Hobbyists drive all good espresso

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.
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#1: Post by MatGreiner »

A point of gratitude to all the insanity hobbyists indulge themselves with, and the very real effect it has on furthering excellent espresso. And also a question: why isn't there a more obvious connection (more 'official' channels of information sharing) between the experiments done here and advancements in industry?

To wit, there is an incredible list of advancements in espresso production that are now standard across industry, and are built in to home and professional equipment, rooted--as best I can tell--in the serious play time happening in this very forum, others like it, and their predecessors.

More than a hobbyist, but still very much of the basement tinkerer genetic code is David Schomer, and everything that happened in Espresso Coffee: Professional Techniques. So much of what grinders and temperature control are still trying to accomplish come from Schomer's need to drill holes in things and then measure it with a Fluke.
Adding PIDs to home machines, finding the right water properties, AndyS' group temperature measure, resting beans for optimal freshness, single dosing, a yogurt maker measuring brew temperature... WDT was invented right here! I'm not sure where flow control originated, but I bet a lot of it was tested and advanced by hobbyists, and now look at all the experimentation and new data happening with Decent owners and their graphs!

This is not news, but occasionally the volume of it is impressive, and I think everyone whose play is contributing to better coffee for us all deserves thanks.

On the other hand, it strikes me that some of this stuff must be known in the industry, but isn't well shared. We are left to our own devices to understand water debit, to guess at how long to do a cooling flush, and have little data to work from when evaluating saturated brew groups or styles of lever groups, while engineers in the 60s knew very well how to tune a thermosyphon.

Another Jim must have drank who knows how much coffee comparing and understanding basket flow rates, yet VST must have known similar information in order to develop their product. More currently, we are treated to the exciting new work looking at WDT methods and other aspects of puck grooming, RDT, and whatnot (I'm really enjoying this thread!) while LaMarzocco probably had a hundred little robot hands swishing whisks through pucks for weeks while making the Swift Mini.

Sure, there is proprietary information, and sure, there is a lot of goodwill in the industry and well-regarded home users get to test cool gear. I don't mean to suggest unfairness, or even highlight the way hobbyists are generating useful data that businesses may later capitalize on and profit from--that all feels both like the Way of the World, and also like that exchange is more generous and friendly than in many other spheres. Still, if La Marzocco knows something about how long we should whisk and if a leveling tool is helpful or is just fun and pretty, I'd welcome one of their engineers stopping by to say so!

To conclude, thank you to everyone here for making my favorite beverage better and better.
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#2: Post by another_jim »

MatGreiner wrote:I'm not sure where flow control originated
Andy Schechter as well -- a needle valve, then a gear pump, on his FrankenSilvia, around 2007 or so.
Jim Schulman

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#3: Post by TomC »

Scace, Schulman, Schecter, Svendson, Seaman, err, Shultz, Schooley, Sivetz, Stephens, Sweeney, my favorite, Schoenholt, all have contributed tremendously. I'm picking up a bit of a pattern here.... :mrgreen:

And Alan Frew. And Barry Jarrett.


#4: Post by Nate42 »

There are lots of S's in "espresso". Sorry, I'll show myself out... :mrgreen: