Category Archives: Espresso Machine

Barista Jam @ Wee Chuan’s


Last Sunday we had another Barista Jam at Wee Chuan’s place.
These Photos will tell the story…


Dennis: “I can’t watch this”
Wendy & Joie: “Oooo… my knight in red armour making coffee for me”


Dennis: What are you looking at? Never drink good coffee before issit?”



Hmmm… Yummy looking espresso pouring like hot honey


Master Sifu showing us how to froth milk.


Here is a leaf and a tulip for the fair maidens.


Ana: I like coffee
Mun Shin: I like the photographer


Fernando and Wee Chuna. Two grown man drooling over a leaking LaMarzocco


Prozac = Happy pills
Coffee = Happy drinks
Which would you rather have?

The rest of the photos here.

One Good Espresso Machine


Finally, the Black Nuova Simonelli Oscar has arrived. If you want to get a good espresso machine in Malaysia, read on.

After 2 months of wait, alas… This is every coffee geek dream espresso machine.. Or rather, dream espresso machine for those who don’t have a lots of money to invest. If I have more money to invest, of course I’ll get the super-sexy Vibiemme Domobar.

Here is a quick review:


Does not take up much space and can move it around without killing your back.

There is ample space to put your cups on. Haven’t really opportunity to calculate how long it takes to really warm up any cups.

Open the top flap and you will have access to the water tank. The water tank holds about 2.1 litre of water.

Only 2 buttons: The On/Off switch and brewing switch.

Light-indicator from top right to left:
1. machine light turns on when On/Off switch is turned on.
2. brewing light turns on when the brew button is turned on.
3. water tank lights on when water tank finishes water.

Big Button on the left is the Steam Switch. Turn 3.5 times to get steam, powerful steam.

The Steam Wand can be rotated around 360 degree.

Portafilter must be tightly locked. I push all the way to about 25 min to ensure no leakage around the portafilter during brewing session. Earlier when I did not tighten it enough and water leaks a bit.

Love the large drip tray.


All the components seems well built.


Top view


Pouring like hot honey.


Thick brown Crema


Ready to be made into a love heart.


After the third attempts.


A Closer look.

A Closer Shot

More reports coming on Simonelli Oscar.

Coffee With Moses Chan


Updated with new Photos
Check out another angle from WeeChuan.

In case some of you still do not know, there is an excellent program about coffee on Astro channel 311.

It’s Coffee Confidential with Moses Chan: 9 episodes, every Sunday at 9pm. If you are fans of Hong Kong Series, you will know that Moses Chan is one of the very popular star in recent times. He is a coffee enthusiasts. His program introduces coffee from the basic to the complex, from the farm to the cafe. I think it is an excellent development of coffee exposure to the Malaysian Public. Check out Wee Chuan’s blog, he will probably give a summary of every episode.

But somethine even better happened. Astro manage to arrange for Moses to have a Coffee Forum in Malaysia. And I was privilage to be invited as one of the panel.

So, last Saturday at Berjaya University College of Hospitality, I was having coffee with Moses Chan. Astro organized the event and on the panel was Moses, Sum Leong and yours truly. The EmCee was Vivian Tok. There were about 40 students and invited guests in the audience.


Well, this is as close as I have ever get to a celebrity 🙂
We must be laughing over some bad coffee experience.


Here is Ms. Sum Leong, the other panelist. She is demonstrating how to brew coffee using a Syphon Device. Sum Leong has a small cafe in Shaw Parade, Pudu.


Sharing freshly brewed Sumatra beans. Not bad at all.


Moses and I were asked to demonstrate making espresso and cappuccino.
Well, you can see where all the attention goes to lah 🙂

Hopefully this little program will see air-time over in Astro. When I get the schedule, I’ll let eveyone know.

About Moses
He is a friendly guy. That is not a surprise at all. Trained in the art of PR. But make no mistake, he knows about coffee. That means what you see in his program is not just someone reading from a script.

He is a barista too. Better than most behind the bar in any cafe in Malaysia for sure. During the demo, he paid attention to grind adjustment, paid attention to extration rate, froth milk correctly on the 3rd attempt and manage to pour latte art too.

In the private interview after the forum, he told of his experience with kopi luwak. I assure you that he was being very courteous during the filming with regards to kopi luwak. Very courteous and polite.. if you know what I mean 🙂

Hey, he owns an Aeropress too. And he also gave me a copy of his program “Coffee Confidential” on a copy-protected and autographed DVD.

Coffee Scenes in Malaysia
As far as promoting quality gourmet coffee is concern, more exposure, education and publicity is needed. We as consumers (especially those who love coffee) MUST demand quality from anyone attempting to sell us coffee that cost more than RM4.

Why? Well, even gourmet coffee are consider cheap as far as raw material is concern. Most single shot of espresso cost no more than 50 cents. Many are even cheaper and even the more expensive ones cost no more than a ringgit. I’m willing to pay Rm10 for a cappuccino only if they are well made. A well made cup of cappuccino requires good beans, good machine, good milk, good environment and GOOD SKILLS. All these things cost money. Any cafe who does not spend money on all these good requirements has no right to charge you even RM4 for a lousy cup of coffee.

