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25
Sep
2006

Epic Espresso

Worth the wait...

Last Friday I headed down with great anticipation to see the latest addition to Perth’s burgeoning gourmet coffee scene, Epic Espresso. Epic is the vision of former “Core Espresso” owner, and all round coffee obsessive Corey Diamond.

The place looks nice. Sexy fit-out with wood tones and funky furniture throughout, and some crazy machinery sitting on the bar. To start with is the 2 x 3 group Synesso Cyncra’s… the top of the line in commercial espresso at the moment, and a small feat of engineering brilliance. I had the pleasure of playing around on one of them recently at the Perth Food & Wine Festival, and they are sweet. Next on the list is the sizable stack of Mazzer grinders. There are three Mazzer Roburs (two of them running off three-phase power, and another from regular power), and a Mazzer Mini (on the first day) for Decaf, that has since been replaced by a Mazzer Super Jolly. All that gear alone would cost more than I’d like to think… let alone the heavy duty ceramic cups, stylish new tea infusers, and an array of milk steaming jugs that could equip a small army (of milk steaming soldiers).

Needless to say, Corey is not one for doing things halfheartedly. Epic is his vision for raising the standard of coffee in Perth, and from what I’ve seen it’s done that already.

Baristi

Stepping into the shop on opening day I was greeted by the lovely baristi, and asked what to order. I thought i’d better start with a flat white and work my way on from there. All of epics coffees come with a double shot as standard, they have a policy of sending all their flat whites out with latte art on top, so mine was presented with a lovely rosetta. Aside from looking great though… it tasted phenomenal. The espresso cut through the milk nicely and although I’m pretty bad at describing flavours it had a definitely chocolaty after taste… If you’re one of those 2 sugars in your coffee by default people… it may be a good place to start getting out of that habit.

Next I tried a double ristretto shot of the Capricorn Estate Singe Origin. Epic dedicated one of its grinders solely to single origin espresso (which is funnily enough, coffee beans that are sourced entirely from one place, and not blended). This week/month (?) It’s an Australian grown coffee, and a good one at that. A lot of single origins don’t stand up on their own as espressos, and there is much debate about whether they should be used for espresso at all… but I think it’s great to have the ability to try and taste different coffees, and to help educate people into not thinking of coffee as just a bitter black liquid you have to pour sugar into for your morning caffeine hit. It’s by tasting single origins that you get to see the vast array of flavours that are possible.

Belgian Couverture Hot Chocolate

So next on to the hot chocolate. This is made with molten Belgian chocolate which is ladelled into a small steaming jug. Then milk is added and it’s steamed together to a nice thick consistency. Then poured out and extra molten chocolate poured over the top. No need for tacky marshmallows or the like…this is luxury in a cup… without the sickly sweet tasty that most hot chocolates suffer from… sure to be a hit.

Piccolo Latte

Finally, when I thought i was finished, and had a nice little buzz going from all the coffee (4 shots so far), Corey suggests I try the piccolo latte… which he thinks works really nicely with the espresso blend they’re using (another 5 Senses blend).
He was right… deep rich espresso and steamed milk… A great way to get the flavour of the coffee and the sweetness of the milk in one package.

All in all, 6 shots of coffee, and the happy satisfaction of knowing there is somewhere I can count on to get great coffee when my Silvia (Rancilio) decides to give me hassles. Looking forward to heading back soon and keeping them honest… but I expect lots of good things to come.

Epic Espresso
Outtram St (turn left off Hay St, just down from Miss Mauds)
West Perth

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34 Responses to “Epic Espresso” (2,399 views)

  1. I definitely need to try that hot chocolate!

    But, I’d hereby like to announce that I’m thinking of trying coffee! I have always been against ‘learning to drink’ something, but I think I might appreciate it(just like I’m starting to appreciate red wine), and I do already like the smell of fresh coffee….

    September 25, 2006 at 12:27 pm Reply
  2. Matt,

    The photos (which are great) must have been taken prior to the effects of the 6 shots of caffeine kicking in!

