Why do we make double espressos only 30 ml?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
EspressoMyself
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#1: Post by EspressoMyself »

So I'm still new to the game of espresso. I generally follow the recipe 1:2 recipe... 18 g of ground coffee yields approximately 36 grams of espresso. So I've been following the crowd :-)

I guess my dumb question is this: how come we're not doing double shots were the end result is two fluid ounces of espresso a single shot is supposed to be one fluid ounce?

Thanks in advance.

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Jeff
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#2: Post by Jeff »

Classic question, literally

The "official" Italian definition of espresso involved 7 g for a single and 14 g for a double. It then mixes weight and volume when defining the output. In the time since those definitions were written, at least American practice went to 20 g or more for a double and home practice shifted back to around 18 g. The problems with volume as a measure, such as how much crema and how long has it been sitting before measurement, gave way to the more rational weight-to-weight formulation of ratio. While you may find some roasters still using weight to volume in their recipes, weight to weight is the current recommendation among enthuiasts.

EspressoMyself (original poster)
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#3: Post by EspressoMyself (original poster) replying to Jeff »

Thanks for the detailed reply.

Now I'm just wondering aloud. Didn't anyone back then think "hey, I have an idea, 1 oz is 28 g approximately. Why don't we just shoot for 56 g which is 2 oz. And get rid of the whole volume measurement!"

I had a breville touch impress for a while. It output whatever it's software told it to output... For either singule or double shot. It would always output about 58 grams (because I weigh every shot) The double shots.

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Jeff
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#4: Post by Jeff »

Go back to lever machines, and there wasn't really any need to measure. The volume of water dispensed was whatever was used to wet the puck plus the displacement of the cylinder. You put in the coffee, pulled down on the lever, and let it pour into a pair of cups through the splitter. When the piston reached the bottom of the cylinder, you were done.

Pump machines complicated this a bit. If you're working with the same cups day after day, you can get surprisingly repeatable volume by eye.

This was also in the days of dosered grinders. You'd adjust the dose by changing the height of the inner sweeper arms. Another approach was to overfill the basket a bit and sweep the excess back into the doser with your finger.

None of this was very precise by present enthusiast standards.

Great Italian blends and roasts aren't very picky about dose or ratio. They've got a sweet spot that works with tiny tabletop machines that might hold 7 g up through multi-group lever and pump commercial machines. They work well even with relatively poor barista skills. It is truly an art to blend and roast so well that someone basically can't screw up a shot too badly.
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baldheadracing
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#5: Post by baldheadracing »

EspressoMyself wrote:Now I'm just wondering aloud. Didn't anyone back then think "hey, I have an idea, 1 oz is 28 g approximately. Why don't we just shoot for 56 g which is 2 oz. And get rid of the whole volume measurement!"
... because drinks are served and sold by volume, not mass. A soda, a beer, a shot, a cup of coffee. All are sold by volume. Beer is of particular interest because it has a head of foam like crema. In some jurisdictions, the amount of head in draught beer is regulated, e.g., max. 5% in a UK pub. However, the Italian certification standard for espresso does not specify a breakdown for crema, just that a single is "25 +/- 2.5 millilitres in the cup (including froth)." However, the Italian certification standard for a cappuccino does specify the starting volume of cold milk ("100ml") and the final volume of milk+milk foam ("about 125ml").
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Pflunz
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#6: Post by Pflunz »

I think is an international thing. Mostly only USA is using imperial units. In other countries nobody thinks about the volume/weight/size in those units (There are some funny exceptions like die diagonal of displays).
Since volume and weight in Italy is measured by liters and kg in Italy, those are the units they are using.

ojt
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#7: Post by ojt »

I think the classic classic Italian espresso would be 7g to (up to) 25ml. US probably rounded that off to 1oz. Did the cups adapt to that or was the drink adapted to cups? I don't know..
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pizzaman383
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#8: Post by pizzaman383 »

Also the approximate density of water is 1 g/ml and the density espresso is only slightly higher (excluding cream) metric volume and weight are practically interchangeable.
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boren
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#9: Post by boren »

I actually prefer single espressos, but since I couldn't decide if my espresso dose weighs 27⁄64 ounce or 0.42 ounce I just went with 12 gram.

mgrayson
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#10: Post by mgrayson »

Because we can.

(Someone had to do it.)

I make 2:1 shots with 16.5g or 17.5g beans, depending on the coffee. Rarely, I'll go 1:1, as some coffees really shine there. I roast my own, usually SO. I'd love to learn how to blend in some Robusta to make a more classical blend, but no one seems to do that anymore, and all the discussions are of SO.