What does your typical espresso rate? - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

What does your typical espresso rate?

6 = Extraordinary
1
1%
5.5
0
No votes
5 = Excellent
14
10%
4.5
16
11%
4 = Very Good
28
20%
3.5
24
17%
3 = Good
20
14%
2.5
16
11%
2 = Average
12
9%
1.5
3
2%
1 = Acceptable
4
3%
0 = Unacceptable
2
1%
 
Total votes: 140

User avatar
malachi

#11: Post by malachi »

I've never pulled a shot I'd give a score higher than 4.5 to.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

User avatar
Compass Coffee
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#12: Post by Compass Coffee » replying to malachi »

I believe you when you say that. I also suspect that had your best ever shot been scored by an experienced panel of judges they just might have scored it higher than the 4.5 score you gave yourself.
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com

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User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

#13: Post by another_jim »

When I saw the scale initially, I figured I averaged around 4 to 4.5. But even in the WBC finals, 5s are rare and 6 is apparently never given; it's just there in case the heavens really do open. I also had a chance to have some of my shots assessed by Abe and Dan at the espresso lab; who rated them around 3. They weren't up to my usual average, but they weren't shots I'd sink either. So I figured my average around 3.5
Jim Schulman

arossphoto

#14: Post by arossphoto »

Color of crema: The color of crema should be hazelnut, dark brown and/or have a reddish should be recognized as very good. Crema that is white or completely acceptable, and should result in 0 points.

Consistency and persistence of crema: The crema should be dense and smooth. The crema should be long lasting with no center break-up. Crema must be present when espresso is served. Judges may drag a demitasse spoon or pointed device through crema to test its recovery.
I'm really new to this stuff and it was very interesting to read how the pros judge an espresso. I was kind of surprised that there was no mention of the thickness or quantity of crema. In a lot of the pictures and videos I see here the shots seem to be made up of 50 per cent or more crema. Is this really normal and does the quantity of crema really matter that much? Can you have an excellent espresso without a large volume of crema, as long as it is the right colour and it is persistent?

Thanks,

Andrew

User avatar
malachi

#15: Post by malachi »

Compass Coffee wrote:I believe you when you say that. I also suspect that had your best ever shot been scored by an experienced panel of judges they just might have scored it higher than the 4.5 score you gave yourself.
That's very nice of you to say.
But I'm reasonably confident that competent judges would agree with my scoring. In fact, I'm quite confident that a good judge would score the majority of shots I've produced in the 2.5 - 3.5 range.
I'm not a humble guy (for those of you who haven't grasped this fact). But I'm honest with myself.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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Compass Coffee
Sponsor

#16: Post by Compass Coffee »

another_jim wrote:But even in the WBC finals, 5s are rare and 6 is apparently never given; it's just there in case the heavens really do open.

That makes no sense to me at all. Might as well be a 5 point scoring system if a 6 is never given. In every competitive event I can think of a perfect score is very rare true, yet attainable and given when merited.
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com

User avatar
Compass Coffee
Sponsor

#17: Post by Compass Coffee »

malachi wrote:But I'm reasonably confident that competent judges would agree with my scoring. In fact, I'm quite confident that a good judge would score the majority of shots I've produced in the 2.5 - 3.5 range.
I'm not a humble guy (for those of you who haven't grasped this fact). But I'm honest with myself.
Based on Jim's assertion a 5 is the defacto top score possible not a 6, it's easier to understand you rating your "best shot ever" a 4.5.
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com

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User avatar
Compass Coffee
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#18: Post by Compass Coffee »

arossphoto wrote:I'm really new to this stuff and it was very interesting to read how the pros judge an espresso. I was kind of surprised that there was no mention of the thickness or quantity of crema. In a lot of the pictures and videos I see here the shots seem to be made up of 50 per cent or more crema. Is this really normal and does the quantity of crema really matter that much? Can you have an excellent espresso without a large volume of crema, as long as it is the right colour and it is persistent?

Thanks,

Andrew
My take would be stale coffee will not only produce very little crema but have poor consistency and very little persistence. And fresh coffee can be pulled way too fast yielding weak thin crema. Or a shot pulled way too hot can have copious big bubbled crema. So "volume" of crema isn't the direct goal but quality of the crema. And won't have quality crema to judge if it's not there in the first place!
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com

User avatar
HB (original poster)
Admin

#19: Post by HB (original poster) »

arossphoto wrote:Is this really normal and does the quantity of crema really matter that much? Can you have an excellent espresso without a large volume of crema, as long as it is the right colour and it is persistent?
Competition rules specify the expected espresso volume (25-35ml), which includes the crema, and pour time (20-30 seconds). While crema volume is a frequent fixation online, in terms of espresso evaluation, it was only mentioned in passing during the judges' certification workshop. Not because it isn't important, but because it isn't a difficult parameter for competitors to master. I've had plenty of so-called "low crema" espressos that were very enjoyable thanks to their flavor and texture, i.e., an espresso with rich, viscous texture doesn't require a mountain of crema.
Compass Coffee wrote:Might as well be a 5 point scoring system if a 6 is never given. In every competitive event I can think of a perfect score is very rare true, yet attainable and given when merited.
One of the instructors commented offhandedly that there were "lots" of high scores awarded at the 2005 WBC. I wasn't there and I don't know the individual scores, but I read his (implied) comment as a caution against overinflated scores, especially in the early rounds of the USBC. That said, I would expect a perfect score to be very very rare indeed. Not many perfect scores in the Olympics that I can recall (e.g., Mary Lou Retton's 1984 performance... how many similarly scored Olympic performances in the 20+ years since?).
Dan Kehn

User avatar
malachi

#20: Post by malachi »

If perfection were attainable I would be bored.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin