Espresso Basics

8 BASIC STEPS FOR DIALING IN ESPRESSO

RECIPE: 1:2 ratio in 30 seconds

For the sake of this tutorial we will do 18g coffee in > 36g espresso out as an example. If your basket requires 20g in, to achieve the recipe, you would consequently aim for a 40g yield to achieve the 1:2 ratio. 

 

1. Set the dose to the volumetric standard of your portafilter basket.

- Distribute and Tamp to check if your grounds flatten to about a quarter of an inch below the rim. Dosing to the volumetric standard of your basket may cause the weight of your dose to vary depending on the density of your coffee. 

- Weigh the dose. Replicate weight for consequent doses

 

2. Distribute using the SAI BT wedge distribution tool

- set the depth of the tool deep enough to evenly distribute the grounds without applying unnecessary pressure before tamping.

 

3. Tamp using the SAI New Levy tool. 

- set the depth of your tool to where the grounds uniformly condense to about a quarter of an inch below the basket rim. 

- You should need to apply a little bit of pressure for the tool to rest around the edge of the basket. If you don't feel any pressure when applying the tamp, you either need to extend your tool's depth or increase your dose. 

 

4. Pull a shot. 1:2 ratio

- If you are dosing 18g in, shoot for a yield of 36g out

 

5. Monitor the pull time. Did you achieve a 1:2 ratio in 30 seconds?

- Adjust your grind to achieve the 30 second goal.

- If it pulled too quickly, make your grind finer

- If it pulled too slowly, make your grind more coarse 

 

6. Taste your shot: When you achieve a 1:2 ratio in 30 seconds

- How does it taste?

a. If it is under extracted:

- Try Increasing the time and yield (be aware that this will make your shot less intense)

- Or, make your grind finer. This will increase your time while aiming for the same yield.

b. If it is over extracted:

- Try decreasing the time and yield (be aware that this will make your shot more intense)

- Some coffees (especially darker roasts) are more soluble and require less extraction time.

- If decreasing your yield doesn’t achieve the intensity you desire, try a coarser grind.

- A coarser grind will decrease the time it takes to achieve your desired yield, extracting less from the coffee, bringing you closer to the sweet spot.

 

7. Adjust the grind

a. If the shot pulled too quickly, tasting watery and sour, it is under extracted

- make your grind finer to give your coffee more time to extract the balancing compounds.

b. If the shot pulled too slowly, tasting dirty and intense, leaving a bitter residue in the back of your throat, it has over extracted.

- make your grind coarser to reduce the time of extraction.

c. If your home machine struggled to push water through, taking too much time, yielding too little espresso, tasting too intense/sour:

- Make your grind coarser so your machine is able to push water through your coffee. This will allow water to flow as it extracts the balancing compounds and yield more espresso.

- Many home machines don’t have the power to handle coffee ground too fine. Give your machine a little break.

 

8. Repeat steps as necessary