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An Impromptu Espresso Tasting

One day Scott Lilly stopped by to talk coffee and do some espresso tasting. Scott knows his beans, and before we knew it, an hour had passed and with it a dozen or so cups of espresso...

Scott Lilly inspecting beans

Scott Lilly inspecting and nosing some whole beans, the first of many espresso blends he would try.

Weighing coffee in the portafilter

Getting the weight correct is an important step in a great espresso. Different beans and different grinds can have varying volume for a given weight, so just filling the portafilter by sight won't necessarily result in the right dose.

Tamping the grounds

Tamping the coffee to just the right compaction is a more subtle process than you might think. Slight variations can result in quite different extraction times. There are machines that will signal when you have hit the right pressure, but the right pressure varies with the coffee and the grind, so a manual approach is more flexible when you don't have the luxury of the same bean and grind for each run.

Naked portafilter

The naked portafilter has no receiving chamber and spouts, so you can see clearly if the rat's tail is centered or if channeling has occcured due to uneven tamping.

The testing cups start to pile up

The glassware starts to pile up.

Scott Lilly enjoying one of many test pulls

Scott seems to be enjoying himself.

The Mikeatto-a Noteable Blends signature drink

Last but certainly not least, The Mikeatto, one of Noteable Blends' signature drinks, based on another of our signature drinks–The Two By Four–four doses of espresso beans in two ounces of water. The Mikeatto, created especially for Mike West, one of our sound system consultants, is marked with velvety-frothed half-and-half from Purity Dairy. Careful. Don't let it hit you between the eyes.

Taking out the trash

Taking out the used pucks. I guess we got a little carried away.