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has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

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  • has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

    Gday all
    I was thinking about writing to Choice after yet another frustrating read with the latest round of Espresso machine testing in the magazine I got today. I should have known better really, and not read it, but its like watching a car crash - you know its going to be bad but just have to look...
    They make prominent mention of the fact that they only got an ok taste score for the Silvia, and that 4 of the most expensive machines rate at the bottom of their test. Everyone here no doubt is quite aware that you cant make espresso with stale beans without some kind of help (eg double-floor baskets on entry level machines) but the average consumer is probably thinking that a good machine is a waste of money after reading the writeup.

    IMO its very poor on their part to omit mentioning that machines without pressurised baskets *must* be used with fresh beans, which are probably no more expensive than the supermaket beans and that fresh beans will *completely* change the results of the test. The blokes from Barista Basics should be well aware of that Im sure and Id have thought theyd want it explained for the sake of protecting their credibility - maybe Choice is afraid of upsetting the supermarkets if they started recommending people dont buy there?

    Their only mention of bean choice was "Better results can be achieved with better quality beans" but that on its own wont mean anything to an uninformed consumer as to how the results would be affected.

    Anyway I dont normally (or ever) write to magazines, but before I write to explain how they could make the testing not so completely flawed, so that their readers can make a more informed decision, I thought Id check if anyone else here has already done that...???

  • #2
    Re: has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

    Originally posted by 614D4D524750141B71220 link=1299838896/0#0 date=1299838896
    Anyway I dont normally (or ever) write to magazines, but before I write to explain how they could make the testing not so completely flawed, so that their readers can make a more informed decision, I thought Id check if anyone else here has already done that...???
    I have been known to comment and feedback on many web pages when I find errors and have commented as to teh content as to reviews on teh odd occasion. Even as far as comments to newspapers etc.

    Some times you get a Ack but often not.

    So what is the worse that can happen... No response; I say GO for it

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

      Originally posted by 537F7F607562262943100 link=1299838896/0#0 date=1299838896
      The blokes from Barista Basics...
      Mate, have you checked out their website? Go there, part with $250, and 5 hours later you too can walk out with your head held high, because you will walk out with a "Master Barista" piece of paper.

      Sorry, know its OT, but am so sick of shonky "Barista Training" courses. >

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

        I take the theory that all current affairs, and "generalist" style magazines (such as choice) are misinformed 9/10 times. The things is, you only notice when its something you specialise in. Assume they are always blowing smoke out their a**. They can always find an "expert" to feed them information that sounds good.

        They are there to make money by selling magazines. Take this scenario - basically all fridges last forever, so take a round up of fridges, say one of them is the best, and everyone goes and buys it. They are happy with it, and assume they were led well by Choice. They then take everything as gospel.

        If you ignore them as much as theyll ignore you, itll probably work well

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

          How many coffee drinkers in Australia?

          Probably several million.

          There are about 14,000 Australians on this site (assuming there are a few non Australians that are members).

          Does this mean that less than 2% of coffee drinkers really care enough to pay attention to detail?

          For the remaining 98% of people cheap machine and cheap coffee will keep them happy.

          Actually a proportion of those people probably drink instant coffee!

          After all there is a lot of indifferent to poor coffee that is sold and the fact that people can make a living from producing rubbish suggests that there must be customers that are happy to buy rubbish.

          Is choice written for the 98% of people who are too lazy or too stupid to research something for themselves?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

            Originally posted by 133239393E24570 link=1299838896/2#2 date=1299840465
            Originally posted by 537F7F607562262943100 link=1299838896/0#0 date=1299838896
            The blokes from Barista Basics...
            Mate, have you checked out their website?  Go there, part with $250, and 5 hours later you too can walk out with your head held high, because you will walk out with a "Master Barista" piece of paper.

            Sorry, know its OT, but am so sick of shonky "Barista Training" courses.  >
            Years ago, Before i started working in espresso I got one of these courses as a gift. I walked out after the coarse feeling a little stupider and feeling sorry for the other people in the class who thought they had learned something.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

              Hey... they get it right when they include cord storage as a pro or con 

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

                Originally posted by 597E787F720B0 link=1299838896/6#6 date=1299966460
                Hey... they get it right when they include cord storage as a pro or con 
                Just goes to prove that they should stick to reviewing vacuum cleaners :

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

                  Originally posted by 326D756368636F666665656D616E000 link=1299838896/7#7 date=1299971273
                  Just goes to prove that they should stick to reviewing vacuum cleaners
                  Are you suggesting they suck

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

                    Originally posted by 5269766E6374060 link=1299838896/5#5 date=1299956958
                    Years ago, Before i started working in espresso I got one of these courses as a gift. I walked out after the coarse feeling a little stupider and feeling sorry for the other people in the class who thought they had learned something.
                    I did a course a few years ago, not to become a barista (though my certificate says I am now) but to get a basic understanding of the machines so I could make an informed choice about what I was going to buy for myself.

