Ok, i was recently reading a forum about techniques that baristas have changed over the years. There was much to say about pulling shot of espresso and how that has changed over the years. I can't help but feel that there is more than one way to get a 'perfect' shot out of the same espresso machine. So, my question is, what machine do you use and how do you create an amazing shot of espresso with that machine? Do you use a scale? Do you use a larger basket? 14g, 18g, 20g, double, single?....and the list goes on!

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With so many variables to espresso making, there are a few basics I follow.  Luster, sheen, stripes, thickness, and flavor reveal how the puck was tamped and ground.  Every machine has a drawback requiring baristas to adapt. 

My 2cents:

A 19g polished puck should emulsify a consistent 2oz espresso stream for 25 seconds. 

Pulling espresso on a la marzocco strada mp. Naked filters, triple baskets, 21-24g of espresso, 35-48 second pull, 1-1.75oz. Really nice beautiful thick espresso. Pretty much a triple ristretto.

I use a nuova simonelli aurelia. i use about 19g of espresso, 25 second pull, 2 oz. iIwant to try this triple basket thing tho. Sounds pretty nice.

Pulling on La Marzocco GB5s, our rule was generally to get our espresso to a 1:1.5 ratio in 28-31 seconds at a 201F brew boiler setting. Decaf we would pull pretty ristretto, closer to a 1:.9ratio, aiming at 32-36 seconds. 

ie; 18g dry espresso to 27g wet espresso in 29 seconds, or 18g dry to 17g wet for decaf. 

I find it pretty surprising that professional baristi on a web site dedicated to coffee folk are still measuring their espresso in terms of fluid ounces. Talking about our espresso in terms of grams in (dry dose) vs. grams out (wet espresso) allows us to have a much more meaningful dialogue. What is a 1.75oz shot of espresso? Do we measure it with a shotglass? Do we count crema? Using grams in/out allows us to communicate consistently with one another, plus we can start using ratios in a meaningful way.

Not too long ago, fellow Upstate NY'er Andy Schecter wrote a piece on this very subject for Portafilter.net Check it out here.

Simon, I agree but do you weigh your shots in service or just when dialing in? 

ZB

I weigh everything while dialing in the grinder, and then as often as I can during service. If you keep a scale beneath your machine (or next to the machine), it is easy to keep it zeroed out at the weight of the rocks glasses we use, or quickly tare a cappuccino or latte cup. 

I'm not saying every shot must be exactly correct, but it is reassuring to know that a shot falls inside a range that I know is tasty. It allows me (and my baristas) to serve espresso drinks confidently and without the classic "Uh, it's pulling funny today," that usually is along for the ride with any straight espresso. 

I like that. And thanks for explaining. I was wondering if you measure each time too. I'm sure it's good to weigh whenever possible because you get accustom to working with the correct measurements, so when you don't have the scale handy or can't get around to it you got the correct things in your mind to make up for it.

Simon Ouderkirk said:

Pulling on La Marzocco GB5s, our rule was generally to get our espresso to a 1:1.5 ratio in 28-31 seconds at a 201F brew boiler setting. Decaf we would pull pretty ristretto, closer to a 1:.9ratio, aiming at 32-36 seconds. 

ie; 18g dry espresso to 27g wet espresso in 29 seconds, or 18g dry to 17g wet for decaf. 

I find it pretty surprising that professional baristi on a web site dedicated to coffee folk are still measuring their espresso in terms of fluid ounces. Talking about our espresso in terms of grams in (dry dose) vs. grams out (wet espresso) allows us to have a much more meaningful dialogue. What is a 1.75oz shot of espresso? Do we measure it with a shotglass? Do we count crema? Using grams in/out allows us to communicate consistently with one another, plus we can start using ratios in a meaningful way.

Not too long ago, fellow Upstate NY'er Andy Schecter wrote a piece on this very subject for Portafilter.net Check it out here.

Yeah, thanks for the explanation Simon.  I know what we'll be working on at the shop tomorrow.

That's a great way of putting it. We already do the same thing for manual coffee, why not espresso...duh :) great article by the way. That's why I love this industry. No matter how long you have been in it, there's always something new to learn.




Simon Ouderkirk said:

Pulling on La Marzocco GB5s, our rule was generally to get our espresso to a 1:1.5 ratio in 28-31 seconds at a 201F brew boiler setting. Decaf we would pull pretty ristretto, closer to a 1:.9ratio, aiming at 32-36 seconds. 

ie; 18g dry espresso to 27g wet espresso in 29 seconds, or 18g dry to 17g wet for decaf. 

I find it pretty surprising that professional baristi on a web site dedicated to coffee folk are still measuring their espresso in terms of fluid ounces. Talking about our espresso in terms of grams in (dry dose) vs. grams out (wet espresso) allows us to have a much more meaningful dialogue. What is a 1.75oz shot of espresso? Do we measure it with a shotglass? Do we count crema? Using grams in/out allows us to communicate consistently with one another, plus we can start using ratios in a meaningful way.

Not too long ago, fellow Upstate NY'er Andy Schecter wrote a piece on this very subject for Portafilter.net Check it out here.

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