Problem to extract espresso with Ethiopian Harrar

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

#1: Post by kast0r »


I purchased a Harrar coffee from Ethiopia which is brown roasted. The coffee beans have an excellent scent. I perceive blueberries as well as cedar.

The problem I have been having since opening the bag is that I am not able to taste great when making espresso with this coffee. It is always too sour or too acidic. I have changed several settings so far to see if I was able to have a good extraction, but I still have this problem.

Thing I did:

- Grind finer
- Grind coarser
- Grind finer with longer extraction time
- Grind coarser with less extraction time
- Lower water temp
- Higher water temp
- Less coffee
- More coffee

The results are always the same. To my taste, the coffee is not good on the palate.

The last setting I made is to have finer grind giving it a pre-infusion time of 15-20 seconds for a total of 36g in 45 seconds. The result is less worse. I am able to taste blueberries now, but the taste can definitely be improved as I still taste sour in the cup.

Reading a bit on forums, I realized that this type of coffee may not be ideal for espresso. (I am using a Yirgacheffe at the moment and the taste is excellent)

Do you have any ideas to help me or this type of coffee may not be ideal for espresso?

Thank you!

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#2: Post by TomC »

Welcome to HB Alexandre!

Maybe not a most ideal coffee to be extracted as espresso without having a lot of control at your fingertips.

If grinding much finer, dosing less, longer pre-infusion and a long slow extraction isn't banishing the sourness (bump the temp too?) then it's time to move on to a different coffee. Maybe save that for filter/drip brew.
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#3: Post by cafeIKE »

How about numbers for dose, basket, pressure, temperature, brew ratio [g espresso / g coffee], etc.

FWIW, I like a large basket filled to 'spec'* and brewed hotter [203-205°F] for lighter roasts.

* eg Triple basket ≈ 21g.
Note that baskets are not created equal and it helps to have a selection of doubles and triples


#4: Post by mbbrew »

Have you tried longer ratios? A lungo can push the extraction up and tame the sourness, in addition to making the acidity more dilute.