Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Espresso Crema Longevity

A while back when I was pulling some shots of espresso, I decided to video the whole process. Here it is in all its glory (or lack of, depending on how desperately bored you are). It lasts until the end of the song, just so you know and half way through, there's pretty much no action, it's just to show how long the crema will stick around.

Now this shot is not even an ideal shot because it was just a random one, I can't remember whether I pulled a shot to adjust stuff like grind before hand, but I didn't put much effort into making sure it was a perfect shot for the video. I didn't measure how long the pull was, but it looks pretty short. If I had tamped harder and gotten a longer shot, the crema would have lasted much longer. These days I'm pulling 35 second shots, so it comes out much thicker and while it doesn't start out with a full cup of crema, it is very abundant and lasts really long.

In this video I pulled the shot and just let the espresso sit, so you can see how long proper espresso crema should endure. It seems like every coffee shop in Houston (except for Petrol Station in Garden Oaks and I'm sure there must be some good ones out there I haven't been to) serves espresso that fizzles out in mere seconds. What do I mean by fizzles out? I mean the crema dissipates way too quickly. If you want to see how good your crema is, pull a shot and let it sit still like in the video and measure the time it takes for a hole to appear in the crema. If it's quicker than a minute, it's definitely not a professional quality shot. I didn't wait for a hole to appear in the crema because mine usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes. You can expect less than a minute from a Houston coffee shop almost every time. What's sad is you can roast your own beans at home and pull your own shots with a machine from 1950 and get shots way better than almost every coffee shop in the country. Seems like very few people are seeking to improve quality through innovation and artistry. Instead they're finding new ways to reduce cost and and make more efficient business models. Sad.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It just can't come fast enough. And then when it's here it will fly by too quickly. Fall is my favorite season. Or maybe I get so excited about fall because winter is my favorite season. I don't know, but I just love those cold fronts. I love the smell of the fallen leaves. And thanksgiving and Christmas. Obviously it's the best time to drink a steaming cup of coffee, but it also makes roasting so much more enjoyable too.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hello Coffee Lovers!

Here's my coffee blog. Why am I making this coffee blog? I guess besides posting info on what kind of new coffees I've been getting in, what kind of new blends I've been making and how the espresso has been pulling, I wanted some kind of informal place to post stuff about coffee. People have told me to polish up or remove some stuff from the website that's not typical for businesses, so I'm considering doing that kind of stuff here and simplifying the website. I shut down the cafe a while back, and I don't think I'm going to be starting a roastery any time soon (I should keep roasting just a few pounds a week for a handful of nice folks), so this aught to do the job for now, so my fellow hobbyists and coffee enthusiasts can stay connected. It's actually better because you guys can leave comments! And it's just easier to do.

Hopefully soon I will start adding all kinds of cool pictures and media. Please leave a comment and say hello!


p.s. If you want some coffee, email me at
and let me know what kind you want and we'll talk coffee.

for now, here's a bunch of pictures of random stuff that showed up in my cup this summer after I threw the espresso in.

This one looks like Saturn.

This one vaguely resembles some kind of bird.
Definitely a moose! Right?I thought this one looked like my old friend Brian.
Another bird.
Giraffe (head).
The Boogieman?
Another Penguin?
Some kind of tropical fish, like the one from the fishtank in Finding Nemo.
Vibrations from the fridge made rings or separation of coffee and milk.