Best technique for finding best flavor - Page 4

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
zin1953

#31: Post by zin1953 »

Champagne is an interesting comparison: it is the only wine that the winemaker never tastes.

It's not a perfect analogy, but bear with me . . . .

When a winemaker is making any other kind of wine, he or she can draw samples from the various barrels, tanks, etc. and know how the whole lot tastes. But because wines produced according to the true methode champenoise are fermented in the very bottle the consumer purchases at retail, and because each fermentation "vessel" produces a unique wine -- bear with me for a moment -- the winemaker can never taste the wine you consume. After all, to open the bottle is to "destroy" that volume of sparkling wine; it will never reach the market.

A winemaker can taste the final blend of a table wine and know when it's the right time to bottle. A sparkling wine producer can taste one bottle, maybe two (but out of thousands, tens of thousands, or more!) and guess that it's time to disgorged ALL the bottles of wine.

When it comes to espresso, the actual production of the liquid itself is out of the hands of the commercial roaster. We, the "home baristi," are the ones who actually produce the shot(s). So unless one roasts their own coffee . . . the commercial roaster cannot control the final (and crucial) moments of production (akin to bottling/disgorging the wine in this imperfect analogy).

Just random thoughts on a Wednesday afternoon, after a post-luncheon espresso.

Cheers,
Jason
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

King Seven

#32: Post by King Seven »

I sit somewhere in between all of Andy, Jim and Chris. (ah... the cop-out!)

I will try and explain my thinking, but I am aware the my easily destroyed logic could very well be influencing what I am tasting and my satisfaction with my adjustments.

I tend to see unbalanced (high) acidity as a sign of underextraction. For this reason I tend to drop the dose for coffees with high acidity to give my water (and its heat energy) less work to do in order to get a balanced extraction. Equally lighter roasts require more work to get more solubles out of them, so I tend to increase the temperature or drop the dose.

For me longer shots (lungo etc) tend to become more bitter because of the increased amount of water doing an increased amount of work, and ristretto shots (while more heat is spent in the cake) seem to struggle to extract as much as I would like from the coffee leaving them often a little acidic for me. So (as is probably quite obvious now) I tend to brew darker roasts, less dense/low acidity coffees at higher doses and at cooler temperatures.

I am sure my pop-science explanations could easily be pulled to pieces but I am sure some of it is pretty solid (increased brew temperature, with other variables kept constant, will increase total dissolved solids in the cup).

I hope that makes sense.

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GC7
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#33: Post by GC7 »

I don't really have much to add except to say thanks for resurrecting and extending this most interesting discussion. I have learned a great deal.

Zin - I am reading this after drinking a 2000 Bordeaux that tasted better with yesterday's steak then tonight's pasta. :wink:

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another_jim
Team HB

#34: Post by another_jim »

I think the disagreement on lungos and ristrettos may be related to shot time. I tend to do ristrettos at 35 to 40 seconds, lungos at around 20. This may be overcompensating, so thay it reverses the sour/bitter bias other people get when they run them at more similar times.
Jim Schulman

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malachi

#35: Post by malachi »

whereas I, as a general rule, pull ristretto shots at 25 to 29 seconds - and full volume shots at 25 to 29 seconds (and never pull "lungo" shots at all)
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

#36: Post by RapidCoffee »

King Seven wrote:I tend to see unbalanced (high) acidity as a sign of underextraction. For this reason I tend to drop the dose for coffees with high acidity to give my water (and its heat energy) less work to do in order to get a balanced extraction. Equally lighter roasts require more work to get more solubles out of them, so I tend to increase the temperature or drop the dose.

For me longer shots (lungo etc) tend to become more bitter because of the increased amount of water doing an increased amount of work, and ristretto shots (while more heat is spent in the cake) seem to struggle to extract as much as I would like from the coffee leaving them often a little acidic for me. So (as is probably quite obvious now) I tend to brew darker roasts, less dense/low acidity coffees at higher doses and at cooler temperatures.
This makes sense to me, and is largely in accord with my (admittedly more limited) experience. My only question has to do with grind settings for lungo/ristretto pours. For the same dose, lungos require a coarser grind to achieve higher flow rates, and slower flow rate ristretto pours require a finer grind. It's not clear to me whether lungos (which may also be pulled for a shorter time) are subject to over or underextraction. Ditto (but in reverse) for ristrettos.

