Friday, January 17, 2014

Drink (Espresso) Till You Drop

Every day again we're talking, talking, talking about coffee.
And we're measuring, weighting, dosing, counting coffee.

But do we know enough what we're talking about?


Since 100 years it's a quick drink. Let's say 2,5cl content, made with a machine that presses hot water through a cake of finely grind coffee.

It seems everybody has a different opinion about how it should taste, and this opinion is changing on and on.

In 2013 we made big progress on Espresso at Caffenation. We used 3 machines, 2 different water filter, different grinders, different cups and different portafilters.

Moving from the mighty Mistral to a Simonelli T3 and now a La Marzocco Linea PB we now have the ideal machine to pull 4cl double shots with naked portafilters.
Does the Linea PB helps? Sure. And it helps working in a consistent matter. It's easy to change the temperature, pre infusion time and resting time. It feels like there's still a lot of testing to be done, and every time we change the beans we need to look at it again. Every day as well.

The water we have now is a Brita system - on test - that neutralizes the water, like osmose, and then adds the necessary stuff to get it at championship level. We came recently down from 200 ppm to 80 ppm, but that seems to be a bit too much. Most important is to change the filters often enough. Once you go wrong there, you may damage the machine seriously.
Did it help a lot?
Yes it did. We have a higher definition. More taste, but also a more shaky coffee. Everything needs to be exact to have an improved cup.
Maybe the biggest advantage of the new filter is that we can brew hotter. For the moment 92,8 degrees in stead of 91 before. This means we get more out of the coffee.
Do we tame the acidity enough? Mostly yes. :-)
We're still in the testing fase. Maybe we need to roast a little bit higher for this technique, what would be a dangerous thing to do, cause all our clients have a different machine, water temp, and so on...

For me the big thing with espresso brewing is that we need to tame the acidity. We need some, mostly at the start, but not too much. It's like a bottle of good red wine. You don't need to taste it all the way through and after.
But once you don't have any acidity at all ; you have a boring, flat drink.

Different grinders. Next week we expect the new Simonelli grinder with heated burrs. For the moment we use a Robur and a Super Caimano. The Robur clumbs a bit more; yes it does, but both grinders are top level and produce great shots.

On cups we noticed that smaller cups with a
round bottom gives best crema and less acidity. Test it.

And naked portafilter gives way better mouth feel and creaminess. Also a darker crema. Nice.

We hope these experiments helps you to get your shots tastier and more consistent.
You're not sure? Of course you can always buy yourself a refractometer, but best is to drink more coffee. Not only from your own machine, but from anywhere. The more you drink the more you know. Certainly if you drink with other Barista's and discuss the flavors.
Good luck.

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