I know, I know. This is a pretty delayed reaction to probably the one purchase I was more excited to make than anything I’ve ever bought, (or had bought for me) in my entire life.
But… there honestly, hasn’t been much to say.
Funnily enough, the espresso machine and grinder arrived on Valentines Day — along with more car issues. But… that’s quite a depressing subject – one I don’t care to go into. 🙂
Matt and I invited our friend Ashlee over for dinner, and we figured we’d test out the machine. Sure, we’d have some flops… we had to dial in the grinder anyway.. but by the evenings end, SURELY we’d have a good drink, right?
HA. That, is all I have to say. HA.
We got all the pieces out of the box — slicing Matt’s finger open in the process, might I add…. and then spent a good thirty minutes piecing them together, and removing packaging.
The machine came with the following: A specs sheet, which I suppose is similar to those little slips in purses that tell you it was inspected by # 27… but this went way into detail. It had a quick start guide, that showed all the fun parts. And a very short, simple walk through of making espresso. It also had a little book on the espresso machine. And ANOTHER little book, all on the heat exchange system.
Some not-so-light, reading.
So, we’re pretty close to turning it on for the first time, and then the book tells me — if we can’t find a black plug… stop immediately, and look inside the machine. This black plug, is important, and can sometimes fall out during shipping.
None of us had seen a black plug.
The book never quite says what the black plug is for, either.
So we search.
And we Google search.
Images show a YELLOW plug… is it the same? We don’t know!
I try calling Vibiemme — (in Italy.) they aren’t open, (really? I wonder what time it would have been in Italy… maybe they have weird hours.. ) and they have Marc Anthony (in english. this company is Italian.) as their background music to the recording that tells me their hours.
Finally, we deduce that this yellow plug, is in fact our black plug, and it has SOMETHING to do with steam.
We finally break for dinner. Amazing quiche- and organic tomato soup. Mmm mmm.
Then, we go back to the espresso machine! We want coffee!
I turn the dial a couple times on the grinder – because I know that it’ll initially be too fine, so why not?
Long story short, THAT turns into a night of constantly pulling shots that look nothing like espresso. NOTHING. BLACK . OIL. Ugh.
We finally give up. I’m so mad I can’t see straight… I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong… BUT… the house smells like coffee, so at least there’s a plus, right?
The next day, I talk to the folks over at CoffeeGeek.com , who basically tell me I have to start from scratch, and just let the fine espresso choke the machine, and work my way up to the grind that works.
Really… it’s a duh thing. I felt so stupid, but I digress.
That night, it took me maybe ten – fifteen minutes, and I had my first semi drinkable shot. I did some more tweaks – and had a gorgeous shot. Made an Americano with it – yummy. 🙂
Still tweaking it a bit, learning the quirks and such. Using hot water from the water wand is still a bit odd, it still has the new machine taste to it.. I keep running the water through it after I’m done with the machine, hoping it’ll hurry and lose it, so I can make coffee for people!
I couldn’t be happier with it. It steams milk SO fast… I get these gorgeous looking shots… I do however have to go in and lower the brewing pressure just a touch. Which, I imagine will make me have to tweak the grind.
I also still need to order a knock box and a scale. But, baby steps. 🙂
Of course, this does NOTHING for my espresso addiction. But really, I haven’t’ been using coffee syrups much. Either nothing, or honey, has been my flavor of choice lately. I still doubt I’ll ever drink straight espresso shots, but most people who own machines like this seem to gravitate that way.
So, we’ll see!
Next step – learning latte art!