It only takes a bit of enthusiasm to get things right. Oh, and some freshly roasted coffee beans!
No matter how good the equipment is you work with, or how wonderfully sweet he water is where you live, if you do not have freshly roasted coffee beans you will get palatable coffee at best, ‘dreck’ at worst.
Did you know that coffee is at its best about 1 week after roasting, stays very nice for about 3 weeks and then deteriorates fast? At 6 weeks post-roast all you have left is a brown bean without any of the wonderful flavor nuances and region-characteristics.
I have spent a lot of time observing people coming into big electrical stores and buying the most expensive or seriously complicated pieces of coffee making equipment: espresso machines, full size cafe-strength super-automatic coffee machines, the whole range of grinders: flat burr-grinders, conical burr-grinders, hand grinders and blade grinders.
Part of the effort the sales team would put into selling their products, was questioning the customer about what he or she would like to achieve with their purchase.
Of course, inevitably the answer centered around: making a nice cup of coffee, and sometimes the customer would even say:” a nice café latte/short black/macchiato like we get at the café”. But, if the sales person tried to explain that fresh coffee beans of certain roast levels are essential for good coffee, and only then will the expensive equipment make good coffee, it was almost as if the customers “switched off” and were not really interested in such a “complication”.
Of course, fearful the sale might escape them, the salesperson would drop the fresh coffee bean-subject and continue to “sell” the espresso machine, drip-olator or super automatic coffee machine the customer was looking at, up-selling with a grinder where possible.
End result: customer going home with equipment which will never be used to its full capacity of producing wonderfully rich, deeply flavored coffee as the only coffee beans which would ever be used would be a bland supermarket blend: stale, oily and rancid, with a shelf life of 6 months or more!!(If coffee 6 weeks post-roast is stale, what do you think coffee roasted 6 (or more) months ago will taste like? )
In the end, inevitably, the expensive equipment ends up in the cupboard, on the rubbish-tip, or gets sold off at the neighborhood junk sale. Great for electrical retailers, not good for the reputation of the makers of the equipment, and sad for all the true coffee-lovers out there.
You know, coffee in all its variations has become such a part of our social fabric it is almost indispensable in our day to day life. If you add up the amount of time you spend making/buying and drinking coffee you will find that it can be more than 90 minutes per day which is quite a long time!
Spend your time wisely. Make, drink and enjoy Great Coffee!