Today, we are going to be looking at how an espresso machine can influence your coffee flavour. Now let’s talk about additional factors you can use to take those shots to the next level, there are a few things to consider when upping your espresso game which is temperature and pressure; all machines will have these features.
How Does Pressure Influence your Coffee Flavour?
On a typical espresso machine you may not have a huge amount of control over the amount of pressure that your machine uses throughout the brewing process but if you do likely what you are working with is a pre-infusion function and it may or may not be adjustable. Pre-infusion is when you start pulling your shot at low pressure giving your water a chance to incorporate itself with your crowns and slowly start extracting before hitting them with a full nine bars a short. Pre-infusion can be beneficial if you are not getting a really full bodied shot or your espresso is tasting dull because here again we are talking about dissolving soluble solids into your cup. If you go straight for nine bars your water is going to penetrate and escape your grounds fairly quickly. Well you can certainly extract quite a bit with that amount of pressure slowing things down for a short period of time and letting your grounds react with your water for a moment or two, it is just like giving yourself a head start.
Pre-infusion fuller flavor to espresso
Pre-infusion will cause your shot to come out faster so we are able to use a finer grind to counteract that which will contribute to that fuller bodied and fuller flavor to espresso because finer particles will dissolve easier. Play with a pre-infusion of anywhere from 1 to 9 seconds and if you can maybe even try a few seconds pause before you hit full pressure and see how the body and flavor of your espresso changes depending on how much you dissolve before coming in with full pressure. The idea is to get your entire puck saturated before moving to full pressure so a higher dose will require a longer pre-infusion. As pressure decreases naturally flow slows down this is good because as flow slows extraction increases as water spends more time with your grounds this results in a nice thick shot but a balanced flavor profile.
How Does Temperature Influence your Coffee Flavour?
When it comes to temperature you are essentially dealing with the speed at which you are able to dissolve soluble solids. The higher the temperature the more you will be able to dissolve in the short period of time that you are pulling the shot, if you dissolve too much and you have got an over extracted most likely bitter shot. On the other hand, if you don’t get enough dissolved in your cup you have an under-extracted cup that will be weak lacking in body and potentially sour. You will notice that you can really play with a texture of your shots when adjusting temperature as well. More details here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/may/09/how-to-make-the-perfect-espresso
Adjust the true temperature on your espresso machine
If you don’t have the ability to adjust the true temperature on your machine it’s not a problem you can work with grind dose and brew time to make sure you are getting a well extracted shot but if you want to take more control a machine with a PID (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) will allow you to control the temperature of the water that is inside of your boiler. There will almost always be a degree of error that you have to account for in setting up your PID and this is something that you want to refer to your user manual about when you are getting started with a new espresso machine. As far as deciding on what brood temperature to use it does take a bit of trial and error to figure out what will work for you. Optimally you will want to be brewing in the 195 to 205 range and that is the temperature that you want your water at as it hits your grounds not necessarily what you need to program your PID to, but don’t let that limit your experimentation try an even higher temperature if you are pulling a ristretto and see how it affects the sugars in your coffee, it is all about finding what works best for you.
Pressure and temperature are two main factors of an espresso machine that can influence your coffee flavour.