Tag Archives: espresso

Grinding for Espresso – Metal vs Ceramic Burrs

by Sarah Dooley and Pierce Jens

Forte ceramic burr_TSH4472lrSince the introduction of the Forte AP and BG grinders, the team at Baratza has been doing a lot of taste testing on both grinders. With regards to tasting espresso specifically, we have noticed that the ceramic burrs produce a traditional espresso flavor profile. They are great for blends and particularly coffees roasted for espresso. The cup flavors are complex, and usually have more body and mouth feel in comparison to the steel burrs (depending on the coffee).

The steel burrs have been engineered to produce a more even particle distribution and less fines. These burrs are ideal for pourover, batch, or home brewers and what we have termed, a “modern style espresso”.

FORTE holding steel burr_TSH4540 hiTo expand a little on the term “modern style espresso” – we feel that espresso with our steel burrs tastes different, due to the lack of fines (or the very small grind particles) in the particle grouping. Overall, the ground coffee is more similar in size, especially in comparison to our ceramic burrs. The results in flavor profile are more simple flavors and a clean mouth feel. We like this burr set for single origin coffees not necessarily limited to coffees roasted for espresso or called espresso roast.

Which set is best for you? Oddly when we did a side-by-side taste test our test audience was split down the middle on preferences. The biggest differences really came into play for taste when we separated coffees roasted for espresso and coffees not roasted for espresso. With that isolated variable the ceramic had more sweetness for coffees roasted for espresso and the steel burrs clarity of flavor seemed better for espresso, with coffees at production or non-espresso roasts.

In the end, it’s what tastes best to you. We don’t even pretend to know how to tell you how to taste and are just sharing our taste experiences thus far. We hope our opinion has been of assistance!

Forté AP with Portafilter

Smart Dose – grinding for espresso by weight!

Sarah Dooley, Baratza Quality Control & Educator

The Forte Series is packed full of amazing accessories and features! If you plan on using the PortaHolder you will appreciate our built in software feature that converts weight to time dosing- the Smart Dose.

For accuracy of dose, it is best to dial in your coffees while in WEIGHT mode with the grounds bin in place. Once you have the grind dialed in by weight, it is an easy transition to Smart Dose, see instructions below and in our Baratza Series, Smart Dose video.

Once you are dialed in:

• Dose out a shot in WEIGHT mode with the grounds bin in place
• When it is finished, IMMEDIATELY Press the TIME button on the touch screen
• Next, Press and Hold a preset of 1, 2 or 3 until the touch screen blinks at you
• Now insert the PortaHolder accessory and grind directly into your portafilter for hands free dosing!

We have all been grinding by time for a while. The bragging point of this feature is it’s ability to be accurate to dose while in TIME mode. The Smart Dose software converts the time it took for you to grind out your shot while in WEIGHT mode, allowing you to customize your dose to the coffees in the hopper. All you have to do is save it where you like the extraction with the steps in bullet points above. This software feature allows you to be within a half gram of your WEIGHT preset (equivalent to 3-5 beans), with our hands free PortaHolder accessory!

Making subtle changes to the grind, changing to a different single origin, or loading in a new coffee will change the accuracy of your dose while in TIME mode, therefore I recommend you switch back to WEIGHT mode and dial the extraction to it’s optimal taste. Follow the steps above to convert the WEIGHT back to grinding by Time.

Enjoy!

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Grinding for Espresso

by Sarah Dooley, Education Manager

December 12, 2013

At Baratza, we spend a healthy amount of time in R&D!  Our goal is to be ahead of all the brewing and grinder questions, to be aware of structural and electrical efficiencies, and at times, just good old fashioned coffee talk. There is nothing like engaging directly with fellow coffee enthusiasts, answering questions and learning along side each other about coffee grinding!

This past weekend I had the privilege of offering a Q&A session, on grinding for espresso, at the Seattle Coffee Gear’s store in Bellevue. We set up all of our grinders and the Sylvia espresso machine. To my delight, five minutes into our start time four friendly faces walk through the door to kick off the learning & sharing. The questions throughout the demonstration time were great and so I captured some to share with you, along with answers that I trust will help you in your espresso making!

Coffee enthusiasts at SCG checking out grinding and weight!

