How do you serve coffee for guests? - Page 2

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

I'll serve (within taste, i.e. no instant, no Folgers etc) anything anyone wants. However, sometimes I get "educational," and the place empties out pretty quickly.

The moral of the story is if someone wants a boatload of milk and sugar, they won't be happy if they don't get it -- nowadays, if I have the overwhelming urge to get educational, they get whatever they want **and** whatever I think they may prefer. Even with this trick, I usually strike out.


#12: Post by k7qz »

I hesitated whether to post this or not because it's probably going to make me look like the HB version of the village idiot... Anyway this thread of serving coffee to guests reminded me of last weeks experience- File this one under "Pride goeth before a fall". :oops:

My wife had several lady friends over this last weekend and they were oohing and ahhing over the beautiful Elektra A3 which my lovely wife has allowed me to place in her kitchen. I figured hey, I've been reading the HB site for about a year now so I must be a pretty good hand at pulling shots. Maybe I should demonstrate my expertise to this bunch! :roll: As such I offered this group of ladies the opportunity to sample my espresso "magic". I seated them at the kitchen table so they could watch the show.

Problem was, as I was chit-chatting and not paying attention as I should have been, I failed to lock the loaded PF fully into the grouphead. Pulled the lever and stood back to admire my liquid nirvana pour forth. Once my pump ramped up to 9 bar, things sounded a little funny so I bent down to see what the problem was. At that point, BAMMM!!!, the PF blew off the group head spraying everything within about a 6 foot radius with espresso slop. (A visual image of an espresso grenade would be appropriate at this point).

There I stood with espresso grinds dripping off my face. My wife's guests sat there gape-mouthed with horrified looks on their faces- All I could think to say was "well, that was a tragic waste of good coffee" which caused them all to howl with laughter. So much for my barista reputation around the neighborhood :oops: :shock:

Don't try this at home boys and girls!

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#13: Post by HB »

Thanks for sharing your sorrows, it gave me a good laugh! Actually the same thing has happened to me. When I measure basket temperatures with the "thermocouple wire over the lip" technique, I gingerly lock in the portafilter to minimize the movement of the probe. Unfortunately the portafilter wasn't always locked in securely:
  • Blam! (grounds everywhere)
    Clatter! (portafilter hits the floor)
    "Son of a...!" (me cussing)
My wife jumped the first time it happened. Now she doesn't even turn her head. :roll:
Dan Kehn


#14: Post by ciordia9 »

Like you said, it kind of depends on the guest. Men usually watch, I'm thinking its the tinkerer in all of us. The more corporate the man the less interest he generally shows. Women look when I say the word naked, and then generally go back to chatting with my wife. Kids pay me no heed.


edit: I've never had a portafilter blow out, but we've had our finger stick to the handle of the milk pitcher every blue moon and that incites quite a few explicitives as I am _constantly_ amazed at how far milk can travel after that pitcher hits the floor.


#15: Post by roblumba »

I almost always serve my lattes the same way.

1 shot in 8 ounces of milk, with 1 ounce vanilla syrup, whipped cream (from an ISO dispenser with vanilla mixed in), with cinnamon sprinkled on top. Occasionally, someone requests something different. But most people want exactly what my wife and I enjoy every morning.

After 1 year, my wife has started likely stronger coffee. Plus, my skills have improved so that my double shots are not so burnt / bitter. So now we do a double shot in 8-10 ounces of milk. I think I'll start trying this on my guests.

Usually, I'm scurrying around the kitchen doing it all myself, with the guests commenting that I should open a coffee shop. The only mishap I had was just bad espresso due to not flushing the HX, or stale beans. Believe it or not, I actually went for over 2 years with this ECM Giotto, not realizing that flushing the HX would improve my espresso considerably.

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#16: Post by barry »

hbuchtel wrote: How do you all serve coffee? For a spouse, for friends, for guests . . .

Does everybody crowd around and watch? Do you go off to the kitchen and come out with the prepared drinks? Do you 'take orders' or give everybody the same drink? Do people often come over just for coffee or do serve it after a meal?

take orders, run to the basement, come back with drinks or make someone come with me to carry drinks. if alties are involved, the attitude is usually, "there's the marzocco, help yourself."

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#17: Post by cpl593h »

cpl593h wrote:Such a diplomat!

I am moving into an on campus apartment at university on Tuesday - every single one of my 5 housemates like coffee (although I don't know to what extent) so it looks like I will be busy doing more for people than I have done in the past. If I can get them hooked on straight espresso, that will be ideal.
I think I've been able to pull 3 shots for my actual housemates this quarter. It just hasn't clicked with them. One time I got "this espresso is too strong" and haven't offered it to that particular housemate since. I bought a Baratza Virtuoso, a Swissgold, and a pourover apparatus so the two other housemates that do drink coffee regularly (turns out not all of them like coffee enough to drink it outside of finals week) can take advantage of my homeroast. The intention was to get them to do the grinding and pouring themselves, but that hasn't clicked either. The girls in the household just can't get away from their Folgers and cheapo drip machine (one broke and was quickly replaced with another that was already on hand). They love my coffee, just as long as I offer to make it for them before they get their hands on the Folgers.

Nowdays I invite friends over for just espresso and that is always a treat for me, but most of my coffee for other people is pourover in the morning for a couple of my housemates.


#18: Post by roblumba »

My wife thinks espresso tastes like cigar ashes. She does acknowledge that my cigar ashes taste much better these days (due to improved technique), but nevertheless, cigar ashes.

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#19: Post by HB »

roblumba wrote:My wife thinks espresso tastes like cigar ashes.
It's a very vague recommendation, but ashy flavors suggest to me either (a) your blend is too darkly roasted for her taste - consider a lighter roast and higher brew temperature, or (b) drop the temperature several degrees (one degree above sourness) and avoid pulling the espresso too short. It could result in a "boring" monodimensional shot, but may be more appealing to her palate.
Dan Kehn

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#20: Post by barry replying to HB »

heh-heh-heh... my first thought was "use fresher coffee". :lol: