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Thread: Systematically Improving Espresso: Insights from Mathematical Modeling and Experiment

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    Systematically Improving Espresso: Insights from Mathematical Modeling and Experiment

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Grab your favourite brew and be amazed .........

    https://www.cell.com/matter/fulltext...2819%2930410-2

    Cheers
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanderP View Post
    Grab your favourite brew and be amazed .........

    https://www.cell.com/matter/fulltext...2819%2930410-2

    Cheers
    Amazing. Turns the whole extraction conundrum on its head. Wonder how the coffee community will respond to this?

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    Where is Lyrebird when you need him, to summarise the article into 30 words? I felt like I needed my HP calc to read that.
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    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Haha, 338, me too.

    I read it earlier on Fairfax on line and SBS online as a news story:
    https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/...e-great-coffee

    Basically says the scientists working with baristas at St Ali cafe in Melbourne have determined that you should grind coarser, use less water pressure.

    When Stephen Hawking was writing A brief History of Time, his publisher warned him not to use a lot of scientific formulas because they are a turn off for readers and would cost book sales.

    He was right.
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    A case of my formula is bigger than your perhaps

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    Senior Member speleomike's Avatar
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    This is one of the few times that I'm glad I'm a physicist as I read Coffee Snobs :-)
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    Ugh. I saw Prof Hendon present these results last year and his emphasis was totally different to what has been picked up everywhere.

    The paper says that for a standard 20g/40g yield extraction recipe, it's hard to get extraction yield repeatability of greater than a 1% extraction yield window. It then goes on to suggest that if you grind coarser and extract much faster you can reduce the EY repeatability to produce shots of the target EY with almost no EY variability, but the shots are very fast. It also says that if you grind a little coarser and stop your shots shorter, you can also get the target extraction yield with very little variability, but your shots end up very short.

    What the paper doesn't say is that the alternate ways of getting the same EY result in a better tasting shot, or a shot that tastes the same. In fact, it acknowledges that it will taste different. But I'd bet a lot of money that most of the reporting of this paper will imply that the paper says that the EY equivalent shots all taste the same, or that the fast shots taste better.

    Whether or not one likes the resultant shots is a matter of taste, and one that I'd encourage people to try for themselves and make up their own mind on. If you like the shots, great - you have a good chance of being able to create them repeatably! If you don't like the shots and prefer 20g dose 40g yield, then also great - you have a good data set that shows that it's hard to repeatably get the exact same extraction yield, so you can stop beating yourself up about the occasional sucky shot that you pull!
    Last edited by luca; 23rd January 2020 at 03:24 PM. Reason: Added more conclusion
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    Also, if you do try the super fast shots and want to post to tell us about them, please give a little bit more information than good or bad. Please describe how they are different and why you like them or don't. Please also describe what coffee, settings, basket, grind, etc, you used. A pile on of "shot sucks, emperor has no clothes" responses will be entertaining, but we're not going to learn much.
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    I put this to the test, I used almost 2kgs and made an absolute mess of my sink and bin.

    I tried all variations of coarse grinding and 5-7 bar pressure.

    The result was always coffee, but nothing close to espresso and nothing close to what is consider worthy of drinking, but taste is subjective and someone may want to consume the dirty water I produced.

    I was upset with myself for believing I was about to save cash and make coffee more quickly and coffee that was better tasting


    Back to 10.5 bar and 25 seconds for me.

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    I had a laugh; BobSac, I love it how I specifically requested that people describe the things about the coffee that they didn't like rather than just giving their subjective opinion and your response in the very next post was just to give your subjective opinion.

    To save others who hate the same things that you hate from all of the work, frustration and disappointment that you have gone through, could you describe what sucked about it? Reading between the lines, I'm guessing lower in body, maybe crema too?

    For what it's worth, I pulled a 45.7g shot from a 15.0g dose at 6 bar in 14s and ended up with an extraction yield of 20.7%, which is in the ballpark of what I was otherwise getting as an EY from this particular coffee. It was obviously much lower in strength, it was pretty sweet, less body, but sort of just tasted a bit washed out, less flavoursome. Also super clean; super low in bitterness. This was just a single shot, not dialled in or anything.
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    Luca so you are not a fan based on the first result?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Luca so you are not a fan based on the first result?
    No, I think my first result was not dialled in, so it's pretty inconclusive, but the important part is this: even at something that you'd think was an absolute and total gusher ... 45 ml in like 15 s ... you actually still end up extracting a pretty similar amount to what you extract in a more orthodox shot. That's actually pretty mindblowing, given that you'd think that if you went that coarse you'd extract far less.

