Updosing Revisited

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
Abe Carmeli
Team HB

#1: Post by Abe Carmeli »

Updosing as a barista technique was first introduced in the 2000 WBC in Monaco by George Sabados. Paul Basset won the WBC in 2003 using that method, and it has been gaining popularity ever since. It appears to be particularly popular among professional baristas in the Northwest, and with the exception of Schomer's shop, all the baristas I saw during SCAA 2005 in Seattle used that method. (You can read all about it in George Sabados' article in the latest issue of Barista Magazine).

A closer look at the article reveals some surprises in regards to that method:
  1. It is suitable only for beans roasted in a very particular fashion, after which the roast level/color within the bean is uneven. Uneven bean roast is considered to be a defect by most American & Italian roasters and is uncommon to find in the US.
  2. It is most suitable for extraction on a machine with a large intrashot temp variable. Again, something we all frown upon as an inferior machine.
Those two elements beg the question: Are we really getting updosing? Or perhaps George is wrong, and it works equally well with our roast style and our flat temp curve. And how much do we really know about the benefits of a wide intrashot temp profile?
Abe Carmeli

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malachi

#2: Post by malachi »

I updose significantly with the Stumptown Hairbender (an evenly roasted coffee) when using it with the GS3 (a flat brew profile, temp stable machine) and get great results.

I think it's more likely that the Aussie initial efforts were developed based on the limitations of the coffee and machines being used at the time than that they are truly limited to those factors.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

Nick

#3: Post by Nick »

Updosing, in my view, is just ristretto-fying.

I don't believe the "olive press" theory. I think it's just throwing more coffee into the basket.

Otherwise, a 21-gram double is really an expansion-restricted triple.

mikep

#4: Post by mikep » replying to Nick »

I never really understood how ristrettos can be considered as something totally different than updosed shots- seems more like part of a continuum. I think it was a pf.net podcast where the idea of a "grams-of-coffee/grams-of-espresso-produced" ratio was mentioned.

On the other hand, a 21 g double tastes different if those 21 g of ground coffee are stuffed in a double basket as opposed to a triple basket, doesn't it?

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malachi

#5: Post by malachi »

Pull a traditional ristretto (17 grams of coffee in a LM ridged double, 1.25oz in 26 seconds). Taste it.
Now pull an updosed shot (20 grams of coffee in a LM ridged double, 2oz in 28 seconds). Taste it.

Do they really taste the same to you?
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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another_jim
Team HB

#6: Post by another_jim »

mikep wrote:
I never really understood how ristrettos can be considered as something totally different than updosed shots- seems more like part of a continuum. I think it was a pf.net podcast where the idea of a "grams-of-coffee/grams-of-espresso-produced" ratio was mentioned.

On the other hand, a 21 g double tastes different if those 21 g of ground coffee are stuffed in a double basket as opposed to a triple basket, doesn't it?
I think there's two separate variables - the ristreto-normale variable is based on grams coffee to grams shot ratios. it is basically independent of machine, basket, or the amount of coffee, and just deals with the amount of espresso brewed from a a unit amount of grind. On the other hand, it's perfectly possible to make a lungo shot, or even a 6 ounce cafe crema, from an updosed basket.

This particular updosing commentary doesn't provide enough context for judging it. Updosing includes two variables -- the degree to which puck expansion is inhibited by the shower screen, and the degree to which the "steeping space", the volume of water between the dispersion block and the top of the puck is reduced by updosing. In my old Solis machine, there is no dispersion block, and if one doses up to the shower screen, all the brewing happens inside the fully compressed puck (the ultimate updosing); normal fill of the puck has it expand to the shower screen, so all the brewing happens inside the expanded puck. The E61 has a gap between shower screen and dispersion block, so there's always some steeping space no matter how far one updoses. The shower screen is slightly flexible and flush with the basket top, so one can also updose by about 50% of the basket's nominal size. All in all, the taste change of updosing on an E61 are not nearly as dramatic as on the Solis. The taste effect will change again for each different brewhead's configuration.

So I don't see much general application to the original comments on the effect of updosing, unless all these particulars are specified. They certainly have no relation to my experience.

Nick

#7: Post by Nick »

malachi wrote:Pull a traditional ristretto (17 grams of coffee in a LM ridged double, 1.25oz in 26 seconds). Taste it.
Now pull an updosed shot (20 grams of coffee in a LM ridged double, 2oz in 28 seconds). Taste it.

Do they really taste the same to you?
I'll do some testing over the next week.

It's a different sort of brew, not necessarily just like a "traditional ristretto." The more accurate comparison would be 20 grams of coffee in a double (I'll use your "2 oz in 28 secs") and 20 grams of coffee in a triple basket (also 2 oz in 28 secs).

While I certainly don't believe that those two (20g in a double basket vs. 20g in a triple basket) have the exactly same extraction physics going on, I don't really believe that they'll really be that different. With 9 atmospheres of pressure, the expansion of the coffee puck is being restricted by the water... it doesn't need to be crammed in to be "expansion restricted." The real expansion happens after the extraction, when the pump kicks off and the solenoid releases the pressure. By then, it don't mattah in the cup.

What I DO think though, is that cramming that coffee in the basket does sort of create a gicleur-like flow restriction during the pressure ramp-up, which might indeed contribute to an improved extraction. In that case, a massive 21-gram updose into a standard LM double basket might prove more beneficial on a un-gicleured machine... less so on my 0.6-ers.

Another point: if updosing really achieves what it purports to, then shouldn't you be pulling 3 ounce shots? A 21-gram updose is an expansion-restricted triple. Find me a 11-gram basket and cram 14-16 grams of coffee into it and then pull 2 ounces.

Sorry. With all due respect to the updosers... I don't buy it. FYI... we DO updose at our shop (about 19-20 g per double-shot). I just don't know if I agree with the explanations.

This is why I need time with a transparent portafilter.

mikep

#8: Post by mikep »

Is there space above the shower screen in a Synesso (or a La Marzocco, for that matter) group the same way there is on an E61? According to Jim's post, that would be a factor in Nick's experiment. I would guess that most of the updosers in the NW would be using these machines as well.

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hbuchtel

#9: Post by hbuchtel »

Any more thoughts about the effect the relative positions of the shower screen and the dispersion block have on the espresso?

How about the underfilled triple vs updosed double?

Lots of cool thoughts in this topic . . .

Henry

budley

#10: Post by budley »

Abe Carmeli wrote:Updosing as a barista technique was first introduced in the 2000 WBC in Monaco by George Sabados.
Well, so says George.
In my opinion, I think that updosing is a technique that has been used by baristi worldwide for decades, they just didn't have a name for it. If George thinks he's the first barista in the 50 years of espresso to pop out a solid puck from his PF then he must be very naive

Budley
Drink good coffee - leave the rest as rainforest