A few hints from Heather Perry - Page 4

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

#31: Post by Marshall (original poster) »

Psyd wrote: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'.
"Art" has a broad range of meanings that are not exclusive to people engaged in the fine arts. Think of "state of the art" and "prior art" (for patent disputes).

Quibbling about who is entitled to describe their work as an "art" would be like me (a lawyer) complaining every time someone who lacks a professional degree describes his/her occupation as a "profession." I do not lose any sleep over it.
Marshall
Los Angeles

Randii

#32: Post by Randii »

Fascinating how one little word can set off such controversy. This discussion has thrown this post completely off topic, and for that I am truly sorry. It has only hurt the purpose of this post. I will refrain from using the word art on this forum from now on, unless I am talking about my own work, which will be only discussed in "off topic" areas of the forum.

-Randii

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cafeIKE
Supporter ❤

#33: Post by cafeIKE »

Marshall wrote:Quibbling about who is entitled to describe their work as an "art" would be like me (a lawyer) complaining every time someone who lacks a professional degree describes his/her occupation as a "profession." I do not lose any sleep over it.
Gimme a break :

A profession is an occupation, vocation or career where specialized knowledge of a subject, field, or science is applied.

Lawyers practise! :P

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Marshall (original poster)

#34: Post by Marshall (original poster) replying to cafeIKE »

Exactly my point: both "the arts" and "the professions" have narrow definitions and broad definitions. You happened to choose a definition that renders the word nearly meaningless.
Marshall
Los Angeles

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Psyd

#35: Post by Psyd »

Marshall wrote:Exactly my point: both "the arts" and "the professions" have narrow definitions and broad definitions.
I've taken the semantic discussion to private. Lets talk about coffee. I'm sorry I side tracked us all.
Regardless of how we feel (or should that be irregardless? ; >) about Marshall's usage of the English language, we all know that he is fluent in coffee. Let's all speak coffee. To start things off:
There has been a lot of talk about how to treat a puck before pulling a shot through it. I probably do quite a few things at my house that I wouldn't do in a pro environment, and a good half of them don't make any difference at all, or there are ways around them. I do them because most of my coffee satisfaction comes from the process. I enjoy making it a ritual, and enjoy the ritual itself. Some of the things I do will make my coffee better, but doing those things the same all the time insures that my pulls will be consistent.
There are (at my last count) 1,347 different things you can do with a portafilter, including the Stockfleth Move and the WDT, and all but about three of them are really important to making decent espresso. The rest are, at very least, comforting ritual to remind those of us that haven't committed everything to muscle memory just yet, and at very best, taking the puck to that last 10%.
Those that insist that their way is the one true way have taken something as vibrant as espresso and reduced it to the mundanity of religious repetition. Acts of faith based on faith.
Those that insist that they don't do anything might have unattended maternal issues, and don't realize the advantage of having a comforting ritual as part of a functioning mechanical process.
There, that ought to keep you off the simple semantics for a bit! Again, sorry I took us there.
Espresso Sniper
One Shot, One Kill

LMWDP #175

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Marshall (original poster)

#36: Post by Marshall (original poster) »

One of the wisest pieces of advice my favorite high school English teacher gave us was to "be neither the first, nor the last, in matters of usage." Language is truly a living thing, and I expect meanings to shift throughout my life. Anyone who expects to fix a definition at some arbitrary point in history and not accept any further development will first sound like a pedant, later a crank and finally, when the English-speaking world has left him or her completely behind, a fool.

My daughter has used words in ways that I never heard 20 years ago. "Sketchy" for "dangerous." "Awesome" for "somewhat above average." She outgrew "awesome," but still uses "sketchy." I don't correct her (any more!). I understand they are changes in the language.

"Fine art," "the arts," "the art of" all use "art" in different ways, and we understand the intended meaning from the context. No one claims that, by virtue of being a barista champion, anyone deserves a display at the Louvre. But it is perfectly reasonable in current usage to talk about "latte art" and the "artistry" of a barista. Frankly, I think this would also have been a proper usage 100 years ago.
Marshall
Los Angeles

CoffeeOwl

#37: Post by CoffeeOwl »

Marshall, thanks for the links to the cups with donation for CoffeeKids. I love them and I'll get a set... well, frankly to drink espressos from them. It's just my style.
Pawel

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Marshall (original poster)

#38: Post by Marshall (original poster) replying to CoffeeOwl »

Lodz? Were you in that cover story in Barista Magazine, Pawel?
Marshall
Los Angeles

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TimEggers

#39: Post by TimEggers »

Marshall,

I am curious from your viewing of Heather's technique, is much coffee discarded when dosing and distributing? When I apply the techniques you mention in the original post I tend to have coffee fall over the edge of the portafilter plus I level and lose even more. Something I attribute to my lack of real skill indeed, how does Heather do?

Any other general tips you can offer, I must admit this simple approach has been working for me (but I still need practice).

Thanks again for sharing.
Tim Eggers
http://www.facebook.com/TimEggers
LMWDP #202

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Marshall (original poster)

#40: Post by Marshall (original poster) replying to TimEggers »

In demonstrations professionals tend to waste a great deal of coffee, because they are working very quickly while talking to their audience. Home baristas can be a lot more economical. I have found that the Mazzer doser's well-known tendency to shoot to the left can be mostly avoided by slowing down a bit on the doser pulls and shifting the position of the portafilter. If you're making loud clicks, you're probably hitting the lever too hard, which produces the overshoots.

I waste less than a tablespoon a week this way. The pros waste more than that in five minutes.
Marshall
Los Angeles