Good Espresso

Good Espresso

The machine was ready.  The coil was primed, purged, and at temperature.  The beans were ground.  The filter was dosed and tamped to 35lbs.  It all came together.

I started the pump (on the double-shot timer, 23 seconds).  I watched as the most beautiful golden espresso oozed hypnotically into the drip tray.  Wait.  Shit!

The machine is ready.  The coil is primed…

(Yes, I really did pull two beautiful shots into the drip tray because I forgot to put a cup or shot glass under the group to catch the espresso.)

  1. #1 by Joshua on March 1, 2010 - 8:55 AM

    Even though I have a very nice home espresso machine, it has only a single-piston pump and a single-cell thermocoil. The consequence of this is that it requires a pre-infusion step to begin the extraction process because the pump can’t charge the coil and put the group under pressure at the same time (single cell coil). Because of the pre-infusion step, the last 4 seconds of the pull are often overextracted. I watch the color of the crema, the flow rate of the espresso, and the color of the heart to judge when the shot is mature.

    My espresso style of choice is the ristretto. To make a ristretto at home, I tamp harder and cut the shot off as soon as I see the crema color change from reddish-brown to golden-brown (which happens around 14 seconds on my machine).

    • #2 by Joshua on March 1, 2010 - 8:57 AM

      To clarify, I waste the last 4 seconds of the pull, which are usually very overextracted. To make ristretto, I just cut the pump off – I don’t waste the tail of the shot like I do for a full-length espresso.

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