A few hints from Heather Perry - Page 3

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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Marshall (original poster)

#21: Post by Marshall (original poster) »

Randii wrote:Heather reminded me that espresso is an *art* as well as a science. Once you throw all of the extraneous tools away, you step into the realm of art.
Amen.
Marshall
Los Angeles

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Psyd

#22: Post by Psyd »

Randii wrote:
Heather reminded me that espresso is an *art* as well as a science. Once you throw all of the extraneous tools away, you step into the realm of art.
So, the trick is in identifying and defining 'extraneous'? I wonder what Picasso or Mozart would have thought of that definition of the 'realm of art'.
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Marshall (original poster)

#23: Post by Marshall (original poster) replying to Psyd »

They would have heartily agreed. Compare Mozart's music with the heavily ornamented, polyphonic baroque music that preceded it. Picasso could suggest a complete image with just a few lines. And literary critics certainly don't measure books by the pound.

What's your point?
Marshall
Los Angeles

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Psyd

#24: Post by Psyd »

Marshall wrote: What's your point?

Art is a communicative device that doesn't have great skill as a pre-requisite. Making espresso (with a few possible exceptions) is great craft. I think that they both would have scoffed at the barista as artist.
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Randii

#25: Post by Randii »

Psyd wrote:So, the trick is in identifying and defining 'extraneous'? I wonder what Picasso or Mozart would have thought of that definition of the 'realm of art'.
Well, I am a professional artist, and I have been drawing and painting since I was 3 years old (child prodigy), so I think I understand a thing or two about art. When Michelangelo was asked how he created his magnificent sculptures, he said that when he looked at the stone, he saw the sculpture locked inside of it. All he had to do was to remove the extraneous pieces to expose the sculpture trapped inside. That is what Heather did for me. The coffee has now become my "sculpture".

And, sorry Psyd, but it takes a lifetime of training to be an artist. It really is a skill, we just make it look easy.

Randii

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Psyd

#26: Post by Psyd »

Randii wrote:Well, I am a professional artist, and I have been drawing and painting since I was 3 years old (child prodigy), so I think I understand a thing or two about art.
And, sorry Psyd, but it takes a lifetime of training to be an artist. It really is a skill, we just make it look easy.
I am a technician and an artist, and quite often I perform both craft and art simultaneously, so the difference between the two is a fairly black and white separation for me.
Hyperbole aside, while there are artists in the coffee world, 99.999% of us do it as a craft.
That' not so bad, though. Artists can be really horrible at their craft and still really artistic, while master craftsmen absolutely must have mad skills.
Heather, by virtue of her national laud and international recognition, is a master in her craft. I am but an apprentice, possibly a beginning journeyman, but neither of us is making much art at the portafilter.
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Randii

#27: Post by Randii replying to Psyd »

I am a technician too. Good artists need to be both, and good artists do have "mad skills". You have to know what the *rules* are before you can break them. You have to know *how* to play a drum roll before you can play the drums! As far as espresso is concerned, Heather just took my practice pad away. It's time to play the drums. It's time to break the rules. Lets see what happens!

As far as your slam on Heather, I don't think you know her.

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#28: Post by cannonfodder »

I make espresso, everything else is academic.

There are technical Baristas that use every bit of technology available to make a shot. There are artistic Baristas that simply have an intuition about how best to make a shot. But the true artist learns how to leverage both aspects to perfect their art. I bet if you nose around Coffee Klatch, you will find some scales and thermocouples tucked away that they use when dialing in a blend which are later put away once the artist has honed his/her craft.
Dave Stephens

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Psyd

#29: Post by Psyd »

Randii wrote:I am a technician too. Good artists need to be both, and good artists do have "mad skills".
There are far too many examples of great artists that do not possess great technical skills to be able to support that statement. While I do support learning a craft before attempting art in that medium, it isn't necessary. Granted, the larger percentage of great artists have possessed great skill, that still doesn't make anyone with great skill an artist, nor does it preclude anyone from using a medium that they are not hugely skilled at to communicate or express feelings, emotions, or thoughts. Great skills are required to be a great craftsman, and sometimes great craftsmen make great art, sometimes great art is made by those without great skill.
Randii wrote:As far as your slam on Heather, I don't think you know her.
You must have misunderstood something, or I communicated something poorly. I have nothing but respect for Heather and her accomplishments, and never intended to indicate otherwise. If I led anyone to believe that I impugned her or her skills, I apologise.
And you're right, I don't know her. I know only of her reputation and what I've seen on videos. Just from those I already respect her.


Look, skill and mastery of a craft are great (and often overlooked) 'good things' (tm). 'Art' is an oft misunderstood concept, and used colloquially to mean 'really, really good'. I simply pointed out that an artist is someone that uses his craft to communicate. I'm just guessing, mind you, but I suspect that there is no deep message or meaning in Heather's coffee, just remarkable master craft.
I could be wrong.
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javabob
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#30: Post by javabob »

Psyd- FWIW, I didn't read any slam on your part and your explanation is sound.