So i’ve had my Krups XP4020 for a month now and i’m just starting to get the hang of making coffee proper. If you are a new owner of an espresso machine, hit the net and check out the bountiful resources that teaches you barista know-how. Here are some beginner skills i learned.
First stop, making espresso. You need to make sure the ground beans are properly tamped down. Watch this video for a demonstration on how it’s done. There’s even a lengthy discourse on the science of tamping if you’re interested.
Next, frothing the milk. The trick is to use cold milk so you have sufficient time for frothing it before it gets too warm and starts boiling. I put the milk into the freezer before i start just to make sure it gets a little colder. Experiment with different brands of milk to see which will give you the best results of frothy milk that stays frothy while having the right taste. Again, here’s an excellent video on frothing milk (and another one) . Do read the comments on how to get better froth with your Krups XP4020 if you’re using one. Also notice that the container for the milk is typically a stainless steel pitcher. Here’s an article that says why. I need to try some of these suggestions myself.
What are my thoughts about this machine? I guess it works great as an entry level machine for someone new to making espresso. I have the same gripe that many others have about the plasticky tasting coffee when you first start using it. That taste comes mostly from the water tank. I followed the advice of a forum posting and stuffed newspaper into the water tank and i think the idea actually worked quite well in reducing the plastic taste. Still, it makes me worry to see plastic on the steam wand seemingly melting under the heat of the steam passing through it. If ever i will get a new machine i am going to make sure that it has a stainless steel steam wand and minimal plastic parts.