Category Archives: Gaggia

Men are pigs


You know that saying….

Let me illustrate the story of this man…

He got himself a pretty baby…

And like most men, he is never satisfied.

He complained that her limbs are not flexible enough. Cannot manipulate to his expectation.

Then he complained her mood fluctuates hot and cold.

Also, she always gave him lots of pressure.

So… like many men, he forced her to go under the knife and therapy.

And what do you know… the changes were very noticeable.

She is more flexible now. Controls her temper very well. No longer blow hot and cold and does not over-pressure him again.

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Here’s how she looks like after the operation.

Notice the steam wand above? It’s from a Silvia.
Frothing milk is much easier now. Microfoam? No problem.

PID-ed… She’s more stable now. Brew at the temperature you want.

OPV. The original brew pressure was about 13 Bar. Way to high.
Now tuned to 9.5 Bar and pulled lovely espresso shots.

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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.

Epic Blend – My Best Espresso Experience


Updated: 24th July 2008
The video

Year 2008 is the year I discovered the Best Espresso extracted in Malaysia.

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Drum rolllllllllingggg…. Introducing… The Epic Blend.
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Simon from Sibu sent me 2 bags of Epic Blend from Five Senses.

I have tried a few of their blends like the Brazil Blue Blend, 24/7 Roast and Alto’s Blend courtesy of Simon.

The Epic Blend is the most expensive blend from Five Senses. At AUS 50.00/kg, convert to our poor Ringgit, it came up to around RM165. Including shipping charges of around RM35, that would be about RM200.

1kg of beans will make you around at least 50 cups of single espressos or cappuccino… which is about RM4/shot. Still much cheaper than Starbucks.

But now, I have to say I’ve just experience the best espresso in Malaysia. It was excellent… god-shots. And the beans were only 3 to 4 days from roasting. Really fresh. And the taste… sweet. Yup, no hint of bitterness. It was sweet with subtle acidity. I enjoyed it over the whole week and at the last day, which makes it about 10 days old, it was still sweet when I made it a ristretto. This is truly the best espresso blend I’ve tried. It is excellent for espresso, ristretto and americano.

On the other hand, it was not that great with milk. The cappuccino I made with it was thin. So far, I have to say for cappuccino, Highlander’s Supremo Blend is still the best.

Ok.. back to the Epic Blend.

A 30 seconds extraction of ristretto. About 23ml, single shot.

Extracting another double ristretto on my Gaggia Baby D.

Double Ristretto in a Bodum-doubled-wall glass.

Fresh Roasted Espresso Coffee Blend


Now that the Election Fever had passed and the PKR-DAP-PAS coalition (Barisan Rakyat) had form government in the 5 states of Penang, Kedah, Kelanta, Perak and Selangor, it’s time for them to get down to their work. Let’s hope that positive changes will drive our country’s economic, social and political arena to higher growth and maturity.

It is time for me to re-focus my attention to the journey in discovering better espresso. Some people call it the espresso nirvana. Some term it the espresso “god-shot” where it felt as if god has blessed the cup.

Got myself some freshly roasted Highlander’s Supreme Blend.

highlander-supreme.jpg

After dialing in the grinder and pulling a couple of “sink-shot”, here are the results:

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The shot above are done using those espresso glass from Starbucks. Heh heh heh.. Once I manage to convince one district assistant manager of Starbucks to give me one of their glass. She was kind enough to oblige me. One thing I can’t fault Starbucks is their customer service. I was after all once a very regular Starbucks customer.

If you notice the line on the glass, it measures at 30ml, which is the default measurement for a single shot of espresso.

What i pulled was not a regular espresso, but rather a ristretto. A Ristretto basically refers to a “restricted” shot. That shot above is about 23 to 25ml. Generally, ristretto gave a more intensed shot and the flavours are more pronounced.

highlander-espresso.jpg

This is espresso in a Bodum Double Wall Thermo-Glass. The sizeof the glass is 3oz or 90ml. What I have there is a double ristretto, about 45ml. A regular double espresso is about 60ml.

Wow, look at the crema. And this is from 100% arabica coffee beans, about 1 week from roasting. The taste is intensed, mild acidity, full bodied with a tinge of sweetness and very slight bitterness. Please do note that a good espresso is not BITTER. But having a very slight bitterness is actually desirable. And more importantly, it does not have any bad after-taste. (My previous ranting about espresso.)

I have been using Highlander’s Blend for some time. But it was only recently that I manage to find the correct combination in bringing balance to the (force?) whole espresso experience. I grind it finer, tamp it lighter…lo and behold.. it works ideally on my Gaggia Baby machine. Not forgetting the most important factor, the excellent La Scala M5 grinder.

Next… Cappuccino.

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.

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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.

Best Home Espresso Machine


Updates: 2010

Lot’s of changes has happened to the coffee scene in Malaysia since 2007.

Excellent Coffee Machines have reached our shore in Malaysia.
Check out these great machines HERE.

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ETC Isetan

Allow me to qualify “Best”. The Gaggia home espresso machine is the best in terms of the price and functionality. Range from RM2000 to RM2500, these machine can make espresso that is as good as those big commercial machine you see in Starbucks, Dome or Gloria Jeans. In fact, I consistently make better coffee than those big coffee chains.

Conditions to make those better drinks:-
1. Get a proper grinder
2. Get quality fresh coffee beans
3. Get the proper skills

With the above conditions, you can always make better coffee at less than RM2.

ETC Concept is having a roadshow at Isetan, KLCC. If you are Isetan Club Members, they are giving you RM200 discount. It’s a bargain. I also heard that they current have a second-hand Gaggia Classic for sale at RM1500. Grab it while it is hot.

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.