At Linton & Co. we know our espresso. A perfect espresso recipe is key to consistency within a specialty coffee café and most importantly a good tasting coffee. There are many variables which impact on the taste of the espresso but we mainly focus on three crucial steps. These are Dose, Yield and Brew Time, although we will be touching on other factors throughout the post. At both our locations within Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and Princes Street, we have high standards for the quality of our specialty coffee and especially our espresso. Read more about our café situated on Edinburgh’s infamous Princes Street here : https://www.lintonandco.com/cafe/
In simple terms, the dose is the amount of dry coffee that you are using. The dosage of the coffee is usually measured in grams and is between 14 and 24 grams, although this varies from coffee to coffee depending on the roast of the beans you are using. The lighter the roast, the coffee has more of a sweeter and acidic taste as the bean contains more of its natural flavour – however it is more difficult to extract and takes more precision. The darker the roast, the easier it is to extract, as the beans cell structure is softened with the longer roast. This gives it more bitter, chocolatey notes. The amount of coffee you use will depend on your portafilter basket size mainly. If you were to have a 20-gram basket, you would ideally use 20 grams of coffee, easy right?
The yield can be described as the amount of liquid (coffee) you have in the cup. Yield is traditionally measured in millilitres; however, many baristas have diversified to using grams as their method of measurement as it is more accurate and simpler. Compared to measuring in millilitres, grams mean that the volume is not dependent on the freshness of the roast.
Yield and Dose go hand and hand, as shown through ratio form. For example 1:2 would mean 20g of ground coffee to 40g of water as you are putting twice the amount of water to coffee. More complex yields could be 1:2.5, which could be 20g of coffee to 50g of water. The ratio of dose and yield relates to the dilution of your espresso, the more water to coffee, the weaker your espresso. The less water, the stronger the espresso.
Brew time is pretty self explanatory. it is the length of time it takes to brew the espresso. The typical brew time for an espresso is ideally between 20 – 35 seconds, from the touch of the button to the end of the extraction. The shorter the brew time, the more acidic the taste of espresso. The longer the brew time, the more bitter the espresso. Every coffee has its optimal brew time and its up to the barista to find that optimal time by playing with the grind size of the coffee.
As a darker roast is less dense, they usually stand out with a shorter brew time. Whereas, lighter roasts are denser and require longer run times to extract the same amount of flavours as the darker roasts. The easiest way to find the optimal brew time is to find the run time where the coffee begins to taste bitter, then work backwards until the optimal taste is achieved.
There are other variables which can also make a change in the taste of the espresso such as temperature, pressure and an even extraction. In terms of temperature and pressure, these factors are usually dependant on your machine and are not crucial. Although, these should definitely be considered if your espresso is not quite hitting the spot. However, one variable which is often down to the barista’s digression is the “tamp” of the coffee puck. This is the pressure and even levelling of the coffee post-grind and pre-brew. An even extraction should be the aim of every specialty coffee barista, every time. Consequently, this means that the water runs evenly through the coffee and no segment of the coffee puck is being more heavily extracted. To read about different methods of brewing from one of our amazing coffee suppliers, Hasbean. Give their “How-to” brew guides a read here : https://www.hasbean.co.uk/pages/brew-guides
For more information, pop in and see our talented Baristas at either of our locations in Edinburgh, at The Hub on the Royal Mile or our Café on Princes St.
Happy Brewing, from the Linton & Co. team!