Charting a course to a preferred espresso style

In this experiment, we break down the basic elements of espresso extraction, categories of taste, and how to use charts to map your extractions. Keeping a log of your perceived taste can help you dial in at home, and ultimately lead you to a preferred style of espresso.

Quick Note: Don’t change the grind size in between shots. We’ll do that later. The ratio determines the thickness of our espresso shot and the strength we will taste the compounds. In this experiment we will end up with a different time it takes for each ratio to pull and that’s okay! We are looking to discover what ratio we like the profile of first and the best way to find out is to compare the ratios back to back. Once we decide on the ratio we like, the next step would be to change up the grind size to bring it even closer to what our taste buds are enjoying, but that’s for another experiment!

Accompanying Experiment Worksheet

Use this chart to help visualize the process of extraction. Throughout extraction, water pulls chemical compounds from coffee over time. The more water interacts with coffee, the more compounds are extracted, at least in theory. These chemical compounds are perceived as positives or negatives depending on the person tasting them. This experiment, and the corresponding chart, are designed focus on tasting the differences in brew ratios and discovering our individual preferences along the way.