Coffee enthusiasts at SCG checking out grinding and weight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do I have the right grinder for what I am trying to do?

Check out our blog! Baratza Support Technician, Pierce Jens, has created a very detailed description of our grinder lineup.

Also, I will be at Seattle Coffee Gear on 12/14, covering this very topic. See below for more details.

Can I pull espresso with an Encore?
Yes, you can! I make great espresso with the Encore. You actually can with all of our grinders. Choosing the right grinder really depends on how you dial in and what you are looking for as an outcome.
As you move up in range in our grinders you get more ability to fine tune. The Virtuoso has a burr set that has a tighter particle range then the Encore burrs. It also grinds a little faster by burr design. As you venture into the Preciso there’s a micro adjustment ring for finding that half step between adjustments. With the Vario Series, you will find a few great new features. Starting with a flat ceramic burr. This series showcases a focus on macro and micro grind selection especially important for fine tuning espresso. We introduced a revolutionary change to grinders with the weight based grind feature of the Vario W (weight). Weight control is a very important factor for consistency when dialing in all brew methods.
The Forte Series, provoked by the demand of our commercial users comes with the function of the Vario W. signature weight based grinding but in the new form of an all metal body, metal grind chamber, reinforced adjustment arms with an intuitive touch screen interface. There is something for everyone in the Baratza grinder family!

How do I adjust my grinder for finer grind size, specifically for espresso?
We currently have two families of cutting surfaces or burrs, conical and flat.
With regards to the conical there is a very easy way to make adjustments towards a finer particle range. This solution lies in the adjustment ring assembly. This process is quite easy and only requires a few simple tools detailed in the guides below.

Removing the Case, Encore & Virtuoso
Removing the Case, Preciso
Adjusting the Calibration Screw, Barista, Maestro Plus, Virtuoso

When fine tuning the flat burr grinders, Vario and Forte we have a calibration exercise to bring the lower burr up or down to increase or decrease grind range. I’ve attached a guide for making those adjustments. You will need good lighting and the Baratza calibration tool.
Vario & Vario W – Calibration, Finer or Coarser

How do you dial in with a new coffee?
Every coffee behaves a little differently than another. It’s very similar to how every strawberry looks and tastes a little different than the last, even from the same small plant!  I use a pretty strict baseline recipe for dialing in espresso: Grams of ground coffee – 18g, Extraction/contact time- 28 seconds, Espresso volume 38ml

This is a simple starting point that is easy to remember. Based on taste I will adjust the Espresso Volume up our down a few ml. once my grind is set.

How fresh is too fresh?
Typcially, we brew coffee just around four days off the roast date. We do that out of need, and at times find ourselves really enjoying the coffee around seven to eleven days off the roast. That “sweet spot” really depends on roast, density, storage and your own personal preference. We’ve at times even enjoyed a coffee nearing it’s fourteenth day off roast, so don’t be afraid to just taste the coffee before you toss it. It might just be great!

What is the actual shelf life of my coffee?
Storage, varietal and roast play a big factor in the shelf life of a coffee. I store my coffee like I store my dry goods and grains. In airtight containers, away from strong smells that may leach into the coffee, out of direct sunlight and avoid extreme temperature changes. Preservation is partially the key. Varietal or density of bean along with your roast preference can play a part in the shelf life too. It comes down to taste and performance. Give yourself some credit as you become the espresso expert, and get to know your coffee you’ll soon know when it’s past its prime.

Whenever possible I encourage the good folks who take the time to brew espresso at home, to do it with some very simple controls. A scale that measures to the tenth of a gram- for measuring brew weights and grind weights, a timer, a few glasses that fit the extraction spouts well, fresh or locally sourced specialty coffee, good water (if it’s smelly or not clear don’t brew with it), an idea of your extraction recipe so you can have a baseline for what you do and the willingness to try new and old things. Making espresso well can pay off in the cup!

Remember, on Saturday 12/14, from 11-2, I will be at Seattle Coffee Gear in Bellevue again! This time sharing information about our range of grinders and helping people choose the right one for their brewing needs.  See Seattle Coffee Gear Class Schedule.  I encourage you to stop by and spend some time checking out our full range of grinders, and picking the one that’s right for you, for where you are in your coffee journey!  We will also be giving out a free grinder – these lucky people won the last one!

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