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The 3x Basket & The Elusive God Shot by Guest Author
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Senior Member


Joined: 27 Jan 2002
Posts: 14
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Posted Wed Jul 17, 2002, 12:00am
Subject: The 3x Basket & The Elusive God Shot by Guest Author
 

The 3x Basket & The Elusive God Shot
by Guest Author

Carl Lau gives us a thought provoking look at what he believes it takes to make the perfect shot of espresso.
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bgetchel
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bgetchel
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 38
Location: Waterbury, CT USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90 Auto,...
Grinder: Rancilio MD-50, Mazzer Mini,...
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: Bodum Chambourd press pot.
Roaster: Alpenrost
Posted Wed Jul 17, 2002, 7:10am
Subject: Great Gotham Batman!
 

Now THAT'S a PUCK!

Did you need a forklift to get that sucker to the scale?!
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bgetchel
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bgetchel
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 38
Location: Waterbury, CT USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90 Auto,...
Grinder: Rancilio MD-50, Mazzer Mini,...
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: Bodum Chambourd press pot.
Roaster: Alpenrost
Posted Wed Jul 17, 2002, 7:22am
Subject: BTW, I know a good psychologist  ;-)
 

Carl, you are indeed a "man obsessed." My hat's off to you, you are a better man than I. I have no desire to encumber my relatively simple espresso ritual with the level of intricacy you appear to relish. I certainly hope that we can get together some day to compare notes (and shots). I personally happen to think, to my definition, that I'm semi-routinely getting gosh shots from my technique.

I certainly say "Gosh!" when I get one ;-)
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Ben
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Ben
Joined: 27 Jun 2002
Posts: 15
Location: Palo Alto, California
Expertise: Aficionado

Espresso: Pasquini Livia
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Solis Maestro
Vac Pot: Hario Nouveau
Posted Mon Jul 22, 2002, 7:03pm
Subject: What about volume?
 

I find it surprising that you fail to mention the shot volume produced by your amazingly meticulous procedure.  Exactly how much godly brew rests in the cup after those 9 - 15 post-PI seconds?  Is it consistent from pull to pull?  Perhaps you could answer my question regarding volume on the forum, where I already posed the question:
http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/116.

I have the same equipment as you (except a Mazzer Mini instead of the Moka) and really enjoyed the article.

Thanks, and keep up the obsession.
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JDenver
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
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Posted Tue Jul 23, 2002, 10:44am
Subject: It is to laugh
 

LOL - I had to laugh when I read this. I know that Carl is sincere and well meaning, but I'm afraid he's lost sight of what espresso is supposed to be - a drink that can be quickly made and consumed. It is not meant to be something so complicated that it is almost beyond human capability. What got me in the end was this line - "I usually make espresso twice a week on weekends because it is a very time consuming process." If you've made espresso into something so complicated that you don't have time to prepare it anymore, something is wrong and you need to step back and re-evaluate your procedure.

Carl is in need of a visit to a busy coffee bar in Rome or Naples so he can understand that it should only take a minute and a few fluid motions to make an espresso - flick the doser, a quick tamp, slam it in the grouphead, hit the button - BAM.
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fookoonetwork
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fookoonetwork
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 229
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90
Grinder: Pasquini Moka 90, Anfim...
Vac Pot: Royal Balance Brewer
Drip: none
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Jul 25, 2002, 9:32pm
Subject: Re: It is to laugh
 

Your comments would apply to Schomer's Espresso Coffee book book also.  Perhaps you should write the same comments to him.  If you can do it in fewer steps and less time, I am more than willing to read how you do it.  I make no pretense in comparing myself to a business or one who is in the business of making money.  As it is, some home users only pull a few shots a day not 10 or 20.  Would you consider that to be a waste of time, given the cleanup time necessary to prepare for the next day?  

