Someone please explain extraction ratios to me!

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hamish5178

#1: Post by hamish5178 »

To my understanding the traditional espresso calls for 7/14 grams of coffee turning into 1/2 oz of beverage. I understand that 3rd wave cafes and the American espresso tradition in general call for more coffee and less beverage. However, it seems like whenever anyone around here mentions a ratio they say 20-21 grams of coffee and 30 grams of extraction. This is basically pulling a single shot from three times the amount of coffee normally used. I understand updosing, I get ristretto, but is this correct? This seems like an absolutely puny amount of espresso from a whole lot of coffee. I usually dose around 18g as that is what seems to fit best in the double basket I prefer, my extractions usually weigh around 50 grams, or almost two ounces.

Am I just being a total newbie? Does no-one on these boards drink normal doubles or singles?

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HB
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#2: Post by HB »

hamish5178 wrote:However, it seems like whenever anyone around here mentions a ratio they say 20-21 grams of coffee and 30 grams of extraction. This is basically pulling a single shot from three times the amount of coffee normally used.
I think you're confusing the traditional weight-to-volume means of describing the brew ratio and Andy's weight-to-weight Brewing ratios for espresso beverages that has become more recent nomenclature.

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The weight-to-weight means of describing brew ratio isn't affected by crema volume. Since the volume of crema can vary dramatically depending on factors such as coffee age, coffee type, and brew pressure, I prefer weight-to-weight since it more accurately describes how much coffee/water was used.
hamish5178 wrote:I usually dose around 18g as that is what seems to fit best in the double basket I prefer, my extractions usually weigh around 50 grams, or almost two ounces.
That's a 36% brew ratio, i.e., it's in the lungo range.
Dan Kehn

hamish5178

#3: Post by hamish5178 »

I'm not confused at all, I understand that 2 oz of espresso will not always be 60 grams due to crema, but it sure as hell won't be 30 grams, at least not in any shot I've ever seen. When I pull a 30 gram shot, even with a ton of crema, it is still clearly in the ballpark of 1 oz by volume.

I guess my question is, is anyone really pulling/drinking ratios near 100%? This just seems like a ridiculously tiny amount of espresso to me.

edit for your edit:
HB wrote:That's a 36% brew ratio, i.e., it's in the lungo range.
According to what? Is there some sort of 'official' ratio guide, or is a normal italian double considered a 'lungo' American double?

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HB
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#4: Post by HB »

hamish5178 wrote:I guess my question is, is anyone really pulling/drinking ratios near 100%? This just seems like a ridiculously tiny amount of espresso to me.
My preference is in the 60% to 70% range. I don't measure volume regularly, but I would guess most of my espressos are around 1.5 ounces. Ristrettos in the 100% range are syrupy and rich, but are usually one-dimensional compared to those in the normale range. I haven't tried lungos.
hamish5178 wrote:According to what? Is there some sort of 'official' ratio guide, or is a normal italian double considered a 'lungo' American double?
For what it's worth, the Italian Espresso National Institute documented their take on it here:

• Necessary portion of ground coffee 7 g ± 0,5
• Exit temperature of water from the unit 88°C ± 2°C
• Temperature of the drink in the cup 67°C ± 3°C
• Entry water pressure 9 bar ± 1
• Percolation time 25 seconds ± 2,5 seconds
• Viscosity at 45°C > 1,5 mPa s
• Total fat > 2 mg/ml
• Caffeine < 100 mg/cup
• Millilitres in the cup (including foam) 25 ml ± 2,5

The SCAA barista competition guidelines are less exacting in their definition (e.g., any pour time between 20 and 30 seconds is A-OK). That said, I'm not aware of an industry standard definition for lungos.
Dan Kehn

mr_pedro

#5: Post by mr_pedro »

I have been wondering the same thing as the OP. There is a large discrepancy between the traditional 14 g / 2ish oz and the 50% brew ratios mentioned here for a regular.
So the 7 g and 25 ml mentioned above would, in my experience, give brew ratios of roughly 33%.

mitch236

#6: Post by mitch236 »

The problem is the antiquated method of measuring shots. 25mL could be so variable and open to interpretation. I wish all modern roasters would move into the digital age and only use mass when describing brewing parameters.

mr_pedro

#7: Post by mr_pedro » replying to mitch236 »

Well since i started measuring my shots and since I am able to reduce channeling and slow down the flow, I am actually making shots in the 66%~100% range and I like it.

So I am not doing anything wrong when my 50% BR shots with a 16 g dose end up around the 1 oz/ 35 ml mark and not around the 1.5~2.0 oz like the traditional way of measuring or around the 58 ml (half way between 40 ml and 76 ml) like it is mentioned in the famous BR post that is referenced to above?

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Bluecold
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#8: Post by Bluecold »

mr_pedro wrote:I have been wondering the same thing as the OP. There is a large discrepancy between the traditional 14 g / 2ish oz and the 50% brew ratios mentioned here for a regular.
So the 7 g and 25 ml mentioned above would, in my experience, give brew ratios of roughly 33%.
Andy Schecter in the original thread in which he proposed the charts wrote: This chart is a work in progress. The key factors are the ones highlighted in green. Your comments about what you consider a ristretto or regular espresso to be (measured in this way) are welcome.
Extraction ratios are more about communication than about strictly defining beverage names.
LMWDP #232
"Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."

mr_pedro

#9: Post by mr_pedro »

Reading Andy's post more carefully I also saw that the ml range for a regular of 40 to 76 is not to say it should be in that range depending only on how high or low you are in the dose and BR ranges, the type of machine and coffee used also have a big impact. So if you are using a "low" crema machine with arabica beans, dosing in the mid range and BR on the high range of regular, you could very well end up with about 35 ml and still be in the ball bark of the ranges in the table.

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TrlstanC

#10: Post by TrlstanC »

I believe that the weight-to-weight chart was made by taking shots that fell in to what people would usually call ristretto, normal and lungo and weighing them to find out what their ratios were. It's basically just a way to ignore crema when describing and communicating shot parameters. If I use 18g of coffee to pull 18g of espresso, but it's got tons of frothy crema that fill up over 2oz that's not a lungo, and it's not really helpful to describe it like that. Plus, people are usually much worse at judging volume then they think they are, relying on weights avoids a lot of estimating errors.

I think that the regular espresso range also lines up pretty well with traditional definitions of an Italian espresso. For a double, 14g will give about 28g of liquid, which with crema will fill up 1.5-2oz (about 50ml +/- 10). But it really does just come down to communicating how a shot was pulled, if you give me the brew ratio and time I can probably pull a similar tasting shot on my equipment that you got on yours, with the same coffee.

When I'm dialing in a new coffee I usually don't pay attention to the brew ratio, I just taste the shot and adjust from there. Once I've got it dialed in I'll usually weigh a shot or two, just so I can make a note if I order that coffee again (or if someone on here asks for suggestions). And I usually find that for a lot of coffees I end up somewhere in the 75-110% range, with some in the 50-75 and some in the 110-140, and very rarely some around 40%. Certainly a lot more ristretto than a traditional espresso, I don't know if that's just my personal preference, or if it's more an effect of the way roasters are picking and roasting coffees? But either way, I'm not targeting a certain ratio, I'm just pulling shots that I think taste good.