In 2014 – I ordered my first espresso machine from Clive. I was drawn to the craft of making espresso at home and thought the machines were beautiful pieces of kitchen art. I quickly learned a few things:
- Espresso milk drinks are pretty easy to get right.
- Espresso shots take a bit more practice. It’s nice to have a team behind you that is willing to stay on the phone to help.
- It is wildly less expensive and better than most cafes.
- The exploration and hobby is almost as enjoyable as the coffee itself.
I prefer milk drinks and those can hide a lot of imperfections, so within a couple days the lattes tasted wonderful. It took me about 6 weeks to get “good” at pulling straight espresso shots. I dedicated about 15 minutes each morning to doing so. In that time, I’d taste and refine. It turned into a morning routine that was equal parts craft, science and fun – for both me and my wife.
In the end, I learned the magic formula: 20 grams of ground coffee in > even tamp > 25-30 second extraction > 30 grams of coffee out. It seems complex, but it is actually a very simple formula to get right. You, of course, need a good espresso machine with an even better grinder (this is key). A scale is incredibly helpful. With those basic pieces, it may take you a couple hours at most to dial in a beautiful latte or cappuccino. The team at Clive was wonderful at coaching me through the process.
Steaming milk and pouring latte art is my favorite part. I watched the milk steaming tutorial online which helped me immensely. The texture of the drinks is just so much better than what I could get at my local cafe, it makes me wonder what training they go through.
It’s not the best, but it’s not the worst
In the end, I loved the process so much, I invested in Clive Coffee in 2016. The customer service was so excellent I wanted to be part of it. My full time job now is to make it as easy as possible for consumers to become home baristas. I upgraded to an ECM Synchronika and Macap M7D in April 2017. I am still learning every day, but that schooling is delicious.
The author, Adam Raper, in his home in Park City, Utah.