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Author Topic: Does the "Best" gear guarantee the "Best" coffee?  (Read 7166 times)

Bean Flying

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Does the "Best" gear guarantee the "Best" coffee?
« on: 23/07/2011, 08:30 PM »
Just read a Melbourne Coffee shops blog trying to use the premise that machinery is a guide to quality of coffee produced specifically LM and Synesso "So if you walk into a cafe and notice that the coffee is made on one of these machines, it is a good bet that the owners spent a lot of money on the equipment in an effort to produce the best coffee they can. " Not forgetting they omitted KVW, Slayer, Nouva Simonelli and a raft of the other newer double boiler machines hitting the market. Then the is the Lever machines coz they rock  ;D

The only thing it proves is the owners spent a lot of money! This sort of one upmanship on blog review sites or coffee bisinesses sites who gives a damm its what arrives in the cup "consistently" that is important.

Saturday night mini rant over now  :) Thoughts?



Koffee Kosmo

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Does the "Best" gear guarantee the "Best" coffee?
« Reply #1 on: 23/07/2011, 08:57 PM »
Not withstanding the other important factors of fresh coffee and good grind
I believe that for the most part its the human element that makes the most difference

KK
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mycuppa

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Does the "Best" gear guarantee the "Best" coffee?
« Reply #2 on: 23/07/2011, 09:01 PM »
I agree with you Tim.

Clothes don't maketh the man.

Equipment as an indicator of coffee quality is a flawed assumption.

Training and barista skill far outweigh the badge/logo, posturing and *fashion*.

Just like saying owners of expensive prestige european cars are better drivers.

Friday morning I had a coffee at a place in Melbourne that has very high-end equipment - I was disappointed with the result, but then had a quiet chuckle to myself  ;).


askthe coffeeguy

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Does the "Best" gear guarantee the "Best" coffee?
« Reply #3 on: 23/07/2011, 10:02 PM »
You're only as good as your last cappuccino - that's a favourite saying of mine

Good equipment is no guarantee of proper machine maintenance, quality control, skill, training, and technique - not to mention quality beans, stock rotation, and the use of 'proper' milk

I've had very good coffee made by passionate baristi on low spec equipment, and I've had very ordinary coffee made on $25,000.00 coffee machines

Folks can blog all they like and I encourage them to do so but uninformed and disparaging comments about coffee based on a single visit to an establishment do not do the establishment or the industry any justice

P
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Bean Flying

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Does the "Best" gear guarantee the "Best" coffee?
« Reply #4 on: 23/07/2011, 10:20 PM »
For an read of the full blog post I partially quoted is here http://thirdwavecafe.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/find-cafes-that-make-great-coffee/ if you want to look at all of it.

Worst Espresso for the year so far for me came off a Synesso while the best (outside of my own  ;)) came off Pat's HX based machine.

I subscribe to the fact that the last monkey on the production line has 100% chance of stuffing it up no matter what roasted product or gear they are working with.

Fresh Coffee

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Does the "Best" gear guarantee the "Best" coffee?
« Reply #5 on: 24/07/2011, 09:12 AM »
Just read a Melbourne Coffee shops blog trying to use the premise that machinery is a guide to quality of coffee produced specifically LM and Synesso "So if you walk into a cafe and notice that the coffee is made on one of these machines, it is a good bet that the owners spent a lot of money on the equipment in an effort to produce the best coffee they can. ...The only thing it proves is the owners spent a lot of money! This sort of one upmanship on blog review sites or coffee bisinesses sites who gives a damm its what arrives in the cup "consistently" that is important.

Saturday night mini rant over now  :) Thoughts?

Quite right Tim as you know I've been publicly saying this forever but there is only one of me and hundreds of them who obviously have hidden agendas.
More people will listen when members of the public like you (instead of  traders/roasters like me) speak up  ;)

Actually we've been importing and using PIDed multiple boiler BFC machines for a little while and they too are excellent....so the discussion really is a three way thing:
a) there are other good multi boiler machines out there not just the ones swooned over by coffee equipment fashionistas;
b) what's wrong with a good HX machine anyway and
c) the equipment operator is in the end, the key that unlocks the (wet) coffee.

