Have your cake, and eat it, too! (The After-Shot)

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

Hey friends,

So here's the thing. I like thick, juicy shots of lightly roasted coffee with high BMF, punchy acidity and fruity sweetness.

My technique for getting this is based primarily on the following things.
  1. I have a high-extracting grinder.
  2. I have a machine with flow-control.
  3. I pull my shots short in yield.
  4. I pull my shots long in time.
  5. I pull my shots hot.
And I'm completely content with the shots I pull.

There is, however, one little thing that rather interested/bothered me.

Delicious and satisfying as my shots may be, I doubt they are ever extracted much north of 20% EY. While my tongue does not care in the slightest, it means that there are some potentially tasty solids remaining in the puck, and my wallet might appreciate a way to get these solids into my cup instead of casting them into my knockbox. Yes. I know there are lots of ways to get higher extraction shots. I am not talking about chasing EY here. I don't want to change my shots. I just want to capture the leftover goodness after I pull my shots.

While I don't know exactly what made me think to try this on my machine, it was spurred in large part by some friends with spring levers who routinely report the leftovers from a tight ristretto as being quite delicious. This, coupled with some ridiculously expensive coffee I bought recently -ah, yes, that's what made me think of trying this- led to a very successful experiment.

Enter the After-Shot:

First, make yourself a delicious shot of espresso, the shorter the better. I use a Slayer-style pre-brew followed by a declining pressure profile most of the time, but do whatever works for you.

Next, place a fresh demitasse under the portafilter and start a second shot.

That's right.

Start a second shot.

Let that sink in just a bit.

This second shot is pulled at a lower pressure. I tend to keep the pressure around 1.5 bar and target anywhere from 30-50g yield. Much like pulling a traditional shot of espresso, ideal yeld is really coffee-dependent, as a lighter roast will do well with a higher yield without any bitterness coming through, but a medium or darker roast might turn bitter and does better with a shorter yield.

I like my espresso thick, intense and focused. But the After-Shot is a like really nice single-serve spro-over. They tend to be sweet, delicate, nuanced and pretty darn tasty. If you're already extracting to 23-25% or higher, this probably isn't for you. But if you're like me and prefer your espresso to be thick and viscous, having a nice little taste of filter-esque coffee out of the same puck is an unexpected treat. It's also a pretty simple way to ensure you get your money's worth out of a spendy specialty coffee.

It's nice to be able to have your cake and eat it, too.


- Jake
LMWDP #704

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#2: Post by PIXIllate »

Head broken.
Interest piqued.
You're nuts.
Thanks for sharing.


#3: Post by BaristaBob »

Pulled my first coffee this morning...Klatch Belle. For me it's 19g in, 36g out, in 34 sec. at 201F, and 15 sec. preinfusion. After that I placed my hand on the pf handle but pulled back...remembering this crazy post from Jake. So, now reaching into the cupboard for another cup, I placed it on the Acaia scale and started a second extraction, this time in preinfusion mode only. I swore I heard the beans in their air tight canisters let out a gasp..."what is he doing to those poor grounds?!" "Haven't they been through hell already!"

Extracting in uncharted waters, I stopped the shot after 23 sec. with 30g in the cup. Taste...yes, like a pour over, light, nuanced, similar to a hot Americano for me.

Interesting to say the least. So maybe not extracting my primary shot long enough? Going for finer grind on my next shot.
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..I've come to drink you once again"


#4: Post by BlueWater »

Decided to try this morning: 17.5 in, 42 out, 88C at grouphead for a home roasted honey Colombian, then pressure at 1.5 bar, 88C for 32 out. The first sip surprised me and I didn't like it-thin and muddy. I deliberately thought of it as a pour over and tasted again. The red fruit I like from this coffee was there-muted, and still muddy, but it was good enough to have a few more sips. Interesting for sure, and worth exploring some more.


#5: Post by jpender »

Not a new idea. I've tried it before and didn't particularly like it. To me it tasted like the part of the shot I intended to leave behind. But I don't have that kind of grinder or pull the kind of shot that the OP described. YMMV.

Step 3: Eat the grounds. :-)

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#6: Post by PIXIllate »

Tried it this morning. Pulled (18/33g) a Detour Costa Rican that measured 21 Medium Light on the Roast Vision. Then tried a second cup held to 1.5 bar. I guess I had the flow too high because I got my 35g in 10 seconds. Will try again with a very low flow rate for the second shot.

I should say that I never drink filter coffee. After years of straight espresso shots it all tastes watered down to me. Maybe I'll find a way to change that.


#7: Post by harrisonpatm »

The wording of this forum's title is reminding me of a prank we used to pull as chefs at a high end restaurant. The espresso machine was located just opposite the hot line. If we had a new, young employee who didn't know what espresso was, a fun way to introduce them to the concept was to fish a spend puck out of the knockbox, one that didn't break up, place it on a nice plate, dust it with powdered sugar, and offer it to the unwitting recipient. "Hey, here's a cookie that got made by mistake, want it?" Nothing like a mouthful of spend coffee grounds!