    Ed

    PS did you get my wine suggestions? (They could have been labelled as spam by your email program, which has been happening a lot of late).

    September 25, 2006 at 12:52 pm Reply
  3. Simone, head down to Epic and try one… It does take time to develop a new taste appreciation, but with a little effort you might just find it rewarding. Personally I can’t blame you for not liking coffee if all you’ve had to go on are the instant and bad cafe variety.

    Edward, I am lucky enough to be barely affected by caffeine at all, which means a coffee at midnight before going to bed a bit later is not a strange occurrence.
    Yeh I got the recommendations, sorry for not replying yet… will do so shortly :)

    September 25, 2006 at 1:02 pm Reply
  4. Hey Matt,

    Figured it would only be a matter of time before you got down there. Your still life photography has always been good, but the montage of shots of the baristi is great. Typical that Johnny and Ness would be smiling while Meg is 900% concentration ;P I’m going to poach it for my blog entry, if you don’t mind! (Link back, of course)

    Apparently the mini went out the window for a super jolly on Saturday … LMAO!

    Singles are interesting … the Synesso actually does them really well. I think that it’s definitely worth doing SOs on the Synesso just because you can track the flavour back to what that SO is doing in a blend relatively easily. For example, if you have a SO Kimel shot, you’ll taste that orange marmalade note and get the nice, crisp finish and you will be able to identify that easily in a blend that is using Kimel at the same roast level. I guess that that’s one of the easier ones to pick because Kimel has a longer finish than the others. Enough rambling!

    Cheers,

    Luca

    September 25, 2006 at 5:32 pm Reply
  5. yvo

    Mm, yummy! My friends and I were just talking about this guy here in NYC who draws in your foam or froth. Let me find the link. http://www.nypost.com/gossip/pagesixmag/09142006/80.htm

    And hey… are you making fun of my profile picture? I just like goofing off and prefer people not to see my face (living in a large city like I do…well, put it this way, you can’t be too safe, and I’ve been stalked before- AND I’m not a model or anything, I’m not being modest, I’m being honest).

    Lastly… the Evo comment… my brother and his friends insist it’s pronounced eh-vo, while I swear it’s pronounced ee-vo (like my name). That’s going to be my excuse for why I didn’t get the joke :)

    September 26, 2006 at 5:03 am Reply
  6. Hey Luca,

    yeh I was down there just as quickly as I could. Also found an excuse to drop by yesterday afternoon and had another great piccolo latte and a short mac that were awesome. The single origin thing is an interesting point… Being a home roaster as well, more often than not I’ll try my roast as a single origin before trying to blend it into something else, been getting some really nice shots of Harrar, and the PNG Sihereni AX lately (to my taste anyway) on the Silvia. Lacking that mouthfeel and high notes you get through the Synesso, but still an good way to experience it I think.

    Yvo, no jokes at all of any profile pictures… and I’m well aware of the need to not have the entire world knowing what you look like…Just never could make myself look like a myspace rockstar. Oh and down here it’s pronounced E-voh… which is the same way I’m saying your name… so… there :)

    September 26, 2006 at 9:56 am Reply
  7. P.s – Yvo, the article you posted was interesting, but that guy is basically etching the shapes onto the top of his coffee… which is not exactly the same as free poured latte art. NY Times had an excellent article including some video on a couple of artisan coffee shops that have opened in Manhattan recently. Check it out.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/13/dining/13coff.html?ex=1159329600&en=5bce1997eecae93b&ei=5070

    September 26, 2006 at 9:59 am Reply
  8. fab photos matt! makes me feel all warm and tingly. the hot chocolate sounds very good.

    September 26, 2006 at 10:58 am Reply
  9. Wow. Great shots Matt. I love the people captures and coffee… ahhh… love it too (esp double shots. woohoo!).

    September 26, 2006 at 10:38 pm Reply
  10. Steve

    Hi

    I am a self confessed coffee tragic and as we here in West Perth are spoilt for choice (some excellent, some appalling), I was interested when I saw the location of Epic Espresso.

