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clearing the elephants in my room for one more machine.
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z0mbie
Senior Member
z0mbie
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 349
Location: Online
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sat Apr 19, 2014, 11:46am
Subject: clearing the elephants in my room for one more machine.
 

So it is really not upgraditis. It can't be because love my current machines. In fact I just had a break-through on pulling shots on with my dragon (LCM). Had a most marvelous shot just yesterday evening. Everything is still a learning process and it never seems to end. So what gives for this urge to buy yet another machine?  Can some of you help explain this to me?  I know of at least a couple of you that have more than one machine, be it roasters, grinders, levers, etc. Help a guy out eh :) "Hi, my name is Scott and I'm addicted to upgraditis."

Am I deluded in my thinking that I some how can achieve greater heights with another machine.  I haven't even mastered the ones I have.  In fact I don't even know what that means. What *IS* the measure of mastery anyway?   Truth might not be about new heights rather new highs..

I ask myself all the time how this shot or that shot compares to the ones I'm pulling at home... And I answer honestly they haven't any better. Not for a while now. So why do we continue to frequent coffee shops to pay $4 for an espresso that costs me a dime to make at home.   I don't think I've found what I'm liking for...

How about you, fellow coffee addict? What elephants are in your room?

...Just rambling like a crazy person.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,864
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sat Apr 19, 2014, 3:38pm
Subject: Re: clearing the elephants in my room for one more machine.
 

Scott, you're not crazy..at least not to my way of thinking.
I believe it may be what I had (and I bet a few others)..the coffee fanatic version of "post partum depression."
I will freely admit here that the CHASE, research, post reading past midnight, the exhilaration of anticipation, etc dominated my very being.
Then the beautiful Anita arrived. A wonderful machine, and obedient machine, granting me excellent shots. A week later I found myself depressed.
No more late night investigation, no more longing, wondering, searching.
All ripped from my existence.
A month or so later, I was fine.

Being a CG moderator helped later on, as I could luxuriate in the quests of others. Ribald, you say?
Well, slightly, perhaps. LOL

If you want a machine, and can afford another mach GET one, but something completely different.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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skydragondave
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Feb 2013
Posts: 167
Location: Ontario, Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Commercial Only
Grinder: Commercial Only
Roaster: Has Garanti HG5
Posted Sat Apr 19, 2014, 7:47pm
Subject: Re: clearing the elephants in my room for one more machine.
 

I found the pedantry on this site and others to be of no use to perfecting my shots. I learned more in mere minutes with my customers than I learned in weeks reading online forums. I can now pull shots alongside professionals with ease. I would advise any home barista to spend their money training with the pros rather than spend money on gadgets and modifications that do nothing to increase accuracy, but rather unpredictably move the bullseye around. Hang out with a pro!
Where this site truly shines is in finding free advice to equipment selection and maintenance. No pros are PID'ing HX machines or trying to make $200 DeLonghis do the job of $2000 Quickmills. Buy an abused $300 Quickmill and use this site to bring it back from the dead, and train with a pro to get the most of it; that's the fastest route from point A to B.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,864
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sat Apr 19, 2014, 8:52pm
Subject: Re: clearing the elephants in my room for one more machine.
 

skydragondave Said:

I found the pedantry on this site and others to be of no use to perfecting my shots. I learned more in mere minutes with my customers than I learned in weeks reading online forums. I can now pull shots alongside professionals with ease. I would advise any home barista to spend their money training with the pros rather than spend money on gadgets and modifications that do nothing to increase accuracy, but rather unpredictably move the bullseye around. Hang out with a pro!
Where this site truly shines is in finding free advice to equipment selection and maintenance. No pros are PID'ing HX machines or trying to make $200 DeLonghis do the job of $2000 Quickmills. Buy an abused $300 Quickmill and use this site to bring it back from the dead, and train with a pro to get the most of it; that's the fastest route from point A to B.

Posted April 19, 2014 link

I'm truly pleased you're perfect, and at this moment I feel privileged to dwell in your magnificence.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,056
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Sun Apr 20, 2014, 5:46am
Subject: Re: clearing the elephants in my room for one more machine.
 

skydragondave Said:

I found the pedantry on this site and others to be of no use to perfecting my shots. I learned more in mere minutes with my customers than I learned in weeks reading online forums. I can now pull shots alongside professionals with ease. I would advise any home barista to spend their money training with the pros rather than spend money on gadgets and modifications that do nothing to increase accuracy, but rather unpredictably move the bullseye around. Hang out with a pro!
Where this site truly shines is in finding free advice to equipment selection and maintenance. No pros are PID'ing HX machines or trying to make $200 DeLonghis do the job of $2000 Quickmills. Buy an abused $300 Quickmill and use this site to bring it back from the dead, and train with a pro to get the most of it; that's the fastest route from point A to B.

Posted April 19, 2014 link

Ignoring your snide remark (for now)...what does this have to do with the OP's questions?