    If you demand strength in your espresso, then you need look no further. A typical espresso might be 9% strength; this thing was only like 7%. It's dramatically weaker. End of story, but that isn't a surprise - it's exactly what the Matter article says will happen.

    So it's a question of taste preferences. Here, really the best test would be not as espresso, but to dilute the shots to make long blacks of the same strength. Then you are comparing flavour with flavour.

    I've been using 15g and trying to pull shots closer to 2.5:1 for a while now; the lower dose was a thing that Jim Schulman pointed out years and years ago and the reason why I bought my latest grinder was largely to enable me to grind fine enough for such shots with very light roasts. I've also successfully pulled Allonge type shots; like 150g in like 50s or something. But what I've never really tried before is 2.5:1 in such a fast extraction time.

    Damned coffee. I've been making espresso for 20+ years, yet still there's always some entirely new rabbit hole to go down. The super annoying thing, though, is that once you change one thing, you have to reconsider everything else, since it's all interdependent. Eg. is your roast level still good under the new conditions? Eg. that didn't taste good, but would it have been better with a different temperature?
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    I don't know how to describe my shots other than undrinkable or dirty water.

    It took a while to dial in a grind and grind time to output anything at 6 bar, about 10-12 shots, then I tweaked to improve taste but couldn't anything remotely espresso like.

    Now that's not a bad thing if you like coffee that is closer to tea than espresso, but I couldn't achieve crema or any body/texture like an espresso.

    This type of extraction may be best suited to people who like American coffee, Nescafe, cheap pod coffee that gushes, pour over etc. where you have essentially coffee flavoured water.

    I'm not one to yuk someone's yum, I'm just saying I couldn't achieve anything that resembled an espresso using 6 bar with my setup (HX + Macap M7D).

    I'm admittedly not a fan of anything that doesn't taste like the traditional Italian espresso, full body, rich, slightly bitter with substantial crema.

    I'm only one guy with one setup that used one batch of coffee, a lot more testing could be done, I'd like to try a coffee made with this method of it does indeed taste like espresso and I'd be keen to know how it was achieved because saving money and improving taste? Who doesn't want that
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    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Where is Lyrebird when you need him, to summarise the article into 30 words? I felt like I needed my HP calc to read that.
    G=kcs(cs−cl)(csat−cl)

    There ya go! Clear as mud!

    Admittedly I skimmed through, fascinating... don't know if I can adjust pressure of group head on my machine, but that would be fun to play with..

    Always love a good research project in coffee!

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    The Short Shot: New Study Challenges Espresso as We Know It

    This from Roast magazine.

    "A study that dropped today suggests that coffee purveyors seeking to maximize good taste and consistency have generally been using way too much coffee.

    The research — led by a 10-member international team performing mathematical modeling and pulling hundreds of espresso shots — suggests that the key to making consistently good espresso is using far less coffee at a coarser grind, with less water and a faster brew time than found in established methods.
    The recommendations of the study — which boil down to about 15 grams of coffee with shot times from seven to 15 seconds — run contrary to nearly all published standards related to espresso preparation and extraction, including the classic Italian espresso methods and more newfangled approaches from groups like the Specialty Coffee Association."

    https://dailycoffeenews.com/2020/01/22/the-short-shot-new-study-challenges-espresso-as-we-know-it/?utm_source=Roast+Magazine+%26+Daily+Coffee+News&u tm_campaign=f50507a95c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_6_14_2018_8_20_COPY_01&utm_medium=e mail&utm_term=0_8f24fab631-f50507a95c-75993825

    Sounds like it was written by a bean counter, not a coffee lover, wonder what others thing? cant see myself trying to duplicate their results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    — suggests that the key to making consistently good espresso is using far less coffee at a coarser grind, with less water and a faster brew time than found in established methods.
    With the emphasis on coarser grind, just wondering if they have also played around with brew pressure in their experimentation?