Fortunately, my goal is typically normale doubles (with ristrettos and lungos as, um, happy accidents :roll: ), and this simplifies matters:

* lighter roasts, more acidic beans => lower doses, higher brew temperatures
* darker roasts, less acidic beans => higher doses, lower brew temperatures
John

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AndyS

#37: Post by AndyS »

RapidCoffee wrote:It's not clear to me whether lungos (which may also be pulled for a shorter time) are subject to over or underextraction. Ditto (but in reverse) for ristrettos.
Well, the point is to pour lungos, normales and ristrettos that are all neither overextracted nor underextracted. Jim is using a version of "Al's Rule," named after Al Critzer from alt.coffee. "....al" lengthened the extraction time for ristrettos and shortened the extraction time for lungos in an effort to normalize brew solids extraction.
....al wrote: As I was trained, the perfect espresso is 30ml in 30sec. That's assuming that all other factors are in line. For longer extractions, the contact time of water to coffee would have to be lessened so that undesirable elements associated with overextraction wouldn't be present in the cup. With shorter extractions, the water to coffee contact time would have to be increased to ensure that underextraction doesn't occur. This is accomplished by grind adjustment.

A good rule of thumb I have developed is this: For every 5ml of espresso above 30ml, subtract 1 sec of extract time. By this formula 1 1/2oz (45ml) would require 27sec extraction, 2oz (60ml) would require 24sec, etc.

The same holds true in reverse. This will find the sweet spot in espresso regardless of volume in the cup (within reasonable limits of .75oz to 2.5oz), as you are optimizing extraction to the desirable elements, maintaining the balance between under- and overextraction. For some reason, grinder adjustment and it's crucial impact on espresso is the most difficult concept to explain and grasp in all the trainings
I do.

As to ristretto. This a different drink altogether. If your grinder is set for regular espresso, and you choose to stop the pour at 25ml, this is simply an underextracted espresso. You haven't hit the sweet spot
yet. The "restricted" part referred to as ristretto is not so much related to volume as it is to water flow through the coffee puck. The ristretto that has been used for cuppings is a 25ml cup in 30-35sec.

This extraction intensifies the organoleptic perceptions of the eyes, nose, taste buds and upper pallate to better isolate the positive attributes of a given blend. Where the positives are accentuated, the negatives are exacerbated as well. The extractions are characterized by a very thin mouse's tail with rich, dark brown crema. Most people don't drink this as their everyday drink, but it is helpful in developing blends. If you customarily drink 25ml (or 50ml doubles), your grinder should be adjusted accordingly.
Unfortunately, Al was speaking in the Dark Ages of Espresso Knowledge, when hapless espresso people specified their pour volume in ml instead of grams. Nowadays, of course, we understand how confusing that is, and baristas who wish to communicate accurately always specify pour volumes in grams.

Also, he didn't specify the dose he was talking about, which presumably was around 7 grams (single espressos).
-AndyS
VST refractometer/filter basket beta tester, no financial interest in the company

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

#38: Post by RapidCoffee »

AndyS wrote:Well, the point is to pour lungos, normales and ristrettos that are all neither overextracted nor underextracted. Jim is using a version of "Al's Rule," named after Al Critzer...
Yeah, I use Al's Rule too, but as I said, it's largely by accident (e.g., while dialing in a new bean). But the point is, from a taste perspective, I find that lungos exhibit the bitterness often associated with overextraction, despite the shorter pour duration.
John

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AndyS

#39: Post by AndyS » replying to RapidCoffee »

OK, well I didn't say Al's Rule works, I just said it was a Rule!
-AndyS
VST refractometer/filter basket beta tester, no financial interest in the company

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

#40: Post by RapidCoffee »

AndyS wrote:OK, well I didn't say Al's Rule, works, I just said it was a Rule!
Oh, it's much more than just a Rule. It's a Justification that every barista should have in their arsenal of excuses:

Customer: Say, I watched you pulling my espresso. That pour filled a 10oz cup in only 8 seconds!

PBTC: Yeah dude, that's Al's Rule.
John