Monthly Archives: January 2008

One Year Aniversary

Happy Birthday to this blog, Coffee in Malaysia.

Want to thank all you visitors who dropped by and many thanks to those who actually spend a few minutes to add your comments to the posts.

I do welcome feedback and suggestions.

Tell me what you like or dislike, cafes worth visiting and coffee worth trying. I’ll try and be more regular in putting up more interesting stuff.


My story of the espresso machine and grinder – Part 2

I got my espresso machine about 1 year ago.

Instead of getting the grinder first, I got my espresso machine first. The reason I wanted to get an espresso machine is of course so that I can make espressos and espresso based drinks. Cappuccino, latte, mocha, afogato and etc are all espresso based. And I can assure you that you cannot make espresso without an espresso machine.

The cost of the espresso machine + grinder = RM 2000 + RM 2000. And I cannot afford RM 4000 at that time. But if I got myself the RM300+ grinder, I cannot really make espresso. (Actually the RM300+ grinder can make espresso, but it is notoriously difficult and messy. I’ve borrowed one from a friend and it frustrate the hell out of me). But what I really wanted to make espresso and cappuccino. Can you see my problem.

Alas, I got my espresso machine first from Etc-concept. Then I get my fresh coffee from my friend Danny at Dankoff. I will have the coffee grounded there and put it is Lock&Lock air-tight container. I normally spend RM16 for a week of coffee.

Here are the facts:-

1. Whatever they tell you about the air-tightness of Lock&Lock, they will not prevent the coffee from deterioration (but they work great for storing fruits, snacks etc).

2. Forget about drinking espresso unless you have the coffee freshly grounded and use immediately.

So, for the entire time, I only drink milk based drinks like cappuccino and I learn how to make microfoam, the stuff that makes all the difference in a cup of cappuccino.

Finally, it is time to move to the next level. I got my M5 grinder. It is one heck of a grinder. It cost me RM2000++ but it should last for 10 years. With the M5, it can grind for any brewing methods, from press to drip and it is excellent for espresso.


Now, my grinder is actually of a more superior quality than my espresso machine. While my espresso machine is an excellent home machine, the M5 is a commercial grade grinder. I got myself some very nice and fresh roasted beans from Dankoff, grind them with my excellent M5 and make excellent coffee with my Gaggia Baby D.

Next step, I can now offer barista service for small parties.

My story of the espresso machine and grinder – Part 1

Due to the many comments and questions I got lately about the decision to buy espresso machine and grinder, here is my story. I hope it will help all you lovely people to evaluate for yourselves the rational and the money to invest in your decision.

Note: in the world of coffeegeeks, the recommendation is always to get the grinder first. Then if you have money, go for the espresso machine.

Why grinder first? Well, to enjoy good coffee, you can do so without an espresso machine. The french press is a coffee brewing device you can find easily in shopping malls and they cost between RM50 to RM100. The Bodum has some very nice french presses.The grinder is most important because freshly grounded coffee tasted the best.

A note about roasted coffee beans. Unlike tea, let me assure you that aged coffee beans are worthless. The roasted coffee beans aroma and taste peaks between 5 days to 2 weeks from the roasting date. After that, it started going downhill. No technology in the world today are able to prevent the deterioration of roasted coffee beans. It is like preventing human aging. In fact, you can prevent human aging better than coffee beans.

Therefore, I can say all the coffee beans you see on the supermarket shelf are practically stale. Whatever they state on the “expiry date” are nonsense. The first time you open the package, you’ll get the whiff of aroma. After that, it is over. Now, I’m not saying that there is really no more taste and aroma in the coffee. It just meant that you are merely enjoying maybe only 30% of what could have been 100%.

And I can assure you, none of the coffee you see in Starbucks and Coffee Beans are fresh. I define freshness as coffee that is less than 4 weeks from roasting date. (in Malaysia, I stretch it to 2 months due to lack of supply)

What is worst than coffee beans that is not fresh? Ground coffee. Even if you have a batch of fresh coffee beans (say 1 week old), after you grind the coffee, it will lose its potential within 30mins to an hour.

That is why you need a grinder. If you grind your coffee and use them immediately, it has higher potential than grounded coffee.

Therefore, if money is an issue, get a decent grinder and a french press and you will be able to start enjoying decent coffee at home.

One big concern and one big question.

The big concern = It is notoriously difficult to get fresh roasted coffee in Malaysia.

The big question = How much is a decent grinder?
That depends on the brewing methods.

Coffee press (french press) and drip coffee = About RM 300++
Espresso type = RM 2,000.00

Summary: If all you want is nice coffee via presses and drip, just RM 300++ and a french press. If you want espresso, cappuccinos, lattes, mocha… those types that you pay RM10+ at Starbucks… It is a long term investment. Go to Part 2 of my story.