The Announcements above the forum listing frequently contains "quotable quotes" nominated by Team HB and the membership. Entries in the announcements are limited to recent quotable quotes; below is the unabridged collection with links to their source in the forums. We hope these nuggets of wisdom and amusing quips will lead you to a deeper understanding of the art of espresso.
Beyond a certain budget, it's all on the barista
"What is the best wine in the world under $30? This is an absurd question as is the question about espresso gear. What is the best college in the US? Again a meaningless question. The good news is that at the budgets you've outlined, the real limiting factor will definitely be the person pulling the shot." --Hugh, Best espresso machine/grinder
Best espresso requires top skills AND top equipment
"Put an amateur racer in a Formula car and there's no limit to how bad he can be. But put Michael Schumacher in a mid level sports car and there is a limit to how good he can be. Skills are needed, but once you have skills, the car matters too. Great espresso takes both. --Nick, Grinders - Why is bigger better in a home setting?
Warning about going overboard on equipment
"Think some of the other posters went a bit overboard on the gear side, to me it's about the result and not about the equipment... guess I'm a minimalist on espresso as with my approach to audio." --Marcel, Built-In Espresso Machine
Should I work as a barista?
"Badly paid job full of annoying people customers. Are you really sure you want to do it?" asks Lukas, to which Dave replies "That applies to most jobs! Just remember: everyone brings joy - some when they arrive and others when they leave." How can I work as a barista?
Newbie advice from former newbie
"This will be obvious to experienced members of this forum; however I shudder to think how much time I wasted changing grind settings, temperatures, pre-infusion times and much else, when the real culprit was the coffee I had been using." --Matt Hoffman, The coffee is more important than I realised
Unimpeded quest for answers
"Never underestimate the ability of Internet users to ignore relevant information in their quest for answers." --Dan Kehn, Wet Puck
Temper the desire for perfection
"Good espresso comes from getting all the roughly dozen different necessary things roughly right; it does not come from getting one thing absolutely right." --Jim Schulman, How to improve reverse osmosis water for espresso
Learn in a manner that works for you
"I'm not going criticize anyone for how they want to learn. Like two golfers playing in the rain that see two people in a boat fishing. One golfer comments 'look at those fools fishing in the rain' and one fisherman comments 'look at those fools playing golf in the rain.'" --Keith Jones, Grinder Recommendations
You can't buy a shortcut
"There are no short cuts to becoming a highly skilled barista. You need to pull and taste lots of shots. You need to X. You need to Y. You need to... Why do I keep saying "need"? Because you can't access what high-end equipment does better without these skills." --Russel, Should I feel guilty about buying a La Marzocco GS/3?
Alternative definition of latte/cappuccino, by volume
"If milk is foamed to the point of dryness with a gummy consistency, or contains large bubbles, and is added to espresso in any ratio, whether or not flavored with syrups or dusted with cocoa or cinnamon, the resulting drink is called swill." --Rich (boar_d_laze), Volume of latte/cappuccino for best taste
So-called "aged" coffee is really just stale coffee
"Coffee oils and aromatic compounds are volatile. After a month, you're essentially trying to extract what's not there anymore. You're pushing hot water thru ground cellulose." --Tom Chips, Aged espresso bean results fast and watery extraction flow?
Taste. Observe. Practice. It's not magic.
"You want a good shot? Go make some espresso. Pull. Taste. Observe. Read some more, and then practice some more. This is FOOD we're talking about here. It's not brain surgery. It's not magic." --Dan S., How many cafes are getting bored with espresso?