Back to the Grind.

My mind has been shifting from thinking about competition back to focusing on our store. That fueled by the conversations help during the conference, and I’ve got some ideas, realizations, and ambitions turning about.

There was a moment where I heard James Hoffmann mention that he had an idea for a grinder, but couldn’t find anyone to build it for him. Now, at first, my initial reaction (during the weekend) was why do we need a new grinder? We’ve got these epic Robur-e’s. What more do we need?

Then, I got back on a real bar… and was forced to come face to face with the problems I deal with daily. We make hundreds of drinks, and it’s an intensely difficult labor of love to keep those drinks tasting as delicious as possible. We fight heat from all directions… Especially, in our grinders. That’s when I realized that I tasted multiple espressos from different machine company booths… all with interesting textures and mouth-feels… and no one is addressing the actual problems that I have.

I’m wondering how many baristas would react to Hoffmann like I did? Where, without a solution in sight, we push the thought of an ideal grinder, with minimal heat retention, out of our heads. It seems that we’ve gotten so hooked on exploring the new (pressure profiling) that we’ve forgotten about the problems that have been plaguing us for years…

Don’t get me wrong… I’ve never experienced an espresso like Jeremy Summer, of Synesso, served me at their booth. But, I’ve got a fantastic machine. It makes incredible espresso from about 6AM till 10 AM. Then, a battle begins between fighting soaring temperatures in the grinder and the groups. As of now, the best solutions I can pursue is to obtain two robur-e’s and to switch grinders during the midday… Which, maybe some companies can afford, but that’s a difficult investment for a small cafe to make.

My shift, today, starts at 2PM. The morning rush will just be wrapping up, and I will immediately set to work evaluating the espresso. It will be good. But there will always be a part of me that is jealous of the opening crew and what they get to experience. Please, someone, make us all a grinder that will alleviate this!