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home roasting, grinding and brewing
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Discussions > Espresso > General > home roasting,...  
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smasha
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Feb 2012
Posts: 33
Location: Cambridge
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Dec 2, 2012, 7:16am
Subject: home roasting, grinding and brewing
 

HI

I recently purchased a HX machine and grinder and pop corn roaster.  I have been absolutely amazed at the consistant quality of  coffee's that i have been making lately.

Even with the variations of the pop corn roaster and the variing popping times and roast levels, my shots are pretty good and latte's becoming suberb.  

Reflecting on this, how on earth can so many coffee shops just get it sooo wrong??  cos I am now making coffee's at home up there with the best of the coffees that I have had out at some great cafe's in particular around melbourne and the odd one in london.  I live in cambridge and there are only a few places that do decent espresso and even then there is issues.

so happy days brewing and drinking my lattes!!
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012, 2:49pm
Subject: Re: home roasting, grinding and brewing
 

I am glad you having so much luck and fun! Keep it up and let us know how it goes for you over time.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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yakster
Senior Member
yakster
Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 1,043
Location: San Jose, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Factory / La Peppina...
Grinder: Vario / Kyocera
Vac Pot: Yama 8 + Pyrex Lox-in Rod
Drip: Brazen / Kalita / Chemex /...
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Mon Dec 3, 2012, 3:22pm
Subject: Re: home roasting, grinding and brewing
 

smasha Said:

how on earth can so many coffee shops just get it sooo wrong??  cos I am now making coffee's at home up there with the best of the coffees that I have had out at some great cafe's in particular around melbourne and the odd one in london.  I live in cambridge and there are only a few places that do decent espresso and even then there is issues.

Posted December 2, 2012 link

Great news, and a sad fact that it's so easy to make coffee that exceeds what you can find in your local.

If the baristas in these cafes were making coffee just for themselves, I'd imagine that the quality would improve.

 
-Chris

LMWDP # 272
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 665
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Sat Dec 8, 2012, 12:11am
Subject: Re: home roasting, grinding and brewing
 

smasha Said:

How on earth can so many coffee shops just get it sooo wrong??  cos I am now making coffee's at home up there with the best of the coffees that I have had out at some great cafe's

Posted December 2, 2012 link

Well, you have to think about it for a second..

The goal of any business is not to sell you a great product. The goal of a business is to take your money and deliver a product which the consumer deems acceptable, so that they continue to
retain the business of the shop, don't complain and don't cost the shop more money by demanding a return, exchange or otherwise. This applies to any business model, unfortunately.

In saying that, if you are lucky, you may find a shop with a talented and experienced Barista who is passionate about coffee. The owner probably really couldn't care less what the Barista does,
as long as the cash continues to flow into the till and the customers are happy. In saying that, I've heard about some owners getting really fussy about coffee waste. If the Barista is making sink
shots or is throwing shots away because they're not good, they can get into trouble, so they have to resort to throwing those shots into an extra large latte and hope nobody notices.

Now, that's a generalization.. Perhaps some owners are extremely passionate about their coffee.. They won't let a new employee pull a shot on the machine for a customer until they've been
drinking their own shots for at least two months. Until then, they're relegated to milk steaming and drip coffee duty. In which case, these are the shops to look out for.

I've heard of horror stories where the Barista was just someone thrown behind the counter with less than 2 hours of training and is suddenly expected to pull perfect shots. Some
businesses don't even want to train their baristas at all, they just buy a Super-Automatic to offset the training costs and know that they can't screw up too much by pushing a button.

I've had shots which were pulled from an overheated heat exchanging machine that wasn't flushed prior to making the shot. My God, they tasted like charcoal. I've also tasted shots which
were a little under-extracted.. but I knew what flavors to look for... A lot of consumers couldn't care less that their coffee is a little sour or too bitter. "Good enough" is good enough.

IMHO though, I don't believe that the general public cares about overextracted or underextracted shots, unless they're horrendously out of whack. Usually the flavor of the milk covers up those mistakes.
Especially if someone orders a flavored drink which covers up most of the coffee flavor anyway.

