What a stride hit today. When we left CA last year, we had worked out a deal where we would get a one-group espresso machine (a "Conti Bar") along with the deluxe automatic one we purchased from a previous coffee shop owner. We hit some snags in trying to get it as we had to arrange for the shipping. Surprise! - a few hundred denari to have it toted across 3 time zones. OK. Let's bite the bullet and we'll take it out of the crate, hook up the water and fire it up.
Doh! Water spraying out like a fountain. Let's open it up and see what we can find. "I think it's got a few parts missing." A phone call to the left coast to hook up with Fabrice Moshetti (espresso coffee expert extraordinaire) and after much guidance and a few more hundred bucks in parts (solenoid valve, spray nozzle, collar gasket, head gasket, filter, o-ring), Jeff actually learned his way around an espresso machine and got it going.
Now - to learn how to create a fantastic-tasting espresso/latte. First attempt was OK, but too thin and not enough crema. Our family barista (Gaby - down there to my left in the grad picture) informed that my grind was too coarse.
The stride is not only getting the machine going, but doing coffee shop work. It feels right.