Thursday, 20 June 2013

Espresso exctraction 101

I have come to discover, in my quest for the perfect shot of espresso, that there is just way too much info out there on the subject. It is very easy to get consused when first starting out. The company I work for has a very good training program, so for me it wasn’t too difficult. However for someone who finds all of their information on the internet, It is hard to weed through all of the confusing blogs, put out there by overcaffinated “home baristas”. Of course I am no professional myself, but the people a work for absolutely are, and I have learned alot from them. 

I have attempted to make explaining how to pull a perfect shot as simple as possible. Here is how I work things through my head everyday when I am pulling shots.

First, start by only worrying about getting the correct volume in the correct time. Which is 1.5 to 2 oz in 20 to 30 seconds. (for a double) Do this by only adjusting the grind. If your coffee is coming out too fast, make the grind FINER. If your coffee is coming out too slow, make the grind more COARSE. Whenever you adjust anything, temperature, dose, tamping pressure, always go back to this step, this is very important. 

If your shots look and taste like #2 (down below), DONT TOUCH. Magic is 
happening. ;)

If your shots look and taste like #1, but your volume is good, either your dose is too low, or your temp is too low. Adjust accordinly and taste. Continue till at #2 

If your shots look and taste like #3 and volume is good, then your dose is too high, or your temp is too high. 

There are MANY factors that can affect your coffee, age of the beans, roasting problems, weather outside... endless stupid things, other than always using the freshest possible coffee, you usually cannot do anything about these other factors. But you can control the dose, temp and grind size. 

So, all this as simple and short as possible. Assuming volume is always perfect .Over-extracted? Dose down, temp down. Underextracted? Dose up, temp up. Tastes and smells like sweet syrupy heaven? DRINK AND LEAVE BE.

In the end it all comes down to taste. Trust what your palate tells you. If you taste ashes, its probably too hot. If you taste lemon, its probably too cold! I believe if you follow these steps, and “follow your nose” you will figure it out sooner or later. I hope you enjoy your search for the perfect espresso as much as I do. Cheers.