/mine other hobby.

Embarassment of riches.

Another_jim's workstation. Yet another embarassment of riches w.r.t. equipment. BUT pair this equipment with master roaster, master barista, master coffee & espresso knowledge all rolled into one AND you get better espresso than any commercial cafe.

If anyone else has pictures, please feel free to post. Thanks.
LMWDP #568

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#45: Post by mdmvrockford (original poster) »

Some housekeeping notes post GTG (in no particular order):
(1) another_jim, please see email I sent you last night.

(2) someone left their stainless steel 58mm dosing funnel. It appears identical to my Orphan Espresso 58 mm dosing funnel.

(3) Who brought the 2001 Faustina I gran reserva Rioia?
Who brought the Basil Hayden bourbon whiskey?
THANK YOU for both! Oenophile and whiskey lovin' father and I will enjoy the both.

(4) Thailand pad see ew recipe of Ms. Pailin Chongchitnant (aka Hot Thai Kitchen) is in the link in first post of this thread (under food section). Actually I did not follow recipe to the T. I added one extra teaspoonfull of blacksoy sauce to each serving to lessen umami taste. I am disclosing now being the anal retentive person that I am. Also I should have offered everyone option of the 5% vinegar with flaming hot Thai chili peppers. BUT I made executive decision avoid super spicy taste. Too often Thai food gets immediately associated with overly spicy. This is false. I certainly did not want to perpetuate that myth/perception.

Here is weblink to her wonderful cookbook. Like James Hoffman "World Atlas of Coffee" book, Ms. Pailin's book gives history and cultural background. It is NOT simply book of recipes. Like Anthony Bourdain (R.I.P.) "No Reservations" and "Parts Unknown" if you know the culture and history behind the food then you'll appreciate it even more. ... hai&sr=8-1

* Did anyone else besides me notice it was warm in my home? I had light sweat at neck when cooking the 7th of 10th dish. I was too busy running around like a decapitated poultry to figure out why. I just attributed it to standing over two pow-woks being heated by supposed 15000 BTU and 12000 BTU natural gas flames.

By the very end of the meet, one male attendee started to do his best Tom Selleck Magnum PI shirt button pattern.
At same time Boss by chance returned from work and quite quicky noted house was 85F reading on central control family room thermostat. The heat was b.c family fire place was ON. Oops my bad:(. In AM I turned it on b.c. outside temp was 40's BUT I got way to busy hosting and cooking and describing the home theater and enjoying talking and drinking.

So not only do guest get a culinary taste of Thailand, I replicate the ambient temperature heat (but lacking the killer humidity though).

To be clear, I find whole situation hilarious AND have zero reservations about hosting this or future GTGs. Since I plan on doing this for decades to come, if I skip hosting Spring 2020 then no biggie LOL!!

I look forward to Summer 2019 BBQ (pork ribs, pretty please) or (?) brick oven nepolitan pizza.
LMWDP #568


#46: Post by Prairiedawg »

It was a bit warm....I didn't realize it was that warm. A little advice for next time, your Thai dish was excellent but next time prepare something this isn't so time consuming. I made that mistake the first year of the BBQ . So busy preparing food and things that I didn't get to enjoy my own party until very late. I wanted to help as you were furiously cooking but not a lot of anything anyone could do but shut down the smoke detectors :lol: .

Last year with the BBQ I prepared almost everything in advance (with your help as well) and was able to enjoy myself at my own event much more. All in all, for being your first foray into being a hardcore line cook- nice job! If the whole medical thing doesn't work out, I'm sure they'll hire you at Appleby's.

Once again, The both of us really enjoyed ourselves and really enjoy the Get Togethers immensely. We WILL be doing another BBQ in the summer. I cannot promise ribs or not. I'm not sure I have the smoker space for that as they take up a lot of real estate. I can make excellent ribs but not sure if I can do it for a crowd. I'll have to try it first. I had a couple requests for brisket again, I'll have to see if I can get a temp control for my smoker. Last year I put in on at 11 pm to cook overnight and woke up the next morning at 5 am to find the brisket done and the smoker way over temp! It turned out fine (likely due to the fact it was a Prime grade brisket with more fat marbling) but it didn't meet my standard for serving to guests, though no one seemed to notice. Worse comes to worse, we'll all have to suffer through pork shoulder which I'm actually quite fond of. Hopefully Daniel (Sideshow) will be able it make it also.

