Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
I wish I would have kept a notebook from the very beginning. Endless adjustments, plus caffeine and all the sudden I can't keep track like I thought I would have been able too!
One more additional thought. Since you primarily are interested in milk based drinks, and there are already so many variables to consider, I would hold off worrying about latte art. I got a new HX machine a few months ago, and got distracted by trying to produce latte art. Since milk drinks are more forgiving, I did better by tasting the shots first, and then adding the milk once I thought I came close enough to dialing in a particular bean. And after several months, it turns out I have developed a latte art sub-specialty: exotic weeds!
Never happen.Bigbob7777 wrote: I want a truly exquisite cup of coffee like I got in Italy 40 years ago.
For one thing, your gustatory receptors have likely deteriorated to a significant degree since then.
For another, I will bet that those were robusta beans and will further hazard a guess that the technique was different than techniques for pulling a shot in 21st century NC, the machine was lever, the water different and, if milk was involved, it was of a quality only available perhaps from a small local dairy that would allow you buy directly off of the farm (there are a few).
But you are off to a great start in a hobby of endless nuances.
Not in exact order;
For several years do:
1. find a reliable roaster
2. find a roast that you like in affordable 5# bags
3. freeze it in weekly alloments in a chest freezer
4. dial in the appropriate grinds of #2, depending on bean age and weather
5. work on tamping skills, avoid channeling
6. work on milk steaming skills
(6A. optional: work on latte art)
7. obsess about obtaining milk that gives that perfect taste and velvety mouthfeel
8. worry about dissolving your boiler metals
9. start RO-ing your water and remineralizing a custom water that you love and that loves your boiler
10. Start sous vide - ing your beans before grinding to narrow your grind particle profile to eliminate fines and improve taste.
11. repeat steps 1-10 with upgraded equipment for 5-15 years.
12. sell everything and start buying your coffee. Know why the cup is good and why the cup is poor; what they did right and what they did wrong and enjoy the coffee in the moment.
13. continue to read home-barista posts, especially the tongue-in-cheek ones, with good humor.
This is hilarious - exactly what I aspire to.
Thank you for understanding.