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Home-Barista.com
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Your guide to exceptional espresso (and coffee!)
Your guide to exceptional espresso (and coffee!)

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Let the upgrade lust begin.

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Posted the introduction to the Vesuvius review and will post the first group taste test results once I get written comments back from the participants. I also plan to create some nerdy videos of the pressure profiling in action with plotted curves. 

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CoffeeGeek's QuickShot review tells you much more than you'll probably want to know about this portafilter from Cafelat. For the tl;dr crowd, it's a portafilter with an easily detachable bottom. Not mentioned in the report is that the Cafelat XT portafilter is taller than most, so it's a snug fit for some doser/grinder models (e.g., Compak K10).

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A great article on NPR about Barb and Doug of Orphan Espresso, creators of the Pharos and LIDO hand grinder. HB even gets a very brief mention.

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Bottom line: Given the ubiquity of the barista-friendly E61 design, it's an easy recommendation that's resistant to upgraditus later down the road, assuming you are willing to learn the extra steps of managing brew temperature of a heat exchanger.

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Here are some helpful tips for those new to steaming milk from the good folks at Whole Latte Love. Note that most of these are really newbie tips.

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Below are some interesting espresso cups by Offero. At first glance, the oddly angled opening seems wholly impractical. Do you drink left-handed from the high side of the cup? Ohh-h, you're supposed to drink right-handed and the higher side encloses your nose, enhancing the aromatics. Kind of weird, but they're growing on me.
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The summary of events leading to La Marzocco's near-demise is interesting. The consequences for independent cafes are still being felt today:

"[Starbucks] switched to push-button machines, in part to simplify training for the thousands of new baristas it was hiring each year — a decision Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz later lamented, saying it cost Starbucks the romance and theater that came with La Marzocco machines.

The Starbucks switch cost La Marzocco its 20-employee factory in Ballard and millions of dollars in sales. 'It was hard to survive that financially for a while, but it opened up a real opportunity for the independent [coffeehouses] to differentiate themselves from Starbucks,' said Bakke."

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Forgive me Father, it's been two weeks since I last backflushed my espresso machine.

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Sean Lennon was active on HB in the early years; as a robotics engineer extraordinary, his insights on capturing measurements were invaluable (I borrowed his kit to create the brew pressure profiles for many articles). He then dropped out of sight as personal matters demanded his attention. Just as suddenly as he left, he's back and wow... "custom" espresso machine really doesn't capture the coolness of this thread. An espresso/machinist dream machine in the making.
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