La Marzocco Home Lab #1:

Exploring Brew Ratios

This Home Lab was originally sent out as part of the September Espresso Subscription with Olympia Coffee. You can download the original PDF of the Lab here

 

The Idea

There are many variables that we can affect when brewing espresso. The major ones we think about are Brew Ratio, Brew Time (which is related to grind size) and Brew Temperature. The goal is to use these variables to create a beverage that has a balance of acidity, sweetness and bitterness. In the next three La Marzocco Home Labs we will be exploring the affects of changing these variables on the resulting cup. Through these experiments we hope that you will learn how to more effectively adjust the variables to create a cup that you enjoy. We encourage you to invite friends over to share your tasting observations together.

In this Lab, we’re exploring Brew Ratios. Together, we’ll observe the effects of different brew ratios on two different coffees.

Aim/Objective: To observe the affects of different brew ratios on two different coffees.

Apparatus/Materials

 

– Espresso machine
– Espresso grinder
– Scale (preferably to the tenth of a gram)
– Timer
– 17 gram portafilter basket
– 1.5 lbs Coffee #1 – More fully developed roast for espresso (Stumptown Hairbender, Counter Culture Big Trouble, Intelligentsia Black Cat or another coffee with this similar profile)
– 1.5 lbs Coffee #2 – Less fully developed single origin coffee (Stumptown Chelbessa, Counter Culture Idido, Intelligentsia Kurimi or another coffee with this similar profile)

 

Method/Procedure

 

Coffee #1—1:1
Starting with Coffee #1 dose 18 grams of coffee in your portafilter and pull a shot, stopping when you have 18 grams of espresso liquid in your cup. You should try to achieve this in 27 – 30 seconds. Adjust the fineness of your grind until you are pulling a shot within this window of time.

After you have pulled this shot use the attached sheet to record your taste observations in the Coffee #1 1:1 ratio section.

Coffee #1—1:2
Adjust your grind coarser and purge your grinder of the old grind setting. Dose 18 grams and stop the shot when you have 36 grams in your cup. Again, you should try to achieve this 1:2 ratio in 27 – 30 seconds. Adjust your grind until you hit these parameters.

Record your taste observations on the attached sheet in the Coffee #1 1:2 ratio section.

Coffee #1—1:3
Adjust your grind coarser and purge your grinder of the old grind setting. Dose 18 grams and stop the shot when you have 54 grams in your cup. Again, you should try to achieve this 1:3 ratio in 27 – 30 seconds. Adjust your grind until you hit these parameters.

Record your taste observations on the attached sheet in the Coffee #1 1:3 ratio section.

Repeat steps #1 – #6 for Coffee #2

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The Follow up Questions

What was your preferred brew ratio for Coffee #1?
What was your preferred brew ratio for Coffee #2?
What is your theory on why these tasted different?
Is there a brew ratio that works better for different coffees?

You can also dig further into Brew Ratios with our “Brew Ratios Around the World” post—a look at how brew ratios are used around the world.

Share your results and thoughts in the comments below!

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The La Marzocco Home Espresso Subscription is a monthly coffee subscription community designed to help home espresso enthusiasts improve and perfect their craft. Every month we’ll send you two bags of the very same espresso we’re serving in our Seattle cafe, along with the roaster’s brew recipe. You can subscribe here.