One of the really nice things about the GS3 is that it allows the barista to focus on what truly matters... the coffee. In a sense, the machine becomes transparent. Over the last week I've started to notice that I spend less and less time paying attention to the machine. Everyone once and a while I get fixated on tweaking something or testing something... but this usually lasts for an hour or so at the most. What has been really interesting to me of late is the coffees that I've been tasting.
The GS3 really allows you to taste and evaluate and explore these coffees. My not creating additional tasks and challenges - by not demanding your attention - and by not imparting its own flavours and affects on the results in the cup it frees you up to really focus on the flavours and taste in the cup.
This, to me, is very cool.
Ironically, this has come at the same time as a bunch of feedback from people worried that the GS3 is going to remove the "art" from the making of espresso. I've had input and expressions of concern from a half dozen people - all of whom feel like my thoughts on the GS3 indicate that it will make the job of the barista nothing more than pushing a button.
Nothing is further from the truth.
Being a barista right now is, largely, a lower brain stem activity. You proceed like a chimp at a termite nest. Having learned that taking a stick and poking it into the hole and holding it for a short count will result in tasty termites remaining on the stick when you remove it - you repeat. Sometimes it doesn't work and you throw a fit and try again. Alterations that result in improved performance are repeated.
But there is really little understanding.
How can there be understanding when there is a combination of a huge number of variables and a degree of randomness that is introduced by your equipment?
The GS3, on the other hand, allows for deductive and inductive reasoning to become involved. It allows you to focus on the realities of the situation - without trying to wrestle with additional uncontrolled variables and randomness creating coincidence and results that are unpredictable and open to erroneous conclusions.
You stop merely trying to fight to get a good cup of espresso and instead start being able to explore espresso - with the goal of comprehending it.
This - in my opinion - is what being a barista is and should be all about.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin