[Homeroast] Espresso advice

Sandy Andina sandraandina at mac.com
Fri Jan 8 16:45:09 CST 2010

Hi, Michael,

Estros today all seem to come with those stupid "crema enhancer" portafilters and/or baskets--some with rubber disks, some with fewer holes, some with springs (not to be confused with the "springs"--really retaining wires--that keep the baskets from falling out), all designed to increase air and water pressure to create a sort of pseudo-crema which is not the emulsified oils and solids of true crema (or "schiuma," as Italians call it), but rather just whipped espresso that dissipates quickly because it is mostly air and water.  Early Estros came with both types, but later on you had to order a non-pressurized PF as an aftermarket option.

As for tampers, the included plastic ones (which seem to be packed with even the best machines) are good only as cat toys.  Our own Les can make you a custom weighted wooden Thor tamper in whatever size you like; or various espresso parts websites can let you assemble them from a variety of cast-brass/aluminum/steel or wooden handles and stainless bases of varying diameters that screw on to the handles; the bases can be ordered flat or with varying degrees of convex curvature.  The heavier the tamper, the better and more uniform the tamp and the more consistent the shot. (Practice on a cheap bathroom scale till you find out what 30 lb. of pressure feels like--or buy one of those "teaching" tampers that "click" when you reach 30 lbs.--I don't think they come in small diameters, though).
On Jan 8, 2010, at 4:25 PM, michael brown wrote:

> Sandra,
> hmmmm, haven't thought about switching out the portafilter on the estro.  when you say non-preasurized, do you mean one without a spring in it?  what difference does this make?  and i have to admit, i went through two different tamps before finding one that fit well.  kind of embarrassing really. 

Peace & song, 

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