Here we go, lets try and throw up some controversy. The God Shot. Is there REALLY any need?
I don't think so. Making a good cup of coffee is a well documented art now. With all the books out there, all the fantastic barista trainers, online resources, etc there is no excuse for making consistently crap coffee. But as any self-respecting pro-barista can tell you, the God Shot is not simply a good cup of coffee. It's an experience that transcends the usual coffee shop coffee. Flavours should explode in the mouth, and it certainly should be one of those memories which remains with you for the rest of your life. The only problem is that it's impossible to achieve consistently.
Making a good cup of coffee is entirely dependent upon your ability to control certain variables such as water temperature, the consistency of the grind, the distribution of the coffee in the puck before and after tamping, the pressure with which you tamp, and the amount of coffee grounds and water used to make the shot. The God Shot is made when by some utter fluke the barista manages to control every one of these variables. Therefore it is impossible to reproduce over and over again.
But why not strive for the God Shot I hear you say? Because I feel it gets in the way. Rather than sit around as coffee professionals at point of sale, or at home trying to make the perfect shot with what we have, why not put that effort into sorting out the coffee at Origin, making a real effort to give farmers a fair price for the coffee we all love so much. Or why not spend that time teaching home baristas, or amateur coffee lovers how to make good coffee with their little press pot, or their little Gaggia semi-auto. Education is what we as an industry need to concentrate on; both technique and the ethics behind commodity trading. Yes, good coffee is what I want to see, but lets start by educating people how to make good coffee before we sit around deciding how to make the perfect coffee.
There, your thought for the day.