Origin and Purpose of Doser - Page 2

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
da gino

#11: Post by da gino »

I lived in Italy for 6 months and that is where I fell in love with espresso finding to my surprise it surpassed my love for brewed coffee. It was indeed hard to find a bad espresso - any random place was likely to serve a drink that was entirely drinkable unlike here (although now that I know much more about it my guess is that much like here, when I go back I'll also find it hard to find a truly great espresso at least for my tastes).

That said, even at the same (fairly good) bar I found the espresso often didn't taste the same from one day to the next or even one shot to the next. I think it was more likely that the differences were a result of inconsistent technique (perhaps dosing or temperature control or just the pace drinks were being made?) than the beans changing, but again I was a beginner to espresso at the time so I didn't have the skill to pinpoint the cause of the differences.

It was amazing how many bars served Illy or Segrefredo made on a Cimbali. You could in that sense say the coffee was "generic" because certain companies were so omnipresent (just like you could talk about generic Starbucks coffee here).

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#12: Post by michaelbenis »

Hi Sylvain

I can't speak for Jim (who is of course anyway much better at doing so for himself), but my take on this is that most bars are using very similar if not identical equipment in a very similar way and are supplied by a pretty small group of industrial roasters roasting very similar blends to very similar profiles. You are quite right that there are regional differences and you are more likely to find a bar boasting that they use Illy up north, Segafredo in Bologna or Kimbo down south (the latter company proudly asserting that Naples is the espresso capital of the world). There are also regional differences in blends and the espresso machines may equally be set up slightly differently (hotter down south). There also tends to be a greater preference for lever machines down south. But within each region and across the country the emphasis is on getting something recognisable and acceptable to the customer fast, not on producing a cup of excellence that will delight and surprise.

That doesn't mean there aren't fantastic artisan roasters in Italy with traditions going back generations, nor that there aren't bars that pride themselves on their own pursuit of individual excellence, but that "most" bars concentrate on meeting people's expectations quickly and down to a price (often dictated by the local authorities). That's generic to me...

Anyway, we're drifting off topic a bit..... :shock:


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#13: Post by cannonfodder »

I always thought the purpose of a doser was to control dose, simple as that. You can adjust the doser vanes to adjust dose weight. Fill the doser with ground coffee, pull the doser twice for a double, pull it once for a single. Not real practical in my opinion but I believe that was the genesis of the doser.
Dave Stephens

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#14: Post by another_jim »

Sylvain, two points

It's important you understand I'm not knocking Italian coffee. "Un Cafe" in Italy costs less than cup of coffee at McDonalds; and a vacuum packed brick of Segafredo at the supermarket less than Folgers. At that price, it's a miracle. But it's a miracle of mass production, not of terroir and slow food.

Two different coffees that are completely stale and inert will obviously taste different if they contain different proportions of stable compounds. For instance, a well ripened, high grown, sweet coffee will remain sweet and acidic forever, since these are not compounds that oxidize or change at room temperature. But the aromatics, good or bad, will be gone. Another for instance, a dark roasted coffee will end up caramelly and spicy; but the initial smokiness will dissipate. Dark roasted coffees also go through a very bad tasting period as they go stale, when the oils oxidize, and before they evaporate completely and the coffee is inert.
Jim Schulman


#15: Post by Phil_P »

I don't know whether it's an intended function by the designers, but the action of the doser seems to help mix the grounds, so maybe improving shot-to-shot consistency. The more components in a blend, the more useful this might prove. Just speculating though . . .


#16: Post by nitpick »

CafSuperCharged wrote:That said, Jim, you probably are right about assuming this was invented to dose, but you underestimate the Italian engineers' understanding of espresso coffee if you do not point to the aging/maturing quality that is added into the equation.
Reminds me of the quip: "China moves into position as fourth-best country in the world to get Chinese Food."

Espresso is how the Italians say "Folgers." I think that ascribing a micro-nuance function to the doser, which was designed to let a barista make more coffee more quickly, is really a stretch.

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#17: Post by another_jim »

As a data point -- all grinder companies sell plain dosers, for dispensing preground coffee. But I've never seen one being used; has anybody?
Jim Schulman


#18: Post by CafSuperCharged »

But, Greg (nitpick) and Jim, once upon a time when the stupid Italian engineers who could not know nothing of quality coffee decided they would throw a doser into the barista process they did not have to think about its volume, coffee maturing vs. going stale, and other things but just wild-ass guessed a volume.

Have you read Pellegrino Artusi? Dumb culture. Knows nothing about food quality obviously.



#19: Post by ethiopie »

CafSuperCharged, actually I've read Artusi. Very interesting book, interesting as well because the cuisine he describes is so different from (for example) the cuisine that Marcella Hazan describes.

Hazan is, I suspect, largely writing for a British and American audience. Hazan's Italian cuisine is not Artusi's and she gives people a very, very incomplete view of Italian cuisine. I often have the strange feeling that many people - on this forum and on others - have a similarly limited view of Italian coffee. It is so much more than Lavazza, Illy, Segafredo etc. I know that 'Espresso is how the Italians say "Folgers."' was meant as a bon mot, but it was a silly thing to say.

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#20: Post by Psyd »

lolgun wrote:That's interesting because that's in contrast to The rule of fifteens and you would assume that the taste of your coffee has already begun to degrade.
The corollary to the third 'Babbie's Rule of Fifteens' is that 'ground coffee that is too darned fresh begins to de-gas to acceptable levels for espresso after fifteen minutes.
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