October 5, 2012 Nathan

Extreme coffee geekery: St ALi put man v machine to the test

I’m a big fan of the manual brew button on all my machines – even if they claim to have volumetric pours – normally that just hasn’t been calibrated properly, and though I’m sure I could find an Expobar and Rancilio manual online – I like to think that the man is more important than the machine in the 4 Ms of coffee (the Ms are Italian – Macinazione=grind, Miscela=blend, Macchina=machine, and Mano=man).

Anyway. I believed the hype – pulling shots when you see them turn a blond colour has always been my cup of tea… Turns out you can trust the machine, and you should… Unless your eyes work like scales, or you’ve built scales into your machines – this produces consistency. Which if there was an Italian M word for consistency would be the 5th M. I have no idea if there’s an Italian M word for consistency…

Check out this video from St. ALi’s Matt Perger… who wins competitions and stuff so you should totally listen to him.

Man vs Volumetric – by Matt Perger for St Ali from St Ali on Vimeo.

There’s a huge amount of info in the description. But here are some quick facts – TDS = Total disolved solids – it’s a measure of how efficient the extraction is, brew ratio is shot mass/dose mass – so a 51% ratio on a 21g dose is a 41mL double shot.

This video hitting the interwebs when it did was pretty funny – James Hoffman, who’s another guy who won competitions, just toured Australia and said this about the coffee scene here:

“What pleased me, inspired me, on this trip was the number of people who were dissatisfied. Their frustration with everything from raw coffee, to roasting methods, to equipment, to service; this will drive things forward and potentially do so at quite a pace. This is awesome. While this dissatisfaction is necessarily hugely widespread, I have high expectations of seeing things being pushed forward by a small group of passionate people.”

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About the Author

Nathan Nathan is a coffee lover, home roaster, amateur barista and coffee tinkerer. He's married, has two kids, one turtle, and for a day job works for Creek Road Presbyterian Church. He previously worked in PR. This blog is his attempt to make coffee tax deductible.