Espresso in snifters

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.
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#1: Post by the_trystero » Jul 12, 2013, 12:41 am

For those of you on CG, I'm not, you're probably already aware of the twitter storm today about serving espresso in snifters.

This rebuttal to Mark's adamance on the subject is well-written: ... n-snifters
"A screaming comes across the sky..." - Thomas Pynchon


#2: Post by hamish5178 » Jul 12, 2013, 7:18 pm

Who cares what Mark Prince thinks about anything? Not trying to be rude, this came across my radar via Sprudge. My thought is that the sheer jawdropping amount of tweeting Mark did regarding this topic (and people's reactions to it) smacks of an overinflated sense of self-importance.

What's up with people making all sorts of absolute statements about coffee? I seem to remember reading some article, I believe by Mark himself, where he called the Mazzer Mini the pinnacle of home-espresso grinding. Ha! Again, read anything by Schomer ("a flat temperature profile is the end-all be-all of espresso brewing").

Let no man speak in absolutes, lest he be laughed at in ~3 years time.

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#3: Post by bostonbuzz » Jul 12, 2013, 7:20 pm

+1 drink it in a frisbee for all I care, that would really bring out the aromatics (except for the BPA).
LMWDP #353

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#4: Post by the_trystero » Jul 12, 2013, 8:15 pm

hamish5178 wrote:
Let no man speak in absolutes, lest he be laughed at in ~3 years time.
I totally agree. He's pretty much the master of absolutes, at least on Twitter.
"A screaming comes across the sky..." - Thomas Pynchon

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#5: Post by » Jul 12, 2013, 10:28 pm

I don't know, I don't really care either. I like the Offero cup, the aromatics truly go straight into the nose, but I don't think it enhances my drinking experience. I actually find the larger, taller cups awkward for espresso drinking. I like short, like the inker ishia. If you don't heat your cup to the point it's too hot to touch, your espresso will cool nicely, you don't need to change the vessel unless you really want to. That's really all it's about...

I guess you'd feel an urge to respond too if you were serving your espresso in a snifter at your cafe.... *yawn*
I know I've pulled a great shot when the flavour is 'like a beany taste that tastes like a bean'.

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#6: Post by yakster » Jul 13, 2013, 12:14 pm

Before I encountered tweets about this controversy, I'd just listened to episode 1 of Tamper Tantrum Live in Nice in which Cory Andreen talks about tasting coffee. In the question and answer section of the Podcast, he explained that he serves black coffee in tumblers with wide rims which helps cool the coffee to bring out the sweetness and also changes the setting to encourage Germans to really taste the coffee, rather than automatically load it up with milk and sugar.

I enjoyed the eposide and it got me thinking that part of changing the servingware is to change the customer's setting and frame of mind so that they're more receptive to experiencing the coffee in a different way, and part of it is that the properties of the vessel help cool the coffee and enhance the ability to smell the aroma.

LMWDP # 272

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#7: Post by Marshall » Jul 13, 2013, 4:20 pm

To clarify things a little, this has nothing to do with "snifters," which are glasses with large round bottoms that people usually drink brandy from. This is about the very small and narrow whiskey glasses, usually saved for fine single malt scotch whiskies. Specifically it is about the Glencairn design, popularized in Scotland:


I think Mark's issue with it has to do with esthetics, but I'm not sure. At any rate, I'm usually willing to try anything once, so I put one of my glasses (an empty Riedel whiskey glass) under the portafilter. But I had to tilt it so far over to get it under the spout, it would never work. Maybe I'll try a bottomless.

This does open the issue of aroma in espresso. I think aroma is the most important feature of drip coffee, which is why I use Offero mugs. I've always assumed that crema blocks the aromas in espresso (besides which, I drink them quickly). But, maybe I'm wrong.
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#8: Post by DavidMLewis » Aug 12, 2013, 4:15 pm

Sterling Coffee here in Portland does indeed serve their espresso in a Glencairn style whiskey glass. I find that at least in their case, it works well. It concentrates the aromatics next to my nose, and pouring from the extraction pitcher into the glass mixes the liquid and removes any large bubbles from the bottomless portafilters they use. As with anything else, one change in the process usually has to be accompanied by specific others to work well.



#9: Post by Intrepid510 » Aug 12, 2013, 4:32 pm

Yeah this kind of smacks of a debate over the proper way to put toilet paper on, up and over or over and under.


#10: Post by genovese » Aug 12, 2013, 5:14 pm

Intrepid510 wrote: . . . toilet paper . . .
To fold; or to roll? So many decisions in life!