When I wake up in the morning, I like to think about what coffee I should start my day with. It will be with the captivating floral tones and acid notes of Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe, or I’d like to start with the spicy notes of a good Indonesian, or why not indulge myself with the sweet notes of an excellent Panamanian Geisha.
To make good Espresso, it is important that the Coffee has been grown in the right places , following the processes appropriate to the variety, has been stored in a way that preserves its aromas, and has been roasted following profiles that enhance all its qualities. We take care of all that! but the final process, and the most important, is the extraction. Coffee chico has within it an explosion of Aromas that must be extracted in the right way to achieve a unique experience in the cup.
Extraction is the process you do when you grind Coffee beans and use the Coffee Machine to get the right quality in the cup.
Does it sound easy? Unfortunately, it is not. Too fast an extraction, and you will have absolutely sour Coffee lacking in body. Too slow an extraction and you will have Coffee that is too bitter and lacks any Aroma!
What is the basis for proper extraction?
In general, you will find that a very good Espresso is obtained:
- Proportion 1:2 Coffee: Final blend in cup (Espresso: 8 grams of Coffee, and 16 grams of final blend in cup. 1:1.5 you have a ristretto, etc.)
- Extraction time, 25 seconds
- Water temperatures 93 C°, pressure 9 bars (In almost all Coffee machines these are predetermined, so we don’t worry about it for now)
Don’t be scared, let’s look together at how to make an extraction (you will need a small scale to measure the weight of the mixture):
Step 1 – I grind 8 grams of Coffee , put it in the machine and start the extraction. When I reach 16 grams of final mixture, I look at how long I put in.
Step 2..N -Based on the time obtained I can have 3 different situations:
Time: More than 25 seconds – Long Extraction. Coffee is over-extracted and is likely to be bitter, very full-bodied, but lacking in special Aromas. Basically, you have created a situation where the water has struggled to pass through the Coffee and has been in contact with it for too long. To solve the problem (leaving out for now the possibility of varying water temperatures!), you can:
- Change the coffee grind, that is, coarser.
Two little words about grinding. If you want to spend money to have quality Coffee, buy a good Coffee Grinder. Grinding is the basis of good extraction. When we grind, we are increasing the surface area available for extraction. Very fine grinding means more contact surface area and slower extraction, and vice versa for coarse grinding. A good coffee grinder can guarantee a consistent grind!
This avoids the problems of “channeling,” and that is the occurrence of those splashing of Coffee, caused by the different outlet channels that the ‘water found, causing the resulting under-extraction (Coffee comes out too fast,
- Or, reduce the amount of Coffee (example to 7 grams)
Time: Less than 25 seconds – Slow Extraction. Coffee and under-extracted and will probably be very sour and watery. In this case, the water passed too quickly through the Coffee and had no motion to extract its delicious Aromas. In this case, you can:
- Change the coffee grind – Finer, or
- Increase the amount of Coffee (Example, 9 grams)
Then, by changing grind and/or amount of Coffee, you can calibrate your Coffee to extract the right Aromas and get good body. Do not be surprised if for the next Coffee you buy you need to change the parameters (or after some time with the same Coffee) because the Coffee:
- It varies its properties with the passage of time; it loses freshness.
- Coffee’s properties are influenced by its origin (soil, altitude, etc.) the process the fruit has undergone, etc.
Time about 25 seconds – Very good, enjoy a great Coffee!
Next, a picture to give you an idea of the type of grinding in the case of Espresso (right) or Filter (left) extraction. You can see that Espresso extraction is much finer because the Coffee is extracted in about 25 seconds, while a Filter extraction is a process (with V60, Chemex, etc..) that can take up to 4 minutes.