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How often are you disappointed with espresso at good cafes?

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17 hours ago, Slowpress said:

And, why don’t good restaurants understand the last coffee/espresso of the night is as important as the meal & the flamboyant dessert? Because too many people don’t cherish good coffee? ... or drink without attention? ... or drown it with milk & flavourings that turn it into a liquid candy bar?? Oh, it drives me crazy! I feel a good owner should be educating his customers to higher levels of appreciation.🤩 Call me an unapologetic espresso/coffee snob.

 

Personally I feel more and more are. My 2 favourite restaurants in Norwich both have done speciality coffee since they opened 4/5 years ago, but they like to do filter. I *love* filter coffee but not after a huge meal and bottle of wine.

Sadly a different long standing restaurant has just switched from commodity coffee to a small local commodity coffee roaster who chats a lot of **** and clearly wants to be seen at speciality but is not and cannot be at their ludicrously cheap prices.    

Another new restaurant has just opened (Benoli) doing Italian food (poorly) and serves lavazaa as the owner believes you need very low quality dark roasted coffee to compliment that type of food 🤨 

 


Londinium I, Mahlkönig Vario, Hario Skerton, Chemex 1-3 Cup.

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Strangely enough the best espresso I have ever had was when I wasn't drinking that much coffee and what I did drink was 95% milk based. It was from a fish restaurant near Portland in the UK. A very highly regarded fish restaurant but wasn't expecting anything from the espresso and it was delicious.

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13 hours ago, Slowpress said:

Yup, and in this case they had great gear, but no one capable of doing it justice. More’s the pity.

That is not limited to restaurants unfortunately 

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I go to a little independent in Bradford on Avon called Gilou’s (highly recommended if you are down that way) again similar to @The Systemic Kid Cornwall experience, it’s someone passionate about coffee who runs the shop and makes every drink himself, turns out lovely drinks across the range.

However this really is the exception to the norm unfortunately

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AKA Toffee chips

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Mrboots2u said:

Milk cures all evils and guessing  meat espresso is less than 5 percent of any cafes volume of drinks. 

Plus the reality Is  of cafes even percieved high end ones will pay not much, have staff turnover and will not be employing geeks for the love of making coffee, coz we won't work there for 8 quid an hour. 

Plus its all about prefence, if I went round 10 forums members Houses, how many of them would make an espresso I would enjoy... 

Careful who you invite over, fellow forum members! :exit:

 

Seriously though, if I'm not expecting uber coffee I can cope with mediocre shots. Don't care about equipment either, every basic 2-/3-group machine costs a fortune and never sees knowledgeable staff.

Where I started my pro roasting journey, it's a small local restaurant that switched from a traditional Austrian commodity brand to our beans. It happened when owners started to hand over business to their son. There was a lot of scepticism at first whether or not a start-up roastery could be up to the job, at all... but we would fit their approach of local sourcing, handcrafted food and focus on taste. In the past 30 years, they had one single guest praising their coffee - ever since we're supplying beans, they get dozens of positive comments a week and have nearly tripled their coffee sales in half a year. I'm not saying they're getting the most out of it at all times, but I check by once a week and assist with adjusting grind. But, I would never have agreed to the whole idea if junior owner wouldn't be such a tinkerer (and awarded master beer brewer) himself. It just needs a wholehearted barista...

 

No love - no coffee.

Edited by Hasi
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says Hasi.

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Deep Thought says 'tight wiggles' is the answer. @Scotford

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1 hour ago, Mrboots2u said:

That is not limited to restaurants unfortunately 

Too true.

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1 hour ago, coffeechap said:

I go to a little independent in Bradford on Avon called Gilou’s (highly recommended if you are down that way) again similar to @The Systemic Kid Cornwall experience, it’s someone passionate about coffee who runs the shop and makes every drink himself, turns out lovely drinks across the range.

However this really is the exception to the norm unfortunately

I agree with you, the best chance of success in my experience favours a small cafe, with a passionate owner/barista who is also the only one pulling the shots.

One popular cafe near me has several baristas, but only one who is consistently superb at the craft. I stop in if he is at the bar, and otherwise give it amiss. He makes shots that are always intriguing or educational (different roast levels & beans than I would choose to use at home, but so well made in his capable hands... I broaden & learn from new flavours & textures in his shots, something that I very much appreciate. He also is so keen & eager to discuss the craft.... genuinely pleased to chat about whatever is in the cup... or cleaning a grinder, adjusting it for humidity, etc... anything at all connected to coffee!😇

(When dining out, I do find the chances of a good cuppa joe are far greater with filtered & V60 coffee than with espresso.)

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It's kind of sad to see how many people agree that most places are disappointing, especially as we are talking about good reputable cafes, not Costa or Sbucks. I might be the odd one out not liking the current trends or thinking that mediocre spro is just vile, but I always assumed most people are quite happy with what they are served.

As for brewed after a full meal - that is rather odd imho...(brewed is another thing which mostly brings disappointments btw).

T.


Espresso: Londinium L1, ZR-71 grinder

Photography: Flickr

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1 minute ago, dsc said:

It's kind of sad to see how many people agree that most places are disappointing, especially as we are talking about good reputable cafes, not Costa or Sbucks. I might be the odd one out not liking the current trends or thinking that mediocre spro is just vile, but I always assumed most people are quite happy with what they are served.

As for brewed after a full meal - that is rather odd imho...(brewed is another thing which mostly brings disappointments btw).

T.

Isn't this why we end up making espresso at home.... 

