Best tips for "exceptional espresso" - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#11: Post by homeburrero »

another_jim wrote:Cooling for this style shot is a good idea. In any case, the seductive emulsion shots are gone until this style falls out of favor.
Good point.
another_jim wrote:When that happens, we'll all need an entirely new set of expensive gear and secret tweaks.
Speaking of expensive gear tweaks - In my post above I didn't I mention a trick that Joo Yeon used on her coffee to get back better mouth feel. She gave her roasted beans a five minute soak in a high pressure container charged with supercritical CO2, which supposedly made the oil in the beans more extractable.
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#12: Post by dragoic1 »

They look really nice !!! I'm gonna check them out . I only have on the machine 2 not neutral 200ml originally intended for milk based .And two amazon 2oz double wall glasses .

But I always use the big cups since the double glass needs a lot of time to cool down the espresso and I can not swirl or snif well .

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#13: Post by TomC (original poster) »

A coarse grind on a spring lever still gives me "resilient" crema, even several minutes after I pull it. I'm not stating anything ground-breaking or unknown by mentioning that, but just to say that I still get the mouthfeel and appearance of a hotter shot. I don't care much for drinking group temp light roasted espresso, regardless of how talented the roaster is or how divine their beans are, it's just too sharp and harsh. The cool-down "hack" only works (and is only necessary) with lighter roasted coffee anyway.
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#14: Post by Almico »

Good topic.

As I see it:

Mouthfeel is still king whether espresso or filter. I don't like thin coffee, regardless of the exotic flavor notes.

From my limited experience, mouthfeel is coffee dependent, not temperature. Some coffees have wonderful body and mouthfeel at lighter roasts; most do not. I'm not willing to try and shoehorn a desirable feature into a coffee with expensive equipment or roast profile gymnastics that is just not there. If you want lighter espresso with a syrupy mouthfeel, buy the right coffee, not new equipment.

In general, cooler coffee tastes better to me than hot coffee. I can sip on a cup of drip for an hour after its cooled to room temperature and it just gets sweeter. I don't usually do that with espresso, but espresso is no different. Good espresso gets better as it cools. Bad espresso gets bitter and nasty, just like bad drip.

I spent last Friday afternoon in Brooklyn cupping some offerings from La Minita's microlot program. There were some relatively expensive Geisha's, some fermentation experiments (yellow, red and black honeys) and some less expensive coffees from smaller, recently reclaimed parcels that were part of the original La Minita estate that fell into disrepair.

I picked a relatively inexpensive coffee from the La Pradera farm, which is located on an Atlantic ocean facing plot across the river from Pacific facing La Minita proper. I chose this coffee because of its syrupy body. I can roast flavors in and out of coffees, but I can't roast in body without going exceedingly dark, and even then it's a false body mainly from undissolved solids.

They sent me a sample, which I roasted on my fluid bed roaster to an Agtron ground 73, and gratefully, the body was still there in spades. What a wonderful coffee!

Normally, I do not drink SO light roasted espresso; my bar coffee is Brazil/Sumatra/Ethiopia 50/35/15. But for kicks I threw a handful into my R120 this morning, and after a bit of dialing in, pulled a truly heavenly lungo from my basic lever machine into a 4oz gibraltar. It's only 2 days off the roast, so the "crema" was 80% of the shot at first, but dissipated quickly to a creamy, blondish 1/4". It was thick and rich and fruity and I sipped it for 20 minutes, a tiny bit at a time. It did not pick up any astringency and the last sip was the sweetest. I can't wait to see what this coffee will be with 3 more days rest, but it might not last that long.

So my tip...the right coffee trumps the right equipment.

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#15: Post by Marcelnl »

I've also grown the habit of letting my usual double ristretto cool of quite a bit before sipping it, that and the IPA demi tasses I use seems to work really well to bring out all the flavours. I consider investing in good software important too, but consider myself lucky to be able to source decent priced good greans fairly easy. The process of continued learning to roast better to bring out the best of the greens helps, currently it feels like I start all over now I've transitioned to a Huky 500T, my converted Illy can on a drill worked well but what I'm roasting now is far better but it feels as if there is lots of room to improve and therefore want to start doing some cupping exercises anytime soon. With my previous typical batch size I burned through roasted coffee too fast for it to age properly but now I can keep ahead of consumption and there is room to properly evaluate my roasting.
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#16: Post by another_jim »

One thing this has going for it, easiest tip ever to test. So far, for me, better flavor clarity on cooling, but a less creamy mouthfeel. I think I'll do it for lighter roasts, and pass for medium roasted DPs.
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#17: Post by Sideshow »

I do a compromise to get the clarity of a slightly cooler shot without losing the mouthfeel that the crema-which dissipates after about a minuteish-provides. Just don't preheat the vessel. Works well to cool the shot without sacrificing texture.

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#18: Post by RyanJE »

There's a bit more on cooling etc. in this video from Wendelboe...
I drink two shots before I drink two shots, then I drink two more....


#19: Post by Tonefish »

homeburrero wrote: In my post above I didn't I mention a trick that Joo Yeon used on her coffee to get back better mouth feel. She gave her roasted beans a five minute soak in a high pressure container charged with supercritical CO2, which supposedly made the oil in the beans more extractable.
Interesting that roasters rest and store a roast to out-gas the CO2 and she's forcing it back in at high pressure. Gimmick, solid science, or better espresso ... I wonder!?!
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#20: Post by IPW20X »

I've only been at this a few months. I'm a chemical engineer by training, so the science part is pretty familiar to me. What I've learned is important to get a consistently good shot:

Good beans
High quality grinder
High quality scale
Bottomless portafilter
Solid distribution, leveling and tamping skill

The beans, grinder and scale ensure the basic ingredients can be repeatably processed to begin with. The bottomless portafilter will show all the technique mistakes on the handle side of the portafilter. I just started using a bottomless portafilter and I wish I had started with it in the beginning. Most of my early frustration, if not all, was just bad tamping technique.