We make the best coffee!

summary: a manual crank burr grinder does make a difference; how much tamping is necessary; more magnetic poetry for spring: RePoWriMo; today’s poem; (click on image for larger view)

Zassenhaus grinder When I say “we”, of course I mean “Vesuviana” and “Zassenhaus” make the best coffee….

We used to think that grinding the coffee with a regular old electric grinder was fine. But a couple of months ago, we suddenly decided that we HAD to have a hand crank coffee grinder. T did a little research and chose a lovely wooden Zassenhaus grinder. Yes, it says it’s a Kornmühle (grain and seed grinder) but it’s fine for coffee beans.

And the reason it’s so much better than the electric grinder? Instead of grinding the beans with a whirring smooth blade, it uses a conical burr grinding device:

The original Zassenhaus conical burr grinder, machined from high grade tool steel and hardened, guarantees to produce a proper grind and to maintain their optimum cutting edges.

– Zassenhaus 25-year guarantee on the grinding mechanism, Hand-Kornmühle natur

And the resulting coffee is even more stellar than before. We really didn’t think it was possible for it to get any better. It’s a good thing for us that our Vesuviana is only a two cup coffee maker, rather than 4 or 6. We’d be making the maximum quantity every day.

We’ve always used a tamper after grinding the coffee. Here is a comment we received about our recommendation to tamp the ground coffee:

tamping not recommended according to the Vesuviana Owners Club of Nerac 47, France and I agree too for best results.

– thegreatdoowoper, commenting on YouTube: Our Vintage Vesuviana

Since we’ve been grinding the beans with the Zassenhaus, for the most part, we agree too. We’ve found that we press down with the tamper only enough to smooth out the coffee; ie: hardly any pressure at all.

One problem that we were starting to notice was that the Vesuviana Electric Coffee Maker was starting to leak. We thought it would be easy as pie to get a new gasket. …surely those things are standard sizes!


But T is brilliant. He carefully carefully carefully removed the original gasket and thoroughly but gently cleaned it, sanding down a few rough edges.

And hey presto! The Vesuviana now has zero leakage. And, of course, the coffee is as stellar as ever.

That’s a cause for celebration! I know… let’s start the celebration by playing Magnetic Poetry!!

magnetic poetryRePoWriMo 2011


As I’m sure everyone knows, April is National Poetry Month, and November is National Novel Writing Month. Both are simply awesome.

-Rhino Writer, RePoWriMo, “RePoWha?” Thursday, March 6, 2008

I was wandering through the RePoWriMo archives and came across haiku for M

Whoa!! Now that’s a thrilling twist to the game. Write a haiku!

Here, for round 6, are your randomly chosen tiles in alphabetical order (of course YOU don’t have to write a haiku. You can compose whatever poem(s) you like).

& & at behind blue
chant did elaborate flood go
music never s stare still
through trudge weak white will

For how to play OUR version, please see the Magnetic Poetry Rules. For more information about RePoWriMo, please read the following:

Yay! I found the French box. (Okay, okay, I didn’t find it; T pointed it out to me. It was exactly where I’d put it AND exactly where I’d already looked for it. :lalala:) But I fished through it and can only find 18 words that are both English and French words. Maybe for the next round, we should use those words? What do you think?

edit 10 April 2011: Rhino Writer also posted a haiku specific post yesterday: RePoWriMo: Haiku


Once again, you will want to compose your poem(s) before seeing what I did. Here is my poem from the words listed above.


edit 23 May 2011: Thanks to a commenter on our YouTube video, we learned about orphanespresso.com’s Vesuviana Espresso Maker 3 Piece Seal Set that is available for a very reasonable price.

This entry was posted in crossblogging, equipment and techniques, food & drink, RePoWriMo on by .

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7 responses to “We make the best coffee!

  1. T

    elaborate chant white & blue
    did go weak will through

    trudge behind & stare s never still

    Oooh, what a show off!! As you pointed out, it almost rhymes… blue and through; will and still -E

  2. Dave

    I am a post-doc in computer science and subscribe to your tasty food-laden RSS… which leads me to suggest, you could add a few lines of javascript so that the tiles can be rearranged within your posts! You should be able to accomplish this by adding the following three lines to your webpage:

    <script src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.5.1/jquery.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
    <script src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jqueryui/1.8.11/jquery-ui.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript">$(document).ready(function(){$(".magnetic span").draggable();});</script>

    I have changed some angle signs to html entities but I hope it shows up ok.

    Eeek!! Rearrange the tiles within the posts, Dave? That doesn’t sound like a good idea at all. -Elizabeth, who only knows enough about javascript to get in trouble

  3. Rhino Writer

    Mmm, coffee. I’m a tea drinker myself, but your coffee sounds delicious!

    On to the haiku (with “will” as a verb):

    chant & music will
    never elaborate still
    through flood trudge blue stares

    Applause! Applause!! -E, who used to prefer tea as well, but is now hopelessly addicted to coffee

  4. Emm

    I have a Vesuviana that I bought years ago. It’s still in great condition, but I’ve forgotten how to use it. How much water and how much grind do I use? And I suppose I don’t really tamp, but just level off the grind with the back of a spoon?


    1. Elizabeth

      The grind should be as fine as you can get. And tamp it only enough to smooth it out. We fill the reservoir to the top before plugging the coffee maker in.

      Search “Vesuviana” on YouTube; there are a number of videos showing how to use it. Here is the YouTube video we made: Our Vintage Vesuviana (youtube.com/watch?v=s74dx5fJu88).

      For more information, there is also a Vesuviana Espresso Maker Manual at the Orphan Espresso website.

      Happy coffee drinking!


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