"The perfect espresso"

Now there is a phrase that just irritates me.

Too many books, dvds and training sessions promising to teach you how to brew that perfect espresso.  Am I being foolish?  Is it really possible to cram a culinary art into 45 minutes and claim it as perfection?  Is a fresh ground coffee, brewed to about an ounce in about 25 seconds perfect espresso?

I suppose it irritates me because it is designed to con people into thinking that it is all easy, and that coffee isn’t too much to worry about.  Just dose that here, tamp that there and away you brew.  Easy!  What does this result it?  Poor attention to it all, if not completely ignoring the state of the coffee and a load of horrific coffee being served to the caffeine starved general public.

That or just the arrogance of those offering such classes, dvds etc.  Is it more than a marketing line?  Do they themselves believe they know all they need to, and that coffee really is just that easy.


Then again I suppose what hooks people into espresso, into obessing about brewing, about the coffee and about the cup is that in its own way espresso is delicious and addictive in its constant imperfections.

3 Comments "The perfect espresso"

  1. Nick Brown

    This is the same beef I have with shops/baristas that claim “godshot every time”. Reeeaaallly. Because, you know, I’ve had some pretty excellent training, and given bleeding edge equipment and a really nice espresso blend, somehow managed to still pull a rubbish shot. It happens, you deal with it, make some adjustments and try to do better– you don’t claim perfection.

  2. dankbean


    i feel the same way about the term ‘godshot’.

    as a barista trainer (albeit a new position for me personally), the first thing i say in my class is that i’m NOT an expert. i’m not even a top-seeded amateur. i’m just a guy who has studied the basics and practiced, practiced, practiced. i try to present espresso as a gourmet beverage, and i can coach people through the basics of what to do, what to look for, what NOT to do….

    …but you can’t teach someone to practice and experiment, which is what i think makes great espresso. it’s a shame that so many people claim themselves as ‘experts’ in an industry that has little or no concrete method of validation of that term.

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