Five Ways to Improve Your Espresso
Data from the National Coffee Association of the USA suggests that espresso is quickly growing in popularity year on year, with millennials particularly favoring espresso over filter coffee.
Brewing a good espresso at home is more finickity than making filter coffee.
You are brewing with smaller quantities of ground coffee and water than with filter coffee, meaning that you have less room for error with how you brew.
Here are five tips to brew better espresso so you can get the most out of the drink when you make it at home.
1. Measure Out Your Ground Coffee and Water Dose
Espresso is traditionally brewed at between a 1:2 to 1:3 ground coffee to liquid ratio.
If you brew with significantly less coffee than this, then your espresso will lack the syrupy body that defines the drink.
If you brew with significantly more ground coffee than this, then there will not be enough water to dissolve the flavorful compounds in the coffee and this will result in a very flat tasting drink.
The most accurate way of measuring out your dose ratio is to weigh both the amount of ground coffee you brew with and the amount of liquid that you end up with.
Measuring your liquid coffee by volume rather than by weight is inaccurate because espresso has a layer of crema on top of it which significantly adds to its volume without adding much liquid to the final drink.
To make the best possible espresso you will want to get your hands on a small scale which can measure accurately to the nearest gram.
Bear in mind that you want your scale to be small enough that you can fit it under your cup when brewing so you can measure the weight of liquid that ends up in your cup.
2. Use the Amount of Coffee That Your Portafilter Basket was Designed to Hold
Portafilter baskets are the small metal insert that holds your ground coffee when you brew espresso.
Portafilter with basket on the left, and just a portafilter basket on the right
Each portafilter basket is only designed to hold a certain quantity of ground coffee.
If you overfill your basket, then water will struggle to pass through the coffee and you will end up with a very bitter, over extracted coffee.
Many portafilter baskets have their maximum dose printed on its side. If you cannot find this, then you will want to look for this in your espresso machine’s manual.
Avoiding overfilling your portafilter basket is another good reason to weigh out your ground coffee dose when brewing espresso.
3. Use A Pressurized Portafilter Basket If Using Pre Ground Coffee
It's perfectly fine to make espresso with pre ground coffee, so long as you use a pressurised portafilter.
If you use a non pressurised portafilter with pre ground coffee, you have a very high chance of the espresso channelling. This creates an unpleasantly sharp espresso.
A pressurized portafilter basket, also known as a “double walled” portafilter basket, as a basket which only has one tiny hole at its bottom. All your espresso is pushed through this hole when brewing to allow for a more even extraction.
The image below shows you the difference between a pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter so you can identify them easily (image from: https://drinkycoffee.com/best-espresso-machines-for-beginners/).
Non-pressurized portafilter basket (left) and pressurized portafilter right. Red circle shows the one single hole at the bottom of the pressurised portafilter.
If you have bought a coffee grinder and grind your own beans, you should consider using a non-pressurized portafilter.
These can create a better bodied espresso with freshly ground coffee as they do not over pressurise your beans when brewing.
4. Time How Long Your Shots Take to Brew
Timing your shots is useful because it gives you feedback on whether you are tamping your espresso pucks correctly.
Espresso shots should take between 25 and 30 seconds from the time you press the brew button to the time that coffee stops running out of the machine.
If shots take over 30 seconds to brew, then you are likely tamping your coffee puck too firmly. There is not enough space between the coffee grinds for your water to run though, and this additional contact time between water and coffee will create an over extracted, bitter drink.
If shots take under 25 seconds to brew, you are likely not tamping your coffee firmly enough. There is too much space between coffee grinds, and this limited contact time will create a sharp, under extracted espresso.
More sophisticated espresso machines have built in timers. I would strongly recommend buying such a machine if you want to replicate coffee shop quality espresso at home.
5. Warm Up Your Portafilter Before Brewing
The final espresso brewing variable that you want to control, along with brewing ratio and time, is brewing temperature.
Espresso machines will heat water to your desired temperature (around 200 Fahrenheit), but if your portafilter is cold, then your water will be significantly cooler than this once it makes contact with your coffee.
To actually brew with water around 200 Fahrenheit, you will have to warm up your portafilter.
