Just spent a few days in Brisbane seeing the stage show "The Book of Mormon" at the Lyric Theatre.
I enjoyed the show, but to be honest, the thing I enjoyed most about the whole holiday was the search for great coffee.
(This freaks my Wife out as she cannot comprehend how anyone could give a 5h1t about coffee.)
We spent an hour or so on the first day checking out the coffee shops to try to sus-out the "aficionado" outfits.
I identified a few including a "pop-up" outfit that operated off the verandah of an historic building on the corner of Margaret and Edward Sts in Brisbane (called 'Clay Rondo').
It's a real challenge - so many coffee shops and so much ordinary coffee BUT the occasional spectacular cup.
I struck out on the first couple but on my last day there I had a really good coffee from the "LAB Specialty Coffee Company" at 79 Albert St. Interesting coffee that made my day.
I sometimes wonder if anyone else is afflicted like me.
Last edited by OCD; 12th May 2019 at 02:45 AM. Reason: Grammar error
Agree totally, I always research destinations for good coffee well in advance and always have fresh beans, hand grinder and Clever dripper in my travel bag!!
Cities are easy and I can sus-out great coffee better than half the time.
There are signs - and once you learn to read the signs it gets easier.
Country towns/cities are harder to sus-out but I generally get a good hit-rate - just takes more effort.
I have given up on finding good coffee and only order iced coffee when away from home. Some even manage to stuff that up
Stan, I take the attitude that I will make the best selection of Cafe I can, and if the coffee is crap I don't even hang around to finish the cup, I am out of there and on to my next choice in a flash.
It is only $4. and that is nothing in today's economy.
The only difficult choice is whether to make do with an 'average' cup when there is possibly a 'great' cup waiting just down the block.
(I would have to concede however that this search for great coffee does 'strain the friendship' with the Wife who tells people that she is constantly worried on holidays whether the old man is going to be able to find good coffee - or be cranky for the rest of the morning.) Me? cranky?
The last two outstanding "country coffees" I had were
1) Beverley Cafe - at least 250Kms east of Perth. IMO better than the overpriced trendy one in Forest Place - and agreed by my only slightly less coffee fanatic companion. That place has had good+ food and OK+ coffee since the 70's so I always chance my arm there.
2) Nannup festival - Templemans. Unfortunately only one of the staff knew how to make a good cuppa, however I fluked the "one and only" after the first meal there. Interestingly, no training at all. It just shows that some lucky individuals can make the beans dance, most of us can't.
I guess I should add the dark side. Feel free to skip this rant... I just had a $6+ shocker from a bearded, tattooed trendoid mental defective at what used to be a pretty good Perth cafe - who managed the entire list below in one shot. Deserves a "Book of Heroic Failures" award.
Far too often I see some "wannabee barista" totally stuff it up in front of me.
1) Hitting (they call it tapping) the p/f so hard against the side of the bench it is guaranteed to channel - not to mention damage their bench.
2) Tamping it via their full body weight. Either their grind is light years out or they do not do many coffees in a trot - their bodies would break within a week in a high throughput cafe.
3) Inserting a filthy p/f into the grinder and then the poor defenceless machine. They also wonder why they chew up seals at a huge rate. Answer - they grind the seals apart by getting coffee grounds get between the p/f and the seal. Works just like grinding paste.
4) Frothing milk in a filthy jug. Firstly, it actually does not froth properly and secondly some of the reheated milk is guaranteed to scald.
5) Scalding the milk beyond redemption. Far too common due to some espresso manufacturers seemingly having a competition as to how fast they can boil the milk in a 5+ litre jug I suppose. Add the multi hole wands trying to solve a non-existent problem - if you cannot create a decent whirlpool with a single hole the chances of doing it with a multi hole wand without using the Espro Toroidal jugs is just so close to zero... "Look mama how fast I can froth milk" - sheesh - get a brain.
6) "Finishing the process" by smashing the p/f onto the knock box rail to show they have finished the process. At least that just shows they are clueless, however it also usually means the shot is sinkable. FYI, when I train a new cafe staffer I show them that a quick flick of the wrist near said knock box is all that is needed. Unless the grind is way off the puck will come out cleanly via gravity. Just like soccer - no contact.
Enjoy your cuppa - hopefully none of the above snafus were involved.
