Category Archives: Cappuccino

Second Hand Espresso Machine


Lately, few visitors has mentioned about looking for used, second-hand espresso machine.

Here are a few thoughts of mine:

1. Generally, commercial espresso machines are very well-built and can last for years if properly maintained.

2. They also have very good resell value due to the quality of their built. Hence, if your reason to look for a used machine is that you wanted something cheaper, you may be disappointed. Any thing that has good resell value means that the used product will not be cheap.

3. Instead of seeking out a used espresso machine to cut cost, it would be better to work out in your business plan the money you are willing to spend.

4. If for example, you only willing to spend RM10K, therefore you thought of finding a used 2-group espresso machine for RM10K, it would be better to consider a new 1-group machine that cost RM10K.

5. I have seen SO MANY small or independant cafe using a 2 group espresso machine WHICH are VERY MUCH UNDER-UTILIZED. In fact, they could have bought the Vibiemme Domobar Super HX and still under-utilized them. With its’ 4L water tank, you can make almost 50 cups of espresso before you need to refill. And if you are making 100 cups of espresso based drinks a day, you are running a very successful cafe business already. Many cafes don’t even sell 50 cups a day. And a machine like Domobar Super or the La Scala Eroica 1-group model, they hardly break a sweat making 100 cups continually.

6. The problem with single or 1-group machine is that you can make 2 shots or 1 cups of coffee at a time. Let’s say it take 1 minute to prepare 2 cups of cappuccinos at a time, it will take you 5 minutes to make 10 cups. Therefore, if you have a single order for 10 cups of cappuccinos, your customer will need to wait 5 minuted. Therefore, if your business is like Starbucks with many people lining up to order, then make sure your use a 2-group machine. But if you think you rarely get more than 4 cups per order, a 1-group machine can handle sufficiently well.

Summary:
Don’t start by thinking what type of machine you need.

Start by imagining your business, the type of crowds, the maximum you are willing to spend and etc.

Horror Story:
I have seen a small cafe using a 3-group used machine that cost them around RM18K (if I remember correctly). They closed their business after about 9 months, serving probably an average of 50 cups a day. Why did they get themselves a 3-group machine? Well, the sales guy tell them it is a good deal. A new 3-group machine probably cost around RM30K.

For RM18K to RM20K, you can get a new and decent 2-group machine .

For RM10K to RM12K, you can get a new and decent 1-group machine.

Go figure.

Disclaimer: This post is not to be seen as an accurate description of budgeting process of your business plan. The decision on how much to spend on a machine, the type of business you visualised, the growth process is more complex than the above. I am merely attempting to demonstrate that seeking for a used-espresso machine to cut the cost of starting a business may not be the best way to start business. More importantly, get reliable consultants. Sometimes or some sales people may not have your business best interest in mind other than fulfilling quota.

Vibiemme Domobar Super – The Super Sexy Expresso Machine


Monday, 9th February 2009
Hari Chap Goh Mei.

The day I got to play with a Super Sexy, Cool and Kencang Espresso Machine.

Our friend Phil Liew got himself a brand new Vibiemme Domobar Super + Compak K3 Touch Grinder.
Cost approx: RM10K with all the professional tools thrown in (like espro tamper, knock-box, pitchers, and even a hands-on barista course).

The Specifications:

  • E61 Grouphead
  • Full Stainless Steel Body
  • 2.7L boiler and 4L water reservoir


Notice the grinder, tamper and knock-box on the right.


Front view: This is a manual machine, meaning you start and stop the brewing process manually.
The lever on the right of the grouphead is the brewing switch. Also warms up your cups nicely on top.


A closer look with the portafilter lock-in. Gives you double-vision due to the reflective nature of a shiny stainless steel body.


The 3.8L water tank and the 2.7L boiler is hidden under the steel compartment.


Phil got himself a naked portafilter too. Double espresso pouring out like hot honey.
It was yummy. The E61 grouphead ensures excellent temperature stabilty.
It’s not difficult to pull decent shots of espresso. With proper barista training, pulling excellent aromatic and sweet tasting espresso should be a norm (provided you got fresh roasted good quality beans).


