Bunn Trifecta

press, drip, syphon, clover

Bunn Trifecta

Postby Alistair Durie on Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:27 pm

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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Mike White on Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:34 am

The turbulence stage uses air to agitate, which reminded me of this post by James:

http://www.jimseven.com/2010/02/05/aerated-coffee/

I can't say too much about the cup quality, I only played with it for about an hour. I was able to produce some tasty cups, but with coffee I was unfamiliar with.

I wish I had a Mojo to play with. Andy?
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby phaelon56 on Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:13 am

I think the aeration factor deserves more investigation. I did a non-blind A/B tasting last weekend with a few food savvy but non-coffee biz friends. We brewed a Mexican Nayarit dry process (reminiscent of a good Sidamo) in a vac pot with glass rod and in a Clever Dripper at the same time. The Clever makes good coffee but the vac pot brew was the unanimous winner. I think the aeration cause both by the initial stirring and the air flowing up from lower chamber is most likely the factor that produced a more pleasing brew in the vac pot.

One might reasonably attribute the difference in flavor clarity to the difference between paper filter and glass rod but the vac pot coffee was notably sweeter and I think aeration is a likely factor.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby nick on Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:11 am

On the other hand, (not that we're choosing 'camps,' but) I'm on Team Turbulence.

Time, temperature, turbulence. The three-T's. There's no A (for aeration) :P.

Point is, you can't raise the temps to shorten time... that's something everyone can agree on. Perhaps more controversial would be that I don't think that you can just grind finer to shorten the brew time... some would disagree.

But turbulence is, in certain ways, a holy-grail of brewing filter coffee. Anyone experienced with Aeropress and siphon/vacpot stirring (or french press for that matter) knows that more stirring = turbulence = more extraction. Essentially, the kinetic energy added turbulence is the one thing that actually could shorten brew time. Problem is, we've all heard stories of years of stirring-practice by Japanese siphon-istas... it's super-hard to create a [url]consistent[/url] amount of turbulence by manual stirring.

I believe that automated turbulence, if done well, is the key to unlock the faster brew times that everyone seems to be after, without the resulting sad under-extracted cup (that everyone seems to be making :shock: :wink:).

I'm dying to get some time to play with the Trifecta for this reason. Until then, I'll reserve judgement about whether or not it can brew properly, but turbulence is definitely the bees' knees!
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Mike White on Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:15 am

Here's a video. They don't actually show very much, but if you've never seen it before....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en7OBk8Dens
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Mike White on Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:27 am

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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Brett Hanson on Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:34 am

From this customer's perspective (all the way on the other coast), it looks like a swing and a miss for Bunn.

Oh, yeah, Customers.
From the photos, it looks like customers are presented with a wall of plastic on their side of the counter. Prior to seeing the photos, I was wondering aloud this morning about what customers actually desire to pay for when we order coffee? Is is the drink? Or the experience? It's both really, but I'm curious about the breakdown. My first guess is half the perceived value of a by-the-cup coffee drink is connected to watching it being prepared, though I think that varies depending on the drink. As currently designed, the trifecta offers no value to the customer. For all the customer knows, a Mr Coffee is hidden behind that plastic shroud.

Contrast the trifecta with clover- where the barista interacts with the coffee and the top of the machine is low enough that a conversation can be had over it- a conversation educating the customer about the drink they're about to have and maybe helping the customer buy some whole bean coffee to take home. See what's missing?

But- you say, the trifecta will be cheaper than clover. Fine, contrast the customer interaction of the trifecta with that of a $3 melitta pourover- yeah, still less. Customer perceived value of the trifecta coffee (before drinking it)- $0.

The trifecta is neither good enough (on the customer interaction side) or cheap enough to displace any coffee equipment currently behind the counter.

Operators.
Why is there a portafilter on this machine? What does this say about Bunn's impression of their perspective clients? I don't see why Bunn would insist on grafting the portafilter analogy onto this wholly different device. Have we not reached our RDA of carpal tunnel?

