And it's good you used a professional barista to pull shots.
Nuova Simonelli barista competition brew baskets, 18-gram dose, 28-second extraction, 2-ounce double split into two 1-ounce singles; water temperature 200F.See here is the thing....
I can name TONS of truly great espresso that is going to taste like ASS when extracted as described above.
Does that mean it's bad espresso?
No. It means you don't understand espresso.
You need to learn to prepare espresso in an appropriate manner for each coffee - it's a matter of respect (pure and simple).
And the results are freakin' predictable.
Paradise Espresso Classico has a "thin body"? Yeah... that coffee prep (per the roaster) is FAR from what you're using.
Kaldi Competition scores really high? No shock given that your machine set up is WBC spec and the blend was created for USBC competition.
Olympia Big Truck is "astringent"? Uhhh... try the shot as ristretto (1.75oz not 2oz).
Out of curiosity... what about the other 25+ coffees you tasted?
I'd LOVE to see those reviews.
I'm guessing there are a number of famous coffees that are "sour" (brew temp too low) and some that are "thin and bitter" (brew temp to high) and some that are "muddy" (dose too high) and some that are "unbalanced and not sweet" (dose too low) etc etc.
And, beyond that, the fact that Ken uses the descriptor "musty" in several of his high rated coffees disturbs me - especially as I would agree in the cases where I've tasted these coffees, and it's why I think the espresso is bad. It's hard to imagine scoring a "musty" coffee in the 90s.
Finally... Ken... if you want to make this more relevant you need to not do an aggregate score. Taking the score for a straight shot and averaging it with the score for a latte makes no sense.
Given all the above... is it shocking to ANYONE that Intelli, Stumptown and Terroir ALL opted out of this review? And honestly... how relevant is a review of "boutique" American Espresso that leaves out all three of these roasters?
Sorry... epic fail.