Keep up the good work!
A.
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RichardM

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Does the "Best" gear guarantee the "Best" coffee?
« Reply #6 on: 24/07/2011, 10:11 AM »
I think this is a strangely contentious topic, and one that doesn't even require much thought - it's common sense that someone who simply buys the best machines doesn't necessarily produce the best coffee.

If we were to speculate that those who had the biggest/best coffee roasters produced the best roasted coffee, we'd all just chuckle - it doesn't even come into it.

The key to coffee is something that can't be bought - passion. The owner/employer can buy the best machines, and that's an ok start, but their only real way to determine the quality is to ensure those that they employ have the same passion for coffee that they (hopefully) also have.
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Fresh Coffee

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Does the "Best" gear guarantee the "Best" coffee?
« Reply #7 on: 24/07/2011, 10:50 AM »
..... it's common sense that someone who simply buys the best machines doesn't necessarily produce the best coffee.

If we were to speculate that those who had the biggest/best coffee roasters produced the best roasted coffee, we'd all just chuckle - it doesn't even come into it.

The key to coffee is something that can't be bought - passion.....

Yes but the problem is people thinking / saying / writing all over the place in forums, that these (internet created) fashionable brands / models we are discussing here are somehow to quote Richard from above, "...the best machines...". This is the BS factor. What is the definition of "best"?  You would have to write a dissertation (and some have) on why some brand / model / type machine are considered to be "the best". And now we have created fashionable coffee equipment to strive to own at home, nothing else will do, even though we are not using them to do what they are intended for....
 
The manufacturers (and their importers) are laughing all the way to the bank.

The analogy to coffee roasters is an excellent one. There are a number of larger roasters using "best in class" coffee roasting equipment that really is "best in class" (for whatever reason) and not simply fashionable to own. But they use it to turn out medicore if not downright base grade blends to help them fight over market share in the cafe sector.

If you owned a LABORATORY, perhaps espresso machines made fashionable to own by discussion in internet forums could be used to do things they are supposed to be able to do... Otherwise in a regular cafe situation they arent necessarily being used for the capability they have been designed for (depends on the brand / model) , by operators that are not necessarily privy to the finer points, simply to turn out thousands of "lartays"  a week. Good name simpler design (HX?) machines will do that till the cows come home, properly and well, and are simpler and cheaper to run when considering service and maintenance costs over time.

If in your cafe, you are not experiencing problems with the overall performance of your good model HX machine and are turning out good coffee,  what do you need these fashionable  twin overhead foxtail machines for except as an image / street cred' thing owing to the undue infleunce exerted by people in these forums over time? That is marketing, not quality in your coffee cup.

It is also the stuff of industrial blackmail...coffee roaster wants to pick up a new client. New client says if you want me / have faith in me / you must provide me one of these machines not an HX machine. Coffee roaster rolls over to buy the client...as I said...marketing (manipulation?).  And retial clients not privy to these thigs think its all about quality  ::)

The rest is the coffee grinding BS mill ;)



rgdz,
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WotB

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Does the "Best" gear guarantee the "Best" coffee?
« Reply #8 on: 24/07/2011, 11:20 AM »
Just because a restaurant kitchen has all the best appliances, doesn't mean the food coming out is great.  Look at street food in other countries and tell me they use state of the art induction cooktops or copper pots?

Brett H

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Does the "Best" gear guarantee the "Best" coffee?
« Reply #9 on: 24/07/2011, 03:00 PM »
Its like the Best racing Car.. My Average Vs a top driver will give different results and even in the Family car the Pro will get better results every time...

For that matter look at Top Gear and there driving test for their special guests...

