Espresso Vs. Drip Conclusion

Author: george Posted: January 12, 2010

The poll has been closed, with 201 voters.

Espresso ended with 90 votes or 45%.
Drip ended with 111, or 55%.

I will let the poll speak for itself, and you can take from it whatever conclusion you like, but I will just say one thing.

Almost any coffee bar I have ever visited is not laid out in a way that represents those results.  Drip takes the back seat in virtually every single coffee shop, while the espresso machine sits up top the counter, practically beaming with a pride that borderlines vanity.

And here we have a poll of 201 coffee drinkers with a slight majority favoring drip.  Even if the results were 50/50, or 60/40 in favor for espresso, the fact is that drip doesn’t get represented fairly.

Does this mean it’s time to take the espresso machine out back Office Space style?  Of course not – and I drink/taste/make espresso almost daily and will probably continue to do so for the rest of my life – but come on, we can do better.

6 Responses to “Espresso Vs. Drip Conclusion

  1. Final poll: I LOST « daily YHZ espresso says:
  2. Tristan says:

    I would argue that espresso needs to be the focus at any given cafe, simply due to the nature of the beast. A good home set up for espresso is possible, but out of reach for your basic, every-day cafe goer to possess without at least a grand in disposable income lying around. Not to mention the time to perfect the skill set necessary to brew consistently excellent shots. Drip, on the other hand, requires a beautiful bag of coffee, decent grinder, kitchen scale (maybe), a press and hot water. Your set up is cheap, and the skill set is arguably cultural; just about everyone learns how to brew coffee growing up. It just requires some tweaks to get it suited to a varietal or your personal taste.

    Espresso as we know it wouldn’t exist without the prominence it receives at the commercial level, so the undoubted fact that it is the center point in any cafe makes perfect sense to me. However, working hard to ensure that drip coffee in all it’s forms is ‘spoken for’ should be part of any barista’s job. At the cafe, however, i’ll let it take the back seat to espresso and be ready to educate my customers about how to get the most out of their coffee every morning in their kitchen… call it “homework”.

  3. Robert Csar says:

    Cafe’s (particularly North American) are in my mind much too barista-centric. The barista is sitting atop the counter, beaming with pride that borderlines vanity. We need to re-think our values in the cafe – is a skilled barista that can pull consistent shots and pour latte art more important than a dedicated coffee professional that can identify the intrinsic values, inherent flaws, and sublime nuances of a certain varietal?

    I don’t believe any fool can brew a great cup of (drip) coffee… it takes a culmination of experience, heaps of knowledge, perhaps even a visit to origin, a good understanding of roasting, and a refined palate to really be able to present a great cup.

    A pinnacle cafe experience for me is a person that can stand behind the coffee they serve with experience, understanding, and heaps of knowledge… much more important than slinging great shots and steaming nice milk.

    This poll is important because it shows there is a division in values in our community… those who are swayed by the theatre and charisma of a portafilter wielding barista – and those who go deeper into the cup and will take a pass on finicky espresso and truly appreciate the farmer, the roaster, and a good crop.


  4. Anth says:

    Nicey work George.

  5. Tristan says:

    @Robert: Are they mutually exclusive? A good espresso must take the same knowledge, experience, and understanding of its medium as drip does – after all, they’re both coffee.

    How do you pull focus in the cafe away from the barista? The people who are the face of your business create that business; every quality cafe knows it. From personality, to passion to innovation to quirks, the baristi in any cafe create the atmosphere for that cafe and in Vancouver (I imagine it’s the same anywhere, but I can’t comment on that) it’s not always the coffee but the people who make a difference on the floor.

    So then, a skilled barista is not just anybody who can sling great shots and pour great milk and interact with the lives of customers, but also someone willing to go deeper into the cup and appreciate the tradition and journey of any coffee, be it espresso or drip. The theatre and charisma of the portafilter wielding barista, an image I quite like, can be used to draw the customer in, and then educate them about a product that is largely misunderstood and poorly represented.

  6. Jason Coffee says:

    I love both as well. I would be hard pressed to pick one over the other. It really depends on what mood I am in and what time of the day it is. Usually in the morning I enjoy a nice fresh cup of whatever I did a review of the day(s) before. Then in the afternoon I visit a favorite local coffee shop here in Kansas City and get a double espresso or a artfully made cappuccino or latte (with extra shots).

    ROFL at the Office Space Video.

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