    Incredibly it sits in a row of 4 shops units along with Miss Maud’s, a hairdressers and Fix Espresso resulting in 3 coffee establishments out of 4! Add to this the fact that the immediate surroundings are already swimming in baristas and coffee grinders, I thought “This place must be something really special”

    So I sauntered down there this morning to try it out. Now not wanting to rain on anyones parade or anything but I was singularly unimpressed. Maybe it was too early in the morning for the staff or maybe it was the coffee blend used but my coffee tasted like weak filter coffee. Granted it wasn’t ‘burnt’ or bitter but as far as great coffee goes, it wasn’t.

    Each to their own I agree and I suppose as my taste doesn’t extend to milky, decorated fancy lattes or sickly hot chocolate concoctions (I’m a strong espresso or long black drinker from way back) but I worry that if they don’t improve quickly they wont have any chance of stealing clientele from the other cafes in the area which they will have to do to survive. There are only so many caffeine addicts in the area to go around.

    I’m sorry but fancy décor and gorgeous baristas don’t make a long term prospect in the over supplied caffeine heaven that is West Perth.

    PS: I enjoy the blog and am a regular reader so keep up the good work.

    September 27, 2006 at 9:05 am Reply
  11. Thanks Deb and Helen, hoping to take the photography a bit more seriously now… any cafe owners wanting some cool shots taken, feel free to get in touch :)

    Steve… What exactly did you order ? Please don’t let the fit out or baristas put you off…these guys know their stuff, and the standards they set for sending drinks are higher than any customer will ever ask. Weak filtered coffee is not a term that comes remotely close to describing any of the drinks I’ve had from Epic, which extends to pretty much everything on the menu. Try a double ristretto of the custom blend next time…

    Location wise it’s interesting, but realistically anyone going to Miss Mauds for quality coffee needs their head read, and Fix used to be good about 3 years ago before changing owners twice and switching to Dimmatina coffee.

    Taste is a subjective thing… so maybe it’s just not your style… but personally, this is the kind of cafe I’ve wanted for a long time. Give it another shot and introduce yourself to Corey, and he’ll make sure you get what you want.

    September 27, 2006 at 10:16 am Reply
  12. Steve

    Follow-up

    Matt, I agree with your comments on Miss Mauds/Fix. MM customers go simply for price and since the ownership change Fix hasn’t been its old self but I do still enjoy their long blacks for the strength (with a sugar to combat the bitterness). The Epic fit out is divine and not at all an issue. I’m afraid I wont be introducing myself to Corey (as nice a guy I’m sure he is) as I believe every customer should receive a good coffee not just the favourite few.

    However I couldn’t leave things as they were when I ventured out mid morning I went back to Epic to discuss my thoughts with them, I believe in positive constructive feedback.

    Well, I was impressed. The female barista (sorry I was too shy to ask her name) said she had felt as I left that it might have been too weak and explained why. Epic put 2 shots of coffee in all their cups sizes and as I had requested a Long Black in a large cup (tough night) I ended up with basically a weak black coffee. To her credit she said they had been discussing the practice of “2 shots in each cup no matter the size” and said they might put up a sign warning people that a larger cup doesn’t mean you get more of the same strength coffee. This is a great idea as the customers have no idea that this is standard practice at Epic.

    She was extremely charming and helpful and insisted I take a smaller cup of the same blend (again sorry I was too shy to ask what the blend was) and I have to admit it was much nicer. I think the reasoning behind my “weak filtered coffee” comment was explained by her when she said they cut the shot off early to reduce the bitterness and I have to admit it did have a smooth taste.

    I think my next test will be two pronged:
    A simple espresso to really explore the coffee flavour,
    Then a double shot (in Epic terms that is 4 shots) long black.

    This should show whether Epic is a worthy member of the coffee community here in West Perth.

    September 27, 2006 at 11:03 am Reply
  13. Hi Steve,

    Well done for venturing back and hopefully you won’t be disappointed. My reasoning for introducing yourself wasn’t to get preferential treatment, mearely to make sure they know your concerns and can take them into account, which is exactly what you’ve done. Epic do run their shots quite short, so I can see why in a large amount of water it would taste as weak… definitely try the espresso (or double ristretto) to get a real taste for the blend. In the end I don’t think you’ll find many cafes that will go to the lengths they will to make sure you’re satisfied.

