What's new
  • Guest
    As per our long standing policy of not permitting medical advice on the forum - all threads concerning the Coronavirus will be locked.
    For more info on the coronavirus please see the link below:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

The Mathematical Method

syngent

Moderator
So a scientist grabs a few Batista's and does the maths, and comes up with a new way to get er done.
Everyone's miles may vary, but at least one shop switched to his method. Less coffee, coarser grind, quicker extraction. All quite contrary to how it's been done for a while. I'd love to play around with the whole thing to see, but I don't think with only a pressurised basket I can really test it. Has anyone read about this and given it a shot ?

 
I heard about this research on Quirks and Quarks (CBC radio program and podcast). My recollection is that they found that a slightly coarser grind for espresso was better. And when they say slightly they mean indistinguishable to the human eye. The intuition is that a finer grind leads to clumping of the coffee grains which means that less coffee surface area comes into contact with the water during the espresso-making process.
 

syngent

Moderator
I heard about this research on Quirks and Quarks (CBC radio program and podcast). My recollection is that they found that a slightly coarser grind for espresso was better. And when they say slightly they mean indistinguishable to the human eye. The intuition is that a finer grind leads to clumping of the coffee grains which means that less coffee surface area comes into contact with the water during the espresso-making process.
I think the biggest change was the amount. I read they were using 1/4 of what a normal grind would use, and pulling a shot in 14 seconds or so. 10-15 seconds difference seems like quite a bit
 
Over time I have gravitated towards using less coffee in my Americano double shots, maybe 12 grams or so. I do not use a large coffee mug and discovered slowly over time that as I kept reducing the coffee a gram or so at a time from the 15-17 grams I used years ago that the result tasted just as good. But no one would want to emulate my brewing method as I typically measure the beans by volume and constantly tweak how I pull the shot with the manual lever machine to compensate for the grind and tamping. Not every cup is great, but most are quite good.

Even though there are many variables in espresso I believe the height of portafilter baskets are basically the same, correct? I would like to find a set of baskets that were only 95%, 90%, 85%, ... as tall as the full height basket to better experiment with dosage and grind size. As it is easier to fill, distribute/level, tamp when the basket is full or close to full.
 

TexLaw

Fussy Evil Genius
Contributor
I was looking at yesterday. I had a hard time telling if they were talking about making better espresso or just more consistent. In any case, it sounds like the far greater benefit was from reducing the amount of beans consumed.
 

syngent

Moderator
I was looking at yesterday. I had a hard time telling if they were talking about making better espresso or just more consistent. In any case, it sounds like the far greater benefit was from reducing the amount of beans consumed.
The actual report claims waste reduction was the goal, with an added benefit of more profit margins and faster shots for businesses.
 
IMO more consistent espresso would implicitly mean better espresso, at least in a commercial environment. A home user can search for the optimal shot and throw away some shots in the process and have no one but themselves to blame. I am skeptical of the mathematical part of their theory, but it is good if this will encourage more experimentation.

As for using less coffee, there is at least one commercial effort to make it from something other than coffee. I would not expect that to be as difficult as those Impossible Whoppers (Beyond Meat), as I have had coffee made from corn which provided the "roast" flavor of a bad cup of coffee.
 
For most small batch home roasters like myself, there are just too many variables. While I do what I can to get consistency, I don't roast in a temperature, humidity controlled environment, and like to try different beans.
That said, I've gotten it down to a couple of shots with a new batch to nail the grind and grind volume to extract at the ideal pressure for my machine.
 
Top