Simon Fell > Its just code > A year of great espresso
My journey into home espresso started about 18 months ago with the purchase of a gaggia coffee deluxe espresso machine and Inova grinder. I'd stumbled across coffee geek while tracking down reviews of espresso machines, and took the standard advice they give, don't skimp on the grinder, I upgraded my grinder selection from a Solis Maestro plus (which at ~ $130 I figured ought to be a decent grinder, but the coffee geeks consider it barely adequate), and settled on the Innova I2 grinder (a $200 coffee grinder, this I figured should be a good investment, something that'll last). Things really took off though 12 months ago, when I visited Espresso Vivace while in Seattle. This really opened my eyes to how good espresso could be, and I headed back to SF with some Vivace beans stashed away in my bag. With a fired up interest I headed back to coffee geek to learn that SF had just gained 2 awesome espresso joints, Ritual and Cafe Organica. Many trips ensued, as did trips down to Bafefoot in santa clara, I also scoured coffee geek for recommendations, over the last 12 months I've worked my way though a lot of the recommend roasters & beans. The gaggia held up well, and could pull a decent shot, however the grinder didn't last, one of the plastic gear wheels stripped and spare parts seem to be impossible to come by. Back when I brought the grinder I thought it was an insane amount to shell out for a grinder, but now with dead grinder in hand, upgraditus strikes, and suddenly I'm handing over a big chunk of change to order a Mazzer Mini E, at that point I was a lost cause and a couple of months later a new LaSpaziale espresso machine is winging its way to me as the gaggia heads to craigslist. Now I only have to go as far as the kitchen to get one of the best espressos in the city :)
The Metropolis folks should get an award for coolest labels.
That's not even everything I tried, others that I don't have labels for include Taylor Maid Farms and Doma Coffee, shown above are Counter Culture, Stumptown, Ritual (who use/sell Stumptown beans), Victrola, Zoka, Barefoot, BlueBottle, Metropolis, Caffe Fresco. There's still more to try, Ecco Cafe has an awesome reputation and will be next on my list.