Note: lots of this BAM stuff, I would pour down the drain where it belongs.  Never mind what they do in Rome or Naples, what can you do in about a minute and be consistent with the output?
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JDenver
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Posted Mon Jul 29, 2002, 5:53pm
Subject: BAM
 

Schomer's procedures are designed for a high volume commercial establishment. By definition, they are not time consuming because if they were, he would be out of business (no espresso customer will wait more than a few minutes for a drink before they give up and leave). If you had the coffee at one of the high volume Italian bars (say Sant' Eustachio) you'd know that their espresso is NOT something you would pour down the drain.  As a matter of fact, many of the problems that machines suffer at home (for example the overheating of heat exchangers) do not occur in the high volume commercial setting precisely because the shots are churned out rapidly. There is nothing inconsistent between making espresso quickly and making it well. Italian makers advertise that their machines can make 60, 120 or more drinks per hour and they are not kidding.

There is definitely a certain amount of ritual that has to be followed when you make espresso - your machine has to be kept clean, the PF heated, the coffee fresh and properly ground, etc. If you fail on any of the essentials, your coffee will be indeed fit only to pour down the drain. But, when your ritual is so elaborate that it cuts into your consumption of coffee, its time to reevaluate the ritual to see if it can be simplified. Tamping is one good place to look - the natural temptation is to tamp, tamp, tamp and then tamp some more (Carl mentions 4 tamps with 3 different tampers, which is really over the top).  but it turns out that the pull can be controlled very well with grind only and that very little tamping is really necessary (esp. on commercial equipment). Italian baristas get by with just the tamper on their grinder or a little wooden one. If you told them that you had to tamp 4 times with 3 different size and shape tampers, they'd bust a gut laughing.

Do not confuse the "BAM" of a clueless kid at Starbucks  (the kind that sends coffee and grounds flying everywhere and makes a general mess) with the "BAM" of a seasoned pro who can work purposefully faster than your eyes can see, his every movement practiced like a ballet.
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larsh
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larsh
Joined: 24 Jun 2002
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Location: Malmo (Sweden)
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Posted Tue Jul 30, 2002, 2:20am
Subject: The three phase approach
 

Well I think you both have a point.

As Bruce Lee once explained (a friend still hasn't returned the book it's from, so can't give you a proper ref or an exact recap), there are three stages to perfection. The first stage is when you know nothing. No rules and no skills. You act naturally, but wrongly and inefficently.

During the second stage you occupy yourself with rules and method, but your actions do no longer come natural. You have to stop and think and the result is mistakes and imperfection.

But then, as you enter the third stage, you no longer think because the rules and method have become a natural part of you. You act naturally, with fast and perfected movements.

Or something like that... ;)

As long as this third stage is the goal, I see no problem with Carl's method.

Just remember:

A goal is not always meant to be reached, it simply serves as something to aim at. Bruce Lee.
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fookoonetwork
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fookoonetwork
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 229
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90
Grinder: Pasquini Moka 90, Anfim...
Vac Pot: Royal Balance Brewer
Drip: none
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Jul 31, 2002, 7:27pm
Subject: Re: The Three Phase Approach
 

No doubt there are other ways of achieving a god shot.  I have simply laid out one of them that I figured out through the old scheme of trial and error.  I don't think that the god shot is something that can be winged, at least not initially.  It takes quite a while to even begin to figure it out and have it somewhat repeatable.  The observation of taking too much time?  Well, that's all that I could come up with.  If there is some easier and just as predictable way of doing it, fine.  This article is the result of playing around with the 3X basket for over 12 months.  So it didn't come quickly or easily.  It would be nice if someone else would try it and verify what I have written.  Unless one has a lot of experience with espresso, don't expect to get it down the first time that you try it.  There is a learning curve, even here.  For the patient and diligent, the payoff is worth it.  Even now, the technical aspects continue to evolve.  There is still a lot to learn.
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galpix
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Joined: 8 May 2002
Posts: 2
Location: Seattle
Expertise: Aficionado

Posted Sun Aug 4, 2002, 1:04pm
Subject: Vivace
 

I go to Vivace daily, and had a few shots pulled by Schomer himself. They use triple baskets, and follow exactly what's in the book : dose, level with the finger, quick tamp (58mm), knock once with the end of the tamper, tamp again. It's that simple. There's no need to alter your technique because you decide to use a triple basket.
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