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Date: 29 Nov 2006 08:20:30
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: An interesting observation, just by chance
I've used a naked PF since they first became widely known and, over
time, I've gotten pretty good at producing the kind of flows that one
could take pictures of. Sometimes.

The other night, I was making shots for a friend and I. He's an
ex-professional barista, trained in Italy, worked there and in the US,
now gone on to medical practice. He has the best taste buds of anyone
I know personally when it comes to coffee.

I made two doubles of Intelligentsia Omero Blend, four days out from
roasting. The first one yielded a picture-perfect 25 second pour. The
second one ran about 20 seconds and had two or three "spurters." A
reminder to me, were one needed, that I still have much to learn.

Anyway, I took both cups into my study where we were sitting and, on a
whim, asked him to taste them and tell me the difference. His
conclusion: Both good. No discernible difference. None.

This is about as unscientific a study as one could possibly do; I don't
need any of you to tell me that. Nonetheless, I found it interesting
and wondered if anyone would like to comment.





 
Date: 03 Dec 2006 08:23:11
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
For a couple of years, I worked casually with a studio that recorded
vocal ensembles (church choirs, glee clubs, etc.) We mixed with the
venerable Harbeth 40s, although in the studio next door, which mixed
rock/pop they did often preview the finished mix on small automotive
speakers. They didn't use them for mixing, though.


I- >Ian wrote:
> On 2 Dec 2006 08:02:45 -0800, "arnie@avradionet.com"
> <arnie@avradionet.com> wrote:
>
> >the last thing that is often done (in the mixing
> >portion) is to play the product through 2, 3 inch speakers
>
> Never! My 'small' speakers were the Spica TC-50s driven by an Audio
> Research D-50 driven directly from the mixing bus. Some of us had
> ears!
>
> If the 'reducer' wanted something different, I made a 'cassette' and
> sent him out to his car or the lounge!
>
> Where did the term "joe" originate?



 
Date: 02 Dec 2006 21:03:26
From: arnie@avradionet.com
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance

I- >Ian wrote:
> On 2 Dec 2006 08:02:45 -0800, "arnie@avradionet.com"
> <arnie@avradionet.com> wrote:
>
> >the last thing that is often done (in the mixing
> >portion) is to play the product through 2, 3 inch speakers
>
> Never! My 'small' speakers were the Spica TC-50s driven by an Audio
> Research D-50 driven directly from the mixing bus. Some of us had
> ears!
>
> If the 'reducer' wanted something different, I made a 'cassette' and
> sent him out to his car or the lounge!
>
> Where did the term "joe" originate?

There was a song written by Harold Arlen (Also wrote, "Over the
Rainbow"), in around 1943 called, "Happiness is just a thing called
Joe". Maybe he was referring to coffee.



 
Date: 02 Dec 2006 21:03:18
From: arnie@avradionet.com
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance

I- >Ian wrote:
> On 2 Dec 2006 08:02:45 -0800, "arnie@avradionet.com"
> <arnie@avradionet.com> wrote:
>
> >the last thing that is often done (in the mixing
> >portion) is to play the product through 2, 3 inch speakers
>
> Never! My 'small' speakers were the Spica TC-50s driven by an Audio
> Research D-50 driven directly from the mixing bus. Some of us had
> ears!
>
> If the 'reducer' wanted something different, I made a 'cassette' and
> sent him out to his car or the lounge!
>
> Where did the term "joe" originate?

There was a song written by Harold Arlen (Also wrote, "Over the
Rainbow"), in around 1943 called, "Happiness is just a thing called
Joe". Maybe he was referring to coffee.



 
Date: 02 Dec 2006 08:02:45
From: arnie@avradionet.com
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
I- >Ian wrote:
> On 30 Nov 2006 06:19:36 -0800, "Omniryx@gmail.com" <Omniryx@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> >Ian, please do not hear anything hostile or derogatory in my reply to
> >your thoughtful post. I welcome the opportunity to dialog with you
> >about these things and pray that others will not become too annoyed
> >because we are talking about them instead of focusing on the water
> >deficit of a Googinelli Frampus 2-group.
>
> I'm pretty hard to offend. OTOH, I often tend to offend.
>
> More than one of my audio compadr=E9s is also an espressionist, so there
> is definitely a personality type at work. One could probably grab a
> post from some audio forum, change the sonic references to
> gustatory [ < for Mike Hartigan ] and post here, with none the wiser.
> And vice versa.
>
> Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I suspect that we probably have more
> common ground regarding 'testing' than not.
>
> PS Loved the HP reference. Was a TAS subscriber from Day One.

Let me add another "thread" to this thread (this one is starting to
become obtuse, but, what the heck). First, I have been a musician all
of my life. I have spent countless hours in recording studios as a
player, a producer, a backup singer, etc. I preface my reks, only
because, if you think audiophiles are nuts, you should see
"professionals" in a recording studio. After spending hours getting
just the right sound, the last thing that is often done (in the mixing
portion) is to play the product through 2, 3 inch speakers, to simulate
what it will sound like on the avaerage car radio. Segue....However,
to me, the funniest of audio freaks are the ones (me too, by the way)
who spend 10K for their car audio system. Truth is, the only way you
can hear the value (maybe) of what you've spent, is to sit in your
car, garage door shut, windows shut, car engine off, with the system
totally flat. As soon as you leave your garage, and drive away, the
"dark" noise of your engine, window noise, traffic, etc. cancels out
about 30% of what you paid for; and that's if you have a quiet car. If
you have a sports car, multiply the noise covering up your 10K system
by 5.

