Nuova Simonelli & Eureka, What fun!

Since last Thursday I have kept myself confined to the kitchen as much as I can. Jeff and I agreed that getting a high [quality Espresso machine]( “Oscar”) and [Grinder]( would benefit us well in learning all the nuances that will be necessary for opening a great caffé. Let me tell you that these two new machines are like demi-gods. They are really absolutly fantastic. Taking a developed skill to bring out perfection. That curve is being learned quickly taking a lesson from every mistake made.

The grinder is a Eureka MDE. It is a new unit that the U.S. Nuova distributor is selling. It is nearly identical to the [Nuova Simonelli MDX]( “MDX Grinder”). Which is wonderful since the price is almost half for a great piece of equipment that will eventually go in to our new store. The unit is really too large for a home but I’ve quickly started using just enough beans to give me what I need and no waste. The real trick of the device is finding the oh so very fine tuned calibration of grind. The coarse-fine knob has about three 360′ rotations in it which means you have a large range of settings down to mm shifts. Really fine, really nice. However, to coarse and you’re running an instant gusher, too fine and you’ll never make the 25s shot you’re looking for. Being a neophyte it took me about a lb of beans the first time I used it. I had to pick up on doser behavior which if I had understood at the beginning (no thanks manual) it’d have taken a lot less time. Having a scale around is also critical in the beginning to make sure you are getting what you think you are getting.

The [Oscar]( “Oscar”) is a great tyke too. A little expensive for most home enthusiasts this unit has commercial innards and an easy cleaning good looking exterior. I’ve had a unit that was all chrome and man its a pain to clean, maintain, and keep fingerprint free. This aluminum painted exterior takes no smudges, its a nice matte finish, and seems quite durable for the long haul. Not a problem with plastics here. Besides that everything is thick weighted metal. Having a nice heavy portafilter in your hand makes you feel solid. I find it funny that this great unit ships with a little plastic tamp. You sell me this wonderful experience, with a tamp that can create a less than desired effect. Oh well, three tamps are on their way from [Whole Latte Love]( to balance that side of the equation. I have digressed, where was I? Yes.. Good metal. The steam wand is also a nice thick grade with small holes for making a microfoam that I am only beginning to understand. Wonderfully powerful, intensly hot. I scalded my hand through a thermal mitt it can give off so much heat. I’m currently at a ratio of 1:4 what I consider better than average steam/foamings. I need to watch the Bellissimo Espresso videos again to get a better grasp of it all. There are some great (and I mean great) articles at [Coffee Geek]( “”). They should add some videos to their site.

I’m about done here for the time being. We’re experimenting with espresso brands. There are so many coffees to test. Right now we are playing with:

* Intelligensia: [Black Cat]( “Black Cat Coffee”)
This coffee is bold. To begin with it is a dark roast. That being what it is you can expect a bold experience from this bean. A deep roast, a dark flavor, hints of chocolate richness. An aftertaste that lasts.
* Coffee Emergency: [Code Brown]( “Code Brown”)
This drink has redefined what I thought espresso could do. The roast is so fresh, comfortably light, a dynamic and beautiful taste. It gave me the first macchiato I could reeeaaally enjoy. I look forward to sampling more of this roasters blends and finding other rosters that offer similar profiles. This is the bean for the straight shooter or a soft comfortable latte.

Thats it kids. I’ll keep you posted through experimentations and as I evolve into latte art I’ll post pics.