I'm really interested in hearing impressions from folks who have used the trifecta. There's no reason this device can't be designed (or iterated) from the ground up to minimize movement and possible sources of barista injury.

I'm also curious about how folks feel about pressing buttons. It seems like quality coffee is moving to simpler, classic brewing methods that involve baristas manually interacting with the coffee whereas the trifecta turns the barista into a button-presser. Is the coffee actually so good that it will usher in the end of the barista? I doubt it.

I think the folks here are focusing on the details of the brewing method and what's in the cup, but ignoring the bigger picture. Don't make excuses for this machine. If it doesn't add value to your business, tell Bunn now so that it gets changed or move on with your other pourover, siphon, etc plans. As currently designed, I don't see how this logically fits into any quality coffee operation, maybe Dunkin, though.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby phaelon56 on Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:19 pm

nick wrote:O

Time, temperature, turbulence. The three-T's. There's no A (for aeration) :P.



You say three T's and I say T & A :wink: ...

I see your point but what I'm thinking of is turbulence cause by moving air rather than mechanical stirring[/quote]

Point is, you can't raise the temps to shorten time... that's something everyone can agree on. Perhaps more controversial would be that I don't think that you can just grind finer to shorten the brew time... some would disagree.


Siphon coffee is not targeting shorter brew times as Clover was and now the Trifecta is. It has more to do with the full and even extraction produced by full immersion and the movement of the grounds throughout the water. It's really a different conversation than this one.

... it's super-hard to create a consistent amount of turbulence by manual stirring.


That's where the use of air to do a pulsed, repeated and programmable turbulence looks as though it can be of benefit in systems like Trifecta. In siphon coffee I suspect the stirring produces benefit when done only a few times during the four minutes or so of brew time and simply increases how thorough and even the extraction is.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby John P on Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:44 pm

RE:Trifecta
My thought is: Outside of the espresso machine, I've yet to see a brewing device over $100 that has a value equal to that paid. Press, Eva Solo, Melitta, Siphon, Clever, Chemex, and even Aeropress... everything except some decked out Siphon is easily below $100. What coffee brewing apparatus over $100 produces results equal to the price? C'mon... name it.

RE: Turbulence. (Stirring) Two reasons.
1. Establish an equilibrium of temperature.
2. Control extraction.
Depends on flavor characteristics of the coffee. The amount of Turbulence (stirring) and minimal Temperature change can result in a coffee that hits the sweet spot, or one that's gone wrong.

RE: Time ... To anyone brewing a four minute Siphon... WTF? Remind me so I can go elsewhere for coffee.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Jim Saborio on Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:28 pm

Sometimes I wonder if the secret of the syphon lies more in its stable brew temperature than in the bubbles.

I do know that too many bubbles = bad syphon. Is that a heat or turbulence issue? Dunno.

I believe that a relatively affordable contraption could be made to repeatedly and reliably do what my staff does when making 100+ pour-overs a day. duh.

Why would anyone need an automated French press, though? Build us a decent water tower!
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby phaelon56 on Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:44 pm

John P wrote:RE: Time ... To anyone brewing a four minute Siphon... WTF? Remind me so I can go elsewhere for coffee.


My four minutes is the elapsed time from when a bit of liquid appears in the upper vessel until the coffee has finished going back south. Dunno about the total time up top as I have not measured but I'll guess at about two minutes. I just started making vac pot coffee again after not having done so for several years. Obviously you're targeting a much shorter brew time.

Back to the Trifecta.... should I assume that it's like Clover in that it requires an inordinate charge weight of coffee to the amount of water? (relative to other brewing methods)
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby nick on Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:21 pm

phaelon56 wrote:My four minutes is the elapsed time from when a bit of liquid appears in the upper vessel until the coffee has finished going back south. Dunno about the total time up top as I have not measured but I'll guess at about two minutes. I just started making vac pot coffee again after not having done so for several years. Obviously you're targeting a much shorter brew time.

