September 15, 2005
One of the realities of most “super automatic” espresso machines like the Gaggia Synchrony Compact (and many standalone grinders, for that matter) is that dark roasted, oily beans don’t seem to feed well — they tend to clump together somewhat, and often have to be “encouraged” to go down the chute and into the grinder.
I’d been sampling some of Intelligentsia’s “Black Cat” espresso blend, as a baseline to compare my own roasts to. I tend to like a bit lighter roast, so Black Cat, despite being a very tasty blend, was quite a bit oilier than my usual beans. Things were going along fine, with me “encouraging” the beans, when suddenly no amount of coaxing would get more coffee ground.
I’d been here once before with the Gaggia Compact, right after it arrived; a little bit of water had dribbled into the bean hopper (since it sits right next to the reservoir, you’ve got to be careful), and the grinder had clogged. That day, I left it alone to get well dried out, and with a bit of up and down adjustment of the grind size, everything went back to normal.
Not so lucky, this time. We’re going to have to go in…
August 21, 2005
Along with all of the thrashing about the last week or two getting a working coffee maker and backup into place, I also went nuts and bought a super automatic espresso machine.
If you’re not up on espresso maker terminology, a “Super Automatic” is a machine delivers a shot of espresso (or a double, or an americano (espresso+hot water — coffee, more or less)) at the touch of a button. It grinds the beans, makes the shot, dumps the grinds, etc. Of course, it also comes with a steam wand for frothing the milk.