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Espresso: Espresso Machines
Serving and Enjoying Espresso
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Serving and...  
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JohnLyn
Senior Member
JohnLyn
Joined: 15 Aug 2011
Posts: 243
Location: Golden, BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldy
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Toastess popper
Posted Tue Feb 26, 2013, 7:56am
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

+1 one on that entire last post. You nailed it. The methods are steeped in tradition and they aren't exploring much that is new. In america I am hoping that we have our own tradition that is developing. I love walking into the third wave cafe here and the barista and probably at least one other staff member is concurring on where the shot is at for the day.

The biggest difference is the social. Here you may have to ask someone to move their Laptop to sit down. In Italy and Italian shops, the patrons interact. A good modern version of that is the continental in Vancouver on commercial. It is more traditional in styling but a little more third wavish. It draws a none italian crowd but it has a similar atmosphere in regards to the social among patrons (which are somewhat alternative in nature). The coffee is acceptable, there is better in vancouver, but the atmosphere makes up for it.
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cuznvin
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Oct 2011
Posts: 656
Location: NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: MACAP M4 Stepless /Baratza...
Drip: YouBrew
Posted Tue Feb 26, 2013, 4:40pm
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

emradguy Said:

that's a good idea.  In fact, it reminds me of a couple things I learned while traveling in Italy.  Like, milk based drinks are taken less and less as the day turns to night, and only very rarely at the end of a meal.  I have to also say, that I don't remember being served anything but excellent espresso.  We were there 2 weeks...visited Milan, Lake Como, Florence, Venice, the Piedmont and several small towns along our routes between these places...and I had at least two or three a day.  Heck, even the espresso in the gas stations along the autostrada (itallian freeway) was better than most of the stuff here in the states.

Posted February 25, 2013 link

Even the food is amazing at the gas stations along the autostrada!!
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cuznvin
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Oct 2011
Posts: 656
Location: NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: MACAP M4 Stepless /Baratza...
Drip: YouBrew
Posted Tue Feb 26, 2013, 4:42pm
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

Also, one thing I dont get is this... Why is the espresso in Italy so amazing, yet they dont follow some of the same rules talked about here. For one thing.. Tamping.. Most places use the tamper on the grinder and it is a very light tamp, yet no issues with the final product..
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Feb 26, 2013, 5:51pm
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

Wow, thanks for all the insight. I appreciate both espresso traditions. I've had a couple of my guests look at me funny when I serve them a shot with a demitasse spoon and a litte cup of sugar :) Trying to recreate the experience at home is fun, especially when I don't feel like making a latte.

I did know the Italians generally don't take milk drinks late in the day or after a large meal, and lately I've been mimicking that, if nothing else because I'm trying to watch my calories.

I've been to the Continental several times and like to buy their Ethiopian green beans there, since they're fairly reasonably priced, but I much prefer Abruzzo's coffee better. I have to drive home my question, echoed by Cuznvin:

We spend so much time tamping and fussing in preparing the shot, yet a traditional Italian cafe can be just like "Meh" and pull the lever on the Mythos and I get a fantastic shot. Why can't we just dip the tamper on the puck and be done with it, rather than poking at it with a pin or massaging it with our fingers? Are the Italians hiding horrific-looking shots in their spouted PFs, while we all agonize over getting a syrupy cone? Also, should I look toward darker roasts for going more toward the traditional Italian espresso?
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cuznvin
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Oct 2011
Posts: 656
Location: NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: MACAP M4 Stepless /Baratza...
Drip: YouBrew
Posted Tue Feb 26, 2013, 5:55pm
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

Markarian Said:

Wow, thanks for all the insight. I appreciate both espresso traditions. I've had a couple of my guests look at me funny when I serve them a shot with a demitasse spoon and a litte cup of sugar :) Trying to recreate the experience at home is fun, especially when I don't feel like making a latte.

I did know the Italians generally don't take milk drinks late in the day or after a large meal, and lately I've been mimicking that, if nothing else because I'm trying to watch my calories.

I've been to the Continental several times and like to buy their Ethiopian green beans there, since they're fairly reasonably priced, but I much prefer Abruzzo's coffee better. I have to drive home my question, echoed by Cuznvin:

We spend so much time tamping and fussing in preparing the shot, yet a traditional Italian cafe can be just like "Meh" and pull the lever on the Mythos and I get a fantastic shot. Why can't we just dip the tamper on the puck and be done with it, rather than poking at it with a pin or massaging it with our fingers? Are the Italians hiding horrific-looking shots in their spouted PFs, while we all agonize over getting a syrupy cone? Also, should I look toward darker roasts for going more toward the traditional Italian espresso?

Posted February 26, 2013 link

My friend who lived in Italy said they dont have time to fuss with tamping.. LOL..
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fredk01
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Feb 2012
Posts: 136
Location: Canada
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Saeco Aroma
Grinder: OE Pharos
Posted Tue Feb 26, 2013, 7:24pm
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

cuznvin Said:

Also, one thing I dont get is this... Why is the espresso in Italy so amazing, yet they dont follow some of the same rules talked about here. For one thing.. Tamping.. Most places use the tamper on the grinder and it is a very light tamp, yet no issues with the final product..