Same car and yet vastly different outcomes... Same for Coffee   ;D

Said it before... Give me a EM3600 and I can make a good to great coffee... BUT it will take a bit of a fiddle and some time to get it to make two in a row  ;D  Do not try to do 5 or more at a dinner party...

My fist  BFC HX from Fresh Coffee, is still dear to me... But sadly due to upgradeites and chasing a better coffee it has been moved on.   Coffee has improved a bit...

BUT

Is due to my skills that have improved or the machine ?

I think my skills... The new machines just affords more opportunity to do it a bit quicker between shots AND it can also cause problems....



My Splendor is simple reliable and produces a great cup. Will that stop me talking to Attilio in the coming months re a Diadema DB PID?  No Sir! Therefore, if this is happening at domestic level (upgraditus is the cornerstone of these forums) then I can understand cafes exploring opportunities to exercise a point of difference. However, Like the domestic user who doesn't use that PID more than once the blingy accessories are merely decoration that adds yet another variable for the that last monkey to contend with. BF, it doesn't surprise me that the staff at the cafes aren't up to delivering on the promise of exorbitant bench bling with the consistency that they deserves.  After all, how many businesses are currently complaining about access to reliable non-transient staff? It therefore should be of no surprise that the cafe industry is not immune. 

So perhaps the simplest solution is the best as per Attilio's post but good advice and dreamin' seldom are rarely comfortable bedfellows. At the domestic level: no problem.... Commercially: ???
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shape_shifter

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Does the "Best" gear guarantee the "Best" coffee?
« Reply #10 on: 24/07/2011, 04:05 PM »
I think I get a damn good cup out of a Presso and the steam wand of a 5 year old Breville, oh and a Spong grinder, it's better than the coffee I've had from cafes up here.

I completely agree that you can give a person the best tools in the would and they'll still stuff it up if they don't care about what they are doing and don't want to learn.
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Brett H

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« Reply #11 on: 24/07/2011, 04:46 PM »
I think I get a damn good cup out of a Presso and the steam wand of a 5 year old Breville, oh and a Spong grinder, it's better than the coffee I've had from cafes up here.

I completely agree that you can give a person the best tools in the would and they'll still stuff it up if they don't care about what they are doing and don't want to learn.

Couldn't agree more! I use a plunger and a Lux Grinder at work and the results are far better than the cafe 2 minutes down the way... although this is not difficult.  Their list of problems is so extensive that I don't need to tell you that they stay in business by relying on convenience, location and a clientele looking for fast food in comfortable Klub-like surroundings.  A Synesso on the bench would only create more problems!
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RichardM

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Does the "Best" gear guarantee the "Best" coffee?
« Reply #12 on: 24/07/2011, 07:43 PM »
I think when someone says "best" to me, I just assume they mean "most expensive (which I don't necessarily agree with).

What is best to one person might not be best to another -

Example - A Ferrari 458, would be unlikely to win a race against a current model Nissan GTR at 1/10 the price.....

A coffee machine does very simple things and people would do well to remember that - it pumps hot water through ground coffee at a set temperature, and pumps steam out a wand.. That is all (let's ignore pre infusion for this argument). Once you get to a certain point, the temp is stable, and you are just paying for flashiness, ease of use, design, name, and very little that will actually matter in the cup. Reliability etc would mean more to a cafe, and that is something that, while it wouldn't affect the cup, might be worth paying extra for.
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Does the "Best" gear guarantee the "Best" coffee?
« Reply #13 on: 24/07/2011, 08:14 PM »
we got some pretty good shots out of the Wega for a long time at work. Sure, I feel it's now easier to get good shots consistently now that we've got a Linea, but that doesn't mean the coffee we made with the Wega was bad.

Obsessing over what brand of machine any given cafe is using is one of the worst things about Third Wank coffee federal politicians. IDGAF what 'wave' of coffee anyone thinks they or the cafes they visit are on. I just want something delicious to drink.
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