Thanks again Mike for opening your home to us and sponsoring such a lavish party. Thanks to everyone again for all doing their parts to make it easier for the sponsor to hold these things. It was wonderful to see everyone again and the wife and I really enjoy everyone's company. We always learn something whether about coffee or life in general. Such amazing people from so many diverse backgrounds, there is never dull conversation. I'm still amazed every time by Jim's vast knowledge of just about everything!

Cheers everyone, We'll see you in the summer.
"Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"

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#47: Post by another_jim »

Congratulations for doing "espresso" food ... you pulled it off too: the noodles were amazing, crispy outside, nice and doughy inside. But if you want to actually enjoy the party, it may be better doing batch food, as John said. The 2001 Fausto is the last of my stash; a happy wine, not too serious.

I was OK with the temperature; but I wasn't working the woks.

It was great to see everyone again, and thanks Michael for putting up with us.
Jim Schulman

Versalab: maker and supplier of finest espresso equipment
Sponsored by Versalab
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#48: Post by dominico »

I think the OE dosing funnel would be mine
Il caffè è un piacere, se non è buono che piacere è?

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#49: Post by mdmvrockford (original poster) »

While it is still in our gustatory memory, I would like to request attendees opinions of the coffees and the equipment used.

We have heard from earlgrey_44 re: Niche Zero. Another_jim commented on my ho fun noodle (a sincere thank you Jim) and Prairiedawg's comment that I should apply to Applebee's noted and ignored :lol: (seriously that is great comment and my comeback is my current day job pays low end single multiple more than FT Applebie line cook :cry: ).

For me, my coffee & espresso summary impressions:
* I really liked dominico's review La Pavoni- labelled Apollo hand grinder. Exudes craftsmanship and quality and grind likely indistinguishable from Helor 101. Just harder to turn but not a apples-to-apple comparison due to latter with regular brew burrs. If Apollo was available in past when I was shopping for Helor 101 I would have bought the former instead.
* I REALLY like Monolith Conical AND Monolith Flat grinders (even if both were just lowly version 1.0...."lowly" typed with total sarcasm so please hold off the comments).
* another_jim is an amazing barista. Give him exceptional beans and exceptional grinders and espresso nirvana reached.
* Niche Zero wouldn't last >30 days with Neaderthal me (recall I dropped my pure carnauba-waxed Mazzer Super Jolly from 1.5 meter height onto 18" Italian tile and former won).
* I am glad others have similar impressions of Helor Flux (Helor 106). It too laughs at being dropped from >=1.5 meters onto same 18" Italian tile. Helor Flux just minor nick from it and tile unscathed.
* So far I have yet to consume a bad roasted bean. All are Siskel and Ebert Two Thumbs Up (and enthusiastically).
another_jim's Geisha Village Ethiopia is especially wonderful (Roger Ebert "Great Movie" to use that Chicagoan's movie rating analogy). It has been brewed via Clever Coffee dripper [196F PID kettle, 1:16 ratio, 4 min steep, Helor 101 conventional burr grind] and makes for a VERY happy Boss. She tells me to thank you Jim. I did not bother applying the VLT to that roast to brew as espresso as saving all beans for her.
* My travel espresso machine (to be paired with Helor Flux) will be Portapresso HC with pressure gauge. They pair well together in many respects including size and appearance. The output from Portapresso was Cremina-like. But alot of that was barista-dependent (vberch operating it)? Nothing bad about Cafelat Robot but it's just too big and does not look like fraternal twin of Helor 106. Also Cafelat Robot will not fit into vberch's 007-esque portable espresso briefcase.

Again, my thanks to all for attending and helping out this amateur cook! The real critique for same entree arrives this weekend: my elderly master Thai chef mother :|
LMWDP #568

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#50: Post by dominico »

Thank you guys also for helping me with feedback and comparisons of the Apollo grinder and the portable espresso machines, these different perspectives are extremely valuable for evaluating a product in general, not just from my personal perspectives.
Il caffè è un piacere, se non è buono che piacere è?