And now, just to give some continuity to the original thread, relating
to "joe", as it was referred to in all of those 40's movies, again, me
too.



  
Date: 03 Dec 2006 01:49:39
From: I->Ian
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
On 2 Dec 2006 08:02:45 -0800, "arnie@avradionet.com"
<arnie@avradionet.com > wrote:

>the last thing that is often done (in the mixing
>portion) is to play the product through 2, 3 inch speakers

Never! My 'small' speakers were the Spica TC-50s driven by an Audio
Research D-50 driven directly from the mixing bus. Some of us had
ears!

If the 'reducer' wanted something different, I made a 'cassette' and
sent him out to his car or the lounge!

Where did the term "joe" originate?


 
Date: 30 Nov 2006 10:45:24
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance

I- >Ian wrote:
> Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I suspect that we probably have more
> common ground regarding 'testing' than not.

I think you're right.

> PS Loved the HP reference. Was a TAS subscriber from Day One.

I've been a subscriber for ages, as well, though I'm never quite sure
whether I read it as a serious review journal or a sophisticated humor
magazine.

Ever met HP? I'm delighted to report that his arrogance and pretention
in person are even greater than in print. Of course, by now he is
pretty fossilized but you can tell just how much he resents no longer
being the absolute authority on everything.

Whatcha using to drive your Spicas?

Coffee. There, I talked about it.



  
Date: 30 Nov 2006 18:56:43
From: I->Ian
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
On 30 Nov 2006 10:45:24 -0800, "Omniryx@gmail.com" <Omniryx@gmail.com >
wrote:

>Whatcha using to drive your Spicas?
>
Rotel RX-1050
It's all in http://www.ielogical.com/audio.html
[Sorry about some of the busted links]

>Coffee. There, I talked about it.
The amp rests on a red oak shelf the color of the middle a fine shot.


 
Date: 30 Nov 2006 06:23:44
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
bernie wrote:
> Ken-there was also some wine tasting in there somewhere, no?
> Bernie (statistics, statistics, shtashtistichs)D.


One would certainly hope so. (An' by the way, buddy, that word is
schlustistics!)



 
Date: 30 Nov 2006 06:21:48
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
Good points, all, Jim. BTW, I'm availabe when you want/need that
espresso klutz. :P)

jim schulman wrote:
> On 29 Nov 2006 08:20:30 -0800, "Omniryx@gmail.com" <Omniryx@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> >This is about as unscientific a study as one could possibly do; I don't
> >need any of you to tell me that. Nonetheless, I found it interesting
> >and wondered if anyone would like to comment.
>
> While some people try to achieve absolute perfection in a few things,
> my approach is to get to "good enough" in all the factors that go into
> coffee making from bean selection to turning off the shot.
>
> Obviously, this raises the issue of what "good enough" is in each
> detail.

etc....



 
Date: 30 Nov 2006 06:19:36
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance

I-Ian wrote about high end audio:
> There is some validity, but whether it is audible is debatable. Many
> years ago we did tests with microphone cables run on the floor and
> suspended several feet above the floor. The floor in this case was 2
> feet of solid concrete attached to terra firma. There is a definite
> measurable difference in the noise and distortion spectra between
> cables on the floor and those supsended. There were no AC lines, water
> pipes, etc. running in the concrete and we were moderately scrupulous
> at aligning the cables horizontally. Inconclusive.

Well, that is the real issue, isn't it? Audibility. Not much point in
worrying about the noise floor when it is well below the hearing
threshold. As to those who claim they can hear IM products (for
example) when they are 110db below signal....prove it, guys.

> Ever hear of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle? Essentially, it is
> that measurement introduces error. Not strictly relevant to A/B tests,
> but close enough for shouting.

Um, yeah, Ian. Having an undergrad degree in physics and a doctoral
minor in statistics, I've heard of it. And you are correct, it isn't
really relevant to A/B tests. In fact, the principle, itself, makes it
irrelevant to properly conducted A/B trials. Contact me offline and
we'll chat about stochastic error.

> Granted there are many people with more money than ears / palate, but
> that is not to say there are none who can distinguish differences.

I think that is certainly possible. Start with perception studies by
Helmholtz and work your way forward. Which makes it so interesting
that they are very rarely willing to demonstrate this ability under
controlled conditiions. Harry Pearson (Mr. Audio Arrogance), for
example, has long claimed to hear things that others cannot hear. But
show that he can do so in a lab setting? Not on his granny's tintype.

> Granted there are a lot of snake oil salesmen who are ready, willing
> and able to part the fool and his money.

There are, to be sure. But I think most people who tout ultra high end
sound, just like most people who perceive incredibly minute differences
in coffee, are absolutely sincere. They truly believe it. And, for
some, it may well be true. That's why these atypical perceptive
abilities ought to be carefully studied and documented, not merely
claimed.

> The failing in the above amp / LS example is that there can be a
> deleterious / serendipitous relationship between the 'excellent
> speakers' and the tube and RS amplifiers respectively. For example, my
> dearly loved Spica TC-50s have a nasty impedance curve, eating many
> 'fine' amps for lunch.

The Spica is a nice speaker; I commend your taste. I'm running JM Lab
Utopia Grandes. (Now you see how nutso I really am!). That being
said, I submit that your explanation is more than a bit of a reach.
But you could be right.

