blog from the ceo & superbarista of phoenix coffee, home of the best baristas in cleveland, ohio

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

naked espresso

Next Sunday a group of dedicated espresso fans (baristas and baristas in training) are going to meet at Phoenix Coffee on Superior Avenue to pull espresso shots and talk "shop". There are only two things on the agenda... first, we'll fractionate a shot of espresso in order to fully experience its multiphasic nature. Then, if I can get someone to hack up a portafilter for us, we'll experiment with naked espresso. Julie Hutchison attended a seminar about this at the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) conference, and she and I have been intrigued ever since. Basically, the idea is to remove the bottom of the portafilter so that the barista can see the espresso coming out of the bottom of the brew basket. So the first thing the espresso hits will not be the bottom of the portafilter, but instead, the barista's shot glass. The advantage of this brewing technique is that the barista can see the exact way the shot is being formed. If there are any imperfections in the tamp or in the seal of the portafilter to the brew head, the barista will be able to detect it immediately, before the shot is even tasted. If water is squirting around the seal, that will be visible. If one part of the shot is being underextracted, and coffee is pouring through it while the other is being overextracted, and the coffee is laboring through the basket, this will be visible.

So basically between now and then I need someone to cut the bottom off of a portafilter for the cause of Better Espresso. This sounds like a job for Phoenix's Espresso Wizard or Mr. Make-My-Coffee-Machine-Work-Now. Or even Renaissance Barista with his well-stocked inventory of power tools. Hopefully one of them will be up to the job!

PS Baristas: I'm thinking a better time on Sunday would be 11 AM rather than the 10 AM or Noon times that have been tossed around. So the time is now officially changed to 11 AM. Be there for some serious shop talk!


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