So, anyways...upgraditis, maybe it is? I think that many of us just continuously strive to improve our espresso (and other coffee preps) in order to make it as good as we possibly can.  Unlike the one post in this thread, where a relative newbie pro has achieved perfection in only a year or so (or mere minutes, I think is how he put it), even the best in the world say they're still learning.  And I think that's just reality.  I don't know anyone who does any of the things I enjoy doing who says there's nothing more to learn.  I think also, when you get really into something, you appreciate the finer nuances that make one product, tool, etc better than another...and then of course, that makes you desire to own the better one, because don't we all want to have the very best available?  I've got great gear, yet, there are certainly items I wish I had/could afford - though who knows if I'd be able to tell the difference.  My thought is probably, but at lest some of this I'll probably never get to find out.

Now at least one thing I'd agree with in the post above that I quoted is to take a barista training class.  I took one years ago and it was very, very helpful...and not that I feel I've forgotten much, but I've been contemplating taking another one in the near future.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Buckley
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Apr 20, 2014, 9:17am
Subject: Re: clearing the elephants in my room for one more machine.
 

With a nod of respect to weebit, I think we all share that compulsion.
Having validated that point of view, it must be said that it is maladaptive because it is a hunger that can never be satisfied.

We have all had occasion to shake our heads when seeing someone in another pasttime goes on and on... (examples) the fashion hobbyist who is forever buying that new outfit or accesory or that social-engagement hobbyist who is always looking for 'the next best place to be'.  Or perhaps you are truly someone who has internalized a 'live and let live' attitude and can say, "that is what they like, so what?  Coffee and equipment is what I like".

But you know that feeling of wanting, that grip in the chest just doesn't feel good.  We all want to resolve it.  And there are only two ways, to let go of it or to give in to it.  There is a problem with each solution.  If we let go of it, it will likely come back; that is, unfortunately, part of our nature as human.  If we give in to it, that works for a while, then, as weebit says, there arises yet another machine.

We see the same thing in ourselves with respect to roasts.  There is always another roast to try.  And another.  And another.  And the one we just heard about...  As Reiss Gunson expressed it in his blog of March 3rd of this year, Click Here (londiniumespresso.com) "how do you think professional baristas deliver you a great coffee?  i'll tell you for absolute certain, not one of them is hopping from bean to bean to bean... if you havent stuck with one coffee long enough to know exactly how to tweak each extraction just by looking at the way the extraction progresses and the colour and texture of the crema, then you need to stick with that roast until you develop and instinctive feel for that roast..."
[I am aware of the CG rule against publishing email contents on this site, but this is a public-accessible blog, and so I think this is permissable]

The same thing can be said about machines.  Many CG posters have compared a relationship with a machine to a marriage.  We all know that people who get quickly bored with marriage usually wind up in some degree of trouble, while those who stick with the commitment through a period of boredom or disallusionment can emerge into a new appreciation of their mate and often say they have discovered unexpected good things about their partner and themselves in the process.  Without continuing in my melodramatic psychological vein, let me just say that it seems to be that way, not only with beans, but with machines, as well.

The insidious thing about that hunger for the new - that being in the grip of an addiction, almost - it that it effectively shorts out the ability to experience contentment.  The inverse of self-imposed neediness is the ability to be in the process with the machine, not to be thinking of what might have been better if only we had a PID, or a Speedster, or a Lever.   It is the ability to relax back into the process of our coffee making, right here, right now, with what we are using.
This freedom from the grip of want also allows us to experience another high, and that is the feeling of gratitude.  I guarantee that when the feelings of contentment and gratitude are combined with a cup of coffee you yourself brewed, of whatever roast by whatever means, the flavor is enhanced.

This is not a gentle invective on weebit's post.  Weebit, I hear you.  I'm there with you.  But I'm working on it in my own way, and you can, too.

Hi, my name is Buckley and I'm a Coffeegeek...

(chorus of voices) "Hi, Buckley."
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CoffeeRon
Senior Member
CoffeeRon
Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 749
Location: Tacoma Wa.
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Wega Lyra, Europiccola(still...
Grinder: Macap M7D, Pharos, Vario W,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam CoffeeMaster
Drip: Melita BCM-4
Roaster: FR SR500,B-1600, SC/TO
Posted Sun Apr 20, 2014, 2:05pm
Subject: Re: clearing the elephants in my room for one more machine.
 

So maybe you are just a "weebit_nutty?",
Seriously though, I agree with Buckley that at least many of us share the compulsion. Personally mine comes out in picking up the odds and ends of other types of coffee making devices. I have an electric moka pot that's quite unique, and a 50's era electric vac pot that's fun to use occasionally, to name a couple. Hand grinders are fun to collect as well. You might try this route to curb the urge. It's fun to find the collectables, and they don't take up the room the big machines do. And I justify it quite well as being my "collection of coffee stuff", most of which I could easily sell for what I paid for it if not more.

Cheers,
Ron
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,734
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Apr 21, 2014, 6:03am
Subject: Re: clearing the elephants in my room for one more machine.
 

