Increasing espresso mouthfeel - issues after trial and error

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

#1: Post by NickR »

Hi all,

I have been on this website for a while, as well as Reddit, and have looked through past posts on the issue of "texture" or "mouthfeel." I have looked to replicate my local barista's using tips by folks, but none seem to work. Here is my list, and I hope some folks can give some tips I am missing:

(1) Equipment. I have ECM Classika and Atom 75

(2) Coffee. I have tried a bunch of different ones. Frankly, the only difference between light and medium-dark is the "creaminess," whereas I'm targeting a texture that replicates the feeling that there are almost fines in my cup. My espresso is smooth, whereas I want some texture.

(3) Puck prep. I single-dose using bellows, then do WDT to break up some clumps, then tiny tap, then tamp with Normcore, and pull with bottomless portafilter. Channeling has improved since my last post, and I am very happy with the results!

(4) Water. I use third wave water + distilled water

(5) Temp. I set between 192-202 depending on coffee.

(7) Ratio. I use 20g basket and pull between 1:1.5 and 1:2.5 depending on coffee.

What else am I missing to unlock that next step? Thanks very much!! :)


#2: Post by mikelipino »

Looking at your profile, have you tried comparing shots between the Atom and the Sette? Large flats like the Atom often trade body for increased clarity, and conicals like the Sette can do the opposite. Since you have both you can switch between them depending on the cup profile you're looking for.

NickR (original poster)

#3: Post by NickR (original poster) »

I wish I was able to keep the Sette - I had to sell to afford Atom. I had thought it was the opposite, that flat burrs created more body and less brightness, while conical burrs increased notes but decreased body.


#4: Post by El_hondero »

I've had a hard time with my espresso lately , no body , no crema , sour and the bottom of my basket has a lot of dead spots (no liquid coming out)

I changed coffee to the Bezzera boungiorno blend and boom
So much crema ,perfect visual cues for extraction and the body's like drinking foamed milk .

So perhaps you might wanna look at the beans ?

NickR (original poster)

#5: Post by NickR (original poster) »

I definitely will! Thank you!


#6: Post by Pressino »

Although "mouthfeel" is described as a single sensory experience, it is a sensation that depends on multiple factors including such things as the degree of extraction (% extraction ratio), the varying amounts of coffee components extracted (oils, carbohydrates, etc), the coffee itself (SO and blends), the level of roast, coffee grind size and distribution (especially the amount of fines) and maybe a few other things.

The point is that with so many variables is there some way that might make it easier to adjust your espresso making in your attempt to adjust the mouthfeel of the drink? I think there is: measure the TDS of the espressos you extract. I'm not saying that "TDS = mouthfeel," but it is a parameter that can be easily monitored as a variable that is itself related to other coffee brewing variables. If all of the other espresso making variables except the one you are changing (pick one of either coffee, grind size, grinder type, puck prep, brew temp, etc), then TDS becomes a variable that is easy to monitor and becomes a very good one to plot against the coffee's "mouthfeel."

At least that has been my experience. An inexpensive handheld Brix refractometer (either optical readout or digital) is accurate enough for you to measure TDS and perform the experiment described above.

As another post suggested, you can also try to increase the fines in your ground coffee by using another espresso competent grinder, perhaps a manual one. :!: