Old dog, old tricks

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

Re-enaging with basics of prep, headspace, basket play, etc., has moved the needle on my home game. A reminder to all who sometimes fall into autopilot.

Following my usual routine and puck prep, changing coffees every few pounds or so, I can reliably make espresso that suits my tastes better than most cafés. Of the specialty cafés that I know do a good job in my town and when traveling, I don't think they're better, they just pull different coffees in ways that I normally don't, so they are an occasional treat.

Still, I haven't had a daily driver that I love in some time. Is it the beans, technique, machine? Yes. I owned an Elektra A3 that I babied and modified, and have a distinct memory of how it made good espresso when I got it, came with a learning curve (again with each mod) and made sublime espresso after a year before eventually going to a new home. As I pulled first shots on a new-to-me Londinium, I thought, what will this taste like after I've had experience with this machine for a year?

I had the chance to visit my old A3 over Thanksgiving, and in its new home with a much less capable grinder than mine, it turned out beauty that I have rarely realized with my L1. Truthfully, I've found the L1 finicky about baskets and group screens, and it requires water management that is a variable I only had to solve once with the A3. Still, craving something better than I get every morning--and feeling experimental because: Saturday, I dropped my dose, changed my grind and tamp, and found instant improvement! (But not love yet.)

It's not that I don't know these things, but that I get in a groove of A- shots. Cycles of fallow land under ice, the challenge of rebirth, and harvest.
LMWDP #716: Jeez, kids! Don't swing on that!