> It is also possible to exacerbate every component's flaws by
> connecting with devices that do not ameliorate them. If one choses a
> set of components for the 'controlled test' the far and away swamp any
> ability of a fine component to strut its stuff, the test is worthless.

Pretty speculative grounds for dismissal, Ian. And note here that you
are working from an a priori assumption that the "fineness" of the
component really has an effect when, in fact, that is in part what is
being evaluated.

> Most of these 'controlled tests' are worthless because of the
> artificiality of the test environment. Music, along with espresso, is
> a sensory pleasure. Minute details can be swamped by distractions and
> the focus on the 'test'

And this is an example of the elaborate rationale of which I wrote
earlier. I very readily agree that music is a sensory pleasure and
that in the end laboratory measurements have very little to do with the
quality of the experience. But good wine is good wine whether it is
consumed from a Reidel glass or a Dixie cup, and the fact is that the
listening conditions under which most rigorous A/B comparisons are
conducted are a very great deal better than one would encounter in the
typical home listening room. Even those of us whose fanaticism has led
us to dedicate rooms to nothing but listening (LE/DE,
diffraction/reflection control, the "golden ratio," you-fill-in can
rarely duplicate the listening spaces that are used for equipment
development and testing. As to the swamping of minute details through
focus on the test, discernment of minute details is the PURPOSE of the
test so that dog really won't hunt.

> Taken to the extremes, either any change must make a difference or no
> change can make any difference. Both propositions are clearly
> ludicrous.

That simply does not follow, Ian. And even if it did, it would have no
relevance to the topic under discussion.

Then Ian goes on to talk a lot about coffee, ending with:
> Any manufacturer would be foolish to subject an excellent machine to
> comparisons based the vagaries of personal opinion.

But that dog really won't hunt, either, because in the home
environment, machines are chosen on the basis of personal opinion. So,
to bend your earlier analogy, either coffee afficionadi have opinions
that are of value, in which case we ought to listen to them, or their
opinions are of no value and we oughtn't care what they have to say, no
matter how they arrive at their conclusions.

And note, again, your a priori assumption that the claimed excellence
of the machine will be reflected in the cup. Its OK to make that
assumption if it suits you but we at least need to acknowledge that you
are doing so.

The REAL reason that a manufacturer would be foolish to submit a
machine to objective testing is that the outcome might not favor the
aims of the keting department.

Although people still buy Tice Clocks, so go figure.

Ian, please do not hear anything hostile or derogatory in my reply to
your thoughtful post. I welcome the opportunity to dialog with you
about these things and pray that others will not become too annoyed
because we are talking about them instead of focusing on the water
deficit of a Googinelli Frampus 2-group.

Cheers!



  
Date: 30 Nov 2006 18:08:25
From: I->Ian
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
On 30 Nov 2006 06:19:36 -0800, "Omniryx@gmail.com" <Omniryx@gmail.com >
wrote:

>Ian, please do not hear anything hostile or derogatory in my reply to
>your thoughtful post. I welcome the opportunity to dialog with you
>about these things and pray that others will not become too annoyed
>because we are talking about them instead of focusing on the water
>deficit of a Googinelli Frampus 2-group.

I'm pretty hard to offend. OTOH, I often tend to offend.

More than one of my audio compadrés is also an espressionist, so there
is definitely a personality type at work. One could probably grab a
post from some audio forum, change the sonic references to
gustatory [ < for Mike Hartigan ] and post here, with none the wiser.
And vice versa.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I suspect that we probably have more
common ground regarding 'testing' than not.

PS Loved the HP reference. Was a TAS subscriber from Day One.


 
Date: 30 Nov 2006 05:44:31
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance

Ken Fox wrote:
> 35 seconds is well within the range of my normal shotmaking parameters and
> I'd regard that shot timing as NORMAL for the 1.25oz (average) double shots
> I pull.

I was just being facetious, Ken. I've consumed many a 35 second shot
with pleasure.



 
Date: 30 Nov 2006 05:43:01
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance

Ken Fox wrote about his testing procedures.

Once again, bravo to Ken and Jim for their strenuous efforts to
research these questions rigorously!

I second Ian's motion: Could we have some links, please.



 
Date: 29 Nov 2006 18:13:57
From: jim schulman
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
On 29 Nov 2006 08:20:30 -0800, "Omniryx@gmail.com" <Omniryx@gmail.com >
wrote:

>This is about as unscientific a study as one could possibly do; I don't
>need any of you to tell me that. Nonetheless, I found it interesting
>and wondered if anyone would like to comment.

While some people try to achieve absolute perfection in a few things,
my approach is to get to "good enough" in all the factors that go into
coffee making from bean selection to turning off the shot.

Obviously, this raises the issue of what "good enough" is in each
detail.

Taste testing is the final gold standard, but it has to be applied
cautiosuly, and cannot be the sole criterion. When one tastes
espresso, the shot to shot variation using identical procedures means
one has to do at least 10, usually 20 or more, paired shots of
procedure X versus Y to get any certainty at all.
-- Cupping brewed coffee goes a lot faster and is a lot less variable,
so this is what I use for most of my testing of coffees, roasts and
grinders. Comparing shots is just a confimation
-- After a long espresso test, I look for physical tells that
distinguish X and Y, and rely on those.

My point is that the taste difference between picture perfect
extractions and ragged ones will only show up in a long series of
comparisions. It will show up faster for a very unforgiving coffee
(i.e. not Oromo) where precise dose and time are the difference
between a good and a bad shot.