                    Despite my father having an espresso machine in his shop about 50 years ago, I was a little young at the time to know my way around it.

                    So for me the course was a good starting point.
                    It did its job and I came away with a better idea of what I wanted in a machine.

                    I do remember feeling strange being the only one there not trying to get into the industry.

                    Since then Ive learned a lot.
                    I think it would have been a lot more difficult had I not learned those basics.
                    CS and a few industry professionals have built on that base and I know a little bit more now.

                    For those that dont know, I landed a job in a cafe for a short while, not on the strength of the certificate but on the passion I showed for coffee.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

                      I was recently in the market for a couple of split air-cons so I took a three months sub of Choice Online.

                      I was hopeful that it had improved over the ten years since I last subscribed but that was misplaced optimism Im afraid :-[

                      I just looked at their review of 14 domestic grinders and to my surprise they each had a score assigned under the heading "Timer". There was no explanation of what this meant but apparently the whole 14 had it :

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

                        Originally posted by 755254535E270 link=1299838896/8#8 date=1299972662
                        Originally posted by 326D756368636F666665656D616E000 link=1299838896/7#7 date=1299971273
                        Just goes to prove that they should stick to reviewing vacuum cleaners
                        Are you suggesting they suck 
                        Dont want to hijack this thread, but........
                        This WAS quite a few years ago so I dont want to mention names but where I was sent was a bit wacky, and lots of Barista Basics were not even touched on.

                        It was pretty much a full day, and people in the group mostly had no experience.  A few were opening their own cafe.  I had been making coffee at home and doing some roasting for a few years.

                        My issues were - No discussion of cleaning and maintenance, no discussion of bean types or flavours, or the roasting process (beyond showing us some greens).  No mention of espresso flavours orhow to get a good shot beyond the 30ml in 30sec rule (and it was presented as a RULE).  No one was encouraged to try the espresso shots!!!!   
                        (Didnt taste that great anyway, probably stale beans and they had these san marino machines that seemed to be running real hot).

                        I remember clearly when we were starting pulling shots that I asked about ristrettos and tried to talk about my experiece at home pulling ristrettos and how experimenting with grinding finer and/or dosing higher gives a good result, the instructer nodded and loudly told everyone aw yeah - you get a ristretto shot by pushing this button - the same thing as if someone orders a weak coffee.  


                        I felt that there was way too much time spent on things like latte art (mostly making pretty looking etched pictures and spiderweb designs with choc syrup).  No time was spent talking about the flavours of coffee.  Nothing was mentioned about how a dirty group, or stale beans, or how leaving ground  coffee in the doser can make coffee taste bad.  Nothing was mentioned about not re-heating milk over and over and food safety issues like that.

                        Mainly there was no emphasis on quality, seemed like all the important stuff was pushed through to cover the tafe certificate requirements, and then you get to spend a few hours making pretty looking zig zag patterns with chocolate and a toothpick. 

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

                          Being in the market soon, I looked at the article and wondered where they are coming from.

                          Originally posted by 0B544C5A515A565F5F5C5C545857390 link=1299838896/7#7 date=1299971273
                          they should stick to reviewing vacuum cleaners
                          My father has been getting choice for as longer than I can remember. Many of the reviews suck, and they have become more superficial over time, especially the last decade or so. However we need someone representing we consumers, and there aint many who do that.
                          Im sure the more feedback, or lost customers choice gets, the more theyll adjust. 

                          So Cooper69S, go for it. (how do I link the name without a quote?)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

                            Lol, Ive commented on a few of their machine tests, pointing out some various numbers of flaws in their methodology (beans, grinders, baskets...) and ok maybe they got a bit upset at my pickyness....but they deleted my comments!!!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: has anyone written to Choice mag about their flawed testing?

                              Originally posted by 052238293E0F232A2A4C0 link=1299838896/13#13 date=1300074277
                              they deleted my comments
                              So whats the point of letting you comment in the first place?

                              Comment

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