(These shots were taken when I was pulling the espresso in the showroom)
Just to shows that it works the same whether in the showroom or back home 🙂


(Also taken from showroom)
Frothing milk is a joy. Plenty of steam and you can make silky, velvety microfoam milk.
It’s time to learn up some latte art. Alas, I can only make simple heart since I can’t practice on this machine everyday… sigh.

Nuova Simonelli Oscar Espresso Machine


latest Update

April 2009 – Nuova Simonelli Oscar Specifications

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Updated: 13th Feb 2009

Look at what our friend from Penang, Venky manage from the powerful Oscar:

venky1

venky2

Not bad man. Just to proof that if anyone has the passion and interest to learn, they can make a good cuppa 🙂

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Visited my friend Venky in Penang couple of weeks back. His long awaited Nuova Simonelli Oscar Espresso Machine has just arrived. This is what you call a Prosumer Machine, meaning for Professional Consumer. Whereas, the Gaggia Baby that I have or the Rancilio Silvia are known as consumer machine / home machine.

Do not be misled by its small size. This Oscar is capable to adequately serve most small cafes in Malaysia. In fact many small cafes over-spent on a commercial 2 group stainless steel machine cost in excess of RM15K and make less than 50 cups of coffee a day.

This baby here can handle easily 100 cups throughout the day. But of course, this is a machine with a 2.# liter water tank inside (commercial machines are plumbed-in), and you need to refill the water if the traffic is high. But then, what’s wrong with manually filling water couple of times a day if it save you more than RM7,000++.

oscar1 mazzer-mini
Oscar with a silver ABS plastic body. It is heavy but not too heavy. Can be carried by a single adult. Combine with a Mazzer Mini, good and fresh coffee beans and proper skills… excellent espresso is achievable consistently.

oscar2
Only 2 buttons. One to power on, the other to start and stop the brewing process. The big knob there is for steam.

oscar3
Fully commercial grade 58mm portafilter and a 4 holes steam wand. The Oscar, being a heat-exchange machine, can steam on demand. With a 2.* litre boiler inside, you have no worry of running out of steam. In fact, the steam is so powerful, I need a few tries before adjusting to it.

One downside to this machine, if you have not notice by now, there is no hot water dispenser. Well, I suppose this is a concern one need to consider. The reason the Oscar is priced so low for it’s capabilities, something has to give. Hence, no stainless steel body and no hot water dispenser. For extra RM2K, you can get a La Scala Butterfly with sexy stainless steel body and water dispenser too.

For me, to get hot water, buy a RM200 thermos would solve all the problem.

oscar4
Finally, here’s a couple of cappuccinos made with Highlander’s Supremo Blend, brewed and frothed with Simonelli Oscar. With the current fluctuating exchange rate, you can get the Oscar for around RM5.5K to RM6K.

Barista Jam


Couple of weeks ago, we had a Barista Jam at Irving’s place. He is the proud owner of a new Rancilio Silvia and Compak Doserless grinder.

Also there were Weechuan, Joseph and myself. I shall let the photos speak for themselves.

silvia compak

silvia-and-compak

I am so envious my friend. Rancilio Silvia is one of the all time best home espresso machine. It beats my Gaggia Baby D without a blink. Though Silvia is more expensive (around RM2600 if you have the right connections), it is truly a worthwhile investment. Here are 3 top reasons why Silvia is better than any Gaggia’s home machine:-
1. Silvia with Brass Boiler vs Gaggia with Aluminium Bioler
2. Silvia’s boiler is 12oz vs Gaggia’s boiler is 3.5oz
3. Silvia’s powerful steam vs Gaggia’s pathetic steam

Okay. Those are the 3 photos I took with my pathetic digital camera. What you see after this are the excellent photos taken by Joseph, a professional photographer with a REAL camera 😀

bj-leveling bj1-tamping1
Levelinga nd tamping. Crucial steps to perform correctly in preparing espresso.

bj1 bj1-ending
Look at the crema of freshly roasted coffee.

bj1-weechuan
Wee Chuan holding up a shot of espresso.

bj-milk
Wee Chuan distributing velvety microfoamed milk.

bj-latteart bj-latteart1
Did I mentioned that Wee Chuan is a Latte Artist?

bj-latteart2
Too good to drink? Given a choice, would you want these or $bucks?

bj-aeropress1 bj-aeropress2
Really affordable way to enjoyed freshly roasted coffee.

bj-aeropress The Aeropress Way

bj-team
All coffee lovers here (and a cute coffee lover in training?) and Joseph is behind the lens.

