I've been talking with various people about the need for more communication and transparency between roasters and baristas.
I think there are so many grey areas in our understanding - so many unfounded myths and misguided assumptions. These are holding us back and doing us damage.
I strongly believe that baristas can learn a huge amount from better communication with roasters. But at the same time, I think roasters can learn an immense amount from listening to baristas.
It's rare that any baristas even know what the components of their espresso blends are. It's rare that they understand the implications of those coffees, the flavour profiles of those coffees. And it's at least as rare for roasters to understand the results of their blending decisions, the results of changes to extraction parameters... there is no feedback loop. As a result... progression is mostly imitative and in most cases the result of blind luck.
So few people seem to be exploring the interplay between all the variables and taking advantage of the opportunities available to them from manipulating all those variables.
I would love to see the development of some sort of independent espresso research "lab".
It could be funded by a consortium of coffee companies and wouldn't have to be that expensive to anyone as a result.
Imagine being able to send roast samples (with comprehensive details on coffees, roast, etc) and get back results including tasting notes, optimal extraction parameters (on various machines) and feedback and suggestions.
Imagine being able to provide green samples (with details) and get back results.
Imagine being able to provide equipment and get back results.
It could be totally independent and totally confidential. Samples could be packaged blind with details and this way only someone "administrative" would even know the sources.
I could even see different "tiers" of membership with associated costs.
Some could be tied to number of tests run.
Some could be unlimited.
Some could be a la carte.
Others would just get aggregated reports ("Extraction Parameters for Pulped Natural Coffees with E61-based Espresso Machines", "The Use of Washed Coffees as Espresso Bases", "A Hydrophilic Evaluation of Coffee Types," etc.).
Now that would push things forward.