Espresso Brew Guide – West Berkshire Roastery Skip to content

Espresso Brew Guide

Brewing espresso is a lot like brewing tea; if we leave our bag in too long we risk over-brewing the tea and extracting “stewed” bitter flavours from the leaves but if we do not leave it long enough our tea risks being weak and insipid. This means we must exert control over our brewing process to ensure that we extract all of the desirable flavour compounds whilst leaving behind the compounds responsible for unwelcome bitterness and astringency. This is easy with a teabag – we can take it out whenever we choose – but achieving the same control with espresso is slightly more complex.

Coffee does not extract homogenously during its brewing cycle. Most extraction occurs during the first third of its brew time. Typically fruit acids and bean fragments that contribute towards body extract first, followed by sugars, and then bitter compounds.

‘DIALLING IN’ OUR ESPRESSO

Understanding your grinder is the key to achieving desirable DOSE and BREW TIME. Whether you are using a modern “on-demand” grinder or a more traditional “dosing grinder” you should be able to control both DOSE and GRIND TEXTURE, both of which are critical to brewing balanced espresso. Here’s how...

Using scales, weigh a consistent dose of ground coffee into your double espresso basket -16g - 18g is a sensible choice for most espresso machines.

Aim for 36-40g of liquid espresso (single espresso) or roughly a ratio of 1:2 (18g of ground espresso to 36g of liquid espresso). 

Is it within your target brew time window? We recommend 20 - 30 Seconds.

Yes = SUCCESS!

Your espresso is probably well brewed and should taste full, sweet and balanced.

No = If you haven't extracted 30-40ml of liquid espresso, in 20-30 seconds, your grind is too FINE and your espresso will most likely taste thin, bitter & ashy.

Coarsen your grind slightly then grind and discard at least 20g of coffee to remove traces of the previous grind setting

No = If you have extracted too much liquid espresso (over 30ml for single espresso, over 60ml for double). Your grind is too COARSE and your espresso will most likely be weak and sour.

Make your grind slightly FINER then grind and discard at least 20g of coffee to remove all traces of the previous grind setting

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