What espresso standards, fads, and trends have reversed over the years? - Page 2

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

#11: Post by yakster » Aug 17, 2019, 11:10 am

Single shots seem to be regarded as worthwhile and not a waste of time by some more people.
-Chris

LMWDP # 272

TheMadTamper

#12: Post by TheMadTamper » Aug 19, 2019, 1:38 pm

Randy G. wrote:Insanity is relative.
This absolutely needs to make it into the quotable quotes!!!

Still, HB may be the "apex" but I'm still unconvinced that inherently means "pushing limits" in extreme ways in terms of experimentation. I think of that apex level as more a group dedicated to understanding the cause and effect, and learning what causes what effect. To that end, some of the obsessive measurements and such make a lot of sense for learning. But then it gets copied into the mainstream as the best way to do it, rather than a limited use test to test a theory. And from there becomes dogma. I mean I get your point, and you're right, but the swings from fad to fad, devout belief to devout belief seems to be comically excessive in the coffee world. I think at some point we formed this schism between "American specialty coffee" and "espresso." Italy and Europe, and adherents to that mindset went one way and continued finding ways to refine, refine, refine the already established concept. Meanwhile "American specialty coffee" and adherents to that mindset keep trying to radically reinvent espresso into something different, both for better and worse. But what makes it humorous is the radical swings back and forth, and the more than a little compulsive behavior associated with some of these swings, which then get discarded with an "I can't believe we ever did that" kind of mindset. And how fast the turnover is between One True Truth, and "pfft, that was so last year, this is the NEW One True Truth now!" Often, I think it has less to do with pushing the extremes of coffee, and more to do with internet culture and its effect on human behavior. :D
Espresso_Junky wrote:TOTALLY agree on the practice of weighing the extraction output and coming up with ratios. Some seem to think that's the only way to dial espresso in consistently and I would agree it might be for newbies. I've done enough espresso over many years on all sorts of equipment that I can dial any coffee in to my liking based on instinct. Another topic that gets quite old is the thinking that espresso has rules that just have to be followed to make it 'proper'... Taste is subjective and there is no right/wrong at the end of the day. All that will ever matter is the espresso satisfying the user.
You raise a great point about experience, and dialing based on that developed instinct. Once you get to a certain familiarity with everything, it's almost impossible to pull a bad shot, because you always know how to adjust what you want. And yet, most of the HB membership would be in that camp, and certainly the professionals the ratio measurements are drummed into should be at that point as well. But we have the dogma of ratios currently. We went from overdose and underextract everything! in the Schomer era Jim mentioned, to the current "meticulously measure ratios on a scale to ensure maximum extraction!" that seems to be the current fad. I mean the big promotional tool for every vendor from Clive to EPNW of all places is free waterproof scales........we've gone that far!

I'll weigh my beans and single dose the one grinder (most of the time) mainly because if I don't I get results varied up to and including "tamper doesn't fit in the basket, puck contacts screen" but beyond that, I find it safe to ignore measurements, ratios, extraction yields, guidelines, and even "kill the shot on blonding", opting for a traditional liquid volume in the cup goal usually, and all I seem to do is have yummy, yummy espresso, cup after cup. Maybe I'm doing it wrong? :wink:

User avatar
IamOiman

#13: Post by IamOiman » Aug 19, 2019, 2:11 pm

TheMadTamper wrote: I mean I get your point, and you're right, but the swings from fad to fad, devout belief to devout belief seems to be comically excessive in the coffee world.
I'll tell you one thing about me. No matter what the fad will be in 10 years I may or may not have the same machine but my routine will not change nor will my coffee selection. I set my own path instead and when I find something I like it will take something beyond anything man is capable of to alter my decision.
-Ryan
I'll throw my portafilter in the ring
LMWDP #612

belegnole

#14: Post by belegnole » Aug 19, 2019, 2:30 pm

I love HB for a number of reasons. One being the constant desire of its members to brew a better cup of coffee/espresso. For better or worse the fads or trends follow right behind. Some of them I find quite amusing, though people on other forums do not.

All in all I consider this site to be the best place to talk espresso and seek out information to make my coffee experience better.

Of course after I gather all sorts of "expert advice" I may still end up doing it my way.

User avatar
Peppersass
Supporter ♡

#15: Post by Peppersass » Aug 19, 2019, 6:58 pm

What I've observed over the 10 years since I got serious about coffee is not so much a series of changing standards, fads and trends, but an evolution in the cultivation, sourcing, roasting and preparation of specialty coffee.

Jim implied an aspect of this evolution when he described the shift from medium-dark to light espresso roasts. As he said, 10 years ago baristas were cramming as much coffee as they could into triple baskets and pulling Ristretto shots. Why? Because if you pulled a classic 14g Normale in 25 seconds those dark roasts would over-extract and you'd get bitter roasty flavors. The overdosing and short pulls were designed to reduce the level of extraction so that, maybe, you'd get some origin flavors like fruit and chocolate instead of turpentine and soot. Titan conicals became the rage during this period because, IMHO, their grind distribution reduces the extraction level of darker roasts.