Since preparing "ragged" pucks for such a long term comparison is a
very difficult problem ("help wanted: one espresso klutz") , it may be
that we are all taking this a bit on faith. However, my guess is that
this particular piece of faith will stand up. I base this on the
improvement in consistency in taste I've gotten since going to naked
PFs; and the lack of any increased consitency on the machines I have
that won't take them.


  
Date: 30 Nov 2006 00:46:47
From: I->Ian
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
On Wed, 29 Nov 2006 18:13:57 -0600, jim schulman
<jim_schulman@ameritech.net > wrote:

>I base this on the
>improvement in consistency in taste I've gotten since going to naked
>PFs; and the lack of any increased consitency on the machines I have
>that won't take them.

Hi Jim,

Can you detect this consistency if others prefer the shots out of site
and you have to determine which one's naked?



   
Date: 30 Nov 2006 00:01:13
From: jim schulman
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
On Thu, 30 Nov 2006 00:46:47 GMT, "I- >Ian" <someone@nowhere.com>
wrote:

>On Wed, 29 Nov 2006 18:13:57 -0600, jim schulman
><jim_schulman@ameritech.net> wrote:
>
>>I base this on the
>>improvement in consistency in taste I've gotten since going to naked
>>PFs; and the lack of any increased consitency on the machines I have
>>that won't take them.
>
>Hi Jim,
>
>Can you detect this consistency if others prefer the shots out of site
>and you have to determine which one's naked?

As I said, consistency is not equvalent to a well designed blind test.
But I think the complete lack of horrid shots since I've used the the
naked is as good as anecdotal evidence gets.


    
Date: 30 Nov 2006 18:32:23
From: I->Ian
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
On Thu, 30 Nov 2006 00:01:13 -0600, jim schulman
<jim_schulman@ameritech.net > wrote:

>On Thu, 30 Nov 2006 00:46:47 GMT, "I->Ian" <someone@nowhere.com>
>wrote:
>
>>On Wed, 29 Nov 2006 18:13:57 -0600, jim schulman
>><jim_schulman@ameritech.net> wrote:
>>
>>>I base this on the
>>>improvement in consistency in taste I've gotten since going to naked
>>>PFs; and the lack of any increased consitency on the machines I have
>>>that won't take them.
>>
>>Hi Jim,
>>
>>Can you detect this consistency if others prefer the shots out of site
>>and you have to determine which one's naked?
>
>As I said, consistency is not equvalent to a well designed blind test.
>But I think the complete lack of horrid shots since I've used the the
>naked is as good as anecdotal evidence gets.

Sorry if these questions seem impertinent. I absolutely respect your
opinions and findings. However, I've had ZERO correlation between
using a bottomless PF or not and shot pour quality. For my 2p, I like
the taste better with my spoutless single PF. The mouth feel is better
and the back end is less 'coffeelike.' As a sop to the controlled
double blind A/B proponents, I agree that I could be deluding myself.

Have you used it for more than a full year?
If not have thermal / humidity differences in Chicago played a part?

Is the flange to ear distance identical?

Is it the flat bottom?

Is it the lack of variance with the PF temperature?
Have you tried maintaining the PF temperature to within a degree or
so?

Is it the difference in height on the counter?

Are you using the same basket in both?

To what do _you_ attribute the improvement?

TIA
Ian


     
Date: 30 Nov 2006 18:16:06
From: jim schulman
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
On Thu, 30 Nov 2006 18:32:23 GMT, "I- >Ian" <someone@nowhere.com>
wrote:

>To what do _you_ attribute the improvement?

That I can see a horrid shot and dump it. It's absurd to claim that
the median bottomless shot is any better than the median regular one
(for people who are relatively consistent), only that they'll see the
really crummy shots more easlity with a bottomless.

In any case. The bottomless is a training tool to improve your puck
macking skills. Now that you;ve used it for a year, those skills are
in place, and your regular PF shots may be as consistent as good as
your bottomless ones,

In any case, the observation **was not** bottomless versus regular,
but "perfect pour" versus "ragged pour." I'm not particulalry
concerned about somewhat ragged pours, and my instinct is that if they
are worse, it would take a lot of testing to find out. I use the
bottomless to dump the "meltdown" pours, which are sometimes tough to
spot on a regular PF.


      
Date: 01 Dec 2006 08:09:05
From: I->Ian
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
On Thu, 30 Nov 2006 18:16:06 -0600, jim schulman
<jim_schulman@ameritech.net > wrote:

>Now that you;ve used it for a year, those skills are
>in place, and your regular PF shots may be as consistent as good as
>your bottomless ones

????

Nothing of the sort!!!


 
Date: 29 Nov 2006 11:14:20
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance

bernie wrote:
> I have always believed that blind tasting/cupping/comparison is the
> one thing most feared by proponents of a particular method of making
> espresso, espresso machine manufacturers and coffee brewer
> manufacturers. Not to mention roaster manufacturers and roasters. The
> idea of an impartial panel rating espresso machines or brewers strikes
> fear into the hearts of many. I've proposed as much to the SCAA but
> since the machine manufacturers foot much of the bill for the big show
> there was zero interest.

Oh absolutely. It strikes fear into the hearts of many. As some of
you know, my real passion is audio. My media room represents an
absolutely obscene investment in speakers and electronics. Is the
expense justifiable? Absolutely not, though I guess I thought it was
at the time. Either that or I'm just nuts. That's been suggested.

