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Is pressure profiling ruining good coffee?

As we move into the PP age where machines are throttled at the pump or at the group to alleviate poor grind and tamping technique, are we forgetting that the cup starts with the roast profile!! The more ‘stuff’ we do the further from the ‘truth’ we wander, and I wonder gosh.... I’d like one of those shiny water heating pressure profiling things. But, I’m perplexed. I love the taste of my Bosch-style lever.... will I spend huge amounts merely trying to bastardize an approximation of what I already have?? “Oh but you don’t understand” says the slightly condescending retail employee. “You can roast light and extract all the berry and citrus notes from you coffee, then roast dark and have chocolate and caramel!” Literally minutes of pleasure for a mere $10k!

So, is pressure profiling the future or,the emperor’s new clothes??

Also, is anyone here or did that falling tree kill th.............


  • I am sceptical about pressure profiling claims. 8 years with my Bosco and I have yet to find a reason to change. Superb reliability, low (LOW) maintenance costs and a machine so easy to use, every member of my household can make great coffee. Of course the beans have to be well roasted and top notch as well.........
    If you roast light, grind ultra fine, a reducing pressure profile as is found with a lever will not get the result that people achieve with a LM, slayer etc. You will get an abundance of acidity. By maintaining the pressure and squeezing out all of the flavour (sugars?) you can get a ristretto that is fruity and sweet with some acidity. This all depends on the roast and skill of the barista. Most of the time I find these drinks highly acidic, but they can be nice if done well. It all depends on your tolerance of acidic drinks.
    The other type of drink that is popular is to make a normal espresso this way, and not a ristretto. You get more volume, 30-60ml and the drink is pleasant if done well. My lever achieves this with no problem. The pour is ugly, the espresso lacks body, but you do get fruitiness, sweetness and acidity. Some like this style of drink as it has no roast flavours. Personlay I still find the acidity too high and prefer pourover. I have enjoyed many light roasted coffees this way and do not mind the beverage in moderation. A balanced well roasted (not dark) espresso style of drink is still my preference, especially if adding milk. This is where my lever excels and you get enormous depth of flavour with many layers. I find the espresso (ristretto) from LM and Slayers to be a bit one dimensional and lacking that aftertaste that lingers on. Some prefer chocolate and caramel, but any decent machine can make a nice choc/caramel espresso, if the beans are roasted right. Also, your good quality 82-84 grade beans will achieve this type of flavour and they are easy to roast to achieve this type of espresso.
    My "darker" roasts are not traditional dark roasts and never reach second crack. I roast them "darker" to achieve the body that I desire and burn off some of the acidity.
    There are so many variables in coffee that personal preference prevails and social media hyped opinions are nothing but fake news. Finding reputable analysis of coffee and techniques is just as difficult as finding a reputable source of news. I want facts, so I can make my own decision, not have someone's opinion forced onto me.

    Why upgrade from a reliable style of machine with manual profiling (via the lever) to an expensive bit of kit that will require yearly ($$$$) servicing? If you have an abundance of toys, lots of spare cash then by all means have a lever and a PP unit in your kitchen/bar and enjoy! I would rather spend the money on the new 2.5kg roaster that CRA have or even the IMF unit that starts at $20k....
    She who must be obeyed, on the other hand has different ideas so I am only permitted to dream.

  • Brilliant post mate. Nothing to add except that it was time for a change for me.... I needed a higher volume machine for more peeps wanting coffee. I’ve gone with a boring pump-driven double boiler and the lever will be relegated to the deck. I toyed with pressure A profiling Machine but I know I’ll use it twice then settle for convenience. ;)

  • Out of interest, what did you end up getting? Happy for you either way.
    I have not paid much attention to the latest coffee machines as my latest toy (Primo Grill) has most of my attention.
    A friend/acquaintence of mine has ordered a Slayer which to be honest will be wasted on them. They believe that if you buy the best machine, it will make the best coffee. They do not take the other variables into consideration.

  • I remember when the Slayer first came out it was all the rage (even if the machines did keep all imploding due to non compatible wiring issues) and pressure profiling was all the rage!

    Given that lever machines have had this functionality built in already for something like 70yrs already, it's just dusting off something old to make it look new again.

    Not a big fan of all of the automation however,.and I for one would welcome a return to manual brew and manual extraction methods.



  • It would be funny if it wasn't becoming so widespread, that desperate need to reinvent the wheel which you have so rightly observed, when old becomes new, just a bit of "rebadging" to dazzle the uniformed, dozy and
    Vanitas, Vanitatum

  • It’s not new lever machines have been around for a long time and allow pressure profiling and the likes of Slayer etc have been around for at least 20 yrs allowing pressure profiling and through rigorous testing it is possible to wind up with exceptional tasting coffee and quite possibly the best espresso I have ever had has come from a lever machine

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