Espresso at home

I have been made aware that various comments I have made seem like I am dismissive about espresso at home.  This is not the case, though sometimes I am against espresso in my home.  This is because sometimes the coffee needs to stop.  My day is filled with cleaning machines, wiping up coffee, and sometimes building a lot of drinks.  I have to drink a lot of terrible, frighteningly awful espresso.  This can mean that enthusiasm for the black gold can run a little low.

My excited blathering over the aeropress stem more from my enjoyment of the cup than from the ease of use – but it was that ease that got me into it.  Roasting at home didn’t do it for me mostly because of the lack of control, but also because I don’t have a nice extractor fan set up here nor do I have the time to really try and get what I want out of it.

A lot of the people I work with in the industry don’t drink coffee at home.  Work is enough.  More than enough.  Anette has remained resistant to the coffee, and I completely understand.

Espresso at home is having a positive effect on the industry.  The fanatics out there are forums in Europe and the US are demanding more than most commercial users and some companies are responding.  People like Andy Schecter are going one step further and designing and implementing equipment that doesn’t seem to have crossed the commercial R&D people’s minds.  The better the espresso drunk at home the more demanding and discerning the consumer, and they have immense power to impact on the quality of the industry should they choose to.

So espresso at home is good.  Its just that I’d rather work from a two group and various lovely grinders in the training room is all, because I can.

10 Comments

  1. >Its just that I’d rather work from a two group and various lovely grinders in the training room is all, because I can.

    figured this was the case, jim. still, it sounds awfully snobby! full disclosure: i am a BIG fan of snobbery — as long as i can participate. if i can’t, then i just needle people about it on my blog. ;)

    more seriously: seems like it’s one thing to say “espresso at home is having a positive effect on the industry.” it’s quite another to rub elbows with some of these junkies and experience the sheer quality of the beverages. the one is like acknowledging an effect but keeping “those people” in their place. the other is being willing to experience and be surprised at what’s really going on in some people’s kitchens.

    you said you smiled at tacy’s remark about the fuss of brewing at home. well, i remember smiling at tacy’s findings when he put his first home HX machine through the paces and discovered that in some cases the shot quality met or surpassed what he was used to on a commercial machine.

    that takes some rigorous honesty.

  2. The “because I can” comment was really meant in jest.

    I came from the home user background. At no point have I ever rubbished the quality of the drinks from home machines. Most serious home users comfortably outperform 99% of places in the UK.

    I’d rather use my S1 or a E61 style machine in a training room than at home. I am very aware that I am lucky in that I CAN use a training room. This makes you spoilt. Having an environment that is built around the machine, that is easy to clean and doesn’t feel quite as messed up quite so quickly means that you (or the other half) are much more aware of the mess in the kitchen. If I had a bigger kitchen I’d have a dedicated workbench, and then I’d probably be more relaxed about coffee at home.

    Maybe I just associate espresso with work.

    I don’t mean to be a snob. Not too much.

  3. >Maybe I just associate espresso with work.

    i can deal with that. although it still sounds like a dedicated home bar could help spread the love a bit.

  4. Jim. I was recently kind of quoted in one of the biggest newspapers in Denmark as having said that I thought people should stay away from brewing espresso in the home environment. Anybody who knows me just went: “He didn’t say that!” I come from a home-enthusiast background, reading alt.coffee and learning so much from that forum and coffeegeek. The home environment was where my enthusiasm for coffee was sparked!
    What I DID say was that I thought some people would be better off brewing a really good french pressed coffee in stead of using a cheap (Krups) espresso machine. The context being that somehow the average consumer seems to mistake any espresso-like product as a high-quality product, which is certainly not the case. And although the two brewing methods are entirely different and produces nowhere near the same coffee experience, I do think that as a taste experience a good french press is superior to a bad espresso. So you see – it’s not always easy being a spokesperson for specialty coffee. YOU better get used to it ;-)

    -Klaus

  5. Thanks for the support Klaus!
    Why can\’t they pick out the good things you/I/we say? :) I got shot down for saying a similar thing about restaurants, and was accused of being elitist. It is frustrating because all we ever want is for people to enjoy better coffee. It is that simple.

    My debate with bz continues here

  6. >So you see – it’s not always easy being a spokesperson for specialty coffee. YOU better get used to it.

    >Why can\’t they pick out the good things you/I/we say?

    heh. just keeping you rock star baristi on your toes. probably out of jealousy more than anything else. it is easy, i would bet, to unintentionally begin to speak of the narrow niche of competition-worthy uber-elite espresso as all there is.

    i’m not accusing you of this, but i think the discourse can begin to sound that way once one has reached some sort of pinnacle of the niche. just an outsider’s observation of all the chatter on the web…

    if you really believe that home espresso can be as good, well … cool. i just didn’t see that reflected in your original posts.

  7. >if you really believe that home espresso can be as good, well … cool. i just didn’t see that reflected in your original posts.

    I think that is a little unfair. If you go back and reread the posts I am only disparaging about the act of making espresso and the mess, never about the drinks. I don’t see anything that implies home espresso isn’t as good as commercial espresso.

  8. >I think that is a little unfair.

    apologies, jim. i REALLY wasn’t trying to start a brouhaha. really. one problem i get into on the blog is that it’s always been based on a sort of outsidery/snarky persona. but it doesn’t mean i’m out to pick a fight with anyone. especially you.

    >If you go back and reread the posts I am only disparaging about the act of making espresso and the mess, never about the drinks.

    this is true. but so is what i said. you focused on the mess. but after three posts i still didn’t see any sort of statement about the quality of home brew — and my question, given the generally insular perspective i see from top-line professionals and competition winners, was whether the pessimism concerning the BOTHER of home espresso was reflective of a GENERAL attitude about home ‘spro in general.

    you clarified in my comments. and i responded with an observation: “if you really believe that home espresso can be as good, well … cool. i just didn’t see that reflected in your original posts.”

    that’s all. truce? ;)

  9. .
    I have to concour 100% James and having shared a post or two in the past i will defend the Hoffman honour ..lol. and say jim has spent many an hour giving time and knowledge freely too the passionate devoutees of good home brewed coffee on a few web based communities i am sure everyone will be familular with.

    On the comments Jim, i have too agree, at home now i very rarely have espresso as i overload everyday at work.glad to see a truce called …. (nice blog bz btw) will haunt a bit later !;-)

  10. Jimbo, I understand 100% what you’re saying. It’s just SOOOOoooo much easier to walk up to the synesso, bang out a shot and walk off than it is to use the three separate cloths and brushes to clean up after home espresso!

    Cheers,

    Luca

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