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This is from Giorgio Milos, the 36-year-old is a professor at Illycaffe Universita del Caffe in Trieste, Italy.

Milos is an Italian barista champion who currently lives in New York and will be spending the rest of this year travelling North America representing Illycaffe.

The biggest mistake I’ve seen is an enormous quantity of coffee being used—way too much. I’m talking about 20 to 25 grams of coffee for a single espresso shot! It is like making a mojito with half a mint leaf, one ice cube, a few grains of sugar, and a gallon of rum. Undrinkable!

Espresso made this way—well, it’s not espresso, but I’ll call it that—turns out overly concentrated, and because of that it cannot delight the drinker with the magnificent aromas of toasted bread, chocolate, red fruit, orange, and jasmine flowers that are all present in a high-quality blend.

The beverages I tasted were almost syrups, full-bodied but with a very sour, almost salty taste. I suspect that beans that were roasted too recently played a part. After roasting, beans need a few days to breathe and mature. These too-young beans are a big problem. Also, I’ve visited too many coffee bars that don’t heat cups before serving, and in the process sacrifice flavor and aroma. Or that serve in wet cups, an espresso sin.

An espresso, a real one, requires seven to eight grams of freshly ground coffee roasted two to three days in advance, or preserved using pressurization. The water can’t be too soft, and must not exceed 200 degrees F to avoid burning, nor be lower than 190 F in order to extract all the best aromatic components.

The grind is also fundamental. A too-fine grind can create burnt coffee and extract unpleasantly bitter and woody flavors. This is why so many people describe espresso’s taste as “bitter.” An overly coarse grind doesn’t permit full extraction of certain key elements. The proper, medium grind permits extraction of one ounce of aromatic black liquid in 25 to 30 seconds, the ideal amount of time.

If all these variables are respected (amount of coffee, temperature, time, and volume), along with the right pressure (around nine atmospheric units or 130 psi), you get an opaque, perfumed liquid containing microscopic oil droplets releasing precious coffee aroma, set fully free on your taste buds.

A silky, persistent foam (“crema”) will appear on top, nut brown with red stripes, protecting the liquid underneath for a few minutes—just enough time to hold that ceramic cup in hand, feel the warmth, move it to the lips, and sense those freed aromas in the mouth, where they will combine to create a unique taste experience.

Otherwise known as espresso. A real espresso.

via A Winning Formula for Traditional Espresso – Food – The Atlantic.

Paul Martinetti writes:

“Yesterday I bought a Capresso Infinity grinder at Williams-Sonoma for $140. They will refund me if it doesn’t grind fine or consistent enough for the pump machine..haven’t tried it yet. If it is unsatisfactory I will look into the Rancillio.”

Later, he reports:

“I’m pleased with the grinder’s consistency and fineness. The dark oily beans ground in the extra-fine settings stalled my La Pavoni, but the fine settings are perfect. Most important it lets me pull a great decaf for my wife, because it grinds more fine than the Turkish setting at my local Starbucks.

The reviews were accurate that it is tough to clean. There is a groove between the spinning disk and the well wall that is impossible to clean thoroughly. The blunt teeth on the disk push ground coffee out the shoot, but the fine grounds cake up easily and cling to every surface. It’s also a bit clumsy scooping the powdery fine ground coffee from the collection bin to load the portafilter. And I think the motor spins a bit too fast to allow beans to easily drop into the burrs in extra fine settings, beans bounce around quite a bit.

Overall I’m pleased not to have to buy ground coffee, and the improved flavor seems worth the extra cleaning effort. If I were to upgrade grinders I would want an improved dispenser for the ground coffee, and a machine that cleans thoroughly in less time.”

Hmmm…you might want to check this out. It seems cheap from Amazon.