Giorgio Milos is master barista for the high-end Italian coffee company illycafe of Trieste and maintains a blog at the Atlantic. In his first post there last May, he criticized American baristi for not knowing their business; in particular, he took them to task for not knowing how much coffee to use when making espresso.
The biggest mistake I’ve seen is an enormous quantity of coffee being used – way too much. I’m talking about 20 to 25 grams of coffee for a single espresso shot! It is like making a mojito with half a mint leaf, one ice cube, a few grains of sugar, and a gallon of rum. Undrinkable!
In a post today, Milos says that another year of touring high-end U.S. coffee shops has convinced him that we’re turning things around here, but he reminds would-be coffee mavens that the goal is to “create an ideal experience in the cup rather than ‘I did it because I could.'” He concludes by asking them to “resist the urge to over-concentrate the coffee – to ‘go bold.'”
I said it last year, and I’ll say it again: the right beans in the right proportions do a beautiful job all on their own. It applies to French press, pour-over (individual drip), vacuum siphon, and any other method, just as it applies to espresso.
Observing the classical proportions in any endeavor means organizing the various parts in a way that each makes an optimal contribution to a harmonious whole. And what’s true for coffee is equally true for wine. “Fruit, acid, and tannin in the right proportion do a beautiful job all on their own,” Milos might have said.
Are you listening, winemakers?
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