For the record, my 3.5 minute (from dosing coffee to "bubbling" after drawdown is complete) siphons taste totally badass. I've noticed some people timing their siphons from dose to heat removal, with the drawdown adding another minute or more. Strange that there doesn't seem to be consensus on this... seems obvious that you'd want to time the total water-coffee contact time.

Regarding aeration, even Hoffmann in the relevant blog post noted that he wasn't sure if aeration had positive effects aside from merely cooling the coffee to a more palatable temperature.

Owen, "liquid appears in the upper vessel?" Let that water git all the way up there and then throw them coffee grounds in!

phaelon56 wrote:Back to the Trifecta.... should I assume that it's like Clover in that it requires an inordinate charge weight of coffee to the amount of water? (relative to other brewing methods)

Shouldn't, and the Clover didn't "require" it either. Folks often over-dosing their Clover brews to try to compensate for shorter brew time. You could simply brew a Gold Cup standard on a Clover if you wanted... nobody seemed to want to though. :cry:

Jim Saborio: what's wrong with your water tower?

John P: Why say "outside of the espresso machine?" I've never tried it, but apparently the MyPressi spanks most all comers! Anyway, if you're gonna compare prices, then you need to factor in the payroll costs involved in training and staffing someone to make comparable-quality coffee with robotic consistency. While I don't aspire to assemble a staff of mere button-pushers, I think the Trifecta might be on the right track for the next couple echelons.

Brett Hanson: Why so much hate for a machine that it sounds like you've never actually encountered?

--

I'm all for technology and automation, so long as the quality is there. Clover had/has inherent design flaws that have always baffled me (retention of brewed coffee, the maddening screen issues, etc.). Even those which were fixed in subsequent iterations still bug me. How could they not have known that the super-PID temp controlled water would cool down if dispersed in the original Clover 1's spray design? What does that say about their understanding of brewing?

I'm hopeful about the Trifecta (though I did like the "Bubbler" name better). If it can produce a badass cup reliably, quickly, with relatively little trouble, and at a reasonable price point (I still don't remember seeing a price-point anywhere), then I think that's a good thing. If it can get the job done better than without, or easier than without, isn't that good?
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Jim Saborio on Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:07 am

nick wrote:Strange that there doesn't seem to be consensus on this... seems obvious that you'd want to time the total water-coffee contact time.

Could it be that this is one of those super-complex brew methods one learns on their own, without as much dogma in the way? Maybe if Shomer made a Professional Syphon Techniques video we would all have a more common ground as to what is "right" and "wrong".

I was goofing with a moka pot a few months ago and discovered I could get remarkably different cups by varying the grind and dose. Both tasted correct, one was thinner and one was thicker. We do a shorter syphon dwell time at our shop because it is a capability exclusive to the syphon (perhaps?) and makes a cup much different from the other brew methods we offer (press & pour-over).

I'm sure Nick's syphons taste badass... on a good day, mine do too. A syphon is little more than a finicky cup of super thermo-stable hot water. I'm sure there is quite a range of grinds and doses that could result in a proper cup.

To tie this into the Trifecta thread:
I think it's sensible to be very skeptical about this contraption, in a way a lot of us weren't about the Clover. I hope this machine will make sense in terms of drama, labor, cost, repeatability and foremost cup quality. My to-order presses seem to be doing fine in regards to the aforementioned criteria as-is.

The play-out of Clover has thankfully changed how we see these devices. Glad it happened when it did. Now, I actually own a shop that brews by-the-cup exclusively. I could make use of an automated brewer and will if it can out-preform what I'm doing now. Bunn has a lot of Clover rubble to climb over to reach its market. Post-Clover I am much less apt to rely on the judgment of people I trust in the industry. The proof will have to come in the cup, and in the machine's ability to provide a versatile, proper brewing platform.