Anyway, if you think coffee folks get caught up in their own
perceptions, try hanging out with Golden Eared Audiophiles. I'm
talking about the people who shell out several thousand dollars for a 1
meter interconnect and then prop it up off the floor on tiny pylons.
They are to-the-death resistant to objective A-B comparisons. They've
even developed an extensive, fanciful rationale to explain why
objective testing is at best worthless and at worst a tool of Satan.

I can understand their antipathy. They've been burned too many times.
There was the much heralded test--very carefully controlled--in which
self-styled golden ears could not reliably discern the difference in
sound between high end equipment connected with $1K/meter cables versus
the same gear connected with wire cut from a $1.69 extension cord. And
another in which seasoned listeners could not reliably tell if the
sound coming through excellent speakers was amplified by two $50K+ tube
monoblocks or a $69.95 amp picked up at Rat Shack.

These folks are for the most part absolutely sincere, just like those
who swear that they can discern the difference of half a degree in the
temp of the brewing water, or whether the coffee has been ground for 30
seconds or ten minutes, or who describe fifteen different fruit flavors
in their recent cup of dry-processed Agajanian Whoompdoompus. They are
saying what they really believe and, by golly, they really believe it.
But they seldom can demonstrate it under controlled conditions.

So bravo to Ken and Jim for their efforts and may they do more in
future. It won't make much difference, though. Someone who paid out
the ass for a Clover ain't about to admit that the coffee tastes the
same as from a Technivorm, or a GS3 versus Miss Silvia, no matter what
objective testing might reveal.



  
Date: 29 Nov 2006 21:10:20
From: I->Ian
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
On 29 Nov 2006 11:14:20 -0800, "Omniryx@gmail.com" <Omniryx@gmail.com >
wrote:

>
>bernie wrote:
>> I have always believed that blind tasting/cupping/comparison is the
>> one thing most feared by proponents of a particular method of making
>> espresso, espresso machine manufacturers and coffee brewer
>> manufacturers. Not to mention roaster manufacturers and roasters. The
>> idea of an impartial panel rating espresso machines or brewers strikes
>> fear into the hearts of many. I've proposed as much to the SCAA but
>> since the machine manufacturers foot much of the bill for the big show
>> there was zero interest.
>
>Oh absolutely. It strikes fear into the hearts of many. As some of
>you know, my real passion is audio. My media room represents an
>absolutely obscene investment in speakers and electronics. Is the
>expense justifiable? Absolutely not, though I guess I thought it was
>at the time. Either that or I'm just nuts. That's been suggested.
>

If audio is a passion, you may get a chuckle at
http://www.ielogical.com/audio.html

>Anyway, if you think coffee folks get caught up in their own
>perceptions, try hanging out with Golden Eared Audiophiles. I'm
>talking about the people who shell out several thousand dollars for a 1
>meter interconnect and then prop it up off the floor on tiny pylons.

There is some validity, but whether it is audible is debatable. Many
years ago we did tests with microphone cables run on the floor and
suspended several feet above the floor. The floor in this case was 2
feet of solid concrete attached to terra firma. There is a definite
measurable difference in the noise and distortion spectra between
cables on the floor and those supsended. There were no AC lines, water
pipes, etc. running in the concrete and we were moderately scrupulous
at aligning the cables horizontally. Inconclusive.

>They are to-the-death resistant to objective A-B comparisons. They've
>even developed an extensive, fanciful rationale to explain why
>objective testing is at best worthless and at worst a tool of Satan.
>

Ever hear of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle? Essentially, it is
that measurement introduces error. Not strictly relevant to A/B tests,
but close enough for shouting.

Granted there are many people with more money than ears / palate, but
that is not to say there are none who can distinguish differences.

>I can understand their antipathy. They've been burned too many times.
>There was the much heralded test--very carefully controlled--in which
>self-styled golden ears could not reliably discern the difference in
>sound between high end equipment connected with $1K/meter cables versus
>the same gear connected with wire cut from a $1.69 extension cord. And
>another in which seasoned listeners could not reliably tell if the
>sound coming through excellent speakers was amplified by two $50K+ tube
>monoblocks or a $69.95 amp picked up at Rat Shack.
>

Granted there are a lot of snake oil salesmen who are ready, willing
and able to part the fool and his money.

The failing in the above amp / LS example is that there can be a
deleterious / serendipitous relationship between the 'excellent
speakers' and the tube and RS amplifiers respectively. For example, my
dearly loved Spica TC-50s have a nasty impedance curve, eating many
'fine' amps for lunch.

It is also possible to exacerbate every component's flaws by
connecting with devices that do not ameliorate them. If one choses a
set of components for the 'controlled test' the far and away swamp any
ability of a fine component to strut its stuff, the test is worthless.

>These folks are for the most part absolutely sincere, just like those
>who swear that they can discern the difference of half a degree in the
>temp of the brewing water, or whether the coffee has been ground for 30
>seconds or ten minutes, or who describe fifteen different fruit flavors
>in their recent cup of dry-processed Agajanian Whoompdoompus. They are
>saying what they really believe and, by golly, they really believe it.
>But they seldom can demonstrate it under controlled conditions.
>

Most of these 'controlled tests' are worthless because of the
artificiality of the test environment. Music, along with espresso, is
a sensory pleasure. Minute details can be swamped by distractions and
the focus on the 'test'

Taken to the extremes, either any change must make a difference or no
change can make any difference. Both propositions are clearly
ludicrous.