 

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I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

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I'm also quite wary of ordering espresso in speciality coffees, usually it's really acidic and/or bitter at the same time. I've had so many bad ones that I almost never order espresso anymore. 

I don't think you need any fancy equipment like Slayer or EK43/Mythos.. The best espresso I've had in a coffee shop was at Tim Wendelboe's and it was from a Robur and a modest La Marzocco machine. I'd prefer the espresso you get in some average cafe in Naples to most of the speciality ones too, at least it's not making a burning hole in my stomach.

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Isn't this why we end up making espresso at home.... 
 
To some extent, but it was always because most non speciality places where shit, not because most speciality places are shit, at least imho. It's a sad state of affairs when places which should be leading the way are shite and can't be recommended. In speciality cafes it should be an exception to get bad coffee, not the norm :(

T.

Espresso: Londinium L1, ZR-71 grinder

Photography: Flickr

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Just now, dsc said:

To some extent, but it was always because most non speciality places where shit, not because most speciality places are shit, at least imho. It's a sad state of affairs when places which should be leading the way are shite and can't be recommended. In speciality cafes it should be an exception to get bad coffee, not the norm :(

T.

If you are not a fan of fruit forward coffee then specialty places are gonna be limited in their appeal to you anyway. 

One man's sour is another man's acidic , I do struggle though with alot of espresso in cafes. Again milk hides most defects. 

I would suggest that perhaps it's a combination of alot of coffee being under developed at roast and then sometimes that not being pulled to optimal at a cafe. 

I get brewed coffee more often than not that I like though. 

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I think that people making decisions on buying and dialling-in coffees only listen to the 1% of their customers that like their coffee to taste that way. 

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'it's all about the microbubbubbles'

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My favourite place for espresso was Amoret in Hammersmith which I only discovered as I was working next door. They had a fantastic natural which was roasted for them by Curve. Was sublime every time as straight spro or cortado. The baristi were really passionate and took care over every shot. No seats though (at all) as the shop is tiny and i really miss it since not working there any more. Most of the time I'll order a flat white anywhere else, and if it blows me away I'll go neat. A bit of milk makes almost anything drinkable, but hoping for standout is setting yourself up to be let down I fear. Espresso is just too intense to enjoy if it's too light/ dark/ under/ over extracted. To be honest if the cafe looks capable I'll order V60 as I've only got aeropress at home and I've had some great V60s out and about.

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A fire alarm today meant the building I needed to visit was shut with everyone out in the street.  Popped into Gordon St Coffee at Glasgow Central Station to kill a few minutes.

Best cafe espresso in about a year. Total pot luck. But really delicious. Wouldn't usually chance it in most places.

Laboratorio a few streets away is also consistently good

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I think a lot of decent coffee places will opt for a solid blend for espresso which has a more forgiving window for error.



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Couldn't agree more on this one. I've only really enjoyed espresso from a couple of places where you can watch the staff weighing, tasting etc (i highly recommend Brew in Bristol if anyone is local). 

I know the kind of coffee the cafe I work at puts out when im not weighing, tasting etc and i think it comes down to ethos. The average person thinks making espresso is as simple as pushing a button and the equally average person doesnt notice the difference when it's diluted in 250+ml of milk (another pet peeve) and so most cafes approach it as such and dont know or care to train their staff any further.

There is also a definite inclination to believe that buying nice beans = good coffee by default 

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A fire alarm today meant the building I needed to visit was shut with everyone out in the street.  Popped into Gordon St Coffee at Glasgow Central Station to kill a few minutes.

Best cafe espresso in about a year. Total pot luck. But really delicious. Wouldn't usually chance it in most places.

Laboratorio a few streets away is also consistently good

River hill is decent too...

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I actually had a particularly bad espresso served to me yesterday in central London by someone very well known in the industry which I can only describe as ashy, yet green and bittersour all at the same time. Like drinking melted innertubes.

This barista and I split a shot and as I winced and almost threw it up, he grinned and savoured it. Maybe some people have done such damage to their palate through arselicking to get where they are that they no longer have actual taste.

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'it's all about the microbubbubbles'

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I actually had a particularly bad espresso served to me yesterday in central London by someone very well known in the industry which I can only describe as ashy, yet green and bittersour all at the same time. Like drinking melted innertubes.

This barista and I split a shot and as I winced and almost threw it up, he grinned and savoured it. Maybe some people have done such damage to their palate through arselicking to get where they are that they no longer have actual taste.

hoping he'll never read this!

says Hasi.

____________________

'This Sunday I will be out in the road saying - "Hasi says your impeading me from pursuing my recreational motivations while you wank off over the finer details of some aloof brainfork" :whistle: ' @jimbojohn55

Deep Thought says 'tight wiggles' is the answer. @Scotford

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hoping he'll never read this!
Pretty sure they won't, but I don't pull any punches when it comes to taste and absolutely told them what I thought of it.

People put criticism down to subjective opinions but I reckon that's a defense mechanism so they don't have to accept that their product is shit.
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'it's all about the microbubbubbles'

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On 03/08/2019 at 22:45, dsc said:

 

Not sure if it's simply the case of bright roasts still dominating most cafes, but after another face twisting shot at a Richmond cafe I thought I'd ask here. How often are you happy with the shots you get served at good reputable cafes? Honestly I can't remember the last time I had a shot and thought to myself, wow that was good.

 

T.

 

I went out of my way to go to a particular cafe in Glasgow......it wasn't that welcoming and nor was the espresso.  But I'll give it another go on my next visit.

 


ACS Minima, Niche Zero and a VST 18g ridged basket.

 

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