Archive for May, 2009

PostHeaderIcon The Four M’s of Great Espresso

Brewing good espresso is both an art and a science that has been studied for years.

In Italy,  the heartland of espresso,  these studies have culminated in a balance of four factors, referred to as the ‘4 Ms’: the bean mix or blend (miscela), the grinding process (macinazione), the espresso machine (macchina) and the person making the espresso (mano).

Miscela

While there are some single-origin coffees that make good espresso, great espresso is pulled from a blend of coffees. Blending for espresso allows you to produce the shots that have the flavor, aroma and the crema (yummy) that you want from your espresso. There are virtually no single-origin coffees that guarantee the same richness as a well chosen blend.

Macinazione

Grinding the coffee beans breaks the beans up into small particles that are ready for brewing. The size of those particles affects the flavor and interacts with the passage of water through coffee.

Macchina

The espresso machine makes the water pass through the coffee. It must be clean and in good working condition.

Whatever machine you use, it must be able to extract espresso from 7 grams (+/- 2 grams) of finely ground coffee by producing 1-1.5 ounces of extracted beverage under 9 bar (135psi) of brewing pressure at brewing temperatures of between 194 and 204 degrees Fahrenheit, over a period of 25 seconds (+/- 5 seconds) of brewing time.

Mano

The skill of the barista is of great importance as well, in spite of sophisticated today’s equipment. The barista controls the grind, the dosing, the brewing. He ensures the cup is pre-heated and serves the resulting cup to the consumer with the proper care that a good espresso deserves.

PostHeaderIcon Just Because…STS-125 Atlantis Wallpapers

Following a smooth countdown and picture-perfect liftoff, space shuttle Atlantis and a crew of seven astronauts are in space. STS-125’s 11-day mission is to service NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Atlantis lifted off at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday, May 11th at 2:01 p.m. EDT.

Being a big fan of the space program, I usually make myself walls of the ongoing mission.  I figured I may as well share them. Photo credits are noted in the lower left corners.

Click the small image to load the full size 1600×1200 image.

Night falls on Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida following rollback of the pad's rotating service structure, or RSS, revealing space shuttle Atlantis in all its glory.

Night falls on Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida following rollback of the pad's rotating service structure, or RSS, revealing space shuttle Atlantis in all its glory.

Under a dry, hot, cloud-washed Florida sky, space shuttle Atlantis roars off Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida with its crew of seven for a rendezvous with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Under a dry, hot, cloud-washed Florida sky, space shuttle Atlantis roars off Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida with its crew of seven for a rendezvous with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

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