I have always been a massive coffee fan, and a bit of a fanatic. So mix that with my scientific background and you get obsessive about these things. Something I have been meaning to get into is grinding my own beans, so at Christmas I bought a grinder and have been experimenting ever since. Here are some of the results.
First off the grinder I bought is the Cuisinart Professional Burr Grinder. I did some research on grinders but not an amazing amount, but I found this to be a cheap electric grinder with good reviews. Obviously I was only considering burr grinders, I have had blade grinders before and don’t have much love for them (plus I would always switch between spices and coffee so everything always tasted off).
For those interested my coffee maker is the Gaggia Classic – and I highly rate it. I have been through a dozen of the low end ones before this, and I love it.
Next I needed beans. Well I normally drink Illy, and occasionally Lavazza – so I bought some Lavazza beans. This was from Tesco, so obviously they weren’t freshly roasted, but I figured a fresh grind would be better.
Obviously I was grinding for espresso, though the grinder handles a wide range of sizes.
First I tried the grinder on the finest setting, and that is what I got, a very very fine grind.
Using this almost choked the machine. Eventually I had to work down to setting 3 to get a good sized grind.
As for the espresso, it was ok. Tasted like Lavazza, but a bit fresher. Honestly I was a little disappointed with the Lavazza, there was quite a lot of chaff in the grounds, and the coffee wasn’t great.
So time for something more interesting, Bar Angeli. This is one of my favourite coffee shops in Leamington Spa, and what caught my attention when I was in there is that they also roast and sell their own beans.
So I bought some, a 500g bag of Columbian beans freshly roasted. It is not cheap, comparable to Illy, so I had high hopes.
It did not disappoint. The grind looked much better than the Lavazza, with far less chaff.
I was able to move back to setting 1 on the grinder without choking the machine. Most importantly the coffee is fantastic and reproducible.
Now looking at a 7g dose for a single shot (my preferred) the grinder on the lowest setting (4 cups) makes about 20g, so I tend to grind every other cup or so. I have been working to try and improve my tamping skills, getting a nice even puck, for now I am really enjoying the coffee.
Next on my list of things to try:
A new tamper and a bottomless portafilter.
I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings on coffee. I am far from an expert, rather an appreciator who wants to understand more.