When we were deciding what espresso machine to use at Dry Bones Mud House we based much of decision on the machine’s ability to consistently produce and nearly replicate high quality espresso shots time and time again. This is why we chose the Victoria Arduino VA388 Black Eagle. The Black Eagle is fitted with Gravitech technology allowing the barista confidence in knowing that the yield (ending weight of the amount of espresso in the demitasse cup) will be consistently the same.
But the machine is not the only variable that needs controlling. We have parameters that we like to follow to keep us inside the guardrails. We start with our ending yield and work our way backwards. Some variables that need controlling are grind time, weight of the ground coffee, brew time, temperature, and boiler pressure. We set a range in each of these parameters and try and stick with them until we come across a coffee that challenges us to make adjustments.
Outside of our variables we also require that there is one barista pulling shots on the machine at a time. The reason for this is mostly because of tamp pressure (amount of pressure required to pack the ground coffee into a puck). Every barista’s tamp pressure is different. One tool that is very helpful in this area is the PUSH tamper. The PUSH tamp allows us to set the desired depth we pack the coffee in the portafilter. This ensures a consistently tight puck regardless of who the barista is on espresso. The only time two baristas would be on espresso at the same time would be during a rush. One barista is weighing, tamping, and pulling shots while the other is steaming milk and pouring shots.
This is how we do it at Dry Bones Mud House, and some of these procedures and techniques are industry standard. But each shop is different in their striving to be as consistent as possible in serving high quality coffee. Next time you go to a specialty coffee shop watch the barista prepare and craft your order. Ask them questions about the process or simply watch them create your delicious espresso beverage. Blessings!