I’ve finally taken the plunge: La Pavoni Professional, Rancillo Rocky and iRoast 2 are all lined up on my kitchen counter. Espresso heaven, here I come. Now, what’s missing is what I can’t buy: my skills. I have had a $50 espresso machine and a $10 grinder so far, and after 500 cups served it can only produce burnt water (you won’t know it until you’ve tasted it), but after this I was sure I wanted something that could make a real cup where I could taste something new.
Well, this was certainly new. I’ve experimented a week with the Pavoni (it arrived a week before the roaster and grinder) and not been able to get a single cup with crema using Lavazza, Illy and extra fine grinded espresso coffee from my local coffee seller. So I was really looking forward to the grinder. Having very excited opened it and followed the instructions, my first cup with Colombia Supremo from FÃ¸tex turned out to have very little Crema (but still more than with my previous cups) but an incredible taste. I was starting to believe.
Next step: roasting. I know nothing about roasting, but the iRoast 2 comes with two presets: light and dark. Figuring I’d try what it suggested first, I roasted some Espresso Miscela d’Oro from Risteriet at preset 2 - dark, and put it in a paper bag overnight. It smelt very burnt so I was afraid I’d overdone it.
Day 2 I wanted to taste it, even though I was skeptical of how burnt it was. Grind, press: there’s crema! Lots more than I’ve had before, although nothing compared to the pictures I’ve seen. The taste? Great! Really, really great. No bitterness, and all I’ve heared about a sweet cup of coffee, I just understood what they meant. And this was after one day, I’ve read peak taste will be at day 4 or 5. Can’t wait. To make the day after more interesting, I roasted a handful of greens at preset 1 - light.
Day 3 - the dark coffee is still very good. The light one I haven’t come around yet as I want to give my tastebuds a chance to go into neutral again. So meanwhile I’m surfing the net to learn what others think of roasting with this machine to see if I can get a third alternative and what I should think about when I’m tasting the next cup. Can’t wait!
For this one cup I used half my preset 1 roasted beans, grinding at 2 with the Rocky. The reason I’m going for 2 is that my tamper is still the plastic one (I expect a new, decent one with the next shipment of coffee) and I want as much crema as I can get. The cup was propably preheated in a bowl of hot water, so I should be all set. Boil up the pavoni, release some steam, boil further, have some water through the group head, grind, tamp, pull, refill, pull halfway, refill, pull the entire length. The pull really required a lot of effort, but the shot was nice compared to all the shots before my grinder. Much more crema (let me attach a picture). The coffee was really oily (after having broken the crema and drinking a bit you can really see the oil) but I think the taste from the cup yesterday (and this morning, the preset 2 one) was fuller. But hey, this is the day after the roast. I should let the little bit I have back (probably just one cup) wait for three or four days and try again.
Having read a bit about roasting with the iRoast 2, I tried with the following setting: 150g beans, 176C - 2m, 204C - 3m, 232C - 3m45s. This was following the Sweet Maria advice of up to 6 minutes in the last stage and seeing that most people who had written preferred about 2m30s to 3-4 minutes in the last stage. I don’t know exactly what to listen for when it comes to cracks yet, so I figured that it would probably be done by now. We’ll see for the first cup tomorrow.