    Let us know it goes.

    September 27, 2006 at 11:25 am Reply
  14. Hi Steve,

    I just wanted to say that I’m sure that the team at Epic are exceptionally appreciative that you took the time to come back and give them some feedback. Customers who are willing to actually articulate exactly what they want are a rarity and I always derive the greatest satisfaction from producing something that they will enjoy. I’m sure that if people were more willing to do what you are doing, the standard would be forced to rise across the board.

    Good onya,

    Luca

    September 27, 2006 at 1:09 pm Reply
  15. corey

    Hi Steve, I’ve listened to your critique of us. And certainly I’ve taken those points on board. To be honest because we ourselves are coffee purists we tend not to drink the large 16oz milk coffees ourselves (as they are a little too weak for us) therefore we might have missed the mark with that size cup. I have taken you thoughts on-board and have changed our espresso process for that particular drink. I need to pass a slight cost onto the customer (20c) but I’m now putting four single ristrettos into all my 16oz cups to ensure that the coffee taste is consistent and really cuts through the milk. I’m really glad you have raised this with me because we pride ourselves on rasing coffee quality standards. If we are not doing that then I want to nip it in the bud and correct it immediately. I would love the opportunity for you to taste the coffee again with this style of shot for the 16oz (free of charge, of course).
    Just remind me who you are. We certainly want to impress everyone who has our coffee not just the local coffee enthusiasts. Thanks again mate for you feedback.

    Cheers,
    Corey

    September 28, 2006 at 6:15 pm Reply
  16. Steve

    Corey

    Hmm :( I think you may have misread my post, I haven’t had milk in my coffee ever since I travelled through Italy years ago and discovered the taste of “real” coffee.

    The drink in question was a “long black” in one of your large size cup which I assumed would be a large “standard strength” coffee but turned out to be a heavily watered down one.

    I held high hopes for your establishment after reading Matts rave review and would feel disappointed in myself if I didn’t give you and your team a “fair go”

    So as I said in my previous post:

    I think my next test will be two pronged:
    A simple espresso to really explore the coffee flavour,
    Then a double shot (in Epic terms that is 4 shots) long black.

    I won’t be in Perth for a week (school holidays) but once I return I will certainly venture in to carry out my next taste experiment.

    PS: My compliments on your choice of staff, your barista went out of her way to discuss the issue with me, showing an admirable concern for customer satisfaction lacking in most establishments in Perth.

    September 29, 2006 at 3:36 pm Reply
  17. corey

    Hey Steve, Yeah sorry mate, got it. Thinking long mac instead of long black for some reason. Either way a 16oz coffee (whether milk or water) is a really large size coffee and most coffees struggle to come through that amount of liquid. We could (like most establishments) make our coffee more bitter (strong in some peoples language) but running the coffee extractions longer but we choose not too based on heaps of research into extraction theory. Basically more caffeine and bitterness comes out at the last part of the pouyr so we restrict the extraction for a very short, sweet shot. Although this tastes great and definitely doesn’t need sugar it will tend to get lost in such a big cup. Due to the fact that we want customers to get something exceptional everytime (despite the cup size) we have adapted our process to put four ristrettos into each large (16oz) cup so the flavour travels through without the bitterness. We certainly want to push the coffee quality envelope and are glad we had the chance to correct this problem with the large coffees. Do try the espresso, in fact try ristretto, the shot as I mentioned will be short but will have a flavour profile that we believe is far, far superior to that of the long over-extracted, watery, bitter espresso.

    Cheers mate, look forward to you dropping in, please introduce yourself, Oh and by the way that staff member is Jennifer, great girl, coffee mad and has a fantastic natural rapport with customers.

    Corey

    September 29, 2006 at 5:58 pm Reply
  18. Starman

    Nice blog matty boy. Good to see the pics & the banter being thrown around. Good healthy stuff. See you later table #32.

