Saturday, July 22, 2006


Whether you are a barista, a baker, a tax accountant, an actor--or any profession, consistency is key.

As a barista, developing consistency in all aspects of your craft is what will allow experimentation, growth and excellence. Once you have selected the espresso blend (or SO) that you will use, you want to be certain your roaster is providing you with a blend that is consistent in roast level and flavor. You want to grind to a certain 'fineness' that you have determined to best extract ideal flavors from your espresso. You also want to consistently dose the same amount of espresso, and have even (consistent) distribution of the espresso in the portafilter so that every time you pull a shot you are providing the same excellence every time.

I have never dosed by weight. I feel it is unnecessary. BUT you must dose consistently. So in order to evaluate my level of consistency, I decided to weigh after dosing and see how I did.

I put the portafilter on the scale and zeroed the scale. I then dosed, distributed, tamped and then weighed the portafilter (post dosing) and these were my results.

1. 17 grams
2. 17 grams
3. 18 grams
4. 17 grams
5. 17 grams
6. 18 grams

Of course there's always room for improvement, but I am on the right track. If anything in my continued pursuit of excellence, I am consistent.

I think it's time for lunch.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Ethiopian Harrar this year has been very good, if not exceptional at times. It is my best seller on our 'roast to order' whole bean sales. At lighter roasts it has a bright blueberry note that becomes somewhat overwhelming if you let your beans age past two weeks. At a bit darker roasts you can coax out some good chocolate notes and you wind up with chocolate covered blueberry in your cup. As a coffee that's not too difficult to get, if that's not fan fuckingtastic, I don't know what is.

The Panama Carmen Estate is another story, another level of coffee excellence.
Maybe I'll explore that next time.