No change today, which isn’t a bad thing, I suppose.
I mentioned recently that I’d revived my espresso machine. Well, I was so happy with the results that I decided it was time to take things further and upgrade my espresso making facilities a bit. Not the actual machine, you understand – I’m happy with that, and the only thing that would make me upgrade would be total failure of the machine or a large lottery win. But there were a few things I could do, and I’ve done them.
The first thing was to get a proper heavy duty tamper. That’s the thingy that you use to press down the ground coffee in your portafilter. The machine came with a basic plastic thing for doing this, which sort of does the job, but needs a fair bit of force to work properly. So I spent £20 on a real one. It’s got a good heavy bit of smooth metal to do the pressing, and a nicely polished wooden handle, which makes it feel very comfortable to use. Its weight means that it just takes a quick twist to tamp down the coffee nicely.
The next thing was something I’ve been vaguely researching for a while – a grinder that can actually produce coffee fine enough to work properly in my Gaggia. I’ve tried a few but they weren’t up to the job. Looking into it suggested I could spend very silly amounts of money on serious grinders, but I didn’t want to go that far. A bit more research suggested that Gaggia’s own MDF grinder would actually be quite adequate for my needs, and seeing reviews on a few sites reinforced that. But where to get it? The best UK price seemed to be a slightly expensive £175. But then I remembered the nice people who sold me the Gaggia Baby D – Caffè Italia. While they have a UK domain and correspondence address, they seem to be mostly based in Italy, and send the goods from there – quite remarkably, Gaggia still manufacture their toys in Milan, so this is where you need to be. Their price was a much more friendly £124, to which I added a base – this is a slightly expensive thing for what it is, but it is neat. You get a platform to hold your espresso machine and grinder, with a drawer for knocking out the grounds after each coffee. It took just over a week to arrive, which I was quite happy with. Here’s a quick iPhone picture of my upgraded coffee kit: