Coffee Sweet Spot Density Indicator

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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Javarick

#1: Post by Javarick »

I've searched for these terms and the name "Richard Mayston" but can't find anything on HB about this.

Recently I ran across Richard Mayston's youtube video on optimum extraction based on roast, as determined by the specific gravity of the roasted beans (in grams per 100 ml). I tested one of my current favourites and found it was .370 grams per ml, which the algorithm Mayston recommends suggests best flavour will come from a shot from of 55 ml out of 19 grams in 23 seconds, brewed at 89C. Yikes! This is way outside the folk lore about espresso!

Has this been discussed on HB in some other forum? I'd like to see the discussion. If not, I'd like to read your reactions to this.

Pressino

#2: Post by Pressino »

Don't know if this specific question (about it's being outside the traditional parameters) has been discussed here before...but I'm not sure the calculated extraction parameters you got are totally outside the usual standards...would seem to be a longish shot but not beyond the pale of "acceptability." Hoffman had a recent video expressing nostalgia for "classically beautiful" espresso compared to the thin looking modern stuff that seems preferred these days. He suggests (I think quite correctly) the change is due to the modern emphasis on both repeatable consistency and getting full extraction and what that means in terms of coffee taste... I would guess that the website's density based algorithm is designed to optimize the sort of extraction that at least on paper gives you results that are optimized to produce this "modern" style of espresso with repeatable consistency.

I'd say try it and see if you like it.

What I take away from Hoffman's video is that while making espresso undoubtedly involves manipulating many physical variables,including bean density, roast level, grind, portafilter dosing, temperature, pressure, water flow, time and probably a lot of other things we don't pay attention to, like basket/puck geometry), the final test of all this parameter juggling is what gets into the cup and how that is perceived by the one who drinks it.

Consistency has its own benefits in coffee making, but over reliance on that can be stifling. To quote Emerson: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..." 8)

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keno

#3: Post by keno »

From what I can tell he's basing these recommendations on some kind of algorithm (presumably based on his own taste testing). In general a less dense roasted coffee is darker roasted and a denser coffee is lighter roasted. So there is a rationale for tying brewing ratios to density. But I have a number of serious reservations about this enterprise.

First, this only involves post-roast density, but as all roasters know there is a significant difference in density pre-roasting based on the elevation the coffee was grown at. A high grown Kenyan is a much denser bean than a low grown Brazil. Focusing on post-roast density neglects this difference.

Second, providing a brewing ratio for espresso using volume is a serious error. Volume is influenced by the amount of CO2 and crema and is therefore impacted by age. To avoid this problem brew ratios should always be expressed in weight (grams in and grams out).

Third, there is so much variety in origin, roast level, personal taste, and equipment that providing these kinds of brew ratios just seems like a fool's errand. It's one thing for a roaster who has experience with a particular offering to provide some recommended brew parameters, but quite another to think you could provide something this generalizable.

Better to just learn the basics of how to modify brewing parameters and use your own taste to judge, because that's what matters in the end anyway.

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happycat

#4: Post by happycat »

The same points occurred to me but I thought it was worth thinking about it more to give him the benefit of the doubt,
keno wrote:there is a significant difference in density pre-roasting based on the elevation the coffee was grown at. A high grown Kenyan is a much denser bean than a low grown Brazil. Focusing on post-roast density neglects this difference.
So it takes longer/more heat for the denser bean to get to the same post roast density as another. Does it matter if we measure everyhing at the same density? I don't know
keno wrote:Second, providing a brewing ratio for espresso using volume is a serious error. Volume is influenced by the amount of CO2 and crema and is therefore impacted by age. To avoid this problem brew ratios should always be expressed in weight (grams in and grams out).
In general I agree that weight is better. However it doesn't necessarily impact his process of induction. His focus is on how roast density affects CO2 loss to predict resting periods.
keno wrote:Third, there is so much variety in origin, roast level, personal taste, and equipment that providing these kinds of brew ratios just seems like a fool's errand.
Maybe. Or maybe his algorithm uses density to predict the impact of roasting on what is available to dissolve in terms of sugars vs roastiness.

I am skeptical, but he's put forward a hypothesis that could be tested.

While specifics may not be generalizable, the heuristics might with tuning based on equipment.
LMWDP #603

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Jeff
Team HB

#5: Post by Jeff »

I listened to the presentation when the author appeared here and dropped a couple links without explanation.

I'm a bit hesitant to put weight behind someone that measures density of an irregular, relatively large substance in a graduated cylinder and believes that he's measuring to better than 1% accuracy.

I put this into "glad it works for you" and "maybe there's something there, but needs significantly better supporting evidence" categories.

https://royalcoffee.com/green-coffee-an ... v-density/ has some interesting numbers, seemingly around greens.

Until then, I find the London Tube map more useful in finding good coffee.

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TomC
Team HB

#6: Post by TomC »

To expand on Jeff's point, the creator of these videos (that I find mildly interesting and exciting) spammed this forum with his links which were removed per our guidelines. When I was reviewing the links he submitted of his YouTube series, I think there was only 2 videos posted. I found them both interesting but very bereft of information or actual science that would support anything he claimed. It all seemed to me like pocket science based on just random observations and opinions.

I'd like to see more work done in this arena, but what he put out seems to be nothing more than quackery and BS.
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