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Espresso is one of the core ingredients on so many coffee menus in every coffee shop. From latte, americano, cappuccino, and many more indulgence, all requires extracting espresso as the beverage base.

Espresso extract is obviously made using an espresso machine; famed for its speed in extracting coffee grounds into fine concentrated bitter juice known as the espresso we love.

Espresso is the key element in the delicacy of coffee. In a general aspect of a coffee shop owner, a good serving of coffee brings great satisfaction to customers. Because of that, extracting espresso has to come with good skills so as to not troubleshoot an espresso, resulting in a not so pleasant coffee.

Adjusting to extracting espresso for a coffee and trying it on a new menu may be tricky and hard. So what are things you need to consider in adjusting the espresso to make good coffee? Well, let’s head straight to the article below!

Variables That Affects the Espresso Extract

There are some things you need to consider before diving deep into extracting. Here, we have six variables you need to know before juicing your coffee ground into fine espresso.

Variable #1 Dose

A dose in an espresso is the amount of coffee ground in the portafilter. The dose plays a part in how strong the extract produced is – in other words, the total of dissolved solids (TDS) from the coffee ground influences the taste of the espresso.

During extraction, most coffee makers would target a 7-12% of TDS, while the ideal percentage is around 18-22%. Extensively, the latter is thought to be the optimal extraction, where it produced the highest level of extraction to make a tasty cup of coffee.

Otten Coffee also mentioned that 18-21 grams of coffee is most ideal to make a double shot espresso. In short, the more grounds added, the stronger the essence in terms of body and intensity.

Variable #2 Water Temperature

Water temp ranging of 90-96 Celcius is most ideal for extraction. Several coffee machines provide a system that allows temperature regulation. Otherwise known as PID controller. If you have this feature in your machine, then congrats! Experimenting new kinds of espresso will be a breeze for you.

Important note! Cited from perfectdailygrind.com, It is reminded that not all compounds could be extracted at the same speed. An acidic compound is extracted first, while the bitter compound is extracted last.

Variable #3 Grind Size

A compound is unable to be extracted without contact between the coffee ground and water. Next, the bigger the surface area of the coffee ground, the better the contact. Furthermore, bigger surface area also makes for finer mill results.

That is why size matters! An espresso is also told to need a finer mill compared to most other brews.

Variable #4 Pressure and Pre-infusion

Pressure is a force given by the pump in the espresso machine. It helps by pushing water to pass through the coffee ground. A majority of espresso machines were tuned to have pressure of 9 bar from the factory. However, this could be changed according to your machine’s capacity.

Lower pressure from around 5-6 bar results in a much smoother liquid produced by the coffee ground. Note that pressure also affects the percentage of brewing time.

Variable #5 Time of Extraction

The time of contact between the coffee ground and water is what would give the coffee the complex taste. For higher acidity, go with a faster extraction. If your goal is to sweeten your extract, try slowing down the time. Remember that the ideal time depends on other variables as well.

If you’re looking for some directions, some sources say that 15-45 seconds is the right amount of time. Others say 15-30 seconds is enough for an espresso.

Variable #6 Water Quality

Reported from perfectdailygrind.com, the quality of water used will not only affect the lifespan of the espresso machine, but also the taste of the drink. The amount of magnesium and calcium within water could slow down the process of extraction. For that, filtered water is the solution to this problem. From now on, you must know the quality and the content of the water used for brewing your coffee.

There are many water test kits available today, and can be found in practically all hardware stores. If that itself isn’t enough, there is a quality control book for water published by the SCAA which you can follow for guidance.

How Do You Make New Recipes with Espresso Extract?

Peter Garcia, Managing Director of VA Machinery told perfectdailygrind.com, “When approaching a new coffee, it is always good to start with a base recipe that is an easy starting point,” Peter says. “This could be 18 g of dry coffee, 36 g of beverage extracted at 9 bar in 30 seconds.” 

Furthermore, it is also advised to know what kind of coffee you would like to make with the extract. Roasters or baristas usually observe and apply rules to each variable that affect the espresso in order to maximize the best of the extract.

If you have read this far, great!

It means you have passed the starting point, now it’s time to experiment. Remember to always test with logic and control, or you’ll take a much longer time to find your ideal recipe. Moreover, Peter also advised everyone to taste a little of your extract. By taste testing, you could change the taste and variable to your own liking.

As an example, if you tasted that your extract is a little sour and under-extracted, you could reduce the dose with the same yield, or you could increase the yield while retaining the same dosage.

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