Overclocking Coffee

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When you think about it, Espresso is overclocked coffee.

One of life’s little pleasures is a good shot of Espresso. American coffee, or according to my Italian restaurant friend “l’ acqua sporca” (transl: “dirty water”), is to me a pale imitation of the real thing. Overclocking in the abstract is getting more out of less – like running a 2 GHz CPU at 3 GHz. Getting more flavor out of coffee, or overclocking it, is what Espresso is all about.

If you have been under a rock, Espresso is explained in some detail HERE; in sum

Espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage brewed by forcing very hot water under high pressure through coffee that has been ground to a consistency between extremely fine and powder.”

For those of you who are not familiar with the process, see How Espresso Machines Work.

Selecting among the various espresso machines can be a maddening experience – prices range all over the map as does the quality of the final product. One choice to make early on is whether to use ground coffee or go the capsule/pod route. Purists will also grind the coffee beans before brewing. I chose not to go this route because I did not want to clean the machine after use – convenience was high on my priority list.



Pic courtesy of Nespresso

After some research, I decided to buy Nespresso Espresso Machine (19 bar or 18.8 atm). I’m on my second one, having worn the first one out after about 7 years. Nespresso machines are the razor – the blades are the capsules that you must buy to use with this machine. They cost $0.52 each (min 10) and you wind up buying 100 or so at a clip. There are currently 12 varieties to choose from and the capsules are hermetically sealed to keep fresh – an example below:



To make espresso, you insert the capsule into the machine; closing the lever punches three holes in the capsule which allows the hot, pressurized water to do its thing:



The bottom of the capsule is covered with an aluminum seal – the capsule is forced against a form which punches holes in the aluminum seal to allow the water to exit:



A closer look at the base:



The whole process takes about one minute – once the machine is heated up and ready to go. The espresso it makes (IMHO) is top rate as are the different coffee selections.

In sum, if I have no choice but to drink regular coffee, it’s like running a PC which you know can be overclocked to 3 GHz at 500 MHz – not a very satisfying experience when you know what 3GHz feels like.

NOTE: I wrote this as a bit of an experiment – do you feel occasional articles which delve into “getting more out of less” outside the PC world are worth reading?

Email Joe


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