Espresso; Recipe and Ratio
Updated: Oct 1
Yes. I didn't know there was a specific recipe and ratio to brewing the perfect espresso - and no, it's not just the press of a button.
I've been obsessed with coffee for a very long time, over 11 years to be exact. However, making my own coffee and brewing espresso has only been a very recent affair. It all started with a De'Longhi Scultura being my first investment and thinking I had made a good step in that process, oh how wrong I was.
“Don't think of Recipe as a collection of ingredients, but accuracy of dosage”
18 grams of beans. That seems to be the magic number everyone aims for, but, as with everything you'll have those that like their own methods, their own numbers, and machines that advise specific recipes.
Buy Beans, Grind at Home.
There are many ways of pulling the perfect shot, the right flavours, different roasts, distribution in the portafilter, and the pressure on the tamper. But another thing that's widely agreed upon is beans over pre-ground. There's a multitude of reasons behind this when it comes to flavour, pour quality and expectation. And I won't get into the reasons because there's many authority figures who'll do the topic much better justice.
Get a purpose built burr grinder.
I used to use a NutriBullet... I'm aware that's enough to get me exiled in the coffee world but I knew no better. The reason you need something purpose built is for dialling in the right recipe and ratio, if you grind beans too fine the espresso will pour too slow, under too high a pressure... not good. if you grind it far too coarse - the water simply flows through and you barely get any extraction... so what's the right ratio?
"No, not millilitres, we're talking grams of fluid ”
No matter what your recipe or what your machine advises, if we're talking espresso, we're talking 2:1 over 25-35 seconds and this seems to be accepted but the wide array of authority when it comes to pulling the perfect espresso. For 18grams of coffee, we're looking for 36grams of fluid.
Dialling this in, and changing how you do this with each bag of coffee you buy will ensure you have the best espresso consistently. You can play with how fine/coarse the grind is and also how much pressure you're putting on the tamper, but if you're pulling a 30 second espresso with 18grams of beans that's giving you 36grams of fluid with good crema, you're onto a winner.
"Not everyone's going to have café quality machinery”
And that's okay, but what's key to this is expectation... you don't expect a Tour De France quality ride if you're on a sub £1,000 bike! Gage your expectation with the equipment. At the moment I'm working with a Sage Barista Express - and while it's not a cheap piece of kit... it's not the best out there - and that's okay!
If you have any questions, drop them below and I'll do my best to answer - but please note, I'm new to this! A