Friday, December 10, 2004


would be laughable if it weren't so sad

i hate to sound like an obnoxious coffee snot, but slate knows nothing about espresso machines. this is frankly the worst review ever, and leaves me with new-found respect for the merely off-base consumer reports.

by the errors in the article, the "reviewer" clearly makes a total ignorance of espresso known. the writer clearly demonstrates no knowledge of espresso preparation, which completely explains why the article recommends what is objectively the worst machine.

an espresso machine is an expensive and long-lasting purchase. it's complicated just to learn what the features you should loook for are and why a reasonable person would choose one over the other.

all discussions of these machines have to include mentions of espresso grinders -- you need one! -- and the fact that it takes about 2 weeks of clueful practice to learn to pull a minimally acceptable espresso properly.

since the author obviously never learned anything about coffee, the article ends up recommending the one machine that doesn't actually make real espresso, but is no doubt the "easiest" to use.

further, his second recommendation is a poor machine, but one that looks cool (the francis! francis!). what appears to be his third recommendation (the gaggia) is actually probably the best machine for most people of all those mentioned.

while the appearance of the machine is important in your kitchen, no doubt, it is far from the most important aspect in a machine choice.

i'm still stunned that the piece fails to explain the basic categories or technologies of machines, why anyone would choose among them, and never mentions crucial things like the boiler (how many? what size?), milk steaming capacity, quality of parts, heat exchanger or not?, etc.

the author did so little legwork these factors were not even discovered, much less discussed. the slate editors should be demanding their money back.

dear readers, ignore this piece of junk. if you're seeking reasonable and knowledgeable advice on an espresso machine purchase, i highly recommend you rush over to alt.coffee and make your request there.

explain how many cups of espresso or cappuccino you expect to make in a day, whether you already have an espresso grinder, what your tolerance for learning to make espresso yourself is, your general budget, etc.

this will allow us alties and scaa consumer members to offer you a list of sensible choices and vendors. you can also give yourself a quick pre-education by checking out the reviews at coffeegeek.

as an scaa consumer liasion, i would love to see slate correct and improve this article to disseminate better information about espresso machine choices to its readers.

posted by fortune | 10:19 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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