At least with this machine there isn't a face tied to it in this community to make us feel bad about pointing out its shortcomings.

nick wrote:Owen, "liquid appears in the upper vessel?" Let that water git all the way up there and then throw them coffee grounds in!

I agree with Nick, but I've seen several videos of Taiwanese & Japanese "masters" doing otherwise. Why?

nick wrote:Jim Saborio: what's wrong with your water tower?

Right: temp is adjustable from the front of the machine, it gives a fairly accurate real-time reading of the water coming out of the tap, 220V with a 2 gallon tank for faster recovery and greater stability.
Wrong: it is a machine intended to deliver water occasionally, and we ride it hard. From what I understand, upgrading to a larger capacity boiler (in terms of gallons) is not a solution and may cause larger variations in temperature and greater recovery times.

-
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby terry on Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:41 am

In my ridiculous opinion. I think Bunn looks like they might be late for the party once again. Bunn is a follower, and very rarely a leader in these days of specialty coffee.

It appears that they have created an automatic brewer that uses all of the features of a vac pot less the vacuum.

To tall, too much plastic, silly handle, blah, blah, blah. Third wave shops, this machine is the anti Clover, and yes the industry can do way better than this.

I do hope that Bunn finds the right customer for this device, however I don't think you will find this at Espressoparts, or any of our affiliated shops.

Fetco, please answer the call.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Reggie on Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:46 pm

Bunn has built a machine which can produce a cup comparable to the Clover, and in a similar time-frame. Sure, there are still some kinks to be ironed out, but we were still ironing out our Clover-related issues a good 12 months after we first started using them in our Manhattan store.

The Trifecta or the Clover may not be for every store, but I do not yet know of any manual alternative which could allow one barista too reliably and consistently brew-to-order 40+ cups/hour during peak rush periods from a menu of 3 to 4 coffee (with slight brew variations in each).

As with the Clover, the Trifecta requires coffee to be profiled beforehand in order to accentuate the individual characteristics of each. Contrary to some of the views expressed in this thread, it is a little more involved than just pushing buttons. I don’t think Dunkin Donuts would be a natural home for this brewer – too much coffee knowledge is required in order to use it properly.

There is a surprising rush to judgment in this thread by so-called professionals who have not even seen the machine first hand, or tasted what it can produce. Give it time.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Alistair Durie on Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:46 pm

Reggie wrote:There is a surprising rush to judgment in this thread by so-called professionals who have not even seen the machine first hand, or tasted what it can produce. Give it time.


Déjà vu!

Though I agree the look of plastic in a tall shape is immediately unappealing. The lack of sex appeal is not surprising from Bunn, but in the wake of Clover its still very surprising this arrives with a design like it came from a team who have been locked up in a basement these past 15 years.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Oliver on Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:20 am

Such a fast rush to judgement!

Who cares what it looks like really, at this point it could be tailored to look good according to a customers specs.

What about the coffee quality? Is that not really the most important thing?

I still think coffee by the cup in a fast brew time is the holy grail.
It seems good that the more manufactures who look to solve this, the better for the industry as a whole, and the closer everyone gets to coffee by the cup that truly does taste good the better for everyone.

Sorry Boss :oops: TZ
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby terry on Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:12 am

Let's say that while I prefer not to "rush" to judge this device,I really was hoping for advancement in brewing technology. The device has been spoken of for over two years with at least one false announcement of unveiling by Bunn.

I simply expect more from a company with vast resources of R&D. Blue lights and bubbling chambers appear to only offer an wiz bang effect rather than brewing technology.

Bunn has a past history of trying to "fit in" to things they don't really understand. Remeber the attempt to market the industry with Spanish built private label Gaggia machines? Then the next attempt with the Espressimo brass dome 100 volt espresso failure. All of these devices came to market and failed under the direction of Bunn. Not only did the products fail, but Bunn abandoned those who actually bought and paid for the programs instituted by Bunn.

