Like so many things in life, a balanced approach yields the most fruitful results. When I first started learning about making reasonable coffee, I had a list in my mind of all the variables I wanted to master, with the presumption that reducing their variability would give me more control over the finished product. With a bit of time and experience, however, I’ve come to appreciate that the ritual of espresso not only has more variety than I realized, but also that introducing some on purpose furthers the pleasure achieved. The HG One grinder is absolutely the best tool to take ownership of those small but important adjustments. The machine is massive, solid, and unyielding to mechanical pressures which corrupt the settings of lesser devices. The bearings and gearbox, the fasteners and machined pieces, and the satisfying consistency of a spinning flywheel all combine into a visceral and pleasing experience, and any concerns about whether this dose might be different from the last one fade away. I had it dialed in within 3 shots, and now, instead of worrying about what I might get on the next pull, I can experiment freely, and find excellent results with immediacy and minimal waste. On the qualitative side, the superior tool has refocused the spotlight on the skills of the operator, and I now get to learn a whole new level of nuance and delight. I no longer add sugar to my shots, and my latte consumption has dropped precipitously in lieu of a morning double. That can only be due to the improved taste and pleasure of espresso straight out of the machine. When I’m feeling slightly braver I will invite a few friends over to get their reactions, and I hope I’ll be able to convert at least one or two over to the dark side.
June 12, 2015