Carrie Bradstrada is a New York based writer and blogger. Her first contribution was well received last June, and since then she’s been away from her desk on a series of unlikely around-the-world getaways with her three wealthy girlfriends.

"Men, like Starbucks retail stores, are all the same."

In the coffee industry these days, it seems like everyone’s surfing. We’re surfing group temperatures, surfing the web, and surfing to ride as far as the third wave will take us. And now, everyone’s surfing to find that perfect pressure profile. But like Nick Cho says, we can’t sacrifice good for perfect. Take New York City: it’s beautiful, but far from perfect. No one eats Breakfast at Tiffany’s and we don’t have Affairs To Remember. Personally, I’d rather remember the names of my favorite micro-lots and forget about last night all together. But sometimes, when you surf the waves of life and coffee, you can wind up crashed out on the beach.

My name is Carrie Bradstrada, and I have a problem: I’m addicted to espresso machines. It’s one of those addictions, like Jimmy Choos or silver foxes, where at times you almost feel like it’s good for you, like you can wear it well. After all, I’m the sort of girl who likes my money where I can see it: on a sleek, modern espresso bar. When it comes to espresso machines, I’ve been around the block more times than I’d like to count – you know, the old standards, the new flings, the great lost weekend I spent with Kees van der Westen back in the late 90s. The heart wants what it wants, and these days mine just happens to be crushing on the brand new Strada EP from La Marzocco. Wear Prada, pull Strada: it’s a mantra for the modern coffee lover, the kind who wants it all.

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It is so refreshing to pull shots with a machine that thinks outside the box. But there’s so many different schools of thought on how to profile, and I haven’t even enrolled! That’s why I wanted to dish with you on the new feature over at He’s got some really interesting things to say about pressure profiling, heat, and ratios, and well, who doesn’t love a fascinating man? James is an old friend of mine, and you know what they say: fashion is a cycle, but some things – diamonds, cosmo flirtinis, Tim Wendelboe, James Hoffmann – never go out of style.

So far, so obvious (I think) – but it is worth taking a step back and looking at modern espresso. We are using the same machines to brew 40-50% more ground coffee with 50-70% less water. As a result most brewed and served like this is going to be under extracted. It will be dense, thick, creamy espresso – but it could be so much better. Some argue that shots like these have an unpleasant acidity that we’ve gotten used to, the way that people who deal with very dark roasted coffee might become accustomed to high levels of bitterness.

Warning: when James claims that “things might get a little nerdy”, you should believe him. Sorry ladies, he’s taken, and believe me, no one is sadder about that fact than me. No matter how bad we might want to change the past, all we have is the future, and maybe, just maybe, our pressure profiles – like our lost loves and missed chances – will make more sense with time.

Read James Hoffmann’s post “Continued Thoughts On Pressure Profiling.

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