    Assuming that 9 Bar was the setting used during these types of experiments? At 8 Bar for example wouldn't a coarser grind be required to achieve same volume for a given time? Wonder how that would have shaped up. It's on my list of things to play with. Currently pressure is set a little on the higher side so using a bit finer grind than I would for 9 Bar I guess to achieve same volume for the 25-30 sec. Seems to work well on my machine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by simonsk8r View Post
    G=kcs(cs−cl)(csat−cl)

    There ya go! Clear as mud!

    Admittedly I skimmed through, fascinating... don't know if I can adjust pressure of group head on my machine, but that would be fun to play with..

    Always love a good research project in coffee!


    I don't fully understand what they can do but the Decent espresso machine is probably the tool of choice if one was to try and perfect this method.

    Ill stick to my old school ways and flagrantly waste 3gm of coffee, 10ml of water and 20seconds of my time in excess of what the mathematicians say is reqd.

    Cheers

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    Cosmos magazine has a brief overview of the experiment in plain language...
    https://cosmosmagazine.com/mathemati...y-that-adds-up

    Mal.
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    Yes you really need some control over flow and or pressure.

    For anyone with a BDB that wants to try it out this is what Ive been doing.

    18g VST
    Pre infusion set @ 75% for 25 sec.
    This gives a much lower flow rate and pressure peaks 5.5 to 6 bar then comes down to 5 bar.
    15g dose / 40g out / 15 - 17 sec.

    Coffee used to experiment was a sweet, clean Guat dropped just as first crack was finishing off at 1:25 DEV with total roast time about 9 min.

    The same grind setting dosed at 18g using flat 8.5 bar with no pre infusion produced 40g in 21 sec and was undrinkable astringency and sour.

    The 15g dose using the settings mentioned is quite sweet, bright and dilute but surprisingly no where near my expectations of watery. Once it cools to 45 - 50C its quite drinkable, soft, sweet, balanced acidity, zero bitterness or off unpleasant harsh flavours. Aftertaste is mild and sweet.

    With the trend to much smalller milk drinks i can see this working quite well for many cafes as long as they are using properly developed light / med roasts and their machine properly recalibrated to a lower pressure / water debit. I dare say this would be a drastic improvement on quality and consistency for many cafes still trying to push out 20 to 25g doses using much too fine a grind giving the aforementioned mix of bitterness / sourness, yes it can be great if the bullseye is hit but i reckon most of the time its like shooting with a blindfold.

    I will likely stick to this system for household milk drinks as its much easier for other people who dont know / care to get right. It produces a mild but very very sweet milk drink and im guessing for the daily consumer of milk drinks they might appreciate not needing any sugar.

    20200124_111135.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by CafeLotta View Post
    With the emphasis on coarser grind, just wondering if they have also played around with brew pressure in their experimentation?

    Assuming that 9 Bar was the setting used during these types of experiments? At 8 Bar for example wouldn't a coarser grind be required to achieve same volume for a given time? Wonder how that would have shaped up. It's on my list of things to play with. Currently pressure is set a little on the higher side so using a bit finer grind than I would for 9 Bar I guess to achieve same volume for the 25-30 sec. Seems to work well on my machine.
    Linked articles and comments above talk about it being done at reduced pressure, e.g. 6bar
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    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    I'm all for progress and evolution in the field of coffee, so I love some good experimentation.

    The article that robusto linked above is a really good (and easier to understand) summary.

    ------------------------------

    "“From a material science perspective, the expectation is that if you grind finer, you're going to produce more surface area, so you should increase the amount of coffee that you can extract per shot. So that was the expectation and for the most part, it definitely is true. As you start to grind finer, your extractions go up and up and up,” Hendon says.

    “The surprising result, actually, was that when Michael and I were working together, we identified our favourite tasting coffee of the bunch at a grind setting that was sufficiently fine that the espresso was behaving like most espressos do in Australia*– 20 grams [of ground coffee] in, 40 grams of espresso out, and in 30 seconds, 40 seconds*– but as we ground coarser from there, we noticed our extractions were going up. And that’s counterintuitive. It meant something was going wrong in terms of the way the water was contacting the coffee bed.”

