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.
An Illusion of the Absolute
"Digital readouts, unless properly calibrated, offer what I jokingly refer to as 'digital comfort'. They offer the illusion that the actual brew temperature is a fixed number, ignoring that (a) unless calibrated, it's probably wrong, and (b) brew temperature isn't a single data point, but a curve throughout the extraction." --Dan Kehn, Help select new espresso machine! Budget $4500
Taste and consistency
"While taste should be the final evaluation, if you are looking to improve consistency, the scale is the most important diagnostic tool there is. Taste will tell you if it's good. The scale will tell you how to make it good again." --Michael, Grinder Epiphany with the Baratza Sette 270
Even if one grinder can do, doesn't mean it will do
"Most people who advance through the coffee hobby far enough eventually end up with a Titan, and even still, they eventually abandon the idea of the all-in-one grinder. That a grinder can grind from press to Turkish, doesn't make the owner's tolerance for the hassle of going back and forth any higher." --Peter Russell, Baratza Sette: The Good, Bad, and Interesting
Borrowing for luxury is rarely recommended
"Financing an espresso machine is a sign that you probably shouldn't be buying it... borrowing to buy luxury items is most often an aberration and a terrible role model, especially before establishing a basic financial path with realistic expectations for the future." --David (bluesman), Affording coffee as a hobby
Eye cupping is not a substitute for actual cupping
"I wouldn't have dismissed it on the basis of 'eye cupping', the only way to judge coffee quality (or otherwise) is in the cup. And by that I mean actually cupping it and not putting it through an espresso grinder/machine/refractometer dance with all the attendant variables." --Alan Frew, Coffee quality based on photos
Solutions in search of problems
"There's people on sites like this who steadfastly tweak and work on stuff in search of perfection, far in excess of what is needed to simply produce a cup of coffee." --Larry, Why do expensive espresso machines need restoration so soon?
Cautionary tale from Eastern NC
"Didn't some Chess Records musician burn down a motel making squirrel stew with an immersion heater? A cautionary tale my mother told me growing up in Eastern NC about the dangers of immersion heaters. She was fine with eating squirrel." --Felice, Immersion heater recommendation
"There are many people on this and other coffee forums who believe that 'data' is the plural of 'anecdote.'" -- Bill, The Myth of the Tamp and Tamper
"I would venture to say that coffee pucks are like bowel movements - not informative unless there is a sudden change in habits without any other obvious cause. Otherwise, don't go around posting pictures of it, worrying about it, or trying to analyze it." --Ken, Judge my puck please
The power of purchase rationale
"There is no reasonable justification for its price, but the upper reaches of the home espresso coffee market have reached the level at which some people will spend a lot of money on an artifact just because it costs a lot of money (then try and justify it)." --Bill Taylor, Cost justification of VST tampers
HX is the new black
"That's why I think prosumer double boiler espresso machines aren't the greatest value. Hey, if you have money burning a hole in your pocket, then go for it. But if the budget is tight, I say up your grinder budget and get the HX over a double boiler." --Ryan, HX espresso machines... Is there any more love?
America! Home of "bigger is better"
"As long as we were roasting bigger and better too (aka darker), 18 gram underextracted shots sort of worked. But now, with the fashion of lighter roasts, the underextracted shots really bite. You would think that we'd just start dosing at 14 grams again, but noooooo, that would be an unamerican and wussy." --Jim Schulman, Differences between baskets of same size, different brands