Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
randomperson wrote:I'll admit to a fair amount of embarrassment on my part -- after posting all these basic questions. It has made me feel more than a little foolish.
You shouldn't, you've helped me a great deal too! I'm a newbie to my HX machine and this is extremely helpful!
Thank you kindly,
randomperson wrote:I suspect I'll have to add a minute for the steaming -- meaning I'll be ready for my next shot in about 4 - 5 minutes rather than 3. Will the portafilter wiggle and steaming process make the 2 oz rule still relevant? Or will the extra minutes require a longer flush before the pull even though I've drawn off some cleaning water plus steam?
I'm hard pressed to outrun my machine. Three minutes is a leisurely pace for it as long as you're not doing cleaning flushes with wanton abandon (a couple seconds suffices). When making cappuccinos, I worry less about exceedingly exact temperatures and rely more on intuition. Without getting all Trust the Force, Luke!
on you, after awhile you'll just know
when you need to pause for an extra ten seconds. From your early reports, it sounds like you are well along your way to Jedi-like mastery of the HX flush.
Ahh, the Force! Remember that scene when Luke is marvelously juggling things in the air via mind control and then loses his balance, falls, and everything else falls too? Today I made fantastic shots, then someone interrupted me in the middle and I managed to spill a shot (for all I know it was a GOD SHOT!) all over my hand, the counter, and then my left foot!
So yes the Force -- well, it comes and it goes!!!!
I don't worry about outrunning La Valentina -- there's no way I could! -- I just wonder if that deliciously simple rule of "flush two ounces if its been less than 3 minutes, then pull" applies equally well to shots that are pulled in 4 or 5 minute intervals rather than 3 minutes after the first shot, or if a longer interval between shots means that a longer flush (more than 2 ounces) is necessary. Maybe in this case too the key would be to vary the rebound time -- maybe rebound 15 seconds rather than 20, but keep the 2 oz flush the same? Whew.
Had I not spilled espresso all over myself this afternoon I would probably already have the answer!
But I took my little accident as an opportunity to tell myself to STEP AWAY FROM THE MACHINE!
I am having great fun though!
And SuperT -- thank you for your kind words!! I'm glad I'm not alone!
I love La Valentina!
Well I've had house guests for the past several days and so have pulled a fair amount of cappas.
I have to say the entertainment value of this machine truly boggles the mind! First, people cannot get over how beautiful the machine is. And then -- the coffee! Despite all my learning issues, the coffee just knocks people over. That plus this gorgeous weather in Vermont and it really is feeling like an outdoor cafe here. It is truly delightful to have the machine on a timer and be able to pull shots at will. Just a beautiful thing.
My walk-up shot routine seems to be pretty good now. I'm sticking to the 6oz wake up flush, then 2oz after building the shot (in two to three minutees after the warmup flush), then 20 second rebound. The results are gorgeous, and the consistency of the routine seems to be the key.
It's the two or more shots in a row that is still a bit daunting. If I steam in between, then build another shot, all the while being jawboned by a houseguest, well then it is about a 5-6 minute interval between shots. This seems to be a "nether-world" of difficulty, as I still have trouble hearing/seeing the flash, and so deciding on flush amounts is difficult. I could cheat, of course, and run two shots back to back, then steam for both shots, but I hate to have that crema sit that long for the first shot!
I've been trying to just build shots one after another, with steam in between, and measuring varying flush amounts. But I still crave a true Lazy Broad's Routine! I was hoping that building multiple shots would not be all that flush sensitive, but I find that it really is, despite the legendary temp stability of E61s!
Any advice or kind words would be welcome before I burn through even more coffee and drive myself insane with overcaffeination as I taste shot after shot! (This one's too bitter, this too sour, etc.)
I love La Valentina!
My solution for back to back caps is to flush from idle as usually, purge the steam wand, flush for the first cap's shot, start the shot and immediately start steaming the 3oz cap milk. The shot will be finished about 10 to 15sec before the steaming is done. Swirl and pour the milk then post group flush and on to building the next cap. I only have two 12oz pitchers for building caps. If doing more than two after the first cap is done the first pitcher is quickly off hot water rinsed, milk poured and into the freezer to chill while making the current cap. Actually even if only making one cap' I start steaming right after starting the pull. The Bric' handles it no problem without tanking the shot temp, don't know about other HX machines.
Mike, thanks for chiming in!
Your technique is interesting -- my machine manual says no steaming while the shot is being pulled -- presumably because of temp stability within the shot. That would be an interesting variant, however, as it would shorten the back to back shot interval. Mmmmm. I will ponder this while also plotting other ways to keep the shot interval (even with steaming) short. Not easy when your grinder is a Rocky!
But, no -- don't even THINK about talking me into another grinder!
I love La Valentina!