frncssbrt Senior Member Joined: 19 Oct 2013 Posts: 1 Location: Canada Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sat Oct 19, 2013, 3:40pm Subject: Basic Espresso Questions
I have a couple of basic questions about espresso. I've searched for answers, but things aren't all that clear to me, hence why I'm asking.
1) When it is said that pulling a shot of espresso should take between 20 and 30 seconds, does this mean it should take between 20 and 30 seconds to pull 30 ml (~ 1 oz) of espresso?
This may seem obvious, but I'm asking because the espresso cups that came with my machine are 100 ml (~ 4 oz). In fact, if I search for espresso cups on Amazon, none of cups featured on the first page are 30 ml. In some of the pictures, the > 30 ml cups are filled with espresso.
2) To do a double shot of espresso, you need to double the amount of beans in the portafilter, but it should still take between 20 and 30 seconds to pull 30 ml (i.e. not between 40 and 60 seconds to pull 30 ml, nor between 20 and 30 to pull 60 ml).
2 a) Let's say I want to make a cortado, which, according to Oliver Strand, is 4 oz (~ 118 ml) and has an espresso to frothed milk ratio of around 1:1. I would therefore have to pull two shots of espresso (either single of double)?
Well, an ideal extraction usually happens within 20-30 seconds. The time to stop the extraction is usually gauged by the blonding of the shot and the volume of the shot produced. I like to use volume as a rough gauge of where I should stop the shot, along with blonding, but in the end I measure my output weight to ensure that I wasn't too far off the mark.
Now, when I start citing figures and stuff, please be aware that everyone has their own opinions of what tastes good. Every coffee is a little different and there's no firm and hard rules on what to do.
For espresso blends, they typically require kid gloves, so I start out by brewing with a ratio of about 2:1. Typically 14 grams dosage, 28 grams out over 25 seconds. That's a starting point. For Single Origin coffees, a much more aggressive extraction is sometimes needed, so I start out with a brew ratio of 1.5:1 and a much larger dose, like 19 grams in, 32 grams out over 25 seconds. Another starting point.
It's not the end of the world if you go outside of those numbers. Sometimes you end up with happy mistakes..
I'm asking because the espresso cups that came with my machine are 100 ml (~ 4 oz).
Well, Traditional Italian espresso is 30 ml for a single shot, so 60 ml is a double shot. So, 100 ml for a cup sounds about right because you also have to factor in the crema, which takes up some additional volume.
2) To do a double shot of espresso, you need to double the amount of beans in the portafilter,
Well, I hope that you've ground them up first. :-) A single shot of espresso is done with a single shot portafilter basket while a double espresso is done with a double shot portafilter basket. The single basket is much shallower than the double basket and only uses half the amount of grounds. Typically 7 grams for a single, 14 grams for a double.. The extraction time is still the same for either one. Typically, most people drink a double shot because it's much more difficult to pull a single shot and kind of pointless because not a lot of coffee is produced doing it that way.
That should also answer your question about Cortados. The ratio of espresso to milk is purely up to taste. 2:1 milk:espresso is a good place to start, lower milk to espresso to taste!
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
Coffeenoobie Senior Member Joined: 11 Dec 2011 Posts: 2,943 Location: PNW Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: N S Oscar Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Oct 19, 2013, 9:46pm Subject: Re: Basic Espresso Questions
Beginner barista advice:
Get a scale that can read out .1 grams and use it to keep the amount of grinds in the portafilter consistent. You can even weigh your shot after (subtract the cup weight or tare) and know the ratio of water to grinds to know what drink you are getting in your pull. Weight is better to judge output than volume because the crema can be very thick.
Use a timer and time the shot from anywhere from 25 - 30 seconds, I aim for 27. I use a dollar store kitchen timer set for 27 seconds. I use 18g for my doubles with an 18g VST filter.
The more you keep the variables consistent the easier it is to trouble shoot what is going on.
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