>So bravo to Ken and Jim for their efforts and may they do more in
>future. It won't make much difference, though. Someone who paid out
>the ass for a Clover ain't about to admit that the coffee tastes the
>same as from a Technivorm, or a GS3 versus Miss Silvia, no matter what
>objective testing might reveal.

I'd counter that espresso tasting can never be purley 'objective'
because there are 1001 variables that end up in the cup.
A very short list:

BEANS
- in any given roast, there are myriad minor variations in size and
roast level
- a dose, either a blend or SO, is unlikely to have the identical mix

GRINDER
- unless the grinder is cleaned after every shot, there is a
'hangover' of beans from the previous shot. Depending on the
proportions and age of the leftovers, the shot will vary. One only has
to examine the grinds of an SO roast immediately after grinding from a
clean grinder with those 5 minutes old to determine they are not
identical. They do not look, smell or pack the same.

MACHINE
- few, if any, machines will exhibit the identical performance. It
would be possible log all parameters from a large sample and then
select two machines that are most nearly identical. After the machines
are selected, there is still the problem of getting cyclic variations
synchronized.

CBLF [Carbon Based Life Form]
- essentially a mobile chemical cauldron whose reactions and
perceptions are predicated on the previous reactions. Does the first
shot taste identical to the second, even though the grind, doze, tamp
and temp are as close to identical as possible? Of course not, because
the 2nd is modified by the 1st and so on.

Any manufacturer would be foolish to subject an excellent machine to
comparisons based the vagaries of personal opinion.

Of course, BRAVO to Ken and Jim.
We all owe them.


 
Date: 29 Nov 2006 10:45:08
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance

Ken Fox wrote:
> A
> potentially more revealing test would have been between a 20 second shot and
> one taking 35 seconds, although volume considerations would likely render
> the latter a ristretto and the former more of a longo, hence biasing the
> comparison.

Very true, Ken. The 35'er would probably have gone into the sink
untasted, though.

> Andy S. has previously told me on more than one occasion that he has been
> unable to correlate shot appearance (from a bottomless PF) with taste.
> That's more or less my observation as well, however it is easier to
> recognize the absolute duds than it is to pick out the great shots on visual
> cues alone.

I think you are absolutely right.



  
Date: 29 Nov 2006 12:40:30
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
<Omniryx@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1164825908.332715.87550@16g2000cwy.googlegroups.com...
>
>>
> Very true, Ken. The 35'er would probably have gone into the sink
> untasted, though.
>

well then I think you might need to re-evaluate this, Will.

35 seconds is well within the range of my normal shotmaking parameters and
I'd regard that shot timing as NORMAL for the 1.25oz (average) double shots
I pull.

ken




 
Date: 29 Nov 2006 10:44:30
From: bernie
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
Omniryx@gmail.com wrote:

> I've used a naked PF since they first became widely known and, over
> time, I've gotten pretty good at producing the kind of flows that one
> could take pictures of. Sometimes.
>
> The other night, I was making shots for a friend and I. He's an
> ex-professional barista, trained in Italy, worked there and in the US,
> now gone on to medical practice. He has the best taste buds of anyone
> I know personally when it comes to coffee.
>
> I made two doubles of Intelligentsia Omero Blend, four days out from
> roasting. The first one yielded a picture-perfect 25 second pour. The
> second one ran about 20 seconds and had two or three "spurters." A
> reminder to me, were one needed, that I still have much to learn.
>
> Anyway, I took both cups into my study where we were sitting and, on a
> whim, asked him to taste them and tell me the difference. His
> conclusion: Both good. No discernible difference. None.
>
> This is about as unscientific a study as one could possibly do; I don't
> need any of you to tell me that. Nonetheless, I found it interesting
> and wondered if anyone would like to comment.
>

I have always believed that blind tasting/cupping/comparison is the
one thing most feared by proponents of a particular method of making
espresso, espresso machine manufacturers and coffee brewer
manufacturers. Not to mention roaster manufacturers and roasters. The
idea of an impartial panel rating espresso machines or brewers strikes
fear into the hearts of many. I've proposed as much to the SCAA but
since the machine manufacturers foot much of the bill for the big show
there was zero interest. Which I understand. It would do a lot of folks
a lot of good, I think, if there were a mechanism to impartially rate
espresso machines, brewers, roasters, blends, etc that was valid and
acceptable to the knowledgable majority. A trade association such as the
SCAA isn't the proper venue. But I digress.
Bernie


  
Date: 29 Nov 2006 11:10:24
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
"bernie" <bdigman@zianet.com > wrote in message
news:456dc701@nntp.zianet.com...
> >
> I have always believed that blind tasting/cupping/comparison is the one
> thing most feared by proponents of a particular method of making espresso,
> espresso machine manufacturers and coffee brewer manufacturers. Not to
> mention roaster manufacturers and roasters. The idea of an impartial panel
> rating espresso machines or brewers strikes fear into the hearts of many.
> I've proposed as much to the SCAA but since the machine manufacturers foot
> much of the bill for the big show there was zero interest. Which I
> understand. It would do a lot of folks a lot of good, I think, if there
> were a mechanism to impartially rate espresso machines, brewers, roasters,
> blends, etc that was valid and acceptable to the knowledgable majority. A
> trade association such as the SCAA isn't the proper venue. But I digress.
> Bernie

this is exactly the logic behind the blind tasting "studies" that Jim
Schulman and myself have done over the last several years. Although I don't
think we could say that these tests were "definitive," we can certainly say
that the evidence points to their being no improvement in shots when one
"upgrades" from a vibratory pump machine to a rotary, and that in fact some
rotary implimentations which lack preinfusion (such as my Cimbali) actually
may produce inferior results, unless one introduces pre-infusion by other
means such as with a delay timer.

