How did you learn to make quality espresso? - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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TimEggers

#11: Post by TimEggers »

I'm not ashamed to admit that I learned 99% of what I know from this very site. Sure there are others but the Internet as others have stated is the only reason I have come to the level that I have.

I owe a great debt to Team HB and to the others here that have regularly offered their knowledge and expertise and best of all they do it willingly and free of charge. I will always appreciate the help I have received and attempt to repay that debt by helping anyone coming into the world of home espresso in anyway that I can.

In short (and a bit corny): I learned espresso from home-barista.com!
Tim Eggers
http://www.facebook.com/TimEggers
LMWDP #202

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jesawdy

#12: Post by jesawdy »

Here's my story about how I got into this mess, A "Home-Barista" is born. :D
Randy G. wrote:8- I started my own coffee/espresso non-commercial website.
I also read about every episode on Randy G's site...
Jeff Sawdy

Flair Espresso: handcrafted espresso. cafe-quality shots, anytime, anywhere
Sponsored by Flair Espresso
bogiesan

#13: Post by bogiesan »

Randy G. wrote:HOW I LEARNED TO MAKE ESPRESSO
1- I had some mediocre espresso at a friend's house from a steam machine.
2- I went home and looked around the Internet (CoffeeKid, Bogiesan FAQ, etc.).
3- I found alt.coffee which, at that time, was a helpful place.
4- I read some more.
5- I ordered a machine, a grinder and a roaster.
.
Blush. Those were the days.
I went to Seattle at the beginning of the whole mess. I bought books.
I went to two SCAA conventions and a couple Coffee Fests. I went to classes and workshops.
I learned by watching and asking a lot of really interesting people to explain things to me and then I tried to figure out how I could adapt their multi-thousand dollar advice to my little Rancilio Audrey.

david boise ID

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howard seth

#14: Post by howard seth »

Still have a lot to learn. The difficulty is part of the pleasure, perhaps.

Internet sites like this have been very helpful. I think I became really interested in espresso in the early 1980's when I had occasion to stop by Zabar's espresso bar from time to time (after a brief trip to Europe - and had tried some espresso there). When I was living in Chicago, in 1987, I decided to order Zabar's best espresso machine - an Olympia Cremina, (I think it cost about $300+ back then) before Starbucks, before the internet - the only guide I had was the machine manual and Kenneth Davids 'Coffee' book. I neglected to buy a good coffee grinder - big mistake. I do not believe I ever got the most out of that Cremina.

Now there is so much more information available, and equipment choices, reviews, ... green coffee beans/home roasting equipment - this is a much better time to be getting into espresso than the 1980's. What a difference.

Still a tricky process - but my results have gotten better over the last several years.

Howard

Mark08859

#15: Post by Mark08859 »

While drinking and making espresso for years, it really wasn't until I discovered espresso forums on the web that I truly started learning. Sites such as Home-Barista and CoffeeGeek have provided a wealth of knowledge in equipment, technique, and the beans themselves.

I am still absorbing knowledge; I just saw the nutating video, on this site, earlier this week for the first time. It has made a night and day difference in improving my tamp and working with a bottomless PF. Guess you never stop learning. :-)

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Marshall

#16: Post by Marshall »

1. Much drinking of espressos and cappuccinos (mostly the latter) at Berkeley coffee houses, 1967-71. Coincidentally, this was where and approximately when Ken Davids, George Howell, Tim Castle and the Starbucks founders were doing the same thing, not that I knew any of them.

2. Coffee houses not seen again until Starbucks begins popping up in L.A. in the (late?) '80's. Begin having morning lattes and reading the paper at Starbucks.

3. In the early 90's my 12-year old daughter buys me a "cappuccino machine," what we derisively call a "steam toy" on the Internet. But, I am charmed and fascinated.

4. In the mid-90's, I discover a neighborhood microroaster, Dick Healy's "The Coffee Roaster" in Sherman Oaks. Dick becomes the godfather of L.A. artisan roasters. I become a weekly customer, learning at Dick's knee about his trips to origin and the stories behind his wonderful coffees. Despite my steam toy, it's mostly drip at home for me on a Chemex that Dick talked me into. Dick occasionally pulls me an espresso on his lever machine. Dick introduces me to his lighter style "Milano Roast," which he explains is typical of Northern Italian espresso.

5. In the late 90's the steam toy dies, and I buy my first pump machine, a Krups thermoblock.

6. Around 2000 my Krups dies. I start talking to Dick Healy about the Gaggia's on his shelves. I do some research on the Internet and discover alt.coffee. I read Mark Prince's on-line shrine to his Silvia and Rocky. I order a Silvia and Rocky. I beg and read advice on alt. coffee. I make my first good espresso at home. I think, "Why does anyone bother with cappas?" I run to Dick's shop to share my joy. I frighten two customers away from the counter. Dick smiles and understands.
Marshall
Los Angeles

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narc

#17: Post by narc »

The timeline & process:

'70s were the MokaPot era and no real process or understanding. The only thing that was even a little enjoyable was the Cuban Coffee. Must have been the caffeine & sugar buzz.

'80s was my introduction to what espresso could be. A friend managed a small coffee & espresso bar/retail store. Purchased a Gaggia Coffee & Spong handgrinder. Purchased couple books. Kenneth Davids revised '81 edition of "COFFEE A Guide to Buying, Brewing and Enjoying" and the Schapira book "The Book of Coffee & Tea". Books, some tips, fresh beans, grinder & Gaggia from my friends shop. The beginning of the never ending journey into the espresso world. A little lost on this part of the trip. The process was trial and error.

'90s was the beginning of the homeroasting phase. Realized until I had a source of fresh properly roasted beans the espresso adventure would more or less end. More books including Kenneth Davids "Home Coffee Roasting". A good source of greens (SM). A bench load of dead home roasters. More trial & error on Gaggia resulting in more or less a few drinkable shots.

This milennium. More books. David Schomer's "Espresso Coffee, Professional Techniques". Discovery of the ECM Giotto. Then finding coffeegeeks. Purchasing the Isomac Tea, Mazzer Mini. Reading & trying every bit of info I could find at coffeegeeks, alt.com and Schomer's site. Lever lust set in early & the memory of my friend pulling my 1st nice shot on his shop lever machine resulted in the acquisition of Elektra Micro Casa a Leva. Retired the Tea for now & decided to look for a lever machine that can be left on 24/7. That led me to H-B.com. At the moment I am a pure lever machine person trying to figure out the latest machine. The Ponte Vecchio Lusso 2 Group. Over the last few years the internet has provided me with a better understanding. More knowledge than the previous +2 decades of drifting. Thanks to all of you for your input.
LMWDP #151

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ant

#18: Post by ant »

Tried to keep an open mind and listen to everybody and learn from everyone around me.
Anthony Lau

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luca
Team HB

#19: Post by luca » replying to ant »

Nice summary. I also tasted every shot, even the sink shots.

Cheers,

Luca
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Grader Exam, Brewer's Cup #3, Australian Cup Tasting #1

naked_barista

#20: Post by naked_barista »

luca wrote:Nice summary. I also tasted every shot, even the sink shots.
Same here, and at times it has left me feeling very sorry for the garbage disposal :)

Larry
larry at laurelnet dot com