I can't get a satisfactory (or at least consistent) answer on this point, so this can be a sort of survey. When you guys/gals time your 'spro extractions, do you start your timer when you press the button (or pull the lever or whatever), or when you see the very first drops come out? I ask because it seems that, from machine to machine, it takes a differing amount of time for water flow to begin after the button/switch/whatever is activated. On my old Astoria Argenta, drops would start appearing about 1-1.5 seconds after I began brewing, but on the Aurelia (which has a "preinfusion") it seems to take more like 2-4, depending on the day and dose.
Let me know how you count, and why.
Jason, I'm taking that phrase from you, putting it in our training materials, and giving you full credit for coming up with it. "The Tao of Espresso."
Jason Haeger said:
Jason Haeger said:
“I don't think anyone has mentioned a specific time in this thread. The thread has been about HOW to time, but not about how MUCH time.”
This system works for me and my friends that enjoy the drinks from our LM-GS3 Paddle.
How to Time: We start by using water line pressure pre-infusion of about 6 seconds (about the time for a drop of coffee to extract, but stop at 6 seconds even if the drop hasn’t started). This is close to a 20% pre-infusion time recommended by LaMarzocco. Then the pump is started and the built-in timer in the LaMarzocco starts. The timer will stop when the pump is stopped.
How much Time: If the coffee grind is right on for the day, we look for two ounces of drawn espresso in 23 to 27 seconds or if blond extraction starts, the shot is cut short.
Now, we add seconds for the pre-infusion time at a 50% ratio (3 seconds for the 6 seconds during pre-infusion), which leaves us with a 26 to 30 seconds double espresso. I do not weigh the extraction for a ground coffee to a drawn espresso ratio. The method we use is a base or starting point and the finished product gives us strong but smooth espresso. If the extraction is not enjoyed as a double espresso, we make a monks head cappuccino that pleases us and our friends where they state is the best they ever drank. I hope they are not giving us a compliment just to please. The point not mentioned is coffee or blend of coffee - a poorly blended or roasted coffee makes all the above, how and how much time, moot.
I wouldn't say anything is impossible, as I've trained my wife to be quite proficient in a commercial setting and I once believed that to be impossible.
I do see alot of coffeeshops having too many part-time "baristi" that hardly take the job seriously. They will go through the motions in which they've been trained to do in an attempt to get decent results, but no true skill on their part based on my observation(s).
IMHSO going strictly by time/volume is better left for beginners, not someone looking for perfection.
Jason Haeger said:
Agree with Shadow in theory, Jason in practice, and Brady most of the time on most things. My baristas will either a.) need to use a timer (with one possible exception) or b.) use the volumetrics in order to get the consistent shot, and this is assuming they've dosed and distributed the proper amount of espresso at the proper grind. These are a LOT of assumptions for a independent business owner who's serious about espresso quality.
I've chosen the timer method versus volumetrics, mainly because volumetrics just give an air of laziness (or robotification) to the espresso-making process, both to the watching customer and the not-quite-sold-out barista. But flipping through the Rao book, I noticed that he advocates for people like myself to use the volumetrics with employees as a way for them to "weigh without weighing" the shots, and he asserts this will provide consistent volume regardless of crema or even extraction time. What say ye?
For what it's worth, we currently brew 18g at 201ºF for 25-28 secs, with eye toward 1.5-1.8 oz. I haven't made barista start weighing shots, but am training myself to do it with eyes on moving in that direction if it proves beneficial... also going to take that brew temp down to 198ish and see what happens, as I got to get behind a PID'd Linea paddle with Brown's Cottonwood last night, and their 198 tasted heads above the already great taste I was getting on my machine with all the same parameters, minus the manual preinfuse and the 3-degree temp differential.
From, "On". IE, when you push the button to extract or flip the lever, or slide the slidie thing. Extraction happens when you summon the machine to makes actions to your portafilter. Thus, the process begins.
But is it the nanosecond when I FEEL the click or when I HEAR the click??? This is important!
Just a guess, but I think Shepherd was posting with an air of sarcasm :)
I usually time the pre-infusion separately from the extraction.
I've been playing with different pre-infusion times, especially with how it affects a fresh vs. degassed vs. stale roasted bean. With an appropriately fresh coffee, I give it about 6 seconds, but always allow it to flow a couple seconds before kicking in the 9 bars to ensure full saturation/expansion.
I reset the timer when I give it full pressure.