"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2023 - All rights reserved
E-mail me at EspressoMyEspresso@gmail.com
Keeping it Simple
Following my Own Advice
Tuesday, March 7, 2023
all text and photos and other content, unless otherwise noted, ©2023 - All rights reserved
| I could just as well have called this chapter “How to be Your Own Worst Enemy.” The problem started out just being a few sprites. Over a sufficient number of days I could call it an embarrassment, at times it was quitas bad, and at other times, ridiculous. From a small, nearly-invisible micro-spray to, “Quick! Get the sponge!” You should have already assumed that I use a bottomless portafilter body and you would be correct. I have been doing so for a good two decades now. Fewer drips on the counter after an extraction on the journey from the group to the knock box, less metal to heat up, and a much better show.
But the show had turned from a beautiful inverted fountain of deliciousness to one that looked more like the “Fall of Atlantis” dancing fountains at Caesar's Palace. Coffee spray everywhere. Sometimes on the counter, at times all over the face of the machine, and occasionally on me. I tried everything: Stir with the needle, water spritz on the beans before grinding, a distribution puck, tamping twice, greater force, less force, more beans, less beans, coarser grind (that definitely was not effective but did challenge my clean up skills), then finer grind. Everything but an aluminum hat and a magical chant. The swear words did not help at all. Now what?
I was starting to question my sanity in deciding to make espresso at home, and even resorted to brewing a pot in the Brazen. When the Brazen temporarily quit (it needed a descaling and is OK now), it gave me a time to reflect. Time to listen to my own advice. The less you do, the fewer the possible sources of problems. Back to basics. A very simple distribution, tamp, brew. The flow was a little too fast, a slightly finer grind, and better. Settled in on a grind and a small adjustment to the initial brew pressure on the Decent, and better still.
Sometimes complicated works. I refer to the episode of Spongebob Squarepants, “Bubblestand,” where he stresses the importance of a 'technique' that works every time for the task at hand, but it so complicated that it is ridiculous. But if you see Spongebob please let him know that I respect his authority when the topic is bubble blowing, but there are times when simplifying your technique is the best way to solve problem. And tell him I said “Hi!”
(link to YouTube video short - not my content)
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