Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair
Sunday, January 25, 2004
How the Free Range Gourmet tamps coffee
Each day we enjoy a double espresso before rushing off to work. Actually, it's usually espresso seven days a week, unless we have an Americano or other variation on weekends when there is time to create an omelet or other special breakfast and to relax a bit with a coffee that better fits the cuisine.
Our Coffee Gaggia (the original model) and coffee grinder have travelled the world with us. When we lived in Japan, espresso was not popular and often hard to find. Moving from Japan to Hawaii, same thing -- there were few espresso machines anywhere in the Islands (young folks will just have to imagine a world without Starbucks, cell phones, MP3 downloads or TIVO).
We've kept the Gaggia alive with new parts as required. One significant improvement has been to replace the cheap plastic coffee tamper, which was a few millimeters too small anyway, with a hand-crafted model made by craftsman Reg Barber. I chose one made of stainless steel and African Rosewood. Check his website for pictures and information:
Reg Barber, Vancouver, Island, Canada, lathes coffee tampers using fine woods and either stainless steel or aluminum. The tampers are available in several sizes, so I was able to order the one that precisely fit our coffee machine.
I've always believed in having the right tool for the job. Hey -- I use this tool every day, so why not enjoy it? Maybe it's a guy thing, but I do appreciate the weight and feel of this coffee tamper in my hand, and it works much better than the orginal.
It's also one of the few items in the kitchen that I can take the lead in choosing.
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