Wow -- it feels like I've been gone forever even though it's only been about 4 days since my last blog entry here -- but what a busy 4 days. First -- remember this:
That would be the espresso machine I mentioned wanting last week. Well...
Here it sits in its new place of honor in my kitchen. (Next on my wish list -- a decent digital camera so I'm not stuck with photos taken with my tablet's webcam!)
My new Squissita Plus, ordered here on ROASTe from Elekcra-Craft arrived on Friday afternoon, less than 48 hours after I ordered it. Talk about service! I knew it was coming, and was actually a little bummed out because I didn't have any decent coffee in the house to brew my first espresso with it. I'd pretty much resigned myself to christening the new espresso machine with a cup brewed from the espresso grind Spanish cofffee available at the corner store (which is still a decent cup, all things considered) when I heard the front door open, footsteps, and the front door close again. I was a wee bit puzzled, since I expected that UPS would ring the doorbell and hand me the box personally, so I stepped out into the hallway and found...
a box containing the two coffees I'd ordered from Unique Coffee Roasters and given up on. (Disclaimer: I understand that my experience isn't typical. I blame the Christmas rush for the delays and mixups in getting the coffee to me. Tim from ROASTe stayed on top of this order and checked back with the company a couple of times, and finally canceled the order for me and offered me recommendations for other coffees I might like instead. Super service -- that's why I love ROASTe. Anyway -- back to the story!)
Wow -- talk about timing. I no sooner opened the box containing one pound of Honduras Bourbon coffee and one pound of Sumatra Mandehling than the doorbell rang and the UPS guy handed me the box containing my new Squissita Plus espresso maker. It took me less than ten minutes to set up the machine -- I'd already cleared a spot for it between the washer and dryer where it could take advantage of the only grounded electrical outlet in the kitchen. Fifteen minutes after I opened the door, I was enjoying a cup of fresh espresso brewed with Honduras Bourbon beans.
I have to say this -- if that coffee was 30 days post roast, it must be truly aMAZing at 10 days. The Squissita is an entry level machine -- perfect for this house, since we really don't have a lot of experience with the finer points of espresso making. And I'm further handicapped by the fact that I'm still using a $20 blade grinder (I can get reasonably uniform fine grind without "cooking" the coffee by using short pulses). The Squissita comes with pressurized baskets -- a single and a double basket -- which I intend to replace eventually, but for now, the espresso is far superior to anything else I can brew here at home.
I've pulled exacty one disappointing cup from the Squissita -- and it was totally my fault. I knew it was going to be bad going in, but nothing prepared me for just how bad. Basically, I was sleepy, tired and impatient -- and did a poor job of tamping. The water went through the grounds like -- well, water -- and that's close to what I got in my cup.
I'll go into a little more detail on the machine later -- I've got about 30 assignments sitting on my desk that are all due today -- but for now, suffice to say, I'm a happy camper. If you're a coffee tech guru, you'll probably find a lot not to love about this machine, but for an entry level user like me, it's the perfect starter machine. My next purchase will be a decent grinder, followed by a regular filter basket -- and somewhere down the line, a higher end machine that lets me play with temperature and other fun things.