How to recognize good espresso? - Page 4

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.
User avatar
Almico

#31: Post by Almico »

RioCruz wrote:I should have qualified my statement by saying "...in my personal experience with some of the most celebrated 3rd wave roasters around, such as Verve, Cat and Cloud, Boxcar, etc. etc." lemon juice seems to be the predominant taste. Others, I'm sure, may have a different experience but apparently, Rebecca's seems to mirror my own.
The interesting thing about lemon juice is that it tastes great with a little sugar. I roast some CR La Pastora Natural particularly light, knowing I'll add some maple syrup or sugar into the shot. It tastes heavenly that way and is undrinkable without! If I roast it any darker, I get more sweetness and numb the acidity, but then I loose those flavors I enjoy so much. I know it's heresy, but it's my espresso! Someone needs to clue the espresso drinking population into the fact that you don't get any Brownie points for drinking espresso straight.

RyanP

#32: Post by RyanP »

RioCruz wrote:I should have qualified my statement by saying "...in my personal experience with some of the most celebrated 3rd wave roasters around, such as Verve, Cat and Cloud, Boxcar, etc. etc." lemon juice seems to be the predominant taste. Others, I'm sure, may have a different experience but apparently, Rebecca's seems to mirror my own.
I think our taste buds are all calibrated a bit differently. I know that I love a well balanced and fruity IPA. But if it's overly bitter and dry then I can't stand it. To me, that's 75% of the ipas I try and that other people love. I'll read a review on an ipa that is all bitter hops to me and they'll describe loads of flavors that I just can't pick up on because the heavy bitterness lights up my tastebuds and doesn't leave room to pick up on any flavors, but that doesn't mean those other flavors aren't there. I don't think it's that different in this case of light roast espresso.

Flair Espresso: handcrafted espresso. cafe-quality shots, anytime, anywhere
Sponsored by Flair Espresso
goalerjones

#33: Post by goalerjones »

I'm also in the same boat. I do milk drinks, have been progressing my machinery, and within the last week or so have begun hitting up local coffee shops to see what "real espresso" is supposed to taste like, and comparing it to what I've been making at home.

I work nights on call, so admittedly my routine is, get a call, (SBDU machine is preheated) heat up to milk steaming temp, then make the shot after. Not really taking my time, just trying to get it done so I can make my call time. Now however, I'm getting a better machine once the Black Friday sales hit and I want to make sure that I can make (or need to make) something that warrants getting the new machine.

I've hit 2 shops so far, Perk Coffee in San Marcos, and today Lush Coffee here in Vista. Perk was strong, but had great body and barely any bitterness to it. It came with a shot glass of Peligrino. Lush today was sharp, but not burnt. In short I didn't like it. It has however called into question the coffee my friend is roasting for us though. He's learning and now I see that some of our roast is probably overcooked. So now, since I have a frame of reference I can at least give constructive criticism.

I do feel better reading this thread, hearing that straight espresso isn't always "graduation day" and meant to be for everybody. I had begun looking down on my milk drinks as a way to cover bad coffee/lazy extraction. Dialing in my grind and extractions since hitting these shops however, has indeed made a difference even in my milk based drinks, and that's important to me.

Mbb

#34: Post by Mbb »

Ive never had espresso I thought was good. ..,yet


My son spent two weeks in italy last summer, came back raving about the espresso . Hes been dissapointed since....and hes at school in nyc.

dgia
Supporter ❤

#35: Post by dgia »

From the perspective of someone in his espresso infancy...

I flew to Portland last weekend to visit Clive Coffee and do a tour of what is arguably one of America's greatest coffee destinations. Visiting Clive was worth the trip on its own, but I also got to swing by Stumptown HQ, Ratio is close by and a huge number of coffee houses and roasters.

My first visit was to a place named "Spella". I was told that the owner was eccentric and took his coffee very seriously. Not unlike the "soup Nazi". I was eager to try it out. It turns out that they use levers and send their baristas to Italy for training. I had high expectations and they were met. I experienced the best cup of espresso of my life.

Fast forward through my tour and I landed at Water St. Cafe, which is right next door to Clive Coffee. I found the shot to be very sour and under-extracted. Ben at Clive said that this is indicative of the Portland style of coffee. He clearly knows far, far more than I ever will, but I'm not sure I'm buying it. I'm not sure that it's necessary to make a shot that sour. With the speed, dosing and extraction that I witnessed, I wasn't surprised at the result. Based on my experiences at other shops, such as Public Domain (Slayer), I did find Portland coffee to be lighter and more sour than I prefer.

Stumptown, on the other hand, weighs everything and takes their extractions very seriously. Great shot there, but not as good as Spella's.

For me, I'm becoming interested in espresso so that I can put the care and time into the shot that I like, and not what the lowest common denominator likes, or whatever comes from a rushed and uninspired barista. I'll have more control and will spend less money (in the long run) than I currently do at a place like Starbucks.

I have an EG-1 and DC Mina on order and look forward to making my coffee my way. That's what I'm in it for.

User avatar
peacecup

#36: Post by peacecup »

I drink milk drinks in the AM and straight espresso in the PM. I prefer Italian style (or real Italian) espresso blends.

If you like milk drinks get a double boiler - pulling the shot and having the milk ready when the shot is ready is a much more rewarding experience in my opinion. I have a lever machine and steam milk while I pull the shot. It makes a world of difference for a great cappuccino.

PC
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

bradenl123

#37: Post by bradenl123 »

I agree with Aaron. Trust your palate. Like others said, some coffee spots focus on their shots for milk drinks and their espresso lacks any sort of flavor. It just taste burnt or charred. One of the top rated places in ABQ, NM has a bitter, charred shot but has the best customer service. If it's good its good. Ive had shots that I love and my wife hates. Just like anything else taste-based in the world espresso is no different.

Braden