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Brew Guides

Espresso

Description

A shot of espresso is a concentrated form of coffee created by forcing hot water through super-fine coffee grounds at approx 7-10 atmospheres of pressure. ​Its concentrated nature is what makes espresso so wonderful but equally challenging. When you concentrate anything you accentuate its character and as such if you have a beautifully fresh, well roasted coffee that is perfectly extracted you can get bursts of fruit, or nuts or citrus from your espresso. On the other hand, get any of these steps wrong, especially during the extraction process you will just accentuate your mistakes and get bursts of sour or bitter or even both. ​To this effect I would use the below guide as a good stating place, the road to a great espresso is long and full of failure, research and practice. Luckily our espresso blend has been designed to allow for a little latitude in brewing technique, so if you can’t quite master that world barista championship winning single origin espresso brew just yet no need to panic.

Step 1

Once your espresso machine is up to temperature remove your portafilter from the grouphead and dry the basket. Place it on a scale and tare the weight. Grind your required weight of coffee into the portafilter, you are looking for a fine grind. We use a coffee to espresso ratio of 1:2 as a starting point for most of our coffees and adjust to taste. 18g of coffee to 36g of espresso is always a safe place to start for a double espresso.

Step 2

Distribute the coffee evenly across the portafilter without compacting the grounds down. There are many methods to use but personal I draw my finger across the surface of the coffee basket in a clockwise motion (a variation of the Stockfleth’s move) using the rim to ensure I don’t press the coffee down just push it along.

Step 3

With your portafilter on a flat solid surface (we use a rubber mat to protect our worktop) position your tamper level on top of the grounds. Ensuring the tamper remains perfectly level throughout the motion (a good straight vertical forearm helps with this) press down the grounds into the basket. 30 pounds of pressure is ideal, you can practice on scales to see how this feels, I find it easiest to stop when you feel the counter push back with equal force (give it a go, you will know what I mean when you feel it).

Step 4

Purge your grouphead thoroughly with hot water.

Step 5

Gently insert the portafilter into the grouphead, making sure you do not knock the portafilter else you will create channels in the coffee. Start brewing. The shot should start with a slow drip at approx 6 secs, then develop into an even stream. Towards the end of your extraction the extracted coffee should begin to turn yellow in colour “blonding,” once this begins stop your extraction.

If all has gone to plan then blonding and the end of your extraction should line up with your intended recipe, in our case 36g of espresso in 30Secs.

It is important to remember that a recipe does not make a good espresso, that can only be judged by taste. So if your brew does not meet your recipe please don’t be tempted to chase numbers as these are only a reference. Once you are in the ball park then always adjust to taste. As a very simple guide, too sour grind finer and extend the brew time for your given weight or too bitter grind coarser and reduce your brew time for your given weight.

Espresso is an art form that can take a lifetime to master, luckily milk based drinks were invented and although nothing will save a bad extraction you do have a lot more latitude when you add sweet milk and open up the flavours.

Enjoy.
If you are not getting the flavours you desire try our trouble shooting guide or give us a call/drop us an email, we are always happy to help.