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2007-05-11 13:25:48
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Home Brew vs. Cafe Brew

How home espresso makers differ from industrial machines
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**NOTE: The espresso brewing methods that I am describing on this wiki utilise a steam-driven machine.




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Café machines – 35 to 45 seconds to brew. Home machines - answer the phone, brush the dog, fold a basket of laudry, find out what that noise was coming from your child's room...you get the idea.

Home machines are nice to have, but do bear in mind that home espresso makers are NOT the same as the industrial ones used in cafes. That is not to say that a home machine is not as good as a cafe machine. If you are satisified with using a weaker version of espresso, then by all means use it. However, the more expensive home machines will brew excellent espresso. The average time for brewing varies by machine. It can take anywhere from 30 to 45 seconds for the expensive models to 1 to 2 minutes for the cheaper models. In either case, espresso should be brewed in the same manner: the coffee grind must be fine and tamped down tightly. With home models, you must also wait for the machine to build pressure in the water chamber to brew the espresso and create the steam needed for frothing milk. These can be a bit of a pain, but if you're naturally patient and not too addicted to coffee then you should all right. Someone needing that jump-start in the morning would probably not want to wait for the water chamber in a home espresso maker to heat and build pressure. But it just depends on who you are. Something to note in home models: READ THE SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY! The water chamber builds A LOT of pressure and can be dangerous to operate. NEVER NEVER NEVER remove the cap from the water chamber when the pressure has built or if the chamber is still hot. ALWAYS, after you have finished brewing and steaming, release the extra pressure by turning on the steaming wand until all of the steam is spent.

The large industrial espresso makers seen in cafe's are an espresso lover's dream, especially if you like to make the drinks but don't like to wait. The espresso usually brews in 30 to 45 seconds, depending on the make and model. The one I used took approximately 35 - 45 seconds, but I can't remember who made the machine. There was always an abundance of steam power for the frother and just made my job as a barista a coffee lover's dream. Folks loved to watch the process of coffee being ground fresh from the hopper, watching the milk heat up from the steaming wand, and then seeing the espresso being brewed.

I came to love the sounds of hearing that final gurgle coming from the espresso maker as the brewing process stopped and seeing that gorgeous, frothy crema atop the shots. I also loved the sound of the milk swirling under the steam and spooning out a perfect dollop of foam from the top of the pitcher. You'd never know that when I first started working at that cafe that I couldn't stand the taste of coffee; but six months later, I couldn't get enough of it!


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