[Homeroast] Pod Capsules

Sandy Andina sandraandina at me.com
Tue Mar 24 15:44:29 CDT 2015

Let me make this clear: I keep the Keurig around for my husband, son and those frequent visitors of mine of the "I want a cup, I want it now, I want MY favorite kind, and it only has to taste better than instant" persuasion. I have offered to show them how to use an Aeropress or Technivorm, pull an espresso shot and turn it into an Americano, use a Nespresso (also a machine of sheer convenience and portability--mine fits in a freebie cloth shopping tote given out by various conferences I attend), or make a Melitta or Hario pourover--and am met with the kind of response one gets when offering to teach someone how to field-dress a deer using a dull butter knife or turn aluminum into gold.  (Although when it comes to making a pot, my husband swears by Melitta...provided *I* do it, of course).  One undeniable advantage of a Keurig is the ability to brew a cup of Sumatra, Kenya, hot chocolate, Starbuck's, chamomile tea and hot apple cider--seriatim, without having to stock bulk bags of each and wash out a pot and filter basket. (Okay, maybe the only undeniable advantage).  If it breaks irreparably about the same time I run out of K-cups, I might switch to another system. But I still doubt my family and friends would be willing to "kick it old-school."

My morning ritual is a Hario pourover; afternoon I usually make a low-carb (a tablespoon of cream, 1/2 c. Fair Life whole milk or unsweetened almond milk) cappuccino or flat white; evening, a decaf shot, Americano or pourover.  My family thinks I'm nuts--they can brew five K-cups in the time it takes me to make one pourover or espresso drink, (But mine tastes better, and I'm likelier to finish it before I let it get cold).

I had a semi-superauto once: an Estro (Saeco) Profi, with the built-in grinder. One had to dispense the beans into the portafilter. It was a jack of all trades and master of none: the burrs didn't grind finely enough, its built-in tamper was a joke (so I needed a separate one), its PF a nonstandard size, its doser inaccurate, its shots and froth were okay but "meh" and something or other always needed repair. The kicker was that the replacement burrs cost as much as a standalone grinder and replacing anything--even the group gasket--was a headache, as no shops offered this service. Its successor didn't have an integrated grinder--a Capresso Ultima, which looked sort of like R2D2. You loaded the grounds, rotated the hopper, pushed a lever (which tamped--offering only one degree of pressure) and hit one button or another to dispense a (poor) shot, steam (coarsely) milk, or dispense water (icky brownish, no matter how hard I cleaned or descaled). It resides in my Basement Museum of Failed Espresso Devices*. I then bought a Pasquini Livia Auto--which after a year needed a new pressurestat (installing it took a nerve-wracking step by step long distance phone conversation with the distributor in L.A.) and after 3 years failed spectacularly and which local "authorized" repair facility unsuccessfully and ineptly tried to fix it (closing abruptly and taking both it and my money off to parts unknown).  

[*Also down there are my Rancilio Silvia and Rocky--which aren't "failed" and work just fine, but I put them in a shopping cart to bring to parties when requested.  I just got tired of tempsurfing a single-boiler at home every day.]

So I bought a LaCora (Quickmill Andreja Premium tricked-out to dealer specs) from a local supplier to most of Chicago's commercial cafes--it's needed service only twice in 5 years (at minimal cost), and they pick it up and redeliver it.  It soldiers on beautifully, along with the used Mazzer Mini I got on eBay a decade ago from a cafe that went out of business...whose burrs have yet to need replacement.   I enjoy the whole ritual of adjusting grind, tamp and different kinds of steaming for different kinds of espresso drinks.  So I have no need for the gee-whiz factor of a superauto.  (And both the fly-by-night repair shop's and the reputable vendor's back rooms are full of superautos from various offices and homes, whose computer modules and other innards have gone blooey).  

Perhaps if both my LaCora and grinder kicked the bucket simultaneously I might consider a modern superauto.

On Mar 24, 2015, at 8:12 AM, Phil Palmintere <phil.palmintere at gmail.com> wrote:
> I started with a super automatic prior to discovering home roasting.  Nowadays, with a big Jura Capresso, a Moka pot, a Yama, and Sweet Maria's own Clever Coffee Dripper, and an inexpensive pod machine with make-your-own-pods-with-home-roast,   it turns out I use Clever Coffee dripper the most, the Yama the 2nd most, and don't really use the Jura very often.  Tastes change.
Peace & Song, 
Sandy Andina

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