Posted February 26, 2013 link

Maybe they know their machines and their coffee so well the don't need to fuss.  Reminds me of my downhill skiing days.  I spend every day of the winter on the slopes.  After 3 years, I always knew what kind of snow I was sliding over and how to adjust as it changed, pretty much without thinking.
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Jmanespresso
Senior Member
Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 2,109
Location: Westchester NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario
Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5
Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD
Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 4:57am
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

You're not going to find La Marzocco's and Synessos in Italy.  Even though La Marzocco is BOSS mode over here, and its made it Firenze, good luck finding cafes using them.

They're using what we call traditional machines.  HX machines that have been properly tuned through the use of thermosyphon jets to properly regulate the grouphead temp(The HX flush is far less important when the HX is properly tuned), and a pressurestat on the boiler.  No PIDs, no SSRs, none of that.

Thier grinders are dosered grinders of the flat burr type.. generally.  Bigger bars will use Conicals, but unlike over here, they're not using them for the utmost cup quality, they're using them for the added speed over a flat burr.  The dosers are kept full to the brim.  one sweep gives a measured single dose.  The grind is generally quite fine, so only a light upward tamp is needed.

The Italian bar blends, in Italy, are something to be inspired over.  The ability to blend a couple coffee together, along with a Robusta, and have that coffee taste good even when its not super fresh..  Thats a skill that takes years to develop.  Thier blends are designed to sit, ground up in a doser waiting to be used, and wwhether they're fresh, or a few days/weeks old, still have a smooth cocoa aroma and pleasant woody mocha taste.   See if your Black Cat Classic tastes like anything worth drinking 5-6weeks after being roasted.  While BOTH are better fresh, the Italian Bar blend is going to taste much closer to what the Roaster intended than the black cat will.


Simply put, they're using traditional equipment, in the traditional fashion, with traditional coffee.  THATS why they don't need to WDT and Stockfleth and Nutate and Pressure Profile.  Because 7grams of finely ground coffee, compressed slightly, is not hard to do, and on a machine which is designed to pull shots like that, will pull great shots all day like that.



Its when you take a lightly roasted, high grown single origin, dose 22grams and leave no headroom, ground in a grinder without a hopper's load of beans..  thats when you run into the need to pay more attention to what your doing.  Because unless you are using a La Marzocco, Synesso or Slayer, you're not using the machine the way Italians intend them to be used.  And unless your grinder is a Versalab, HG-ONE or a Hopper-filled Vario, you're not using your grinder in the "intended" manner either.

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
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JohnLyn
Senior Member
JohnLyn
Joined: 15 Aug 2011
Posts: 243
Location: Golden, BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldy
Grinder: Vario
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Toastess popper
Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 8:13am
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

Markarian Said:

I've been to the Continental several times and like to buy their Ethiopian green beans there, since they're fairly reasonably priced, but I much prefer Abruzzo's coffee better.

Posted February 26, 2013 link

Interesting. I will try them out.

Markarian Said:

We spend so much time tamping and fussing in preparing the shot, yet a traditional Italian cafe can be just like "Meh" and pull the lever on the Mythos and I get a fantastic shot. Why can't we just dip the tamper on the puck and be done with it, rather than poking at it with a pin or massaging it with our fingers? Are the Italians hiding horrific-looking shots in their spouted PFs, while we all agonize over getting a syrupy cone? Also, should I look toward darker roasts for going more toward the traditional Italian espresso?

Posted February 26, 2013 link

Remember that the tamp is actually the least important factor. The goal of the tamp is to preserve the distribution (that can be the fuss part). That changes according to the barista and the equipment being used. Once you get into a groove at home I find that there is no fuss. A professional barista that has been working for 20 years will definitely not be fussing.

With lighter roast levels I think a bit more care needs to be taken to get resulting subtleties. This is also something I like about NA espresso. I don't think that one is better that the other, but definitely different. Difference means variety and I love variety....

My fav in vancouver is Revolver by the way...
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Dapuma
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Feb 2013
Posts: 36
Location: Phoenix
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 11:08pm
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

What about a lemon twist on the side?  Just curious if that is common or ever seen in italy?  A twist being just enough to get the faint citrus spray on the surface of the espresso
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Jmanespresso
Senior Member
Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 2,109
Location: Westchester NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario
Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5
Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD
Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:43pm
Subject: Re: Serving and Enjoying Espresso
 

Not sure about in Italy, but my Father always makes a joke when I serve him Espresso, "Hey, where the lemon twist?"  (My Father grew up here in NY)

When he was a kid, after dinner was generally some sort of cookie or pastry from the Italian Bakery down the street, and his parents would make Moka Pot.  Family gatherings, or regular dinner nights, this was the norm.

Coffee used?

Medaglia D'Oro, in the red can.

Classic Espresso baby.  Best you can get.   ;-)

That was always served with a lemon twist.  And it was common, not just his family did it that way.   I speculate the lemon twist was thought up so the drinker could have SOMETHING to mask the god awful flavor.  SOMETHING to offset the massively bitter 2oz drink.  And Ive had that "espresso" served to me many times when I was kid as well.  And I always asked for it when it was served, even though it was HORRRRRRIBLE, because it was what the adults drank.

My father thought thats what espresso was since he was a little kid.  I thought so too, until I tried real espresso.  First time I served him a shot of espresso, he couldn't believe the taste.  To be honest, niether could I.

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
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