malachi wrote:No... I have far more pride in my skills and far more respect for the coffee and the people drinking my drinks than to ever prepare a shot "perfunctorily".
That being said...
Grind, dose, tap, tamp (probably around 4s), lock, load, pull shot -- but with great attention and care.
Chris, if you will go back and reread the post of mine to which you responded, you will see that I wrote the following:
Ken Fox wrote:
(1) Dose at which virtually all espresso machines will function in a straightforward manner without the need for "fancy stuff" or complex basket preparation. That dose is certainly "on the low end," because you simply can't put 20g of coffee into the basket of any machine, push the PF up on the grinder's built in tamper, and expect to pull a decent shot. If you own an espresso machine that can do this, please point out the error I've made by not considering your machine
On the other hand you can put 12 or 14 grams of coffee into the basket of most decent espresso machines, do almost nothing to it, and expect to pull a technically decent, unchanneled shot. This is not surprising, as these machines (generally) come from Italy, and this is how they do things in Italy.
I did not say that you can't pull a decent (or to your taste, excellent) shot from 20 or 23g of coffee in your basket of choice in your machine of choice. What I did
say was that you will have to use various "skills" that many here interpret as "barista skills," which to me are basically "fluff."
How many hoops I jump through in dosing and tamping and distributing or whatever in the PF of an espresso machine has no bearing, to me, on my "respect" for the coffee or any other animate or inanimate objects. I show my "respect" for the coffee in what it is I choose to buy and how much effort I put into roasting it, both of which are considerable.
For the sorts of coffee that I like,
I feel that I can best taste the varietal qualities for which I have paid by roasting lightly and pulling shots at lower basket doses that to me allow the varietal aspects of the coffee to come through. Done this way I don't do (hardly) any of that fancy "barista" stuff that you and some other adherents ascribe to. So be it. To steal a description previously attributed to Aaron, I don't need to be hit over the head by a coffee (or caffeine) 2x4 in order to appreciate it.
But, if your definition of coffee happiness, or anyone else's definition of same is to follow some other procedure, I say, "more power to ya'.
ADDENDUM: This is not just for this post, but for several posts I've made in this thread. I just made myself an espresso using my current fave SO, the Ethiopian Worka that Klatch is selling. It was dosed at 14g (as is my custom) and I watched my procedure carefully. As I've stated in other threads, I use a 0.1g scale to assure consistent dosing (by weight). I dispense the coffee from my grinders into a ramekin, from which I dose with a teaspoon into the PF. The simple act of using the teaspoon to load up the PF does in fact do at least something for "distribution." Although I am not intentionally expending any effort in distributing the coffee into the PF basket, spooning it in from a ramekin does distribute it somewhat.