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.
What men do in the pursuit of exceptional espresso
"I came across this tamper and had to have it, the handle was nice and just the shape I wanted... but it's 58mm diameter, and my basket is I dunno, I'm not a metric kinda guy. My double basket measures about 2.030 inches give or take 5 thousandths (it's not exactly round), so this necessitated removal of around 0.260 of an inch." --Walt Tani, The stupid things we do for coffee
Who ever said it was easy?
"Machines break, sometimes before they're sold, often just after, and customers like to thrash them for years. Keeping customers happy and machines running can cost as much as making them in the first place." --Alan Frew, Decent Espresso promises rock-solid temperature and pressure for less than $1000
Always game for blind testing of theories
"When I tried doing Rao-style profiles in this manner, they consistently beat out all my other efforts including the approaches that I had liked best in prior trials. I am always game for some blind testing of roasting theories." --Mark Spottswood, Scott Rao on The Flick
Lever lovers for a reason
"The whole point of a lever machine is that there are far fewer constraints on making good shots, and therefore no mandatory guidelines." - Jim Schulman, Lever Espresso Machines, Fewer Constraints on Making Good Shots?
We're still talking about roasting, right?
"So from now on, I'm leaving the high heel profiles to the super model roasters, and I'm going back to my comfortable slipper." --Jim Schulman, Back to caramel bomb coffees
The endless fascination with puck firmness
"Going back years, the question of puckology comes up regularly. What is this fascination with the firmness of pucks? If you want firmer pucks, dose higher. But honestly, as long as the pucks are consistent, firm versus soft really doesn't matter." --Dan Kehn, Need Help: Espresso puck is always spongy
Stupid is as stupid does
"Vendors typically think all their customers are whining idiots, since whining idiots are who they hear from day in and day out." --Jim Schulman, Chris' Coffee says: Don't descale!
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