I get to taste quite a lot of espresso throughout my working week, and when travel permits, on the weekend too. I visit various shops – some that are wholesale customers of mine and some that are not. I also drink espresso at the roastery too. It strikes me that the variance in ‘quality’ of shots received is huge. Some of this is down to choice of coffee, espresso recipe (different starting and brewed mass pulled over different extraction times), water, training or general aptitude for delivering a quality drink. These factors and more, form the basis of my espresso training in order to produce a set of procedures that a novice barista can follow in order to create a quality drink.
Whilst recently researching areas of development in my industry, I came across a great video produced by Colin Harmon at a Tamper Tantrum event. The video was aimed at introducing the Nuova Simonelli Mythos I grinder. Apart from the obvious brilliance in grinder development research, one point stood out as an action that may give every barista another tool in extraction, even if they don’t own a Mythos. Clean your burrs in soapy water.
Roasting an espresso blend, or single origin for espresso (and any coffee for that fact) is a pursuit of creating full bean development from the inner core to bean edge. If full development at your chosen roast colour is achieved, it greatly helps the extraction potential of that coffee. This is an approach I take to my espresso blend for the area in which I operate, Hull, East Yorkshire. We have poor water – high levels of Calcium Carbonate and a TDS value of 390 or so. It’s nearly impossible to get a light/medium roast to fully extract unless we install Reverse Osmosis. So I constantly look for inspiration from the industry to add to the extraction arsenal. I have tested the above method under RO and standard Everpure Claris Ultra filtered water. It works for both, with extraction gains of 1%.
Advice to all wholesale partners – clean your burrs daily and wash in soapy water weekly. Clean burrs extract more.