[Homeroast] Espresso advice

Allon Stern allon at radioactive.org
Thu Jan 14 07:38:47 CST 2010

On Jan 14, 2010, at 1:58 AM, raymanowen at gmail.com wrote:

> Thermoblocks are not "boilers" at all. The stainless steel plumbing between
> the pump and the hydraulic plenum in the group is cast in aluminum with the
> heat element. Never thought about it before but I'll surf the temperature,
> pull a blank shot to heat the group plenum, which has almost no thermal
> mass, pack and lock the filter basket, re-surf the thermoblock through the
> hot water wand, and brew the shot.

What I do with my thermoblock machine is:

1) turn on the machine.
2) preheat the PF with 190+ degree water from the BUNN machine in the kitchen down the hall from my office
3) leave the PF loosely seated to keep it hot.
4) when ready to pull a shot, pull out the PF, wipe off condensation with a bit of paper towel, grind/dose/tamp
5) turn on the steam, collecting the steam/water/condensate in the target demitasse. Run it for about 15-30 seconds or so. The thermoblock machine uses the same heater/block for making steam (through a different channel which runs closer to the heating coil), *BUT* in order to make steam, it has to run the temperature up, so it turns the heater on while steaming. This heats up the block which will increase the shot temperature. It also preheats the demitasse.
6) Dump the water from the demitasse into a waiting mug, then pull the shot.

Then serve with a hunk of Scharffen Berger which has been stored in a sealed container with the coffee beans. Ahh, heaven.

Okay, my office mate is telling me to get on with it :D

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