So, let's say the coffee is good, just for the sake of being positive. Taste of course is the measure that we live and die by at EP and OCRC. Electronic feedback measurement devices and calculated figures only offer slight insight into brewing methods, and taste should be the true measurement. If this device does prepare a coffee with the ability to highlight the positive attributes of each varietal, then Bunn hit the mark.

I suspect that Bunn actually had little to do with the advent of the Trifecta, and that it is manufactured by a third party. The current range of super auto "Tiger" branded machines is manufactured by Thermoplan, in Switzerland.

Not trying to be negative about the device, just wish that one of the large brewer companies would scan the patents of past devices, and create "the" next big step of single cup brewing.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Andy Schecter on Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:43 pm

terry wrote:I really was hoping for advancement in brewing technology....Blue lights and bubbling chambers appear to only offer an wiz bang effect rather than brewing technology


My understanding is that the bubbling is about thorough, programmable, consistent agitation of grounds in the brew chamber. And it avoids the "carryover into the next batch" issue that stirring paddles would create.

Of course I haven't tasted the coffee -- but if it reduces brew time and produces a quality cup, the Trifecta sure sounds like an advancement in brewing technology to me.

If you don't like blue lights, Terry, why not special-order a different color? 8)
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Brett Hanson on Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:02 am

nick wrote:Why so much hate for a machine that it sounds like you've never actually encountered?


I have no hate for this device. I just don't see how it can augment the coffee program of anyone here (except Dunkin). I, too, was surprised that I could sit at my computer and already realize that it likely won't work.

It doesn't support customer engagement or interaction, likely costs too much (relative to benefit), and doesn't appear to pay attention to the current trends in delivering quality coffee.

At this point, I'm just a geeky coffee customer. If it doesn't satisfy me (and my wallet), how can it hope to satisfy your coffee business bottom line (see- there I am again)?
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Andy Schecter on Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:15 pm

Brett Hanson wrote:I have no hate for this device. I just don't see how it can augment the coffee program of anyone here....It doesn't support customer engagement or interaction, likely costs too much (relative to benefit), and doesn't appear to pay attention to the current trends in delivering quality coffee.


I don't think you're really talking about DELIVERING quality coffee. I believe what you actually have in mind are current trends in SELLING "quality" coffee:
--stylish cafes with cool-looking equipment
--good-looking, personable staff trained to "engage" the customer
--focus on coffee farmers and their terroir
--polished raps about Fair/Direct Trade, social awareness, eco-consciousness
--ritualized beverage-making methods that imply obsession with detail

My main point? These trends, seemingly crucial to success in the Starbucks-dominated marketplace, have only a limited overlap with current trends in DELIVERING quality coffee.

What you've said is that if one wants to SELL quality properly, there's no place for a plastic, unsexy device that just might MAKE coffee properly.

I find your rush to judgment really disappointing, but hey, that's what our modern marketing world has come to.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Brett Hanson on Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:33 pm

Andy Schecter wrote:I don't think you're really talking about DELIVERING quality coffee. I believe what you actually have in mind are current trends in SELLING "quality" coffee:


Am I missing something? If you're unable to SELL quality coffee, how long will you be in the business of DELIVERING quality coffee?

EXCEPTION- If the trifecta is aimed at the same market as the speedster (the Mark Princes of the world- count em on your fingers and toes), then you're correct- none of my complaints apply. OR if this is a testing tool for roasters, my criticism also would not apply; seems like the roaster would want to replicate what's in use at her customers' sites, though.

Your "trends in selling coffee", while true, appear to cast the folks who follow them (pretty much everybody here) in a bad light; saying they're somehow less worthy because they appreciate both form AND function or that having a clean, attractive bar/cafe means that your quality is only skin deep. C'mon. I challenge you to find someone who can build a successful coffee business in today's environment on top of a cardboard box-- 4 barrel's alley is elegantly simple, not somehow lacking in the chrome you allege.

