Some Starbucks in Malaysia no longer sells espresso. Some newer outlet (like the one in Pavilion) and some renovated outlets like the one in Mid-Valley have change their excellent Espresso machine to a Super-Auto Coffee Machine.
Do they still sells espresso? Yes, on the menu. But in actual sense, they may not be selling you espresso at all. Why? Because they can no longer make espresso.
Espresso basically refers to a method of making coffee. Therefore, to make espresso, there are a certain widely recognized standards accepted worldwide.
Therefore, to make a proper espresso you should fulfill the following:-
1. Necessary portion of coffee. 7g for a single shot.
2. Temperature from grouphead: 88 to 92 degree Celsius.
3. Entry water pressure at 9 bar ±1.
4. Extraction time at 25 seconds ±2.
5. Volume: 25ml to 30ml.
Of course not everyone agrees to the standards of making a proper espresso. Variation exist. Some people updose the coffee to 8g. Some people practice extraction time between 18 to 24 seconds, others practice 23 to 30 seconds.
Generally, extraction time over 30 seconds will produce bitter coffee (over extraction). Anything lower than 18 seconds will produce espresso that is bland or sour (under extraction). Personally I prefer mine between 23 to 28 seconds.
So, what has all these to do with Starbucks. I was at the Pavilion 2 days ago. I thought, well since they put in the new machine, does it making more consistent drinks?
And horror of horrors. Espresso produce in less than 13 seconds. I think it may be even lower still. What kind of espresso is that? I actually ordered a cappuccino. Yucks, i’m not drinking coffee man. I’m just drinking milk. It was horrible. What am I gonna do? Last time, I can just ask the machine attendant (they called themselves “barista”) do redo a drink. They can always adjust the grind or increase the tamping pressure.
But now, its a Super-Auto. They can’t do shit. No calibration allowed. So there you go. RM 10 Ringgit for a cup of milk plus some added coffee water (I can’t call them espresso).
Can you imagine this? Cappuccino is espresso with frothed milk. But if you don’t make espresso anymore, what do you call that “drink”. I called it “Weak Coffee plus milk”.
Wanna get an espresso? Latte? Cappuccino? Go to Gloria Jeans, Dome, San Francisco Coffee. Not Starbucks. At least not the new outlet with Super-Auto machine.