Mo' Better Clarity - Page 2

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

#11: Post by malachi »

People who cup coffee a lot seem to migrate over time towards an obsession with clarity in their espresso.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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Fullsack

#12: Post by Fullsack »

I resemble that remark :)

I do a lot of cupping and still like thick, gooey espresso.
LMWDP #017
Kill all my demons and my angels might die too. T. Williams

da gino

#13: Post by da gino »

Marshall, on the DC Mini thread there are references to the machine having such a flat temperature profile that some notes that would be there in a humped profile seem to be missing - you get some of them at one temp and others a different temp, but since you only get one temp you never get them both at the same time. Could this be the reason why you aren't getting as many distinct flavors? (In some sense the machine is almost doing its job too well).

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Marshall

#14: Post by Marshall » replying to da gino »

There is a whole school of thought, of which my friend Michael Teahan is a particular advocate, that humped profiles are the best flavor extractors. But the cutting edge in machine development has certainly been in the opposite direction.

There are a multitude of machine parameters than can affect a coffee, and, frankly, trying them all was draining most of the pleasure out of drinking coffee. Drinking high-end coffee is supposed to be an epicurean delight, not a day in the lab. A break from work, not work itself

So, I'm taking a break from experiments for a while (I think a long while).
Marshall
Los Angeles

gscace

#15: Post by gscace »

malachi wrote:People who cup coffee a lot seem to migrate over time towards an obsession with clarity in their espresso.
I'd say clarity or "espressoness" (a lousy term that I'm gonna use to mean smooth, sweet espresso with lots of mouthfeel) is a false choice, really, with the optimum combination highly variable depending on the coffee used, and personal preference. For me, clarity can be detrimental if the clarity includes excessive citrus notes, for instance. That to me is clarity as flavors trumpeted at full bore with no nuance. Learning how to shape the amount of clarity and sweetness is high art, something I'm trying to learn to perform.

-Greg (now, back to your regularly scheduled, boring machine discussion, already in progress)

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malachi

#16: Post by malachi »

da gino wrote:Marshall, on the DC Mini thread there are references to the machine having such a flat temperature profile that some notes that would be there in a humped profile seem to be missing - you get some of them at one temp and others a different temp, but since you only get one temp you never get them both at the same time. Could this be the reason why you aren't getting as many distinct flavors? (In some sense the machine is almost doing its job too well).
Given that the shot that Marshall was served that inspired this whole bout of self-examination was from a PID controlled La Marzocco... I think we can clearly say this is not the case.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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malachi

#17: Post by malachi »

gscace wrote:I'd say clarity or "espressoness" (a lousy term that I'm gonna use to mean smooth, sweet espresso with lots of mouthfeel) is a false choice...
Agreed... but in general most people are pursuing one or the other.
Trying to pursue both is extremely challenging.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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another_jim
Team HB

#18: Post by another_jim »

gscace wrote:For me, clarity can be detrimental if the clarity includes excessive citrus notes, for instance. That to me is clarity as flavors trumpeted at full bore with no nuance.
That's not clarity, just distortion. For instance, if you get the citrus catastrophe on your shots, there would be no way of telling a Central from a Kenya, both would have you running to the sink. My first step in pursuit of clarity was strongly down dosing lighter roasted or acidic coffees precisely to avoid this debacle.

The state of the art has moved on, and experienced people have all learned to handle lighter roasted or acidic coffees in one way or another. The problem right now is whether the handled light roast (it's a bit odd speaking of clarity for darker roasts) ends up being warm and fuzzy or warm and clear.
Jim Schulman

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malachi

#19: Post by malachi »

I don't think that Greg is saying citrus "catastrophe" -- merely that you can have coffees that show great clarity and yet don't taste good as a result of that clarity.

Many of the improvements in espresso prep have (for example) resulted in flaws and issues with espresso blends becoming apparent.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

da gino

#20: Post by da gino »

Marshall wrote: There are a multitude of machine parameters than can affect a coffee, and, frankly, trying them all was draining most of the pleasure out of drinking coffee. Drinking high-end coffee is supposed to be an epicurean delight, not a day in the lab. A break from work; not work itself
Hi Marshall, I agree that there is a risk of taking the fun out of coffee through pursuit of perfection and it seems like no matter what one does there is a better shot out there to be had by changing the machine, the bean, or the man behind it all. Given that I should ask myself why I'm so interested in machines like the E-61's and the DC Mini since there will always be room for improvement and I already have a great machine and grinder (although they are not in the class of the machines of you and many of the posters here).

To me the reason to pursue the godshot is not as much about the destination - the perfect shot - as the road to it. If the voyage becomes a chore then it is time to rethink the travel plans (or as you are wisely doing to stop and enjoy the scenery where you are for a while).

As soon as I finish a shot of espresso and the last taste fades away I find I'm looking forward to the next one and dreaming about it and also what it might taste like if one of the variables were changed (for example I'd love to try a shot out of a DC mini, an A3, or a shot pulled by a world class barista, etc - if only I lived near Chicago I'd be at Jim's tasting in a heartbeat!).

Hugh