So you are researching a new coffee machine and want to create the perfect espresso, there are so many variables: the quality and freshness of the coffee, the grind on the machine, the water (properly filtered), the tamp and the settings you use. However, if you keep the holy trinity of balance, sweetness and complexity in mind when setting up your machine then you stand a good chance of creating the perfect cup every time. Here's how it should be done.
Dialling in the coffee
If you want to get a great espresso then you need to focus on dose, grind, output rate and extraction time. It's the process any good barista calls 'dialling in' and it's the key to balancing the elements of a decent cup. Altering any of these variables can have a dramatic impact on the taste of your espresso, so play around until you get the balance that's right for you.
Setting up your machine
There's a fairly simple rule of thumb for setting the temperature of your coffee machine. Brewing hotter results in a higher extraction rate and an increase in body, sweetness and astringency. If you want a sourer, brighter flavoured shot of espresso, use a cooler temperature for a brew that extracts content at a much slower rate and results in an espresso with less body, sweetness and astringency.
You can make a few modifications to your espresso shot in the way you set up your machine
• The higher the temperature the lower the acidity
• If you want to change the extraction yield, adjust the temperature not the grind
• Higher temperatures can be used to compensate for your coffee having an underdeveloped roast, while a lower temp will deal with solubility if the roast is overdeveloped
Getting the dose and grind right
Always grind your beans fresh before each espresso shot. Too fine and your coffee can taste burnt and bitter, too coarse and you'll get an espresso shot that's watery and sour tasting. The right grind for you will depend on personal preference, but aiming for a texture that resembles granulated sugar is a good starting point.
Start with a dose of 8-10 grams and then fine tune for personal preference. Don't skip the tamping process as this ensures the coffee is extracted uniformly - place the filter basket on a level surface, bend the elbow 90 degrees and then tamp firmly until the surface of the coffee looks even and polished.
Time to brew
Extraction yields and taste are the real esoteric arts of the properly trained barista, who will know to the exact percentage the proper extraction rate for any given grind and type of beans. The optimum extraction yield for a given variety of coffee is what creates the perfect shot with depth of flavour and a beautiful crema. You'll need 30ml for a single shot espresso which should take 12-16 seconds brew depending on the blend or origin.
Now with each new blend of coffee you need to repeat these steps. You'll agree, it's not a quick or simple process.
Ask the professionals
So if you run a busy office or workplace and want to take the guesswork out of creating the perfect cup of coffee, then take a look at our range of machines. With bean to cup functionality and easy operation, our quality team can set up one of a range of incredibly delicious ethically sourced coffees to work distinctly with your new coffee machine. You'll get a great espresso every time and keep the office happy. Want to know more? Contact us and we'll be happy to help.