I'm glad to hear that you are making what is better in the shops, but you have to think, you have an entirely different goal in mind.. Your goal is to make the best coffee ever made, which isn't
in the best commercial interests of most coffee shops, especially if it involves additional cost with no expected return. Sadly, the shops that do believe that the product comes before anything else,
no matter what the cost, are rare, hard to find and must be cherished. Sometimes they carry a premium to help pay for that. It all depends on the owners attitude really. Realistically, you know the score.

I thought about starting my own business, but I am honestly afraid that it would drain any passion that I have about coffee out of me. I'm afraid that I would have to stop looking at the quality of
the coffee and I'd have to start thinking hard about what actually makes money... and I can't really see myself thinking like that. There is the argument that a great product retains customers and I agree, but
like anything in the service industry, customers don't have any obligation to be loyal to anyone, unless the shop is the only game in town. That sporadic nature of business can make or break a shop.

I'm going to admit that I'm not an expert and I still have a lot to learn about this industry. I'm sure that actual business owners who run coffee shops who frequent this board would have a few kind (Or unkind?)
words to say about their business approach. I'm interested in hearing all of them.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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dorkroast
Senior Member
dorkroast
Joined: 3 Oct 2012
Posts: 88
Location: CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Drip: Cheapo Melitta pourover
Roaster: Behmor, Popcorn Pumper
Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 8:02pm
Subject: Re: home roasting, grinding and brewing
 

When I've been asked in the past about a certain unnamed chain I've always had a response like this:

They make consistent mediocre coffee. The great thing about them is that no matter what the location is, when you order a drink you pretty much know what you'll get before you get it. It won't be great, and it won't be crap, but it will be drinkable.

In a world of really crappy coffee shops maybe this is all we can ask for?

I've been surprised and disappointed that several of my local small shops make espresso drinks  which are worse than the large chains- perpetuating the myth that the big chains make the best coffee.
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Pourista
Senior Member
Pourista
Joined: 20 Dec 2012
Posts: 19
Location: Davis, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Mishka's Medium Roast
Posted Thu Dec 20, 2012, 10:21am
Subject: Re: home roasting, grinding and brewing
 

Hi, new here but not to coffee.  I agree with that.  I think just because a chain is so large, people assume they must be great otherwise how did they become so successful?  Conversely, people might think a local shop might not be so good because it's so small and hasn't become "successful".  Then again, everyone has a different taste for coffee.  

I also think coffee tastes better when made at home and it's fun to experiment with slight variations day by day!  A bit more coarse one day and a bit finer the next.
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 665
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Thu Dec 20, 2012, 10:45am
Subject: Re: home roasting, grinding and brewing
 

dorkroast Said:

They make consistent mediocre coffee. The great thing about them is that no matter what the location is, when you order a drink you pretty much know what you'll get before you get it. It won't be great, and it won't be crap, but it will be drinkable.

Posted December 19, 2012 link

That's pretty much the goal of any franchise. Keeping everything completely consistent right across the board. You can have a coffee in Miami which tastes exactly the same as a coffee in Los Angeles. You know exactly what you are getting.

This is why franchise owners have the big "Red Book" that is basically a turnkey operation manual. Turn the key to open the front door and everything else gets tracked in the computer system.

A friend of mine working at a McDonalds decided to play a prank and order 2000 cups of water at no charge on the register. A day later, a large truck came up to the store full of boxes of cups. The system was smart enough to know
that cups needed to be re-ordered and that any other relevant supplies were automatically ordered by the system as they needed them.

The manager doesn't need to think about what supplies they need, or signage or even policies.. It's all dictated to them from the corporate office. Want to keep your franchising license? Do what we say or else. In some ways, that's a
great thing. A franchise owner can't just decide they want to go back to using traditional semi-automatic or lever machines because they look stylish and will help business. They get their equipment from the corporate office like every
other franchisee and are given instructions on how to use it. That's pretty much it.

dorkroast Said:

In a world of really crappy coffee shops maybe this is all we can ask for?

Posted December 19, 2012 link

Well, this is another issue as well. When was the last time you can remember ordering a really super awesome burger from the golden arches? I can't. I think any large chain suffers from quality issues in that regard. The product isn't
always that great, but I can say without a doubt that I've never had a really bad burger from them either and I've never received food poisoning, like I have from other independently owned burger joints.

I think the chains are probably a good starting point at which to compare your coffee. That's a low bar to set, but a good one. After that, everything is just bliss. :-)

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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