Scotty,
I hear you and understand completely.
Honestly, for me, it the chase just like others have said. I have 6 espresso brewing devices, 6 grinders, vac pot, moka pot, pour overs, 3 commercial drip brewers and it goes on and on yet, if I come across another "good deal" I have a hard time not going for it. I am always on the look out, the hunt is always on even if I don't need anything.

There is NO logical reason why I need half of what I have and that is not the point. I have used many items, enjoyed them for a time, passed them on and bought more, the never ending quest is really futile, you can NEVER have it all but it looks like I will keep trying though :D

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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skydragondave
Senior Member


Joined: 18 Feb 2013
Posts: 167
Location: Ontario, Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Commercial Only
Grinder: Commercial Only
Roaster: Has Garanti HG5
Posted Mon Apr 21, 2014, 9:43am
Subject: Re: clearing the elephants in my room for one more machine.
 

IMAWriter Said:

I'm truly pleased you're perfect, and at this moment I feel privileged to dwell in your magnificence.

Posted April 19, 2014 link

Sorry that I offended you and others with the framing of my reply. It was in response to this:

z0mbie Said:

Am I deluded in my thinking that I some how can achieve greater heights with another machine.  I haven't even mastered the ones I have.  In fact I don't even know what that means. What *IS* the measure of mastery anyway?   Truth might not be about new heights rather new highs..

Posted April 19, 2014 link

I respectfully disgree that you can throw machinery at a technique problem. I'll provide an anecdote:
I was in Montreal recently to pick up a new machine for a customer, and stopped at a highly regarded cafe to try out a cafe mocha. I was served by this thin, young waif of a girl the silkiest, smoothest cafe mocha I've ever had in my life. Luckily it wasn't too busy so I chatted her up a bit. She's 20 years old, been there six months, she takes the bus to work and she's studying psychology at Concordia or McGill, I can't remember. I didn't ask her how much she's making but judging by her clothes it isn't very much. The equipment they're working with is pretty nice, but more importantly it's being kept clean and the staff knows how to properly use it. If I suggested to this girl that she had to spend $2000 on a machine and another six months modifying it to serve a good cup, or that a year of practice isn't long enough (though my career didn't start when I joined this site, thanks) she'd probably laugh. She doesn't have two pennies to rub together and if it took her longer than two weeks to bring her product up to standard, she'd be fired.
She probably hasn't owned an espresso machine in her life. Why is she good? I asked her. She placed all the credit for her technique on the owner of the cafe, who's won several awards.
I wouldn't say anyone who likes to buy gadgets and bolt heatsinks to their groupheads to accomodate plug heaters and thermosensors is deluded in thinking it's going to improve their technique, but I would say that they're incorrect. The first thing that you want to do is study with a professional: someone who depends on their technique to make them a living. They know what works and what doesn't. Then, when you know how to properly pull a shot on a machine with no modifications, you can then wisely invest in and modify the equipment in a way that meets your expectations. You will get far more mileage and enjoyment out of $300 in training than you will in a $300 DeLonghi off eBay and a gallon of shots thrown down the sink.
Sorry if this contrary opinion offends those who disagree, but the OP did pose the question, and did so very directly. I hope that fleshing this out a bit calms some ruffled tempers. If you like to tinker with your machines, fine; I do it all the time. But don't go down that path thinking it's going to make your shots better unless you've already invested in the training you need to understand what "better" is and what you need to do to get there.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,864
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Mon Apr 21, 2014, 10:43am
Subject: Re: clearing the elephants in my room for one more machine.
 

(Snipped)RJ

skydragondave Said:

Sorry that I offended you and others with the framing of my reply. It was in response to this:



I respectfully disgree that you can throw machinery at a technique problem. I hope that fleshing this out a bit calms some ruffled tempers. If you like to tinker with your machines, fine; I do it all the time. But don't go down that path thinking it's going to make your shots better unless you've already invested in the training you need to understand what "better" is and what you need to do to get there.

Posted April 21, 2014 link

+1, and I think you've coalesced your thoughts above this posting beautifully.
I just believe in language, and it's power, and felt your reference to "pedantic" seemed a bit judgmental of the ENTIRE Forum.
Many of us, myself included have a difficult time finding a cafe that has a REAL barista instruction program, where less experienced individuals are placed in one grouping, and more experienced individuals can work on advanced techniques in another grouping.

I will say that your continual reference to "$300 DeLonghis" is a bit condescending, and in fact incorrect. A solid majority here probably have either a VERY good SBDU, HX machine, or Double boiler. And know how to use it. In fact, a decent # have professional gear, and know how to use it.

My argument, as such is IF the majority of specialty coffee cafes out there made GREAT coffee regardless of price for a double shot, cappa, etc, perhaps less of us would feel it necessary to be as obsessive as we are about our home experience. That experience, in many cases results in FAR better results then the so-called cafes out there.
Perhaps the training should also be required of all those who are employed at said cafes. This is an issue as old as the hills.
Your anecdote only proves this point. The "waif" of a girl did it better than the many of the tattooed, bearded, pierced (excluding the awesome Lee Sill at Barista Parlor and Mark at Crema...LOL)
baristas out there.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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