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Espresso in Germany

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:54 pm
by bruceb
For those who can read German or who want to try using the Fish on it there is an article in Der Spiegel here on why espresso in Germany is so bad. The article begins by noting that rather than the sourish filter coffee from the hotplate that one got in the past one now almost always is offered espresso in both cafés and restaurants. It is based on an interview with a moderator of, a German language forum somewhat similar to TMC and ends with the words of the German Barista Champion of 2009 Nana Holthaus-Vehse, namely "Ninety percent of the espresso is appalling."

For those who don't want to bother reading or stumbling through a bad translation here are the all-too-obvious conclusions:

The flavour of much of the espresso can be described as anywhere from rancid to cheesy, like rancid vegetable oil or with the bite of charcoal.

It is almost never the fault of the machine, but rather the fault of the nut behind the portafilter. "In Germany anyone can call themselves a barista if they can press a button." It is generally assumed that "If you can draw a beer you can make an espresso."

Aside from the fact that the operators don't really understand how to operate the machines they also don't clean them and if they do they don't properly rinse the descaler or machine cleaner back out so the coffee has "additives" that rarely improve the flavour.

Fully automatic machines could make a decent cup, but only if they are properly cleaned and adjusted, which they almost never are. Even a representative of Jura in Switzerland says that he is extremely selective about where he orders a cup of coffee when away from home. "Coffee from a dirty machine is pants." Jura even offers an automatic machine that can be adjusted remotely over the internet. If a customer complains the resauranteur can call Jura service and they adjust the machine (How the do that without being able to taste the results is not explained - my comment), however the personnel should be able to do that themselves (obviously).

Peculiarly, there is no note of stale or poor quality beans.

So there you are. It's truly a bleak scene, as I've been bemoaning the last years. Perhaps an article in Der Spiegel will be a wake-up call to the masses who drink the swill they're offered and never note how terrible it is.

RE: Espresso in Germany

PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:33 pm
by canto
I read the article and I know the situation in Germany because for my Italian company is a very important market. I agree that the 90% of the espresso is terrible, but I have to say that we can also found very good espresso, often better than the Italians, and I find (I'm just lucky?) several baristas able to speak about which blend are using and why. They know that a Mexican coffee is different from an Indian one.
There is a lot of interest around espresso even at home. We have a coffee school and recently I have had a guy from Munich that has brought at the course (in Florence!) his espresso machine, to try mounting milk with that machine!
Look also here, is really a temple of Espresso! ... -best-bar/

RE: Espresso in Germany

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:41 pm
by CakeBoy
There does appear to be an extremely low percentage of outlets producing even passable espresso in many parts of the world. Stale beans are a problem and so is inconsistency in quality between staff members. We clearly have a long way to go before half decent espresso can be expected de rigeur :(

PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:03 am
by liquidmonkey
Bruce everything you have said about the quality of expresso in Germany is equally true, if not more so in the UK. In fact I have had some very decent espresso in München, but perhaps with its Italianate influences this is the exception to the rule.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:29 pm
by atlantis
Didn't read the article but was in Germany (Berlin) a couple months ago and found God Shot decent but not brilliant everything else was pretty horrible, was cursing my self for not taking my aeropress with me...

PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:24 pm
by TrevorH
Bonanza Coffee Heroes, Berlin!

Re: Espresso in Germany

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:38 am
by canto66
Anybody visited this place:
Mod's edit: Shill posting advertising relating to own coffee firm. Link deleted. Please read the FAQ and respect our no advertising rules, thank you.

Re: Espresso in Germany

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:57 pm
by Chris
Look out for anywhere selling JB Kaffee ( Very good indeed.