BZ13 · Espresso

The journey so far

I’m a home barista who consumes up to 4 cups of double-shot espresso per day. Coffee has always been a staple in my life, as it is essential to get me through the day. My formal education years was fueled largely by 3-in-1 instant coffee, usually the “family’s favorite” bought from the supermarket. Brewing coffee has been regarded as wasteful of time and energy in the household.

It started when I became severely overweight just few years after stepping into the workforce. I blamed it on the high sugar intake from the 3-in-1 coffee, imagine having to drink 6-cups just to get through the days, the sugar count is terrifying! I couldn’t find coffee in the supermarket that was pleasant to drink without additives.

It was during the formative years of ‘Third wave’ cafe in Singapore when a friend introduced me to brewing specialty coffee. It was an eye-opener (or taste-bud), as I finally discovered that it is possible to savor the coffee with all its natural goodness without additives!

I’ve gone through various brewing methods, the following photo shows a french press, a hand grinder and Aeropress which I’ve used at my workplace. The V60 (not in photo) is the preferred method for brewing coffee at work now due to ease of cleaning and the clarity it gives.

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The photos above and below also shows the Presso coffee maker, a manual hand operated espresso machine. It lasted about a year before something gave way, which gave me very good reason to upgrade. I bought the Philips Saeco poemia entry-level espresso machine in 2013. It came with a pressurized portfilter which make espresso shot ‘look’ good. I had a lot of fun with this machine and even bough a bottomless portfilter to multiply the fun-factor. It was not a machine with good thermal stability and it gets very frustrating when you need to to pull shots after shots for your friends. 389113_10151044122040789_198004306_nWhen my wife and I settled into our new house in 2015, I managed to secure a little spot in the kitchen for coffee making. After reviewing multiple espresso machines available in the local market, I settled with the Bezzera BZ13 espresso machine. It was almost a natural selection for me as it is one of the slimmest professional grade machine I could find in the market. New houses are getting smaller so must machines!

It is also a primitive and well engineered machine. There is only a button to start and stop the extraction. Nothing fanciful like an automated cut-off timer or volume based feed-back system. Those automated features are also questionable as the industries are leaning towards ‘weight-based’ extraction for better tasting espresso. You can find an experiment conducted by Matt Perger on time-based extraction vs volume-based extraction here.

New and better measurement and barista techniques are appearing every year as evident in World Barista Championship (WBC). I’ll be sharing some of the new techniques in I’ve adopted from WBC in a future post.

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Are you also a kopi addict? Hit me up to get caffeinated 🙂

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