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Espresso measurement: ounces? grams? volume?

Postby Jebez on Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:32 pm

I've been using an Andreja for two years (along with a Preciso grinder) to make cappuccinos.
My results are generally pretty good, but if I could, I'd like the end result to have a little more 'oomph' and intensity of flavor.
Using a naked portafilter, I can observe what appears to be a good pull - nice and syrupy, and striping - but blonding occurs a few seconds before I reach my target of 25 seconds. I begin timing the moment I pull the lever.
I grind 18g of beans in a double basket to produce a one and a half ounce shot in 25 seconds. In posts that I've been reading, often times there's reference to the amount of a shot not in ounces, but in grams - or ratios to the amount of beans used and the volume of the shot. I'm a bit confused by this, and would appreciate some enlightenment. Perhaps my 25 second target isn't correct for the strong (deep) flavor I desire - or - perhaps the one and a half ounce shot isn't correct for 18g of beans that I use.
Thank you in advance for any guidance in my quest for a tastier shot.
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Postby JmanEspresso on Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:39 pm

Here is some reading for you:

Brewing ratios for espresso beverages

Digital espresso or a way to consistency


Basically, many have, for a long time, weighed the dose of ground coffee. So much so, that for most people, its normal to check their dosing once a week or so, and for some, its normal to do every shot. I do it every shot.

But then why, after wieghing the input, would we measure the output in volume? Crema volumes change drastically with different blends and age of coffee.. for how accurate we were measuring the input, we were being pretty inaccurate for the output.

So now, a much more accurate way, is to weigh the shot. Either as its pulling, or immediately after. As far as consistency goes, its the way to do it. You'll notice, many roasters now publish weights for their target brew parameters. Some instead of ounces, some along with ounces.

Also, of note, Ive been watching the live stream of the USBC yesterday and today, and Im noticing more and more competitors disclose to the judges what their dose weight it, and what their overall extraction weight is. Its definitely become the way to be most consistent.
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Postby jfrescki on Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:45 pm

A good reference is Brewing ratios for espresso beverages posted by Andy Shechter quite a few years ago.

Brew ratios and weight of the final product in grams is a more meaningful way to talk about the beverages since volume is affected by dissipating crema. Essentially, a regular espresso or normale, is a 50% brew ratio, or twice as much product as ground coffee. So for your 18g dose, a normale would be approximately 36g of espresso in the cup.

You might also want to check out Digital espresso or a way to consistency. I weigh both my my dose and product routinely. It lets me know that I'm in the right extraction range and not wandering, and it doesn't add significant time to my routine.
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Postby jfrescki on Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:45 pm

Doh...Jman, great minds think alike.
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Postby Jebez on Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:16 pm

Thank you JmanEspresso and jfrescki!
I've got some reading to do.
How do you weigh your shots?
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Postby JmanEspresso on Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:36 pm

a 1/10th gram scale is what you want. you could get away with a gram scale, but the 1/10th will allow you to start wieghing your grounds before the shot as well.

You need the 1/10th accuracy because as little as .3 can change the flow noticeably, and .5g can affect flavor noticeably.
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Postby bean2friends on Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:17 pm

I started to do this and it made a huge difference. If your experience is like mine, you'll discover your 11/2 oz. shot weighs 60 grams or more. I tightened up my grind and it's completely different - much more better.
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Postby Jebez on Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:57 pm

JmanEspresso wrote:a 1/10th gram scale is what you want. you could get away with a gram scale, but the 1/10th will allow you to start wieghing your grounds before the shot as well.

You need the 1/10th accuracy because as little as .3 can change the flow noticeably, and .5g can affect flavor noticeably.


I do use a 1/10 gram scale to measure my beans.
I guess I should have been more clear in my question - which is how do you measure your shot with the gram scale? Do you first determine the weight of the shot glass, then weigh it after pulling the shot?
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Postby Jebez on Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:59 pm

bean2friends wrote:I started to do this and it made a huge difference. If your experience is like mine, you'll discover your 11/2 oz. shot weighs 60 grams or more. I tightened up my grind and it's completely different - much more better.


Thank you bean2friends.
What do you mean by tightening up the grind? Grinding it finer?
What was different after you tightened the grind?
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Postby jfrescki on Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:23 pm

Jebez wrote:which is how do you measure your shot with the gram scale? Do you first determine the weight of the shot glass, then weigh it after pulling the shot?


Exactly. Tare the glass, then pull your shot.
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