Espresso is weak

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

#1: Post by Michalstojan »

So I have a kind of a strange problem. I've recently purchased an old fully working La San Marco espresso machine. I've done many upgrades already such as precision basket, bottomless portafilter, precision shower screen, atc. Shots are looking good, and they even taste quite nice with one little issue though. I feel like they are less concentrated than they should be. My ratios are usually 1:2 in 26-32s, using lighter or darker roasts does not make any difference. My guess was that the espresso tastes weaker because of the smaller 54mm portafilter and need to grind coarser however I've read multiple articles saying that as long as it's properly dialed in it should taste the same. So I'm kind of unsure what could be the problem. The only option is that the pressure gauge is showing uncorrect (higher) pressure than it actually is. And in reality the pressure is much lower. One more weird thing is that the crema seems to be usually quite light and a bit foamy even with not so fresh darker roast. I know it all sounds a bit weird but I'm hoping someone here can give me some ideas what could be the problem.

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#2: Post by Jeff »

What are you comparing to that seems more concentrated to you?

What grinder are you and they using?

Michalstojan (original poster)

#3: Post by Michalstojan (original poster) »

Well I recently went to a couple of speciality coffee shops to focus on this problem. I just feel like their espresso is a bit more concentrated. Mine tastes great and all but feels bit more like if I made it on an moka pot or something. Not quite that sort of weak but just going that direction. They use usual high end grinders. I use lelit Fred. Not quite sure the problem is in the grinder though.

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#4: Post by Nunas »

How fresh is your coffee? Once in a while, I roast a bit too much and notice that my espresso lacks mouth feel if the beans are beyond a few weeks old. I roast all my own coffee and have clearly noticed that it follows a bell curve. It isn't all that great right out of the roaster, gets better over about a week, stays that way for about a week, then drops off gradually. The taste isn't rancid or anything like that, just a bit "thin", which may be what you're experiencing.


#5: Post by Pressino »

There are several reasons for "weak" coffee, a couple of which have been mentioned above. This is one place where checking the coffee with a refractometer can be very helpful in making a diagnosis. See the thread above that was started earlier.

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Kaffee Bitte

#6: Post by Kaffee Bitte »

Those specialty shops are probably using 20 gr baskets for a double shot volume most likely in the ristretto range. Most shops sell more milk drinks, so they tend to pull thick syrupy shots to cut through the milk.
Your shots are more in the normale range which will be less intense.
Pull at a lower ratio. Also could try a finer grind if the coffee is past peak.

Also sounds like your coffee may be moving down the trough to staleness. Try some new coffees. Look for high body coffees. Sumatrans tend to be heavier body. Natural process coffees often too. High grown wet process sometimes as well. Walk into a coffee shop and ask for their coffee with the highest body/mouthfeel.
Lynn G.
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