    September 30, 2006 at 2:31 pm Reply
  19. Yo Starman (if indeed that is your real name), I am just lucky to have such wonderful models to work with (the coffee and the people that is). Look forward to over staying my welcome again sometime soon… 32 all the way.

    October 1, 2006 at 6:37 pm Reply
  20. Starman

    Oh yes, Picollo Latte all the way man.

    Can’t wait till you have your permanent place that the punters know not to sit in at Epic. Kind of like the old Eric Clapton story @ Hardrock Cafe in London. The 1 that goes he hung his
    guitar above his favorite stool to claim it for all time. Not to say you should tack a
    portafilter to the wall or anything like that. Core might not be too happy. HE He He He peace

    October 2, 2006 at 12:47 pm Reply
  21. Thanks for your entry to DMBLGIT – have a look at all the entries here.

    6 shots of coffee – brilliant!

    October 15, 2006 at 12:45 pm Reply
  22. Steve

    Hi Matt,

    After a long (& well deserved) break I returned to work this week and today was my first chance to steal away from the office to return to Epic for a second go.

    As I planned I ordered an espresso and a double shot long black (4 shots) in a large cup of the house blend. Interestingly what I actually got was, I think, a ristretto (either that or a very short espresso) and a standard cup with 4 shots in it. A bit of a communication break down I think :) but nevermind I thought, this should give me a true taste of the coffee and 4 shots in a standard cup should be nice and strong.

    The verdict? – Well, the first taste of the espresso/ristretto just screamed ‘burnt caramel’ at me. It was thick and creamy and rich but the overpowering caramel taste spoiled it for me. The long black on the other hand was very smooth and enjoyable but a little weak too.

    The bottomline? – In the words of Voltaire; “Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too”. I know Im going against you all here but I have to say I dont I will be a regular at Epic. Enjoyment of coffee is for me, all about the taste and the strength. Epic coffee, while being smooth and mild, doesnt possess the “oommpph!” I enjoy in my cup of caffiene. Maybe age and too much hearty red wine has blurred my tastebuds to the point where only coffee with (excuse the french ladies) “balls” can excite me but while Epics blend is smooth it still reminds me of filter coffee and not those strong rich espressos I enjoyed in Italy.

    To Corey and his crew, I say congratulations on your passion and obvious expertise and special thanks to the barista who took the time to chat to me about my thoughts and attempted to give me what I was looking for. Good luck in your venture.

    October 17, 2006 at 10:44 am Reply
  23. Hey Steve,

    Well glad you went back for another look. Can’t say I agree with your verdict entirely, but like you said… each to their own. If you’ve tried the blend in its truest form and still aren’t a fan then there’s not much that can be done, but your willingness to give it a good try is appreciated I’m sure.

    Any chance you can let me know of a cafe where you get the kind of coffee you like ?

    Cheers,
    Matt

    October 17, 2006 at 10:51 am Reply
  24. Steve

    Aaah Matt

    Now you have asked the $64,000 question :)

    I am yet to find a cafe in WA that combines the strength of coffee I desire with that treasured lack of bitterness. Currently I’m drinking long blacks from Fix but have to resort to a small amount of sugar in them to counter the slight bitterness.

    I suppose I’ve been spoilt by being baptised at the Holy Shrine of Caffiene that is Italy and am doomed to spend my life trailing from one cafe to another in a never ending search for the perfect strong cup of coffee.

    Mind you, I can think of worse ways to spend your days hehehe :)