    “It’s not just efficient, but also repeatable,” explains Cameron, who now works as communications manager at Melbourne speciality coffee pioneer St Ali. “So you may be able to get, using 20 grams of coffee, a really high-extraction shot of coffee, but then to pull that same shot again and again and again, what we found was that it's really variable, that you couldn't guarantee that you're going to get a consistent shot time after time.”

    -------------------------

    I wonder what Matt Perger would say about it, he is big on grinding as fine as you possibly can to maximise extraction, hence why he's a massive proponent of VST baskets.

    I wonder also what size baskets they used for the 15g doses, or whether they set up a very shallow 20g basket...

    What I don't understand is how you can get a higher extraction from this method... coarser grounds means longer to extract, quicker extraction time which is less contact time that the water has with the ground coffee... so they lowered brew pressure which must be the key, but the water is still passing through in a rather quick time.. meh dunno.

    I guess as it says in the quote above, when it's too fine, something maybe was going wrong with how the water contacts the coffee...

    What do you reckon @luca ?

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    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Cosmos magazine has a brief overview of the experiment in plain language...
    https://cosmosmagazine.com/mathemati...y-that-adds-up

    Mal.
    Haha Cosmos getting in on it! It is quite a universe the microscopic level of coffee grounds

    Actually this bit from the article clears up a little regarding what I questioned about more finely ground coffee.... it can be hit and miss in terms of what is extracted, whether the water can actually reach what it needs to, due to it just being too dense and overcrowded so to speak. Still would have thought that saturation still occurs all throughout, but that 'clear portafilter' experiment I think showed that some bits of ground coffee were clearly still dry for a longer period of time, thus extracted at a different rate to te reso of the puck...

    "Grinding as finely as the industry standard suggests clogged the coffee bed, reducing extraction yield, wasting raw material, and introducing variation in taste by sampling some grounds and missing others entirely."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve82 View Post
    Yes you really need some control over flow and or pressure.

    For anyone with a BDB that wants to try it out this is what Ive been doing.

    18g VST
    Pre infusion set @ 75% for 25 sec.
    This gives a much lower flow rate and pressure peaks 5.5 to 6 bar then comes down to 5 bar.
    15g dose / 40g out / 15 - 17 sec.

    Coffee used to experiment was a sweet, clean Guat dropped just as first crack was finishing off at 1:25 DEV with total roast time about 9 min.

    The same grind setting dosed at 18g using flat 8.5 bar with no pre infusion produced 40g in 21 sec and was undrinkable astringency and sour.

    The 15g dose using the settings mentioned is quite sweet, bright and dilute but surprisingly no where near my expectations of watery. Once it cools to 45 - 50C its quite drinkable, soft, sweet, balanced acidity, zero bitterness or off unpleasant harsh flavours. Aftertaste is mild and sweet.

    With the trend to much smalller milk drinks i can see this working quite well for many cafes as long as they are using properly developed light / med roasts and their machine properly recalibrated to a lower pressure / water debit. I dare say this would be a drastic improvement on quality and consistency for many cafes still trying to push out 20 to 25g doses using much too fine a grind giving the aforementioned mix of bitterness / sourness, yes it can be great if the bullseye is hit but i reckon most of the time its like shooting with a blindfold.

    I will likely stick to this system for household milk drinks as its much easier for other people who dont know / care to get right. It produces a mild but very very sweet milk drink and im guessing for the daily consumer of milk drinks they might appreciate not needing any sugar.

    20200124_111135.jpg
    Awesome, that's really great input, thanks Steve

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    I think it is interesting article/data given 9 bar pressure has been the DeFacto for specialty coffee for a long time. Just because that is the defacto doesn't mean it is the best, a lot of time and effort in specialty and coffee nerds like us has gone into getting the best possible tasting extractions out of 20 gram doses at 9 bar.

    We have seen ratios change from say for a double 60 grams out out in 30 seconds in the early days of specialty coffee with more like 14 gram doses of coffee change to now 1:2 ratios 20 grams in with a max of 40 grams out be trending toward 35 grams out for 20 grams in of coffee (if you read a lot of the good roasters recipes on roasted bags of beans).

    I won't be changing my daily coffee routine now. But I would do some more experimenting if I had a pressure profiling machine and seeing how I liked 6 bar, 15 grams and 40 grams out with milk.