Last edited by TampIt; 17th May 2019 at 08:25 PM.
Yep these two often go together, and are the reason I rarely take a milk based coffee from a cafe, but rather go for either a doppio or long black. Also don't forget the steam wand that has grilled cheese on the end.4) Frothing milk in a filthy jug. Firstly, it actually does not froth properly and secondly some of the reheated milk is guaranteed to scald.
5) Scalding the milk beyond redemption. Far too common due to some espresso manufacturers seemingly having a competition as to how fast they can boil the milk in a 5+ litre jug I suppose. Add the
I thought you were on the mark with all of the above points except this last one. The view that pucks should always 'fall' out dry and clean is a bit of an old furphy, especially given the modern trend towards long preinfusions and finer grinding. By design these methods will leave the puck somewhat sloppy and it will take some knocking out, and a bit of a wipe. You may see this at specialty cafes running Slayers, Synessos, LM stradas and the like.6) "Finishing the process" by smashing the p/f onto the knock box rail to show they have finished the process. At least that just shows they are clueless, however it also usually means the shot is sinkable. FYI, when I train a new cafe staffer I show them that a quick flick of the wrist near said knock box is all that is needed. Unless the grind is way off the puck will come out cleanly via gravity. Just like soccer - no contact.
"The idea that the puck should be firm and knock out neatly is not just wrong, it's actually bad. The finer the grind; the sloppier, gooier, and wetter the puck. But for good extractions, you want a fine grind. A major point of pressure profiling is long preinfusions with grinds so fine they would stall out an ordinary espresso machine." --Jim Schulman
Ps got to admire your zeal. I don't think I'd be up for a 200Kms trip into the Indian Ocean for a coffee. You might as well go the whole hog and continue west to the land of the civet. I've heard they make outstanding coffee, employing a process not unlike the one used by some of our home-grown "baristas".
Mind you, the CBD one would have been no worse if done by a denizen of the deep!
I rarely disagree with Jim S, however here goes a few more thoughts.
Although I regard the puck as really only indicating channeling, it is intriguing that John @ Decent changed the group on the DE1 from V1.0 to V1.1 and one of the changes was to make the puck less muddy. My own DE1 is the V1.1 group, whilst my Qld mates DE1 is a V1.0 - and he reckons his pucks tend towards mud when he optimises his shots correctly. Both of us are using Mahlkoenig Varios - mine are gen2 and gen3, his is a gen3. We have had a lot of email and phone contact since Feb this year (when my DE1 arrived) as he was having optimisation issues with his Vario / DE1 combo - with hindsight, some of that was trying to keep his puck drier. Taste in the cuppa rules.
I haven't used the Slayer, however I have been grinding a lot finer than traditional espresso across a range of grinders / machines (including Varios, EK43s & Dittings into LM Lineas and Stradas) with my VSTs for years and although the puck may not come out 100% cleanly, bashing the lip of the basket & p/f combo against the knockbox bar is still a no-no in my world. I should add, rinsing any remaining grounds out is de rigeur, as is drying the basket prior to the next shot.
Oh, I should add my Major was giving "VST extraction ratios" of 22% to 23% in late 2013 / early 2014 when I purloined another friend's medical stainless workshop for a weekend - complete with a medical laser refractometer. Those shots were brilliant, and no puck slurry for the whole day. At the time two 24% extractions were so bitter it was crazy, so I reckon I was pushing that setup to its limit. The best shot out of my "quality commercial baskets" was barely 16%, and that may have been a fluke as all the other drinkable "non VST shots" were below 15%.
Long preinfusions: I used to do up to 40 seconds preinfusion with my Electra manual lever - muddy pucks in that were rare, and always well past terminal. My Guatemalan of today in my DE1 has 17 second preinfusion @ 0.8ml flow, an 8 second pause and then a slow flow shot and the puck comes out relatively cleanly. Considering the DE1 adds a bit of "no pressure water" at the end of the shot anyway (to help keep grounds out of the group) the only "puck slurry" shots the DE1 has pulled have been while I am setting up a new roast, and they have also been terminal.
Back to Jim S. I can only (loosely) assume that muddy pucks may actually be espresso machine specific. Perhaps whatever he uses may tend that way, just like my mates V1.0 DE1 group. It will be interesting to see what a V1.3 DE1 group does.