    October 17, 2006 at 11:23 am Reply
  25. corey

    Hey Steve, really sorry that we won’t be seeing you back. We certainly put substantial money, research and effort into quality espresso. I would say that the coffee was not actually burnt but probably the exact taste of the bean blend (or origin) used (caramel flavour is a great thing!!!). We actually map our temperature profiles using PID algorithms which makes burning the coffee impossible, but I understand that the flavour might not be the flavour you are used to tasting in an espresso. What we serve is very different from Italian espresso. Italy is not the peak of espresso knowledge or technique anymore. Back 15 years ago the only decent espresso was found in Italy however now Italy is very much lagging behind current espresso innovative techniques (no Italian Barista has ever achieved the title of World Barista Champion but an Aussie has and so have lots of guys from Icelandic countries). All the innovations are coming from Aussies (Paul Bassett), the Icelandic countries and the guys in Seattle (Schomer, the guys at Victrola, Hines etc). Italians created the espresso process but are not pushing the boundaries of espresso anymore. My equipment is hand-made in Seattle from an artisan company who are truly pushing the boundaries of the potential taste of espresso so you should expect the taste to be different. At Epic we have thoroughly researched our product (4 years worth) and certainly have confidence in what we do and why we do it a certain way. The coffee might not appeal to your palate but I believe it is far, far superior than what you would taste in the vast majority of espresso bars in Italy. A quick tip, truly great espresso will not need sugar. Having sugar in coffee is a carry-on from an old Italian coffee style that used poor quality bad tasting robusta beans (that’s all they could afford!) roasted too dark and therefore bringing out bitterness of the oily dark roast profile instead of the varietal nuances of the beans. At Epic we use premium quality beans roasted to a medium roast, so correctly extracted will have no need for sugar.

    Cheers,
    Corey

    October 17, 2006 at 5:44 pm Reply
  26. Steve

    Hey Corey,

    I’m sure you understand coffee appreciation is like wine appreciation. There are those of you who are caught up in the nuances and micro detail of the product and the whole process of production and there are those of us who just “drink the stuff” :)

    No offence meant but it matters not to me whether the coffee beans are sourced from the Peruvian highlands, hand picked by virgins, medium roasted by blind Afghan monk and brewed by an Icelandic barista on a solar powered hand made coffee machine. If I don’t like the taste then I won’t drink it.

    That’s the bottom line…my palate. No matter how good a bottle of red is “supposed” to be if it tastes like vinegar then it goes down the sink.

    One final comment from me to end this enjoyable venture into blog postings… Good Onya Son :)

    I too am sorry I won’t be a regular as people like you and your team are few and far between in this ever increasingly homogenised world we live in. Its great to find people passionate about the things in life that give them pleasure and I’m somewhat jealous that your work involves something that you are so passionate about.

    Carry on the good work and you never know one day I might venture back to your fine establishment to see if my tastebuds have woken up yet.

    October 18, 2006 at 11:11 am Reply
  27. greggy

    I have been following the postings about Epic espresso with considerable interest. I have been particularly intrigued by the intense attention paid to avoiding bitterness in the flavour profile of an espresso. Since when has bitterness been an entirely bad thing. It seems to me that a mature palate can take considerable pleasure from a bitter flavour, many French and Italian aperitifs are intensly sweet and bitter (think cinzano, suze, dry vermouth, angosturra bitters etc). Not to forget the intense pleasure derived from a top quality bar of dark bittersweet chocolate. Could it be possible that Italians enjoy a little bitterness in their coffee as they do in their cola (chinotto) and this may explain a certain bitterness in many Italian and Italian style espressos. Not being an Italian or having anything to do with the Italian espresso industry I can’t be sure but it does seem more likely than some other explanations posited on this blog.

    I also feel that it is important to point out that bitterness per se does not equate to a burnt or poorly made espresso. Just as some seek to produce an espresso with caramel or chocolate “notes” or extreme smoothness, others will look for an espresso whith a little bitterness. this can be smoothed out with a little sugar if desired, but it gives you the choice. To me a poorly made espresso will either lack flavour and body if underextracted or have that distinctive sour taste of overextraction. To me bitterness is no way to judge the relative worth of coffees.

    As Steve quite rightly points out at the end of the day it comes down to individual palates and rather than simply bagging Italian espresso as bitter and not as good as the stuff he makes Corey should acknowledge that there are differences in style and just because he has chosen a particular style of espresso and invested heavily in it doesn’t invalidate other styles. Viva Italia!

    By way of stirring a little contoversy I’ll conclude by wondering if the country that gave us coca-cola, McDonalds, Starbucks, Krispy Kreme Donuts and marshmallows in salads is to be trusted to hold the torch for espresso innovation.