    If we move forward 5-10 years and profiling machines are the norm, maybe 6 bar, coarser grounds with shorter extraction times will become the new norm. But it would take a big shift in the specialty market and coffee supply chain (e.g. tasting changing to low pressure fast extractions so the coffee is tuned for the applicable use). I was thinking that lever machines would support some of the evidence in the article due to lower pressure extractions but then recalled that long extraction times are common as with 30-40 seconds and often grind settings similar to HX and commercial machines.

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    Personally, I believe Flow Profiling is where it's at, then just allow the brew pressure to look after itself...
    Trying to mange/control more than one interdependent variable simultaneously, just makes life more difficult than it needs to be, whatever preference you may have for what ends up in the cup.

    Mal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonsk8r View Post
    Haha Cosmos getting in on it! It is quite a universe the microscopic level of coffee grounds

    Actually this bit from the article clears up a little regarding what I questioned about more finely ground coffee.... it can be hit and miss in terms of what is extracted, whether the water can actually reach what it needs to, due to it just being too dense and overcrowded so to speak. Still would have thought that saturation still occurs all throughout, but that 'clear portafilter' experiment I think showed that some bits of ground coffee were clearly still dry for a longer period of time, thus extracted at a different rate to te reso of the puck...

    "Grinding as finely as the industry standard suggests clogged the coffee bed, reducing extraction yield, wasting raw material, and introducing variation in taste by sampling some grounds and missing others entirely."
    ... and my first alternative take: use a crap grinder with an uneven particle spread and that is exactly what you get... Uneven extractions. What a surprise.

    TampIt
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    ... and my first alternative take: use a crap grinder with an uneven particle spread and that is exactly what you get... Uneven extractions. What a surprise.

    TampIt
    Hahaha, yeah good call

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    Don’t forget that the primary driver here isn’t just improving flavour/quality. In fact that’s probably secondary. People like Matt Perger and Scott Rao among others have frequently spoken about the fact that they want to find a way to reliably increase espresso extraction so that coffee shops can use less coffee but still achieve at least an equal result. In many cases the result in the cup may actually be better - I’m sure we’ve all had some pretty awful, bitter coffee from cafes. The main benefit for the coffee shop is reduced cost, but there’s also a greater potential benefit of the coffee industry using less coffee. While there’s no shortage of commercial grade coffee globally we know that the specialty grades are starting to feel some pressure from changing weather and climate conditions. So it makes sense that as this market grows we look for ways to become more efficient in the use of high grade coffee, at least for the foreseeable future until someone works out how to grow high grade coffee at low altitudes (it will happen eventually). So I’d suggest that if you can and want to experiment with these parameters at home go for your life, but all other home baristas should just keep doing what they’re doing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Don’t forget that the primary driver here isn’t just improving flavour/quality. In fact that’s probably secondary. People like Matt Perger and Scott Rao among others have frequently spoken about the fact that they want to find a way to reliably increase espresso extraction so that coffee shops can use less coffee but still achieve at least an equal result. In many cases the result in the cup may actually be better - I’m sure we’ve all had some pretty awful, bitter coffee from cafes. The main benefit for the coffee shop is reduced cost, but there’s also a greater potential benefit of the coffee industry using less coffee. While there’s no shortage of commercial grade coffee globally we know that the specialty grades are starting to feel some pressure from changing weather and climate conditions. So it makes sense that as this market grows we look for ways to become more efficient in the use of high grade coffee, at least for the foreseeable future until someone works out how to grow high grade coffee at low altitudes (it will happen eventually). So I’d suggest that if you can and want to experiment with these parameters at home go for your life, but all other home baristas should just keep doing what they’re doing.
    Yeah true, in the Highlights in the research paper two of the points were to minimize coffee waste and yield monetary savings. I can only hope that the quality of extraction and taste isn't affected. I'd love to taste the two methods side by side...

    Can someone please explain this to me though, if less coffee is used, we would go through it much slower, and there is less demand for it. So won't this impact the farmers in a massively negative way? Or is it moreso that at the moment they're struggling to meet the demand and crops aren't growing/yielding as well nowadays, so this would help in that respect?

    I can see how it would help cafes immensely, 25% less coffee used..

    Oh and just got an email from St Ali this morning regarding the research and a link to it. Sounds like they are gonna for sure implement it...

