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How to review Domestic Espresso Machines by Alan Frew
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Senior Member

Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 188
Location: Australia
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Silvia
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Wed Mar 28, 2007, 7:27pm
Subject: Re: Choice's audience determines how they review, surely

EveryonesShadow Said:

I'd go as far as to say that if the vast majority of users only use preground (and I don't know that's true)then it is appropriate to  test only with preground if the reviewer explains that this is not the way the machines are designed to be used and that better results come from fresh beans ground appropriately.

As an audiophile I liked your point about high-end audio and MP3. Castle after all says espresso is 'high-fidelity brewing'.


Posted August 27, 2003 link

cafewest_tech Said:

you have to remember that most of the people that make reviews are not professionals and are usually just learning.  They read the articles and buy the product that they can afford at the time.  Your article would be better served on teaching them the fine points of making espresso the correct way with the type of machine they purchased. Get real.  They buy what they can afford and then move up when they can afford a better machine.  But how many people will plop down $2500 dollars on an espresso machine if they have no idea of how to use it.  Heck No!  They purchase what they feel they can be comfortable with.  When they get good with the machine they may feel comfortable enough to move up to a better machine.

Posted October 30, 2003 link

sjames Said:

Having said that, if Choice are reviewing domestic machines using "Brick" coffee, it's probably because that's what most of the target market will use in reality.  Perhaps the compromise would be to review for different markets.  Cheers.

Posted August 27, 2003 link

Yes, I was a coffee newbie.  Had a $225 Krups Vivo machine.   I like nice coffee but that was how much I was prepared to pay for a new hobby.  All I wanted was something that tasted better than instant and was more fun to use than a plunger.   At least it had a boiler and non-pressurised PF.  I read up as much about the art of espresso from websites such as these.  Used the WDT, got a cheap metal tamp etc etc.   For what it was I thought I was making quite nice espresso with it.  Even better than most cafes according to my wife (and that with a blade grinder - oh heck!)

So I progressed to Silvia/Rocky and had to learn all over again.  It is a two edged sword - do it right and the results are fantastic, do it wrong and you have a disaster.

My Krups was more tolerant with my blade grinder, cheap tamp and supermarket beans.  Silvia had no patience for my blade grinder and made sure I knew when I did not tamp perfectly.   I now know espresso can be even better but it certainly was not that my previous attempts were horrid.  My old machine gave years of enjoyment, it entertained my guests and by all accounts better than coffee served by most establishments.  

Sure some people spend $$$ in hi fi equipment.  They appreciate the nuaces of the treble, midrange and bass.   They invest in gold cables.  However, many people like iPODS.  They know its not the best but they don't have the ears or the wallet to appreciate a pair of KRIX speakers and a Karman Kardon amp.  Their mp3 suits their purpose.  It gives them lots of pleasure and maybe one day they decide to upgrade.

What is the moral of the story:

Let people enjoy what they have.  You don't need to lord it over them that you have a better machine or more refined tastebuds.  You still can gently introduce them to the fascinating and complex world of coffee appreciation - but it should be on their terms, not yours.
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