    Greggy

    October 18, 2006 at 11:23 pm Reply
  28. corey

    Hey Greg, bitterness is the result of over-extraction (basically when the coffee shot has been run too long). The distinctive sour taste in an espresso is a result of under-temperature brew water such as with heat exchanger technology or inaccurate calibration of brew boiler or PID settings. Under temp water is not an indicator of over-extraction in any way. Bitterness is not a desireable soluble compound from any bean origin but is referred to as an ‘undesireable solid’ meaning – you don’t want it in espresso. In other foods it’s an entirely different story so let’s compare apples with apples. Bitterness is used to evaluate espresso’s negatively as is the case when I use my Australasian Specialty Coffee Association judges assessment forms (based on the World Barista Championship score-sheet) to assess espresso (Yes, I am an AASCA accredited judge). Bean and blend profiles should be a balanced flavour of roasty nuttiness and the flavours of the varietals used in the blend. Bitterness is always the result of poorly prepared espresso. Most Italians as a rule aim for slightly long pours (30mls) whereby the bitterness does come out in the last part of the pour (10mls). We prefer the connosieurs extraction – ristretto (only the first 20mls therefore capturing all the sweetness of the coffee). The sweetness is primarily what is judged in good espresso. A poorly prepared espresso will lack body and varietal flavours but also a balance of aroma, acidity, sweetness and mouthfeel/ texture. Bitterness is not an element ever desired in a cup of espresso just a carry-on from some poorly prepared Italian style espresso (by the way the Italians who are truly doing amazing espresso over there (Luigi Lupi etc) also use ristretto style pours eliminating the bitterness from the extraction and pulling amazing sweet shots at 20mls).
    Last little tip for you, the person and company I was referring to in the USA post I made above is David Schomer, David is a pioneer in the world of espresso and is probably the most widely acknowledged and respected espresso expert in the world (responsible for around 5 espresso machine design revolutions). And yes he and Mark Barnett from Synesso in Seattle are pushing the boundaries of the espresso process and machine design to that of a culinary art. You can ‘google him’ and read it yourself if you wish.

    Cheers,
    Corey

    October 19, 2006 at 4:56 am Reply
  29. Steve

    Gentlemen, gentlemen (Steve waves his hands around in a calming way) I didn’t mean to start a war (Espresso Wars – Episode V – The Bitterness Strikes Back) ?

    I have to agree with Greggy’s statement, some of us do enjoy a little bitterness in our lives (except when it comes to our female companions). I am in no way what anyone would call a sweet tooth, contrary to the evidence of my waist line, and would classify myself firmly as a savoury person. What I seek (my personal Holy Grail) is the balance between a good strong espresso pour with a hint of bite.

    To give you an idea, turn off Hay St into Outram and stroll quickly past Miss Mauds (avert your eyes) and into Corey’s fine establishment, Epic coffee. Order a long black. Then stroll a few metres towards Kings Park into Fix and order the same coffee (ignoring the glare from the barista – joking). Now sit outside in the warm Perth spring morning air and taste both.

    What I want is mid way between these – anyone know where I can get it? ? A prize to the first person to reveal the location of the Grail (well, maybe just my undying gratitude).

    Maybe I should buy a cup of each and blend them? Heresy! ?

    October 19, 2006 at 8:50 am Reply
  30. Mattnbec

    I have to say that I’m with Matt and co – I love what’s happening at Epic. I am more of a fan of deep mouthfeel (my husband and I call it ‘bass’, to use musical terms). So what Corey is doing at Epic and what Justin is doing at Velvet are right up my alley. I’m certainly not a fan of bitterness. However, I wouldn’t say I’m averse to ‘bite’ either.

    Anyway, in the back of my mind is the thought that I wonder if you’re both speaking a little at cross purposes – ‘bite’ doesn’t necessarily comes from bitterness. It can also be the result of acidy brightness (or ‘treble’, to use musical terms again). You can taste it in some single origin coffees – and they’re not over-roasted or over-extracted necessarily, just full of acidy bite. I think I used to get the two a bit confused.

