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Old 08-31-2012, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by The Stafford Cripps View Post
What you need to know though is that no one makes coffee like the Italians - obviously this is subjective, but I've heard lots of people say the same thing. In Italy you can be in some backwoods village that few other tourists will ever see, go into some dusty little cafe and be served an espresso, cappuccino or latte that is better than what you will get anywhere in Britain, France or Spain (in my experience). It's actually mystifying - places in Britain will have the same brand of machines, the same brand of coffee, but it just doesn't taste as good.
Brewing a decent espresso is far more involved than just having the machine and the coffee. Getting the right grind, the right tamp pressure, the right water temperature, the right brew time (all of which may vary depending on humidity, atmospheric pressure, freshness of the beans, how sore your arm is, solar flares...) play big roles in whether the resultant brew is a Godshot, good, mediocre, or horrible. The italians know this and make a big deal out of it. Rightly so.

It's been years since I've had a decent espresso shot at Starbucks. They're all using fully-automated espresso machines now, so the barista's skill is irrelevant.