Rabbit hole. A rabbit hole, as defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary, is a complexly bizarre or difficult state or situation conceived of as a hole into which one falls or descends.
Coffee in its purest form is very simple. You get some freshly roasted beans, grind it up, and add in some hot water.
You can go as simple as a French Press, simply letting the beans and water get to know each other before filtering through a metal screen.
Or you can pick up an Aeropress, a deceivingly simple device that has countless ways to brew with - so much so that there are competitions around this coffee brewer.
You can get as complex as a pourover where every gram is intricately measured and monitored, where every drop counts to achieve your evenly extracted cup of coffee.
But if there’s one true form of coffee that most accurately depicts the Merriam Webster dictionary definition of Rabbit Hole, then it has to be - espresso.
Complexly bizarre is an accurate sentiment behind the know-how of brewing good espresso.
Trust me, as someone who dove deep, deep into this rabbit hole of a hobby way back in the Spring of 2020, espresso truly is complexly bizarre.
From those of us weird coffee people that are so far deep into this hobby, espresso has become something of a science. But to the mundane and your casual Starbucks enjoyers, espresso seems like nothing more than simply “strong coffee”.
What they don’t see is the intricacies. The details. The fact that most people are recommending a $250 smart scale to weigh some coffee beans and measure some liquid.
The entire purpose this YouTube channel exists is because of espresso - because I was so enamored by the intricate process behind weighing, dosing, meticulously prepping your puck and then meticulously weighing and timing your shot to achieve 2 ounces of liquid gold.
Back then I simply took a short video and uploaded it online of this meticulous process, not knowing it might snowball into this new rabbit hole of a hobby that has quickly taken over much of my time and living room.
But - this hobby is not all sunshine and rainbows.
Merriam Webster goes on to define rabbit hole as "especially one in which the pursuit of something leads to other questions, problems, or pursuits."
You can’t simply buy an espresso machine and expect good results.
There’s so much to learn from understanding dosage, to ratios, brew times, grind sizes, temperature, tools and techniques in puck preparation including, yes, expensive stirring sticks to ensure your puck is evenly distributed, also given an aptly pretentious naming structure like the Weiss Distribution Technique.
And secondly, this hobby is expensive. Like, really expensive.
The nature of espresso requires you to push hot water through your bed of ground coffee at a high pressure - typically around 9 bars of pressure.
To do this is most of the reason why you need an espresso machine - either something that utilizes a lever to achieve said 9 bars or an electronic pump that can do it for you.
While there are budget options available, oftentimes you’ll see people recommending machines $500 and up - and that’s not to mention the need of a grinder that most suggest you invest more into than the machine itself.
In the pursuit of good espresso you find yourself with questions and problems - what machine do you buy? What grinder? What accessories do you need? Do I really need a $250 smart scale?
In my mind, there is no other coffee brewing method that so aptly describes the rabbit hole that is espresso.
So yeah - espresso is a rabbit hole. One that may have a monetary barrier to entry but also one that once perfected, can provide you with a delicious drink to kick off the start of your day - everyday.