The argument here is the magnitude of each factor on the final outcome and that's my opinion anyway.
jfrescki wrote:I would argue that with a knowledgeable and talented barista the rest follows thus still making mano the most important. If you have someone who is knowledgeable, they will use the best coffee, and understand how to get the most from that coffee. A skilled barista can also pull a good (or at least decent) shot from lesser equipment.
I guess you could argue it that way. A good barista will have access or rich enough to buy good equipments, good grinders and of course good coffee. So the rest of the factors are irrelevant anyway. But try imagine that, if you start with bad bean, bad barista skill, bad grinder, bad machine, which would improve your espresso more significantly if you can only upgrade one of them?
nixter wrote:If we assume the barista is good then why not assume the coffee is good, and the grinder is good, and the machine is good?
What important here is the relevancy I guess. We could argue that the worst barista is actually a chimpanzee with synesso that doesn't know how to prep coffee, but that would be irrelevant somehow. I am not assuming the barista is good, but the worst barista I've seen thus far is people that don't really care about making espresso and not making an effort to. They're doing what they are told to or just do it because they have to. But for bad coffee, the worst coffee I've seen and people actually consume it is the char-coffee that I've mentioned so many times. And there are actually people spends hundreds to thousand of dollar on machine but skimp on the bean using inferior quality beans. There is no way to get good espresso with that beans, even with the best grinder or best skills, not until you change the beans. There is actually some places on this world that you can't get good fresh coffee, only preground coffee in the grocery store. In that situation, it's better to give up on coffee and start drinking tea instead.
I guess good coffee is taken for granted nowadays and thus most people don't recon it's any more important than the barista. But really, if you are a new barista starting with bad beans, there is no way you could make palatable espresso. Even if we're competent WBC champion, I doubt we could add any value to the already charred bean. The only way to get around this is to get a better bean.
Edit: Or maybe, it's E=min(C^1,B^2,G^3,M^4)