    I’m not saying that either of you don’t know the difference between the two (I know Corey certainly does). And I’m definitely not claiming to be any coffee expert either. I guess as I’ve read this interchange, I’ve thought this hasn’t been made explicit.

    And again – love what’s happening at Epic, and enjoyed the Epic blend when we brought some home too, Corey. Just a pity that pregnant women need to be careful how much caffeine they consume!

    November 7, 2006 at 3:09 pm Reply
  31. Hey Bec,

    You’re unfortunately talking to the wrong person when it comes to musical terms of reference. I didn’t pass the musical aptitude test in primary school and was resigned to recorder for the remainder of my time… which I’m almost certain was developed as a sonic weapon by the army and palmed off to schools as instruments when they were out of service.

    But yes… I agree with your description of body and acidity being markedly different to bitterness (and both excellent qualities to have in the right proportions).

    I think the sooner people think of coffee as a gourmet beverage rather than a vehicle for caffeine the better off we will all be. In the meantime I’m sure Corey will continue fighting the good fight for espresso education :)

    Thanks for stopping by.
    Matt

    November 8, 2006 at 4:27 pm Reply
  32. Franco

    long time that no one write here… It’s anyway very funny to read what Corey say.. it seems it’s enough watching himself at a mirror, say “I’m an espresso expert” to make it true… Corey, as self declared espresso expert, u should know that espresso wasn’t made by Starbucks but from Italians long long time ago, many many years before that ur idol David Schomer started to fight against his own bad espresso tries. Let me see: I’m Italian I learned to taste and critic espresso cups in the 1988 from my parents, and from italian baristi, they all learned it from their parents, who learned it from their own parents… Schomer said he learned to get a decent espresso only in the 1994, in Seattle; and this is a pioneer? Good to know.
    Well, I always thought that people who don’t know and understand the role of italy around espresso are not espresso expert. Espresso is not a bean or a coffee machine, is simple the italian way to drink coffee. There’s an american coffee, a Greek coffee, a Turkish coffee, a french coffee. Espresso is the italian coffee. You are saying that u know the Italian way to drink coffee better than Italian themselves. Yeah, believable. Now the point. Espresso MUST be bitter, bitter like chocolate. It’s the point of all, it’s his body, it’s his charme, it’s the hystory of espresso, it’s its goal. Otherwise without that sweet bitterness it becomes simple “dirty water”. Espresso without bitterness is like beer without foam.
    Italians don’t win a WBC because judges are fully incompetent about espresso like u are. WBC was invented by not Italian people who only knew the drip coffee techniques, and didn’t understand anything else. They made and understood espresso like a sort of drip coffee. Too much dosed, to much hot, full cups, too much weak from the original recept. It’s sad. You say “we don’t want bitterness in espresso”. And who are u to declare this? How long is ur tradition about espresso? 10, 20 years? Where did u learn to live on espresso coffee? well, you’re everybody children of drip coffee generations. Italians, the real pioneers of espresso, do want bitterness! And did always. They are children of espresso generations, while no one in italy drinks drip coffee. A good Century of espresso-life.
    You can don’t like bitterness, but please be serious, don’t say that the original espresso is bad made, it’s not a serious thing. Expecially if the original one cames from a century of tradition and experiments (yes, we did them! the problem of robusta against arabica was solved years ago), while ur ones comes from a couple of ten years of tries, and from a drip coffee culture. Drip coffee doesn’t want bitterness, yes, but espresso does!
    with regards, Franco

    p.s.: i remember in the 80′s all those foreign tourists in Italy who got disappointed why they ordered a cup of coffee and got that very little dose of strong coffee that Italians call espresso. They wanted a right big cup of watery hot coffee, not that shame!! This was the coffee culture outside Italy… The same people who now say they understand espresso better. surely..

    May 23, 2009 at 2:23 am Reply
  33. Andrea

    Bravo Franco!!!

    A perfect espresso shot is 25ml by the way.
    And the crema on top doesn’t dissipate like at Epic.

    July 5, 2009 at 9:59 pm Reply

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