Berjaya University College of Hospitality
The Espresso Machine is in a sad condition. Dispersion screen probably block. Gasket dying and water is leaking during extraction. How do you expect good barista to come out from there? They make us a pot of french press using the very “expensive” Jamaican Blue Mountain beans. Ughhhh… STALE. Funnily, the few cups very given to the audience. Lucky for Moses, he didn’t manage to taste it. One last cup available, I took a sip…. yup… taste as stale as it smelt.

‘Nuff Said.

Caffeinees


Went with Wee Chuan to Caffeinees for a relaunch of their Coffee Initiative.

Check out the proper reporting with photos from Wee Chaun’s post.

We had a good chat with Chris, the owner about Caffeinees’ commitment to offer quality coffee to the market. Obviously, commitment to the training of barista is crucial to improve the quality of coffee.

When we talk about the quality of Coffee, let us narrow down to the few crucial factors in Malaysia.

1. Freshness of coffee
Actually, when it comes to the raw material, it is not just the freshness. The qualilty of the coffee beans, roasting quality and blends, all play a crucial part in the final output of “Fresh roasted, good quality blend” of coffee. But with the reality of the Malaysia environment, pushing the bar too high would be meaning less.

At Caffeinees, they brought in green arabica bean and roast it themselves. There are surely a lack of science, technology and art in the roasting and blending process. But I am happy that at least there is a consistent supply of FRESHLY ROASTED COFFEE. Crema is rich and certainly a very decent cup of cappucino can be done.

2. Barista skills
With the utter lacking of Barista’s skills in almost 99% of all the cafes in Malaysia, anyone who pays attention to good Barista’s skills can offer us a cup of decent coffee. And for any cafe owner who appreciate the value of proper Barista’s skills should be complemented.

And for this reason, I am glad that Chris is committed to the training of barista in his cafe. After all, there is no magic you can do to produce a good cup of coffee if the barista don’t even know how to produce microfoam in the milk frothing process.

3. Espresso Machine and Grinder
This is a area that really seems to be irrelevant to us. Most of the restaurant who offered Italian style coffee have good espresso machine and grinder. In fact, many over paid their machines. They pay few thousands ringgit extra just to have a good looking machine while the barista can only produce crap. Save the few thousands and spent it on Barista Training lah for coffee sake. Just take a look at that extreamly sexy machine in J Co. Donut and Coffee. A state-of-the-art, 3-group Nuova Simonelli Aurelia. It’s like having an F1 race car driven by me (I wanted to say Alex Yoong, but actually, even though Alex Yoong is not great among F1 drivers, but he is actually a professional driver who is way better then any drivers you met on the road.)

So, if you got chance, drop by Caffeinees for a cuppa. Their food there is also quite decent.

Cheers.

I sold my espresso machine


Goodbye my baby, goodbye my Gaggia Baby D.

It’s been a good 2 years and you have faithfully pull me lovely espresso, delicately give me microfoam for my cappuccino.

Though you are lousy at steaming milk and no power to blow steam when your life depends on it, i have trained you to exceed your primary functions. Together we make velvety, creamy  and sweet capuccino. Though your boiler is tiny, you are not finicky like that Ms. Silvia 🙂 Oh, did anyone tell you how fast you heat up? 10 minutes and you get yourself real HOT for me.

Now that you are with someone else, behave yourself and don’t bring shame to your Ex. Just joking, I know you wouldn’t.

Thank you for the good time. The last 2 drinks has been the best.

My Mocha

My Hot Chocolate

Truly the best and also the last.

Espressamente Illy @ Pavilion with Andrea Illy


Espressamente Illy in Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur is one of my favourite place for coffee.

And yesterday (Friday the 3rd, 2009), with a personal invitation from Michael, went there to witness a special event.

Andrea Illy, the President and CEO of illycaffè was there for a press conference.

Founded in 1933 by Francesco Illy, illycaffè produces and sells a unique single blend of premium quality coffee worldwide.

Make no mistake, illycaffè as a company has done tremendous job in educating  and promoting premuim arabica blend of coffee to the public. Their research facility is probably one of the biggest in the world. They even have a University of Coffee as a training institute.

Though among coffee geeks, many tend to whacked them for their apparent lack of freshness in their beans on retail, I can’t really fault them for it. If you want to market worldwide, mass production, storage, international shipping… it is virtually impossible to offer fresh roasted coffee (or anything less than a month). But they did try their best in attempting to preserve freshness. Their 3kg tin of illy coffee apparently has undergone much scientific research to ensure minimal degradation of bean quality.

(But frankly, trying to prevent degradation of roasted coffee beans is like trying to prevent human aging. We all hope for breakthough but it is not happening.)

Continue reading

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.