To brew espresso, what are the proper procedures?

Espresso is a surprisingly complex and exciting drink. Probably one of the most meticulous in maintaining stable cooking. At the time of extraction, the coffee drink resembles a syrup consistency. The high concentration of aromatic oils in the coffee bean and the relatively limited amount of the brewed beverage in the cup contribute to its robust flavor. Let’s go down the primary factors that influence espresso preparation quality.

Espresso is a coffee drink that is very sensitive to the quality of the beans and their freshness. During the roasting process, the grain undergoes chemical changes. A reaction between proteins and sucrose forms essential new compounds that give flavor—the coffee bouquet after roasting. But after a month from the moment of roasting, the quality of coffee decreases. With each subsequent day, the taste will become more even, expressionless, and rotten in places (like old butter). In the aroma, it will be more and more challenging to catch the peculiarities of the country and region of coffee bean growth.

Coffee grinding for espresso

We analyze the topic of grinding in the corresponding article – what do you need to know about grinding? Immediately after you ground the coffee, the freshness disappears faster, not in days but minutes, so you need to grind espresso coffee directly before cooking. The old, oxidized ground coffee that remains in the channels of the grinder after each preparation must be ground an extra 4-5 grams of coffee just before cooking if produced the last cup more than half an hour earlier.

It is worth noting that a cheap coffee grinder when making espresso is even more important than a good coffee machine. An essential thing to focus on when making espresso is clean and sharp millstones. Micrometric (step-free) grinding adjustment is also significant. It allows you to adjust the grinding as accurately as possible, which is very important for espresso. During the working day, the temperature in the coffee shop changes more than once under the influence of the environment (humidity, atmospheric pressure, increase and decrease in daytime temperature, etc.). Please pay close attention to this and change your espresso machine settings accordingly.

Coffee bookmark

The coffee bookmark depends on the basket used – single or double. It is always better to prepare coffee in a double basket since extraction is more stable and uniform due to a more even grid structure (the exception is a single basket from La Marzocco). Also, the bookmark depends on the freshness of the coffee bean. When working with “weekly” coffee, a bookmark of 18 grams on a double grid is enough. In the case of using “monthly” coffee, it is worth starting the bookmark experiment from 19 and above.

A reference point from which you can start is the distance from the dispersion grid inside the coffee group to the coffee tablet (after tempering). This distance should be 3-4 mm. Insert the holder with coffee after tempering into the coffee group and take it out again – the coffee tablet should look unchanged and have no noticeable defects on coffee machines where the dispersion grid with a screw, a small hole from this screw should remain on the coffee tablet.

Distribution of coffee in the basket and tempering

A flat base and a diameter similar to feasible to the inner diameter of the basket utilized are the most important considerations when selecting a tempera. The next important step in espresso preparation is distributing ground coffee in the basket and tempering. For proper and uniform extraction, coffee should be evenly distributed in the basket and not contain lumps. It is convenient to take the holder in one hand and spread the coffee with the index and thumb of the second hand in circular movements. 

Suppose large lumps form on your coffee grinder when grinding coffee. In that case, it is better to break them using any improvised objects, for example, a toothpick: it is necessary to break all the lumps in a circle with rotational movements and evenly distribute the coffee in the basket. Then it is enough to tamp the coffee with a tempera once with an average effort without tapping (any tapping during the formation of the tablet, with a high probability, will lead to the formation of channels during the preparation of espresso, which is the main reason for the violation of the taste balance of the final drink).

Try to carry out the ramming as smoothly as possible, without the final distortion of the coffee tablet (there are several ramming techniques, choose the right one for yourself and fix it in practice). As a result of a skewed coffee tablet, water will unevenly capture its surface, leading to a deterioration in taste. Tempering, it is necessary to remove the remnants of the ground coffee palm of your hand from the edges of the basket, and the “ears” of the portafilter grains do not bake on the rubber gasket of the group. To ensure that the coffee is correct, observe the extraction process. You should pour the Espresso spout of the portafilter like honey from a spoon without apparent fluctuations in the trickle and an increase or decrease in spillage.

Time of the strait

After tempering, insert the holder into the group and start pouring. Suppose you have a coffee machine with a heat exchanger. In that case, you need to skip about 50 ml of water before inserting the holder into the group is necessary for the temperature to drop to the working temperature. The discharge of boiling water usually accompanies it with a hiss; as soon as it passes, you can start extraction. If you have a double–boiler coffee machine, it is not necessary to drain water on it, but, in any case, draining water is a good habit. Even for a double-boiler coffee machine, 50 ml of leaked water will not affect the quality of coffee, and non-leaked boiling water from a single boiler will act very much.

After installing the holder in the coffee machine, the spill must begin immediately; otherwise, the coffee will start to come into thermal contact with the group on the coffee machine, leading to an unpleasant taste in the final drink. It is necessary to measure the time of spillage from when the pump until it. For example, we use a double grid with a fixed dose of ground coffee of 17 grams. Within 27 seconds of extraction, you should obtain double espresso with a volume of 30 g (Depending on the dosage, the extraction time could be anywhere from 23 seconds to 30 seconds.). The yield of the finished drink is about 1.8 times greater than the dosage. Train yourself to work with scales: espresso loves extreme accuracy and compliance with stable step-by-step actions. If measured by volume, not by weight, then espresso should turn out to be about 30 ml together with cream.

If the desired volume or weight is less than 23-30 seconds, then you need to reduce the grinding on the coffee grinder if you increase it in more time. The degree of grinding for espresso is a very sensitive variable, so you need to change the grinding in minimal steps. After each change of grinding, you need to skip the same 4-5 grams to avoid using the previous grinding remaining in the channel.

Setting up the grinding is probably one of the most challenging stages in espresso preparation. It is important to remember that the smaller the grinding, the slower the extraction takes place.

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