[Homeroast] Portafilter in or out?

Larry Dorman ldorman at gmail.com
Tue Sep 27 09:14:46 CDT 2016


I didn't just jump in and say "Hey man, your coffee kind of sucks and you
should really do 'x'."  :)  I spent some time with pleasantries and listing
multiple things I really liked about the shop.  At first he thought I was
an artist getting ready to ask if I could put something up.  Maybe I caught
him at a bad time, but he basically prompted me to get to the point when I
lead into asking if I could provide some feedback on the coffee.  I do like
the idea of asking about the portafilters as a soft way to have that
particular conversation.

I have a nice home setup, so I have no need to go to this shop.  However,
my wife and I go there sometimes just to get out of our house to change the
environment and talk.  If I'm going to be there taking up their space then
I want to be a paying customer and I want to enjoy my drink.  :)  There's
also something about supporting the local coffee shop that is appealing to
me.

Thanks for the feedback!

On Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 8:52 AM, John Nanci <john at chocolatealchemy.com>
wrote:

> I guess I would have been offended too.
>
> I would call both of you wrong.
>
> I personally think you should have asked if he minded input and/or if he
> would explain why he didn't keep the PF in.
>
> I think it is bunk not to keep the PF in for the reasons you mention.
>
> I would simply not order coffee there.
>
> Where I live, I have two places I will order coffee of any sort 1) because
> they do it as I expect 2) because it is good (listed in no particular order
> of importance).
>
> John
>
>
>
> On 9/27/2016 6:36 AM, Larry Dorman wrote:
>
>> So...  there is a local coffee shop (Garland, TX) that has a decent
>> location and aesthetic, but they are lacking in one critical area which is
>> the quality of their coffee.  I actually dumped half of an americano from
>> this shop once because it just wasn't enjoyable.  I like good coffee, but
>> I
>> do have some tolerance so for me to dump something is a statement.
>>
>> Anyway, I'd love to help this shop get better.  When I was in there this
>> weekend I noticed that they keep their portafilters laying on a tray on
>> the
>> counter instead of in the group when not in use.  It happened that the
>> owner was in so I mentioned to him that he should keep them in the group
>> to
>> keep them hot and that it would improve the coffee.
>>
>> I clearly offended the owner.  :(  His first response was to let me know
>> that he has four other award winning coffee shops.  His second response
>> was
>> to state that the manufacturer of the machine (La Spaziale.  I don't know
>> the model, but it's a small two-group machine.) recommends against keeping
>> the portafilters in the groups when not actively in-use.  His final
>> response was that it didn't matter because he trains his folks to run a
>> small amount water from the group through them before use.
>>
>> This doesn't ring true with what I've learned and what seems logical to
>> me,
>> but I do want to learn if I'm out in left field.  I can't come up with any
>> harm in keeping the portafilters in the group.  I suppose if they're
>> locked
>> in tight then they *could* cause premature gasket wear.  However, if I
>> were
>> running a shop I'd have a plan for regular replacement regardless.
>>
>> Otherwise, it seems to me that running a small amount of water through the
>> PF will only partially heat it... there is a lot of metal there and the
>> water is only going to heat the immediate area.  The commercial machine
>> should be able to handle running some water through the group, but that's
>> still kind of like doing a cooling shot which isn't recommended for a
>> dual-boiler machine.
>>
>> So... was I wrong (from a technical aspect) to suggest to the owner that
>> he
>> keep the portafilters in the groups between uses?
>>
>> The owner's contention was that he's just had some difficulty getting his
>> staff fully trained due to timing and turnover.  In fairness, I did get
>> another americano on this visit and it was fine.
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>
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