I was the Coffee Specialist at Starbucks from 1987 (the original 12 stores) through 1993 (163 stores, company going public) and among my responsibilities were choosing all of the commercial brewing equipment and specifiying standards and recipes for its use.
While Starbucks had been in existence since 1971, the first espresso machine was installed in a store only in 1985, so these were heady days. I was confronted with a hodgepodge of La Marzoccos, Rancilios and Faemas and the pressing need to give our baristas the best tools possible during a time of explosive growth.
Italy had plenty of busy espresso bars, but the demands we were placing on equipment were unprecedented. Two four-group Lineas were installed at our Columbia Center store, which handled upwards of 6,000 customers a day (80% of them between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m.). This was a store where a half-gallon of milk disappeared in, literally, seconds, during the morning rush, and where awesome baristas could single-handedly operate a four-group machine making shots on all four groups while steaming milk in two-liter pitchers for the huge line of customers snaking out in front of them. Impeccable quality combined with staggering quanitities of precisely pulled shots and perfectly steamed milk were the requirements, and we would never have been able to meet the demands without the Linea machines.
Ok. So this update is a long time in coming; the summary of our casual experiments with different microbial agents in coffee. Lots of people have been asking about this, and I hate to have taken so long, but enough excuses.
And, before the summary proper, one disclaimer: this is not good…