Linea and Swift

My last day in Atlanta was spent on the Linea and the Swift. New developments for LaMarzoccos will be, or already are, the flow meter on semiautomatic machines will be saturated inside the group head. Access will be granted through a panel on top of the group head for repairs. No more lost heat in the counting of the electric pulse.

The porcelain burrs in the swift are terribly expensive, but should last considerably longer than even stainless steel, just don’t adjust them to the point of touching or they shatter.

I don’t want to name names or bash any companies out there, so will be as discreet as possible. One service tech who was taking the class with me claimed that he had taken the grind adjustment knobs off of a swift at a shop because, he said, the humidity fluctuated so much that the Baristas kept changing the grind size. This was the same repair person who trained shop managers to never rinse grinds out of dirty protafilters. His reason was that grinds will clog the drain hose, and did not want to get calls for such small problems. Now, I know that everyone has their own reasons for doing things, and sometimes practicality will take precedence over quality. But to sacrifice quality at every possible opportunity for the sake of saving himself the aggravation of talking someone through an easy fix over the phone is just plain ignorance. The deliberate dissemination of bad, improper, or corner cutting information for these selfish reasons is the kind of lazy attitude that keeps the specialty coffee industry under the thumb of a poorly informed consuming public.

Part of me feels like dope slapping the guy, who talked right through me whenever I tried to make a point of debate, and part of me is happy to leave the lowest quality crap slingers keep on slinging just to keep the quality stuff well separated from the throng.

And while I’m at it, I would also like to put a stop to the application of this cop out attitude: “It is all a matter of personal taste.” While it is true that there are any number of ways to make coffee and espresso, and every one has their own likes and dislikes, don’t be mistaken about certain basic facts of physical science and human physiology. There are well established parameters of what is considered good and bad, savory and putrid, delicate and acrid, according to the general perceptions afforded us by the nature of our senses. There is a window of opportunity that we strive for in the preparation of coffee drinks, and everything involved in the preparation is either pointing us into that window or out of it. I am sick of hearing people invoke the “personal taste” rationale to justify poor quality, inattention, or laziness in the preparation of specialty coffees. It is an argument from personal incredulity, and is borne out of an inability to step out of the comfort zone and let oneself be teachable. There are occasions when deviating from the established conventions of flavor are bold moves for progressive thinking, but many times I hear this used to cover up an inability to justify behaviors created by blindly stumbling through the unknown. Just fess up to stuff that is unknown. Sorry, too much caffeine at 3:00 am.

  1. No need to slap. Just take down the service guy’s name and company and never, ever recommend them.

    Hopefully they don’t work for the company that services our Linea and Swift.

    On the last part, you’re right within a range. Was just reading a tour of Stumptown drinkers who had Hairbender at five places around Portland and all five were expertly prepared, tasty – AND – different.

  2. Within a range, yes, that’s my point. There are many folks I come across who prepare fast, runny shots with badly uneven extraction, and say that’s how they like it. Maybe that is the best they have had, and that is why they like it. Still others complain that too much attention is paid to pressure, temperature, time, tamping, and they say just relax and don’t worry about all that stuff because it doesn’t make a difference. These are not particularly quality oriented folks, but they are the vast majority.

  3. Here here! I love a good soap boxing; a cop out is a cop out is a cop out when people want to stoop for the lowest common denominator.

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