You have two ways of doing this. Either you can put your portafilter head in a cup of hot water for a few minutes before brewing, or you can brew a “blank shot” (a shot without any ground coffee in the portafilter) before you make your espresso.
Making espresso is a little bit more technical than making filter coffee, however the excellent drink you can make by putting in this effort is well worth it.
This article was written by Oli Baise. Oli has been a barista for six years and runs coffee blog Drinky Coffee.
A Guide to Creating Your Signature Coffee Blend
Although blends are famous among coffee shops, they may present different challenges when you’re blending for the first time or if you haven’t mastered them. To learn how to be a master of blending your coffee, follow these simple steps.
- Be Patient and Deal with the Challenges:
Balancing the various flavors of coffee may be challenging for several rosters. However, it would be best if you weren’t hopeless because of this, as practice makes perfect. It may take you a long time to be a guru at blending because every coffee tastes different, significantly if grown in other areas. Thus, do not expect to learn it over one night when making your signature blend.
- Select the Best Ratio:
To achieve a specific coffee taste, you need a lot of coffee beans to make that happen. For example, when you’re making a signature blend of espresso, you’d require to grind up to 17% of coffee.
This is roughly more than a hundred coffee beans. Blending this may take your entire time to produce the best final product. Simultaneously, if you have a blend component of 2% or 3%, it would seem like a waste of time. Always learn how to balance your ability to blend.
- Pick out the Best Components for Blends:
You need to achieve a delicious, balanced, and distinctive product for your signature blend. Balance in blending is a crucial factor to consider when creating a blend signature because if you overdo it, you will tamper with the taste of your blend. But depending on your preference on how you love your coffee, it is best to choose what would satisfy you.
- Select a Method that is Best for you:
After deciding your components and their ratio, it’s time to ask yourself which method you would like to blend your coffee before or after roasting. It is important to note that these steps have their advantages and limits. However, it would be best to choose pre-blending, where you will have enough time to roast your coffee beans perfectly.
Additionally, you must be extra careful when blending the best decaf espresso beans to achieve an inspiring taste that can build your confidence in making coffee blends. Nothing is too hard to learn, so you should stay patient and positive when learning to blend your coffee.
Decaf Coffee - A Good Reason to Consider It
Many people around the world love coffee- that is why many countries grow and produce coffee. It is the perfect and most common beverage to wake up to in the morning. However, do you know what it contains? Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulating chemical that ‘keeps you awake’ when you drink coffee. Caffeine increases your energy flow by activating noradrenaline neurons eventually releasing dopamine into the brain. That is why many people get some sort of fuzzy but alert feeling when they take coffee.
Even though you get this good feeling, coffee can be very addictive. Moreover, it can have some negative side effects when you take too much coffee. Some of these negative side effects of caffeine include; chronic insomnia, headaches, chest pains, and restlessness. No one would like to experience these effects, especially when you truly love coffee. That is why decaffeinated coffee was invented.
Decaffeinated coffee, otherwise known as decaf has at least 97% of its caffeine removed. There are many ways to do this, including using water and other solvents. Decaf coffee is just the same as regular coffee with that little difference. Companies like Browny Coffee Roasters make sure to meet the needs of all their consumers, including those who wish to slow down on caffeine for different reasons. This means that you can still have your decaf espresso beans to brew your favorite morning beverage.
There are many benefits to taking decaffeinated (decaf) coffee. One of the benefits that is associated with this drink is detoxification- decaffeinated coffee contains vitamin B-3 that cleanses the body. Moreover, the antioxidants present in decaf coffee help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. The mild acidity associated with decaf coffee is also perfect for people who do not like strong drinks.
With the availability of decaf coffee beans, you can make your signature blend while paying keen interest in the level of caffeine you take. You can use the ground coffee in baking cakes to making the perfect dessert. Enjoy the cocoa, nuts, and blackberry notes from Browny Coffee Roasters as explore the variety of coffees available from all over the world.
Just like many edible things, coffee, whether decaf or not should be done in moderation. After all, too much of everything is poisonous. When you do this, you can get a lot of benefits including the prevention of some diseases and stimulation of the mind.
Amazing Benefits of Buying Coffee Online
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