Another theory of mine (and probably others) is that the overdosed Risretto period came about because U.S. specialty roasters were using 100% Arabica beans for their espresso roasts, and were missing the moderating effect of Robusta beans blended with Arabica beans in Italian espresso roasts.

Alas, there was nothing U.S. baristas could do to completely eliminate the roasty notes . At best, we got hints of the origin flavors that might be there. Thus began the macro trend towards lighter roasts. And with lighter roasts we had to reduce the dose, grind finer and pull longer to avoid under-extraction -- e.g., lemon juice. As the roasts have gotten lighter, it's become harder and harder to extract them. Enter pressure and flow profiling. Pressure profiling extends contact time to increase extraction, while flow profiling uses long, slow preinfusion to "relax" the puck so you can grind finer and achieve very long pull times without choking the machine. Massive flat burr grinder have become the rage because they appear to eek out a tad more extraction from light roasts than big conicals (though I hasten to add that this is based primarily on anecdotal observation not scientific evidence.) And lever machines are back in vogue because they can achieve pressure and flow profiles that may extract light roasts better than shots pulled with pump machines with fixed profiles.

I don't see the increased focus on dose/beverage weight and brew ratios as a fad, either. I think that may have evolved from recognition that consistency is the holy grail of espresso -- without it you simply can't dial in properly -- and eyeballing doses and volumes doesn't produce consistent shots. Also, I believe Andy Schecter's seminal post on brew ratios here on HB had considerable influence on understanding the properties of different brew ratios, which in turn highlighted the importance of accurate dose and beverage weights. Finally, I think the emergence of affordable, easy-to-use refractometers and accompanying software further pushed the emphasis on using scales to achieve accurate dose and beverage weights for a desired brew ratio.

[To avoid inciting an argument, I must add that using a scale to weigh dose and beverage, and/or using a refractometer to measure strength and extraction, aren't substitutes for using your eyes, nose and tongue when dialing in a shot. Measurements can provide useful information, but you still have to assess the flow rate and color, and of course smell and taste the shot.]

My guess on tamping is that the evolution of the technique (lighter tamping, no tamping, use of grooming tools instead of tampers, etc.) is a function of the huge growth in the number of cafes and restaurants offering espresso, as well as the number of home baristas. As more people pull shots, more experiments are conducted and we get more information about what works and what doesn't. Further, there are a lot more espresso accessories on the market to try than there were 10 years ago.
★★ Quite Helpful

User avatar
Chert
Supporter ♡

#16: Post by Chert » Aug 19, 2019, 8:09 pm

LMWDP. For a bit there, one might have thought the lever could dominate the espresso world.

To a degree, levers have taken hold among hobbyists but pump machines - some that mimic the lever profile or improve upon it - resist the fad and trend of lever machines in cafes.

Feel free to discuss, I have no such erudite piece on this to offer as Peppersass penned (nice job!).

User avatar
LBIespresso

#17: Post by LBIespresso » Aug 19, 2019, 9:02 pm

Thank you peppersass. That was excellent!
LMWDP #580

User avatar
IamOiman

#18: Post by IamOiman » Aug 19, 2019, 9:20 pm

Chert wrote:LMWDP. For a bit there, one might have thought the lever could dominate the espresso world.

To a degree, levers have taken hold among hobbyists but pump machines - some that mimic the lever profile or improve upon it - resist the fad and trend of lever machines in cafes.
I can tell you that south of Rome in Italy levers absolutely dominate, with La San Marco 80/85 Leva machines being as common as La Marzocco in the US with a smattering of various levers (Wega, Bosco near Naples, Izzo/MyWay, Fiorenzato, etc) taking up most of the remaining market.
-Ryan
I'll throw my portafilter in the ring
LMWDP #612

User avatar
slipchuck

#19: Post by slipchuck » Aug 20, 2019, 1:53 pm

slybarman wrote:I have a suspicion the E61 flow control device may become one of those things that, 10 years from now, will make us wonder what we were thinking. Kinda like bell bottoms.
+1

The power of placebo


Randy
“There is nobody you can’t learn to like once you’ve heard their story.”

User avatar
Chert
Supporter ♡

#20: Post by Chert » Aug 20, 2019, 3:38 pm

IamOiman wrote:I can tell you that south of Rome in Italy levers absolutely dominate, with La San Marco 80/85 Leva machines being as common as La Marzocco in the US with a smattering of various levers (Wega, Bosco near Naples, Izzo/MyWay, Fiorenzato, etc) taking up most of the remaining market.
A version of a commercial lever I would like to see is in use this month during Ditta Artigianale residency at La Marzocco Seattle cafe.

Did you see one of those south of Rome in Italy?