Monday, September 03, 2007

   from AndyS

The Scarce Device?

Many of you are familiar with a ground-breaking piece of equipment invented by Greg Scace, the "Thermofilter." It's used by machine technicians and baristas to adjust their machines and their techniques to produce certain espresso brew temperatures. Greg's a modest guy, so he came up with that techy-sounding name, but everyone else simply calls it the "Scace Device." It has made a huge difference in enabling baristas all over the world to standardize their brewing temperature. Even though I'm not a barista or an espresso tech, I bought one soon after it became available and it's been really handy.

More recently, some attention has been paid to brew pressure as an important variable to be controlled and standardized. So Greg came up with another version of his device that simultaneously measured temperature AND pressure under actual brewing conditions. No one's going to call it the Thermofilter 2 -- it's going to be known as the "Scace 2."

But this time, I'm not going to buy one. Although it's an excellent value for a professional espresso person, I can't justify getting one for my occasional amateur use. So I came up with a flimsy version of my own that, combined with a bottomless portafilter, does a reasonably accurate job of measuring brew pressure under actual flow conditions.

After building it, like Greg, I had to come up with a name. Partly in Greg's honor, and partly because it's the only one in the world built exactly this way, I decided to call it:

"The SCARCE Device."