Great Espresso beans


For great espresso, Australia is one of the MUST GO place. But alas, i have yet to visit the land of espresso Down Under 🙂

Fortunately, 2 friends just ame back from Australia and got me some lovely espresso blend.

brazil-blue pm-blend
From Fivesenses: Brazil Blue blend and the PM blend (now known as Harvest blend).

Brazil Blue Blend:
Consists of beans from Papua New Guinea, Brazil and India. Fivesenses cupping notes follow:-
Greeted by a good depth and a slightly syrupy aroma, this blend urges you to taste further. With a heavy body and a medium-light mouthfeel, its glorious mild sweetness rolls on the tongue, leaving the soft flavours of golden syrup and a gentle sweetness. Think warm toast slathered with golden syrup on a winter’s day, inhale its almond sweetness and savour the dry nuttiness of the finish. With a well-rounded aftertaste, this is a blend to enjoy.

PM Blend aka Harvest Blend:
Consists of beans from Papua New Guinea, Colombia and Costa Rica. Fivesenses cupping notes follow:-
On imbibing a cup of the delicious Harvest, you’re greeted by wonderful aromas of dried fruit and citrus, accompanied by tantalizing hints of timber. Drenched in honey and caramel, this blend is a sensory feast. These flavours are followed by a welcoming bright citrus acidity, which mellows out to a truly pleasant sweetness. Harvest has a delicate, smooth mouthfeel and body, allowing for a great cup, however it’s served. It’s quite bright through espresso with an almost marmalade flavour, and a long lasting, rich aftertaste. The initially sweet caramels fade into a dry nutty mouthfeel.

Five Senses Coffee quality is top notch. Their Epic Espresso Blend is one of the best I have ever tasted. Both the Brazil and PM are also very good. As I am still learning at the learning stage in how to properly describe taste profile, I left you with their own cupping notes instead.

Overall, most of these high quality beans are roasted to medium dark. They are very different from our local kopitiam style (or charcoal style).

To me, they are bright, fruity and sweet. They are intense, aromatic and flavourful as espresso. I enjoy them even more in Americano style. Adding 3 parts water to 1 part espresso, mellowed out the intensity and I am able to separate out the flavour even more, where the sweetness and fruitiness became more pronouced.

obama-blend campos-superior
From Campos Coffee: The Obama Blend and Superior.

Obama Blend:
Consists of beans from Kenya, Brazil and Indonesia. Their cupping notes suggest:-
For those looking for change. Great depth of character, strong, and eloquent. This very appealing blend unites coffees from Africa and the Americas to produce a cup which has gotten us excited. Formidable middle palate flavours, syrupy with an uplifting finish. Excellent drink for going forward.

Superior Blend:
Their cupping notes suggest:-
Our flagship blend and winner of the 2006 Equal ® Golden Bean Award. A True Specialty Coffee Blend. Dominant caramel intonations with fruit highlights of apricots and blueberries. Rich and creamy body. Fantastic dimension.

With all the craze over the US New President Elect, many roaster celebrated the new era with their Obama’s blend. And this Obama blend is very decent. Flavourful and uplifting. As I mentioned above, most of these quality beans are not very dark roasted. Hence, generally they are more acidic and bright. I like them a lot in espresspo and americano. But they are not that great for cappuccino. They don’t seems to cut through the milk enough for my preference. I will do a post later on my favourite cappuccino blend.

Here are some shots on the Obama Blend:

obama-shots
Left side is the americano in 3 parts water and 1 part ristretto. On the right is a single ristretto.

obama-capp
Two cappuccinos made with Obama Blend. The milk is nicely frothed. Smooth and sweet but the coffee is not cutting through. Taste like coffee-flavoured milk 😀

Cyberspoted by Malay Mail: Chasing the god-shot


Featured in Malay Mail today.

Chasing the god-shot

By Gabey Goh     October 22, 2008      Categories: Blogspot

Coffee is happiness tasted. And a truly great cup of coffee defies description – overshadowed by the pursuit that inevitably follows for an encore…

Click on the pic for the enlarged and readable version.