You drink a nice brewed cup of coffee from a hypothetical farm in El Salvador. Â It is incredibly delicious. Â The cup is light and juicy, but still very sweet. Â There are notes of cherry and caramel and acidity is reminiscent of a crisp apple. Â We celebrate this coffee, perhaps we bid a lot money for it at an auction, and are excited to roast it and retail it.
We then brew the same coffee in an espresso machine. Â It doesn’t taste good. Â People say it lacks body, isn’t complex enough, has too much acidity. Â People say it is one dimensional. Â We roast it darker than before, though hopefully not a lot. Â We mute and soften the acidity, try and keep the sweetness. Â We burn away some of what we loved in the hope that it will be a better espresso. Even now we don’t enjoy the coffee as much. Â People still complain that it isn’t complex enough, isn’t complete enough.
“This coffee isn’t good enough to be a single origin espresso.”
We blame the same coffee that we once celebrated. Â This doesn’t make sense. Â If the job of a brewer is to translate what is great in the coffee down into the cup why aren’t we pointing our fingers at the espresso machine? Â If the job of the barista is to use tools to translate what is great in the coffee down into the cup why aren’t we ashamed of our failings?