Is Preinfusion Necessary for Darker Italian Espresso Blends?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

#1: Post by cskorton »

Hi All,

Is there any value in having a machine that can do preinfusion if all I drink are darker Italian style blends using the traditional 14g dosing and 1:2-1:3 brew ratios?

I've searched across this forum and haven't come across a definitive answer. Most users on here brew lighter roasts with large doses compared to traditional Italian style espresso. The lighter roasts warrant preinfusion, but what about darker roasts?

Further, is it worth fussing over if I don't have a direct plumbed-in line and a rotary pump? Doesn't the vibration pumps slow ramp up to pressure sort of mimic preinfusion?

I'd imagine an Italian blend with even a 5 second preinfusion time would turn out watery, weak, and bitter.


User avatar
Team HB

#2: Post by RapidCoffee »

I believe you are correct on most counts. Extended preinfusion yields reasonable flow rates with finer grinds, which helps tame the acidity of lighter roasts. Darker, Italian-style espresso blends generally do fine without extended preinfusion. Vibe pumps saturate the puck slower than rotary pumps (due to lower water debit), providing a few seconds of preinfusion before pressure starts to build.

However, if you're looking for a reason to upgrade... it's nice to have options. One day your tastes might change, and without preinfusion, you will find it more difficult to get good extractions of lighter roasts.

User avatar

#3: Post by C-Antonio »

Yes (not even watery and weak, often just bitter and overdone) but it often depends on tastes and the types of coffee that compose the blends, they do behave somewhat differently. And even with a vibe pump you can have differences from machine to machine in the way the pressure ramps up and its delivered to the puck.
Maybe I'm incorrect in thinking it this way but I would put it that they dont need it, rather some italian blens tolerate preinfusion better than others.
In my opinion controlling the ramp up of the pressure is a better option than preinfusion if you use traditional blends, since I know what I like to drink (and everyone else at home is the same as me) I can pass on a pre-infusion option without much regret, otherwise no pump machine and look for a lever.
“Eh sì sì sì…sembra facile (fare un buon caffè)!”