05 November 2007

WBC Champ Makes More Coffee Than Espresso - What's Happening?!

In Jimseven's (aka James Hoffman) latest blog entry, he says that he makes very little espresso these days in comparison to how much Chemex or press coffee he makes. This caught my attention as he's mentioned the Chemex a lot. I of course take note, given that this guy (jimseven is James Hoffman) is the 2007 World Barista Champion. Not that baristas don't make "regular coffee", but the WBC is all about espresso, and so on.

I like experimenting, and am tempted to get a Chemex just to see, but it seems almost every time I drink "coffee", it is rarely enjoyable (of course most espresso from cafes here in the US at least sucks as well). The other thing that is a big discussion in the coffee world these days is the Clover machine, which is basically sort of like an espresso machine, but for coffee, in that it makes one cup of coffee at a time, with grounds made separately, measured precisely, and so on. Some of the higher end coffee houses are getting them (Ritual in SF had one when I was there a few weeks ago, so I got to see it in person ;-) They are also a machine you can put on the net, and you can have it track all the coffees you make, as well as program it with various settings so you can just say, make a #3, which you know is all the settings you use with a particular coffee, etc. I think the machines cost several thousand bucks, so they aren't likely a home machine (and they may require a water connection). Of course Mark Prince of CoffeeGeek doesn't really like Clover coffee, for many of the same reasons I tend to not like coffee in general, which is that he claims it has almost no "body".

That's like coffee in general for me, in that espresso is this complete mouth experience, in that it has real density to it, and does all sorts of things to your tongue, much in the same way wines do, etc. Maybe I've just had too few good cups of "coffee", but coffee usually just winds up tasting like flavored brown water to me, as opposed to a liquid in its own category.

Note, I mean no offense at any of this, as one thing I love about the coffee world is the range of different preparations and opinions on what is great, etc. So, any of you espresso lovers out there, should I bother trying a Chemex?