Espresso Machines


Six ways you can avoid bad espresso

Cassie BendelFiled under: Baristas, Espresso Beverages by Cassie Bendel

Espresso Lover News

How can you tell if you’re getting a good or bad espresso experience from your favorite café? A website called has a list of ways you can tell before you even take your first sip.

We often get into the nitty gritty of what good coffee drinking means here on this website. For us, it’s about taste, quality, and educating yourself on the origins of what you’re drinking. But you can learn all you want about coffee on your own time and still manage to drink bad espresso if you wander into the wrong place.

A San Francisco-based blog called “The Shot” has come up with some quick ways to tell if you’ve landed in good or bad espresso territory, so that you can either do a happy dance when you’ve found a keeper or back out slowly without making eye contact when the opposite happens.

Here a handful of ways you can tell good espresso is in your future:

*The place is clean – this is sort of like being able to tell how clean a restaurant is by its bathroom. Coffeeratings points out that baristas who truly care about what they’re serving will keep their station nice and tidy.

*They give you the option of choosing what kind of beans you want them to use in your espresso. To me, having a barista give me this option means they want me to care about my espresso as much as they do. Or you could just wear a badge that says “official coffee snob” and try to intimidate them into asking.

*You’re in a shop that says “roasters” on the sign out front. It goes without saying that shops that roast their own will give you the freshest beans. Coffeeratings says “extra points if they date-stamp their roasted beans for retail sale.”

And here are some ways you can tell that a not-so-good espresso is on the horizon:

*Your order is always “to go”. If a shop’s only glassware consists of Styrofoam, they’re not taking you or their coffee seriously. I do get a smidge annoyed when this happens to me. But then again, maybe they’ve read my blog and they’re praying I’ll take it and leave.

*The staff are all wearing hats or ridiculous green visors. ‘Nuff said.

*They serve flavored coffee or anything proceeded by the word “gourmet”. According to Coffeeratings, the word gourmet and the “chocolate hazelnut crème” titled coffees that often come with it went out of vogue sometime in the 80’s. “If a café sells coffee that sounds more like a pint of Ben & Jerry’s,” the site says. “You’d be better off looking for ice cream.”

If you want to continue indulging your inner espresso geek, read the rest of the slightly snarky list here.

Espresso Lover News

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