How hot/cool do you brew dark roast espresso?

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

Lately I've been trying to maximize my medium to dark roast espresso brewing, as someone who drinks 99% light roast espresso at home but is now working at a cafe with coffee a little darker than I prefer.

I've been experimenting with some gift beans and found that brewing somewhere around 180-185F with a fine grind/low flow rate/low ratio is yielding some phenomenally round and rich shots with little to no over-extraction defects in the finish. Though most of my coffee friends look at me like I'm crazy when I suggest pulling at 180F!

I'm curious: what temp are you all brewing darker coffees at? Anyone going even lower than this? Any thoughts on mindset shift brewing dark vs light? This has been a very illuminating experience for me!

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#2: Post by lagoon »

91-92C here.

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#3: Post by LBIespresso »

I'd say 90-92 and that's true but a recent experience with Mr. Espresso reminded me that it is always good to play around with as many variables as you have the time and coffee for. That coffee was best at 86 which broke my rules...SO I had to make new rules haha. Guidance is 90-92 but explore beyond. Those are my new rules. have fun making your own!
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#4: Post by gonzomup »

I start at 90°C for darker roasts. I'm also relatively new to home espresso, so take that for what it's worth.

Good luck!

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#5: Post by JohnB. »

Most medium roasts do well around 200°F but I've had several recently (Caffe Lusso GMC & Lionshare) that were best at 202°F. I have dropped down to 190° or lower for a few Italian roasted blends to get by the harsh roast flavors. I don't waste my money on those anymore.

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#6: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Darker roasts at 202°F.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

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#7: Post by Phip »

A Portland local, Spellas, is dark/med. dark and the baristas at their cafe once told me 197 was their sweet spot for temp.
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#8: Post by Milligan »

It depends on your machine too. 200F boiler temp doesn't necessarily mean 200F at the coffee. With my decent I had to drop temps across the board due to its probe being right above the puck compared to my previous GS3 even with its saturated group head.

As for temps, I'm usually in the 190F-195F range for medium and even lower for true dark. I've also leaned toward faster extractions for dark. In the 23-26s range instead of in the 30s. Hard to get a sour shot out of dark roast, but if you do wow it's awful.

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#9: Post by Mat-O-Matic »

Darker = cooler and coarser, and less/no preinfusion. Curious if your very low temps are extracting less making the fine grind work better.
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#10: Post by ShotClock »

The decent had a profile called 80s espresso that is a lever type shot with no preinfusion, and a peak pressure around 8 bar. The temp starts at around 80C, and declines towards 70C over the course of the shot. The decent measures temperature pretty much at the puck, so it might not translate exactly to other machines.

I've found that this makes some incredible Italian espresso shots, especially ristrettos with around 0.5g/s flow rates. Normally I'm somewhere around 1.2-1.5:1. The bitter edge that you might expect with this kind of coffee is pretty much eliminated.

Interestingly, it seems to really bring out the best in Robusta heavy blends in particular, eliminating the woody, bitter and "burning tire" notes, and bringing out chocolate and hazelnut.