Introduction to coffee..
My real coffee journey started a year ago when I purchased an espresso machine for home. At the time I figured it was best to go for an automatic machine for simplicity of use and got the Gaggia Platnium Vision.
After a couple months of sourcing the best locally roasted beans I thought I’d give home roasting a shot and to my surprise it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be. The results where on par, if not better than the stuff I was buying from reputable roasters. As I spoke to other CoffeeSnobs at bean pickup, I’d listen to them describe what they were tasting in their roasts. I realised I was missing the point using an auto machine and expecting to taste the finer flavours in my cup. So my trusty Gaggia, which had pulled over 1,500 shots (assuming the shot counter doesn’t lie) was heading into retirement (more likely eBay).
I set off researching the options available in terms of espresso machine and a decent grinder. I was drawn instantly to the Rancilio Silvia and Rocky setup as it seemed like a decent entry level setup. As I discussed this option with other snobs, I was told what I didn’t want to hear, “it’s a fine combo but down the track you will want to upgrade to something more versatile”. I continued looking and was finding I had to really bump up the budget (much to my wife’s dismay but I convinced her it would be a “lifetime machine”).
Down the Expobar road..
I slowly went up the scale of ‘prosumer’ machines until I reached two that I really liked, the Giotto Rocket and the Expobar Minore III. Both are highly ranked and valued by coffeesnobs. The Giotto is a heat exchange machine while the Expobar is a dual boiler – having agonised on which to choose I finally went for the Expobar.
I purchased the machine at Dimattina Coffee in Osborne Park. They encourage you to have a play with the machines and you can pull a shot on all the units on display. Once I got it safely home and unwrapped, it was apparent that this machine meant business – it weighs a tonne and feels rock solid.
I was excited to do my first shot, locked the portafilter in position, turned it on only to discover that my grind was too fine (with my newly acquired K3 Touch grinder). I started to experiment and after a couple of attempts got a nice flow and proceeded to taste my first proper shot (home roasted Ethiopian Harrar). Instantly it tasted more fuller in body with notes of blueberry and a fruity sweetness – I had a grin from ear to ear as I knew it was defiantly worth the deliberating!
Next up I thought I’d test the milk texturing and was blown away – billowing out powerful plumes of steam with consistent flow. The milk steamed quickly, first pour and I happen to fluke a bit of latte art (well, a skewed love heart).
Some of the features I like of the Expobar Minore III:
- in built temperature control unit (PID), which you can change for different types of beans
- dual boiler and for those dinner time needs it can pull a steady flow of shots
- built like an armoured tank, encased with thick stainless steel
- no burn steam arm
A few things the Minore could improve on:
- drip tray is slightly flimsy and rattles
- styling is plainly utilitarian with no sexy curves like some other machines in its class
- legs are a tad short and the outside housing doesn’t have much clearance from the power cord
All in all, I’ve had the machine for over a (caffeine fuelled) weekend and I just love making coffee with it. The resulting shots and milk texturing have really improved greatly. Showing the wife how to produce a brew was not as hard as I thought it would be – granted its not as easy as the auto machine, but that extra bit of effort is worth it for the taste in the cup.
Be sure to visit Dimattina Coffee in Osborne Park to experience the Expobar in action.
Reviewer: Petar Ceklic