Canadian Business magazine recently reposted a 2001 article on the deep and seemingly bottomless pit of home espresso perfectionism (something I can identify with all too well): A cuppa perfection | After Hours | Gotta Have It | Canadian Business Online. The article is even more accurate today than it was when first published.

It all innocently starts, of course, with a quality home espresso machine. Which is, quite naturally, wholly incomplete without also a high quality grinder and fresh beans. Next there’s roasting your own beans for the ultimate freshness in small batches. And then there’s often revisiting the espresso machine all over again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It’s this relentless pursuit of higher standards that has made me question the value of super-automatic machines in the big scheme of things. All the best baristas who have ever served me have invariably tossed out several shots during their preparations — because some of their pulls just did not meet their standards. Call me a Luddite, but I’m not so sure that level of quality control and perfectionism is something that will ever be automated.