We are contemplating a simple study of paired shots comparing previously
frozen to never frozen beans. Stay tuned.

ken




   
Date: 29 Nov 2006 13:45:53
From: Craig Andrews
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance

"Ken Fox" <morceaudemerdeThisMerdeGoes@hotmail.com > wrote in message
news:4t60oqF12kl8qU1@mid.individual.net...
> "bernie" <bdigman@zianet.com> wrote in message
> news:456dc701@nntp.zianet.com...
>> >
>> I have always believed that blind tasting/cupping/comparison is the
>> one thing most feared by proponents of a particular method of making
>> espresso, espresso machine manufacturers and coffee brewer
>> manufacturers. Not to mention roaster manufacturers and roasters. The
>> idea of an impartial panel rating espresso machines or brewers
>> strikes fear into the hearts of many. I've proposed as much to the
>> SCAA but since the machine manufacturers foot much of the bill for
>> the big show there was zero interest. Which I understand. It would do
>> a lot of folks a lot of good, I think, if there were a mechanism to
>> impartially rate espresso machines, brewers, roasters, blends, etc
>> that was valid and acceptable to the knowledgable majority. A trade
>> association such as the SCAA isn't the proper venue. But I digress.
>> Bernie
>
> this is exactly the logic behind the blind tasting "studies" that Jim
> Schulman and myself have done over the last several years. Although I
> don't think we could say that these tests were "definitive," we can
> certainly say that the evidence points to their being no improvement
> in shots when one "upgrades" from a vibratory pump machine to a
> rotary, and that in fact some rotary implimentations which lack
> preinfusion (such as my Cimbali) actually may produce inferior
> results, unless one introduces pre-infusion by other means such as
> with a delay timer.
>
> We are contemplating a simple study of paired shots comparing
> previously frozen to never frozen beans. Stay tuned.
>


A bunch of guys over on the CG forums have done just that.
Craig.


> ken
>
>




    
Date: 29 Nov 2006 12:38:26
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
"Craig Andrews" <alt.coffee@deletethis.rogers.com > wrote in message
news:4t62r0F12q0kkU1@mid.individual.net...
>
>>>
>> We are contemplating a simple study of paired shots comparing previously
>> frozen to never frozen beans. Stay tuned.
>>
>
>
> A bunch of guys over on the CG forums have done just that.
> Craig.
>

Craig,

As Ian said, I'd like to see some links so I can see what they have done.
That having been said, I doubt anyone has gone to the sort of trouble that
Jim and I went to on our earlier "studies," nor would go to on the study we
would do on freezing.

For example, we would do multiple, simultaneous, paired shots using both of
my Cimbalis with their own grinders. Each machine would be set up in
advance to be as close to the other as humanly possible, involving
portafilter manometer shot pressure adjustments, brew temperature
standardization with a Scace/Fluke, and after half the test pairs were done
(with two blind tasters, Jim and myself), the grinders and machines would be
switched so that there were an equal number of shots with frozen from one
pair as from the other. An additional test we'd talked about would be to
freeze already degassed coffee, say 4 days after roasting, and compare it to
never-frozen coffee. This testing would have a similar methodology as the
first one, and in total would therefore yield results useful to both those
who home roast and freeze immediately, and those who buy already roasted
beans several days old, such as through the mail, and might want to freeze
the excess.

At the end, Jim would run university level statistical analysis on the data
obtained.

Before any of this, I'd have to roast up a number of pounds of coffee under
a set roast profile in my sample roaster, freeze it for X number of weeks or
months, then take it out of the freezer X number of days in advance of the
testing. At the same time, I'd have to roast up another equally sized batch
with the same roast profile, that would serve as the "never-frozen" control.
Roasts would be monitored with my permanently installed in-drum TC attached
to my Fluke. Assuming we did the 2nd test, with freezing already degassed
beans, there would be twice as much coffee to roast, and twice as many
paired shots to compare.

Having now done this sort of thing TWICE, with Jim (rotary vs. vibe with and
without preinfusion), I can say that it takes on the order of two full days
of two person's time, just for the testing and not counting the time I'd
spend roasting the coffee.

Do you think they did THAT? If they have, I'd like to be spared the trouble
because I'd not see any point in repeating "old news." I would not regard a
regimen not using paired simultaneous shots as being valid unless tasters of
the caliber of say, Barry, were doing the tasting.

ken




     
Date: 29 Nov 2006 17:40:17
From: bernie
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
Ken Fox wrote:
> "Craig Andrews" <alt.coffee@deletethis.rogers.com> wrote in message
> news:4t62r0F12q0kkU1@mid.individual.net...
>
>>>We are contemplating a simple study of paired shots comparing previously
>>>frozen to never frozen beans. Stay tuned.
>>>
>>
>>
>>A bunch of guys over on the CG forums have done just that.
>>Craig.
>>
>
>
> Craig,
>
> As Ian said, I'd like to see some links so I can see what they have done.
> That having been said, I doubt anyone has gone to the sort of trouble that
> Jim and I went to on our earlier "studies," nor would go to on the study we
> would do on freezing.
>
>
snips

Ken-there was also some wine tasting in there somewhere, no?
Bernie (statistics, statistics, shtashtistichs)D.