Yes, I'm rushing to judgement, but I think the facts support my conclusion already, even if we limit the discussion to DELIVERING quality coffee. If a coffee brewer can't pass the giggle-test, is it really worth a lot of consideration? Ex/ if you're driving a dependable $16k honda civic and some dealer tries to talk you into a $160k ferrari only to have it stall and fail during your test drive, are you really going to flip up the hood at the dealer and sweat to make it work as well as your honda? Or will you declare it probably not worth your time and continue on your merry way?
(1) There exist several high BUSINESS hurdles (a few below) for ANY new device to make it into anyone's coffee program. Consider slayer, whose widely (wildly?) discussed price tag is really not much more than a marzocco-- there's a mental barrier for its adoption and YET it's not even a new brewing device/category, it's an update to something that has a home on everyone's bar by default.
(a) physical space
(b) equipment cost
(c) infrastructure install cost
(d) ongoing utility cost
(e) ongoing staff training and calibration cost

(2) I would also argue there's a CUSTOMER hurdle-- in order for a new brewing device to succeed (taste sufficiently better such that a customer will pay a premium for the coffee), it must deliver a product that's 10x better than what's already available on the market. Is the trifecta's brew 10x better? 2x better? As good? I would actually have been ecstatic if folks had flooded this thread with glowing reviews of the coffee. I fear the silence is making my point for me.

In the aftermath of clover (I mean the disillusionment by this community with its cost/benefit, not the acquisition by sbux) and in the context of the current economy (BOTH the interest in cheaper coffee AND the hunt for authenticity that's connected with simple, show-me brewing methods like pourover and siphon), I think I'm not the only one that's skeptical about magical new brewing devices whose results can be matched by existing devices that are several orders of magnitude cheaper.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby nick on Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:06 pm

Sorry Brett, but I see a bunch of flaws in your argument here and I'll leave it at that.

What I know is that four times today, in different retail/cafe/restaurant settings, I fantasized about how awesome it would be to see a Trifecta in there... but IF, and ONLY IF the Trifecta can be dialed-in without too much trouble to make kick-ass coffee.

I'ma gonna say it: I love the existing manual brewing methods at home. I love them to tweak and such with fellow coffee folks. I love teaching people how to use them. I hate them in retail environments.

On the most part, be it a Hario V60, Chemex, siphon, Beehouse, etc., I hate them all. Most of them can indeed make kick-butt coffee, but they're often too much trouble and/or there's too much room for error. I still 'heart' the Abid Clever because it's the most idiot-proof that I've seen, and God knows, I can be an idiot. Often.

All said, I hope to encounter this "Trifecta" this weekend at Coffeefest. I am bringing a small bag of coffee beans which I am familiar with, solely to encounter this "Trifecta." If you don't hear back from me by Saturday, please tell my daughters I love them.
Nick Cho
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Jim Saborio on Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:30 am

nick wrote:On the most part, be it a Hario V60, Chemex, siphon, Beehouse, etc., I hate them all. Most of them can indeed make kick-butt coffee, but they're often too much trouble and/or there's too much room for error.


Thanks Nick! That's just the prompting I need to get rid of my damned espresso machine... it takes too long to train people on it properly and there are too many variables to fuss with.

I hated that thing anyway. :roll:


.......................
Ok, that was a bit dumb, but... it often seems to me that people are not willing to put as much effort into drip as they are into espresso. Why is that? Is training and maintaining a quality by-the-cup brewed coffee program really such an insurmountable task?

In espresso, no one (who belongs in THIS community) would ever find it acceptable to say "we're doing this: it can't achieve the same cup quality, but it's more consistent overall and it requires less skill and training".

This is another thread, isn't it?
Last edited by Jim Saborio on Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
-JIm

...aaannndd the Starbucks down the street just got a Clover
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby nick on Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:31 am

Jim, reading through your friendly sarcasm, you're *comparing apples to wrenches.

____________
* Inmanism
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