Monthly Archives: October 2007

The End Of Espresso in Starbucks???


Some Starbucks in Malaysia no longer sells espresso. Some newer outlet (like the one in Pavilion) and some renovated outlets like the one in Mid-Valley have change their excellent Espresso machine to a Super-Auto Coffee Machine.

Do they still sells espresso? Yes, on the menu. But in actual sense, they may not be selling you espresso at all. Why? Because they can no longer make espresso.

Espresso basically refers to a method of making coffee. Therefore, to make espresso, there are a certain widely recognized standards accepted worldwide.

Therefore, to make a proper espresso you should fulfill the following:-
1. Necessary portion of coffee. 7g for a single shot.
2. Temperature from grouphead: 88 to 92 degree Celsius.
3. Entry water pressure at 9 bar ±1.
4. Extraction time at 25 seconds ±2.
5. Volume: 25ml to 30ml.

Of course not everyone agrees to the standards of making a proper espresso. Variation exist. Some people updose the coffee to 8g. Some people practice extraction time between 18 to 24 seconds, others practice 23 to 30 seconds.

Generally, extraction time over 30 seconds will produce bitter coffee (over extraction). Anything lower than 18 seconds will produce espresso that is bland or sour (under extraction). Personally I prefer mine between 23 to 28 seconds.

So, what has all these to do with Starbucks. I was at the Pavilion 2 days ago. I thought, well since they put in the new machine, does it making more consistent drinks?

And horror of horrors. Espresso produce in less than 13 seconds. I think it may be even lower still. What kind of espresso is that? I actually ordered a cappuccino. Yucks, i’m not drinking coffee man. I’m just drinking milk. It was horrible. What am I gonna do? Last time, I can just ask the machine attendant (they called themselves “barista”) do redo a drink. They can always adjust the grind or increase the tamping pressure.

But now, its a Super-Auto. They can’t do shit. No calibration allowed. So there you go. RM 10 Ringgit for a cup of milk plus some added coffee water (I can’t call them espresso).

Can you imagine this? Cappuccino is espresso with frothed milk. But if you don’t make espresso anymore, what do you call that “drink”. I called it “Weak Coffee plus milk”.

Wanna get an espresso? Latte? Cappuccino? Go to Gloria Jeans, Dome, San Francisco Coffee. Not Starbucks. At least not the new outlet with Super-Auto machine.

The Heart of a Cappuccino


A good cup of cappuccino is not easy to find.
The requirements killed a lots of Cappuccinos wannabes.

1. Fresh roasted coffee (hard to find in Malaysia)
2. A good blend of espresso coffee (hard to find in Malaysia)
(some coffee blend are not designed nor roasted to complement milk)
3. A nicely frothed and properly textured milk, at the right temperature)
Got myself a half decent “fresh” roasted, and decently blended beans. After experimenting with a few methods, I think I have discover the correct method to work with my Gaggia Baby. I manage to get myself a very creamy, velvety, microfoamed milk.

WOW. Have you had any fresh milk that tasted like cream? It was excellent. And I even manage to pour a half decent heart. This is a good day.

A creamy heart

YUMMY.

Great drinks for home parties


My friend Marcus had a housewarming party last Saturday. Invited me to serve coffee for all his guest. So, off I went with my little Gaggia Baby espresso machine and all the tools.

Earlier in the day I went to Dankoff to get my supplies of Coffee beans. Also got a bottle Macadamia Nut Syrup and 500g of Bellagio Chocolate Powder.

I think I made about 50 drinks in 3 hours. Drinks included:-
1. Traditional Cappuccino.
2. Cappuccino with Macadamia Nut Syrup.
3. Cappuccino with Bailey Irish Cream (definitely one of the crowd favourite)
4. Hot Chocolate.
5. Velvety microfoamed fresh milk.

Traditional Cappuccino