Whether for personal or professional ends, pursuit of the ultimate shot begins here.
Positive Product Points
Lucid, succint and to the point without a lot of superfluous fluff. If you've made the equipment investment and are serious about perfecting your espresso, then David Schomer's book, Espresso Coffee: Professional Techniques, is the quintessential aid in so doing. It is required reading.
Negative Product Points
For $28 you might expect something a little more voluminous than 150 pages, and hard bound at that with Schomer delivering it personally--but it's really the information you're paying for, not the print quality. There are a number of grammatical errors, but nothing that obstructs comprehension. Always keep in mind that *some* of the information presented in this book is subjective and not gospel.
After walking in the door backward--namely purchasing over $2,000 in semi-commercial equipment *first* and *then* setting out to learn how to make great espresso--I purchased David's book; par for the course.
The information packed into the 150 or so pages in EC:PT is so condensed and lucid that it's difficult, if not impossible, to put down. I was reading it in bed over a two-night stretch, falling asleep with it (much to my wife's disapproval) the first night and finishing it at 4:30am the next. Each morning I lept out of bed, eager to apply the newly assimilated information to see if I could make a practical application immediately. It worked! After a few tries, I was able to pull shots of espresso that matched the color photographs in Schomer's book in every discernable way. Better yet, the scent, color, and texture were all positive indicators of what that marvelous little cup held in store for my watering tastebuds -- pure perfection, worth every penny and hour spent in getting this knowledge. Knowledge is power, and Schomer delivers.
As "they" say, the "proof is in the puddin'". Schomer's book gives truly practical methodology that is instantly applicable in practice. When it comes to speculative areas, David is quick to begin his sentences with statements that clearly indicate that it is **HIS** opinion, preference, etc, thereby exhonorating him of certain indictments by critics that he attempts to impose his personal preferences on people in areas where it's clearly a matter of personal persuasion. To me, this is not only palateable, but it is also the proper thing to do. Many of us try to put our own opinions and subjective views forth as authoritative fact, when in reality there is substantial room for interpretation or application. Where there are hard and fast rules to follow, Schomer is less flexible, understandably so. At times, he may come off a little too "authoritative," but when dealing with such a topic that can be immensely subjective in so many areas, particularly the taste of the final product (else Dunkin Dognuts and Folgers--Swahili for "Robusta", I believe--would've been out of business long ago), if you choose a less authoritative route, you'd never come to any firm conclusions and would ultimately do more harm than good.
Schomer, love him or hate him, packs credentials and respectability that few others carry. He is the E.F. Hutton of the espresso-making universe.