Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013, 4:51pm Subject: The Crema Test
I have read many excellent posts here and seen Youtube demos on extracting the golden pull from the best machines, and hoping for the day when I can produce the golden nectar at home (when I am independently well-off like all of you).
So for the time being I'm obliged to visit espresso shops here in town or on vacation, who use the commercial machines and (supposedly) assure me of the crema experience talked about so much.
But alas, I have yet to find a shop that produces a pull from their pro machines anything like the posts or videos I've seen. In fact, such shops, including a connoisseur shop in Sausalito (who certainly ought to produce the real thing) show me a shot that is hardly any different from the mediocre pulls I get at home with my mid-market pressurized portfiltered DiLonghi.
So what gives with the pro baristas and shops? Am I expecting too much? Or should I move in as a neighbor to one of those guys on Youtube?
Would love to experience the experience, but I'm beginning to wonder where?
Coffeenoobie Senior Member Joined: 11 Dec 2011 Posts: 2,972 Location: PNW Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: N S Oscar Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013, 6:23pm Subject: Re: The Crema Test
Not well off, my machine was used 475. Anyway, shops are hit and miss. I have never seen every shot from any shop perfect. Some are much better than others. In the PNW we have a lot of good good ones. I watch the pours, if the barista is pulling good looking shots I order. If I see crooked tamps and watery pours I leave.
Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.
DavecUK Senior Member Joined: 21 Sep 2005 Posts: 1,326 Location: UK Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013, 6:35pm Subject: Re: The Crema Test
It's very difficult to get a good shot in a coffee shop, so many things have to be right and usually they are not.
Correctly roasted and fresh coffee of good quality
On top of that, usually they bulk grind into a holding chamber and use a doser....which simply stales the coffee real fast. It's bad enough to have loads of beans in a hopper, exposed to the air, but when they have the grinder set to autofill the doser, its going stale in 15 minutes. I also talk about good quality coffee, it's incredible how often they don't realise it's just "pennies in the cup" and they buy really cheap coffee....but want to charge like £3.00 a cup for it!!!!
Posted Thu Oct 24, 2013, 9:39am Subject: Re: The Crema Test
I just went to the search tool and typed in "Tucson". I got a bunch of hits that pointed to threads regarding cafe recommendations there. It's a good place to start, so you can see if maybe there's somewhere not too inconvenient for you to check out.
That said, you should still make some attempt to watch the baristi in action before ordering...no matter where you go (unless you've been there before). As you've seen already, good equipment and a pretty menu in a trendy lounge doesn't always translate to good drinks. If you can't see what they're doing, you can always listen for the right sounds...do you hear a grinder going right before the shots are pulled? does the milk frothing sounds right?
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
gophishin Senior Member Joined: 1 Mar 2013 Posts: 45 Location: Phoenix, AZ Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Gaggia Classic Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Thu Oct 24, 2013, 10:09am Subject: Re: The Crema Test
Have you tried Cartel in Tucson? I haven't been to their locations down there, but have visited many of their shops in the Phoenix area, and they are typically pretty good about doing things "right" by high volume commercial standards. As per usual, I've found I have the best results when they aren't super busy.
Posted Thu Oct 24, 2013, 11:37am Subject: Re: The Crema Test
In my local shops, I've found the problem tends to mainly be with the barista. Even if they have a few very solid ones, there always seems to be somebody filling in who has no idea what they are doing (high school kids, etc)
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