      
Date: 29 Nov 2006 18:53:30
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
"bernie" <bdigman@zianet.com > wrote in message
news:456e2872@nntp.zianet.com...
> > snips
>
> Ken-there was also some wine tasting in there somewhere, no?
> Bernie (statistics, statistics, shtashtistichs)D.

more than "some," however not during the daytime!

ken




    
Date: 29 Nov 2006 19:01:28
From: I->Ian
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
On Wed, 29 Nov 2006 13:45:53 -0500, "Craig Andrews"
<alt.coffee@deletethis.rogers.com > wrote:

>
>A bunch of guys over on the CG forums have done just that.
>Craig.

A link would be a nice gesture


   
Date: 29 Nov 2006 10:26:23
From: Randy G.
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
"Ken Fox" <morceaudemerdeThisMerdeGoes@hotmail.com > wrote:

>
>We are contemplating a simple study of paired shots comparing previously
>frozen to never frozen beans. Stay tuned.
>
That would be very interesting. I would like to hear the results of:
-long-term freezing
-long tem freezing after vac packing
-speed of staling after beans are thawed compared to fresh

You previous tests of vibe vs. rotary were quite interesting, indeed.

Where should we send the liquid nitrogen donations? ;-)


Randy "man, it's cold in here" G.
http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com




 
Date: 29 Nov 2006 09:04:09
From: Randy G.
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
"Omniryx@gmail.com" <Omniryx@gmail.com > wrote:

>...[snip]
>
>I made two doubles of Intelligentsia Omero Blend, four days out from
>roasting. The first one yielded a picture-perfect 25 second pour. The
>second one ran about 20 seconds and had two or three "spurters." A
>reminder to me, were one needed, that I still have much to learn.
>
>Anyway, I took both cups into my study where we were sitting and, on a
>whim, asked him to taste them and tell me the difference. His
>conclusion: Both good. No discernible difference. None.
>

If the micro-sputters are an indication of a problem such as
micro-fracturing of the puck taking place near the end of the shot, I
would say that this defect was not noticed in the cup since nearly the
entire shot had progressed satisfactorily and that these late sputters
would merely add just a tiny bit on under-extracted water to the pull.
"Microscopio Americano"?


Randy "I'll have a tiny American, please" G.
http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com





 
Date: 29 Nov 2006 08:28:15
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
Oops. Obviously that should have been "Oromo". Just washed these
hands; can't do a thing with them.



Omniryx@gmail.com wrote:
> I've used a naked PF since they first became widely known and, over
> time, I've gotten pretty good at producing the kind of flows that one
> could take pictures of. Sometimes.
>
> The other night, I was making shots for a friend and I. He's an
> ex-professional barista, trained in Italy, worked there and in the US,
> now gone on to medical practice. He has the best taste buds of anyone
> I know personally when it comes to coffee.
>
> I made two doubles of Intelligentsia Omero Blend, four days out from
> roasting. The first one yielded a picture-perfect 25 second pour. The
> second one ran about 20 seconds and had two or three "spurters." A
> reminder to me, were one needed, that I still have much to learn.
>
> Anyway, I took both cups into my study where we were sitting and, on a
> whim, asked him to taste them and tell me the difference. His
> conclusion: Both good. No discernible difference. None.
>
> This is about as unscientific a study as one could possibly do; I don't
> need any of you to tell me that. Nonetheless, I found it interesting
> and wondered if anyone would like to comment.



  
Date: 29 Nov 2006 09:37:57
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: An interesting observation, just by chance
Assuming for the moment that the test was scientifically valid, I don't find
the "results" surprising. Firstly, there is not all that much difference
between a 20 or a 25 second pour if final volumes were similar.
Microspritzing is of uncertain importance whereas obvious "gushers" are. A
potentially more revealing test would have been between a 20 second shot and
one taking 35 seconds, although volume considerations would likely render
the latter a ristretto and the former more of a longo, hence biasing the
comparison.

Andy S. has previously told me on more than one occasion that he has been
unable to correlate shot appearance (from a bottomless PF) with taste.
That's more or less my observation as well, however it is easier to
recognize the absolute duds than it is to pick out the great shots on visual
cues alone.

ken



<Omniryx@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1164817695.699818.44770@j44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Oops. Obviously that should have been "Oromo". Just washed these
> hands; can't do a thing with them.
>
>
>
> Omniryx@gmail.com wrote:
>> I've used a naked PF since they first became widely known and, over
>> time, I've gotten pretty good at producing the kind of flows that one
>> could take pictures of. Sometimes.
>>
>> The other night, I was making shots for a friend and I. He's an
>> ex-professional barista, trained in Italy, worked there and in the US,
>> now gone on to medical practice. He has the best taste buds of anyone
>> I know personally when it comes to coffee.
>>
>> I made two doubles of Intelligentsia Omero Blend, four days out from
>> roasting. The first one yielded a picture-perfect 25 second pour. The
>> second one ran about 20 seconds and had two or three "spurters." A
>> reminder to me, were one needed, that I still have much to learn.
>>
>> Anyway, I took both cups into my study where we were sitting and, on a
>> whim, asked him to taste them and tell me the difference. His
>> conclusion: Both good. No discernible difference. None.
>>
>> This is about as unscientific a study as one could possibly do; I don't
>> need any of you to tell me that. Nonetheless, I found it interesting
>> and wondered if anyone would like to comment.
>