Easy brew head cleaning with the Espazzola

The cleanness of your espresso machine will highly influence the cup quality. Dirty water from the brew head will lead to a dirty cup, it’s as simple as that.

There several ways to clean the brew head. Methods include back flushing and cleaning with a stiff-bristled stick. Although important, I have to admit that these are not my favorite activities. Espazzola is a cleaning tool you can insert into your group head instead of a portafilter. The tool is supposed to make cleaning of the brew head much faster and easier. Instead of brushing out the group-head by hand, you can simply wash the dirt away. The designer of the Espezolla claims that by using it you will only need to back flush your machine once a week. I tested the Espazzola to find out if it does live up to its promises.

The Espazzola costs about 40 euros including shipping and is packed in cardboard box. In the box you will find an unassembled Espazzola and a user manual. Assembling the Espazzola seemed tempting to me, but after reading the instructions the process was easier than expected. The Espazzola is made from different kinds of food safe plastics. The looks will not be everyone’s cup of tea. But for cleanness, beauty is less important than functionality.

I have been using the Espazzola for a few days now and I have to say that it does the job. I don’t have to backflush and remove the showerhead as often and I don’t have to brush anymore. Cleaning the brew head during the day or between shots can be done much faster. Because of the easiness this became a new routine. I recommend it.

Movie: The Espazzola in action

Many thanks to Frans Goddijn for giving me this product to review. I would never recommend it if I don’t genuinely believe in it.

Water, the weakest link in espresso brewing?

I recently disconnected my Everpure Claris water filter because of a my house renovation. This left me with a problem. Where could I find filtered and softened water for my espresso machine? Luckily my friend Frans Goddijn helped me out. He supplied me with bottled water that was filtered with his BWT Bestmax premium water filter.

After feeding the water to my espresso machine I noticed a significant improvement. There was a clear improvement of the cup quality of the espresso’s.

After that I decided not to reinstall the Everpure water filter. Instead of that I installed a DVA water softener. The water was softened but here was problem . It did not taste good. Cold from the tap you could clearly notice an off taste. I also brewed some too freshly roasted coffee with it and I noticed a clear salty taste. An explanation for this could be under extraction of the coffee. Also the coffee seemed to have more body and less fine delicate flavors. I also tested the DVA filtered water with different green tea’s. The tea’s were sweet but lacked delicate subtleties and character.

In audio terms I would say, it enhanced bass and mid tones, but there was a drop in the high frequencies.

After my tests it became clear, water has a big impact on brewing. Therefore I decided to buy exactly the same water filter as Frans. After installing the Bestmax water filter the taste of the espresso’s improved substantially. The flavor can be described as more open, more delicate, more character. Also the percentage of acceptable cups went up.

One final word. I’m not saying that Everpure Claris water filter is less good than the BWT Bestmax premium water filter. Less taste fidelity could have been the result of mistreatment or overuse of the water filter. I’m however not planning to switch back.

Tiny Cheap Fluid Bed Roaster update 8 Feb 2017

Tije de Jong made a first housing for the Tiny Cheap Fluid Bed Roaster. He also made a part that improves the movement of coffee beans inside the roast chamber. This improvement is not finished yet but it already makes a slightly larger batch size possible (310 vs 250 grams). Tije also made an addition to the chaff collector that prevents beans from escaping out of the roast chamber. Another advantage of this adjustment is that the roaster seems to need needs less fan adjustments during the roast.

Movie by Frans Goddijn.