September 2004 Newsletter
are a fact of business life; no matter how good your products and
service are, you will never be able to please all of your customers all
of the time. The important thing is to deal with problems as rapidly
and effectively as possible and in such a way that both you and your
customer are satisfied with the result.
part of the process it's important to keep a record of complaints so
that recurring problems can be identified and eliminated. I've been
checking my records, and by far the most frequent complaint I've had in
the last year is "I ordered coffee (x) ground for espresso machine (y)
and the grind is too fine/too coarse."
huge surge in the popularity of domestic espresso machines and the
multiplicity of models available does add a certain amount of
difficulty to getting the grind right. What makes it almost impossible
in the long term is that the coffee particles themselves change in size
both during and after grinding, depending on temperature, humidity and
the time after roasting. Experienced baristas learn to adjust their
grinder as the weather changes and the beans age. It's a bit hard for
me arrange a perfect grind in wintry Melbourne for someone brewing an
espresso in sunny Queensland.
The overall message to anyone trying to brew serious espresso is clear: BUY A GRINDER. What is very unclear to a lot of people is which grinder they should buy.
start with, you need a grinder with hardened steel burrs (not a chopper
blade thingy), and not anything made (or badged) by Sunbeam, Braun,
Breville, Ronson, Russell Hobbs, Black & Decker or Krups. And not a
Gaggia MM either. Even the cheapest pump thermoblock espresso machines
need better grinders than these. The cheapest grinder that will do an
OK job with the "plastic fantastics" available from bulk stores is the
Solis 166, also badged as the Delonghi KG100 and the Starbucks Barista.
works fine with any machine that has a narrow, deep portafilter (around
53mm basket diameter) but needs to grind at the finest point for
machines with 57mm or 58mm portafilters. All right when the grinder is
new, but not good six months down the track.
least expensive grinder which will work with ANY espresso machine, from
domestic to commercial, is the Lux. It's now available from David Jones
stores across Australia as well as from me.
price order, after the Lux comes the Saeco 2002, then various grinders
with the Lux burr set from Isomac and Iberital.
comes the Gaggia MDF, the Rancilio Rocky, Innova grinders and the
Quickmill "Replica" grinder.
Delonghi KG100/Solis 166/Starbucks Barista. Suitable for smaller
diameter pressurized portafilters.
Lux. The least expensive effective espresso grinder available.
Isomac Macinacafe. (Uses the Lux burr set.)
The Gaggia MDF, the least expensive doser grinder available.
Innova Flat Burr with doser.
At this price (over
$500.00) it's probably worthwhile considering some of the smaller fully
commercial grinders like the Cunill doserless. The point is that
whichever grinder you decide on, and whoever you buy from, BUY A GRINDER!
Then the number one complaint I receive will default to Australia Post
not delivering, something else I can't do much about! <G>
Visitors to my Espresso page http://www.coffeeco.com.au/Espressopage.html
will notice a prominent “Rancilio Authorised Dealer” at the top of the
page. This has been added at the direct request of Rancilio, due to
some problems they have had with another retailer. Machines purchased
from non-authorised sources will apparently not be covered by Rancilio
for service and warranty.
This month's special will continue as the piquant
Kenya AA Peaberry
since the late publication of last month's newsletter means I've still got about half of it left.
Australia Post is putting up the parcel post rates on 06/09/04. This
won't affect coffee postage, (I'll absorb the increase until 2005) but
the price of shipping machines will go up by a dollar or so.