Just over two years ago now, we at Climpson & Sons invested in a new Roaster and a little blue thing that kind of looks like a walkie talkie, known as a refractometer. This device measures the solubility of the coffee, which affects how coffee extracts. I will talk a lot more about these things in the future but what this meant is that we began a journey into roasting differently and that in turn changed the way we brew espresso.
You might have noticed that our recommended dry doses have been getting smaller while the corresponding yields have been getting larger. Take the Estate for example, which we have been tirelessly working away at behind the scenes now for some time. We found with the previous incarnations that there were a few minor roasting defects that meant that at higher extractions the coffee could sometimes taste bitter. As a result we previously opted for lower extractions to manage some of these issues. I will go into more depth about roasting, how we talk about roasting and roast defects in a future post but for now I want to talk more about espresso extraction.
We have found that coffee roasted well is much sweeter, more transparent and enjoyable at extractions above 21%. A big shout out has to go to Mr Perger and his website www.baristahustle.com for opening this whole can of worms to the public (if you don’t follow it yet, I highly recommend it). The first step to a higher extraction is adjusting your grinder to a finer setting and using less grams of coffee per litre of water. This may look a bit weird as the espresso will be rushing out of the portafilter at an alarming rate but fear not, it is just extracting more yums. Here's a little example of a few brew ratios:
20g/30g in 28-30sec
bright, citrus, occasionally sour
18g/40g in 28-30sec
Sweet chocolate, Butterscotch, orange blossom. Delicious.
This first step is easy. After that there are a few other things that can be done to increase your extraction, such as improving the equipment you use, like your grinder (most important), tamper, machine, distribution and basket (do we all have VST baskets? If not hit up the sales guys they will be able to help you out).
Since we’ve started achieving higher extractions here at Climpson & Sons we’ve been unable to move our preferences back again and it even saves you money in coffee bills...
...maybe I shouldn’t be sharing this with you after all.