David's Blog

Vivace Pro Barista Training

Finally pro baristi from all over the world can learn the secrets of Vivace extraction techniques and latte art. Nuova Simonelli has supported this program with the installation of a new, modifies T3.

First classes are

June 22, 23, and 24th.
July 27, 28, and 29th

For more information visit espressovivace.com/training or email trainer@espressovivace.com


Home machine-Breville

Breville of Australia has created a home espresso machine they call the Dual Boiler. It makes a fine shot, really fine, and costs about $1300

I have had this in m

I have had this in my kitchen for 6 weeks, shots are amazing.


The company, located in Australia, offered me this machine to check out recently.  I had been using LaMarzocco’s GS3 for years but it is oversized for my teeny place, (and it was very loud in a buzzy, leaf blower way), so I agreed to check this out.  Of course, I was not expecting much for $1700…delightfully I was spectacularly wrong.  This machine makes better shots than the GS3.

To start they have a PID controlled  heating element in the group head and coffee boiler, a feature I had only found in the $20,000 Nuova Simonelli T3 machines. (Which I immediately purchased for Vivace). With that temperature stability comes the unique, super heavy cone of crema hanging off the coffee basket on the naked porta-filter. Espresso is much stronger than extractions without the heated group head.

The machine is very user friendly, operates on 110V power, and is easy to fill with water and empty drain tray.   It runs fairly quietly and heats up quickly.  The steamer woks well with a tip and power balanced perfectly to roll the milk in the 1/3L pitcher. Brewing temperature, pre-infusion time, and steam pressure are fairly easy to program. It even has teeny wheels that  you can project under it with the turn of a knob.  (OMG, really?)

It is possible to make shots as good as the T3 but it is not quite as consistent, and as always, your dependent on a good grinder. Pictured below is their grinder.  It had trouble holding onto a consistent powder in my place, but it is better than any other home grinder I have tested.  The burr turns slowly, grinding 20g in about 23 seconds and if you can keep it consistency dialed in, will produce full flavor shots, comparable to my commercial DRM mixed-burr grinders.





Water Formulation

OK here we go again…Like a moth to the flame I will try once more to introduce a processor controlled water formulator into Espresso Vivace’s system to enhance flavor of our espresso.


Of course you remember the first time I contacted Cirqua company and installed their formulator’s into our shops (2006).  The science was solid because the minerals used by water scientist David Beeman had a fantastic effect on espresso coffee.  Varietal flavors became distinctly stronger, with no metallic edge or astringency, and body and mouth-feel were enhanced. However, the machines they made…not so good.  After months of break downs and no support from Cirqua, I ripped all their crap out in a fury promising never again….


I could not stand it….it is not my way to back off espresso improvements so here is the formulator being installed.  After a week of this coffee it is as good, or better than I remember it to be.

Nuova Simonelli technician Jeff Aruntsen install Global formulator at Vivace Brix last week

What happened was last year I was reading about some nice baristi in Europe getting together with a chemical engineering graduate to try to identify minerals than enhance coffee flavor.  That got me thinking about it again so I tracked down David Beeman who has been working on this continually for 20 years at least. (We worked together on initial formulations sometime in the early ’90’s).  He wisely gave up on his own company, Cirqua, and has been picked up by Global Customized Water as their water scientist while they handle manufacturing, distribution, and maintenance on the machines.  So far, so good….I am on a three month trial to see if the formulator is reliable. The espresso we are serving has never been close to this good.

Latte Art Tutorial

Cruising around YouTube I was reminded that my pioneering course “Caffe Latte Art” was out of date, and had already been ‘jacked and posted for free anyway on the site. We currently have much better information, particularly on milk texturing.  So Teal Allan, Brad Langsdale, myself, and editor Corey Higgins, got together a quick video and posted on YouTube at no charge. The old DVD will be pulled off the market very quickly.

I am very appreciative of the enthusiasm and joy with which latte artists around the world have embraced free poured latte art.  This is my little thank you…


Single Origin Espresso at Vivace

Starting in January of 2015 Vivace will serve single origin espresso at both of our indoor espresso bars.

With the potential of espresso close to perfection, due to advances in equipment, I have decided that Vivace can now begin offering different coffees as straight espresso and Americano. Well… I suppose we would make you a Ugandan Exende macchiato if you wanted one….

espresso coffee 2013 book revision 3

Once again I am forced by progress to revise my original book:” Espresso Coffee: Professional Techniques”.  The impetus for this is bottom-less porta-filter techniques and theory, and the absolute perfection of steamed milk texture with Shojiro’s new steam tip, the Foam Knife 1.


What is new:

* Perfect milk foaming tool: Shojiro Saito’s “Foam Knife 1” combined with Vivace technique results in perfect milk foam.

* Technique and theory when using bottomless porta-filters.

* Expanded latte art tutorial section with color plates of our favorite pours over the years at Vivace.

*  New diagram and explanation of roasting for espresso.

The price is $34.95 plus shipping and the book should be on sale at our stores and web site within the month.

For espresso bars employing any other steam tip, and porta-filters with spouts, my book “Espresso Coffee: Professional Techniques Updated” is still current and will remain on sale.