    It's such a massive change though, I wonder who will be on board!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonsk8r View Post
    Can someone please explain this to me though, if less coffee is used, we would go through it much slower, and there is less demand for it. So won't this impact the farmers in a massively negative way? Or is it moreso that at the moment they're struggling to meet the demand and crops aren't growing/yielding as well nowadays, so this would help in that respect?

    I can see how it would help cafes immensely, 25% less coffee used..
    I think it will slow the price increase from bean to cup. The bean price will still increase as good coffee gets harder to grow, but it will either slow the follow on effect of increased cost of a cup of coffee, or it will mean more profit for green bean distributors, rosters, and/or cafes. Given that past performance is the best indicator for future results I can't help but think it'll be the green bean distributors taking the bulk of it, roasters getting a little and cafes a tiny bit, with the farmers and end consumers seeing almost no benefit at all.

    The only way I can see it changing for the consumer is if wage growth continues to fall behind inflation then fewer people will be able to afford fewer cups of coffee, leading to pressure on the cafes to reduce costs, which will send some pressure back up the supply chain, and who knows, it might do something if the overall profit is greater with a lower margin on more product.
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonsk8r View Post
    I can see how it would help cafes immensely, 25% less coffee used..
    I'm a whole lot more interested on how or more to the point if, it will improve whats in the cup.

    Sounds like the research was conducted by accountants, certainly not coffee lovers.
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  32. #32
    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    I think it will slow the price increase from bean to cup. The bean price will still increase as good coffee gets harder to grow, but it will either slow the follow on effect of increased cost of a cup of coffee, or it will mean more profit for green bean distributors, rosters, and/or cafes. Given that past performance is the best indicator for future results I can't help but think it'll be the green bean distributors taking the bulk of it, roasters getting a little and cafes a tiny bit, with the farmers and end consumers seeing almost no benefit at all.

    The only way I can see it changing for the consumer is if wage growth continues to fall behind inflation then fewer people will be able to afford fewer cups of coffee, leading to pressure on the cafes to reduce costs, which will send some pressure back up the supply chain, and who knows, it might do something if the overall profit is greater with a lower margin on more product.
    Ah right, gotta admit I know very little on this side of it all, but sort of get it. Interesting isn't it, the massive flow on effect..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    I'm a whole lot more interested on how or more to the point if, it will improve whats in the cup.

    Sounds like the research was conducted by accountants, certainly not coffee lovers.
    YES, me too mate, I'm very much the same, if it causes a detriment in the cup, may as well just switch to instant coffee in cafes.

    From what I've read it's achieved the same if not better results in the cup, and more consistency in that, but I wonder just how perfect those conditions have to be. As we know the ol perfect lab conditions vs real world dichotomy...

    It's tickled my interest as I'm a fan of progression in the coffee world. But not just for the sake of it, but to genuinely look into improving and extracting the best stuff from the bean, and more consistently. Often there are many fads and phases that were just little twists which might look like progression on the surface, so some discernment is required. But with progression there can often be trade-offs too I guess.

    Ah and Michael Cameron (barista in the project) is cerrrtainly a coffee lover :P. But whether the primary intention was to save money I'm unsure. Or whether it is a legitimate attempt at improve the quality and consistency of that quality.

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonsk8r View Post
    But whether the primary intention was to save money I'm unsure. Or whether it is a legitimate attempt at improve the quality and consistency of that quality.
    Rest assured, the underlying motive is improving the bottom line, charge em more whilst giving less of what they are paying for, once again, we are paying more and more for less and less.
    More for less..jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobSac View Post
    I don't know how to describe my shots other than undrinkable or dirty water.

    It took a while to dial in a grind and grind time to output anything at 6 bar, about 10-12 shots, then I tweaked to improve taste but couldn't anything remotely espresso like.

    Now that's not a bad thing if you like coffee that is closer to tea than espresso, but I couldn't achieve crema or any body/texture like an espresso.

    This type of extraction may be best suited to people who like American coffee, Nescafe, cheap pod coffee that gushes, pour over etc. where you have essentially coffee flavoured water.

    I'm not one to yuk someone's yum, I'm just saying I couldn't achieve anything that resembled an espresso using 6 bar with my setup (HX + Macap M7D).

    I'm admittedly not a fan of anything that doesn't taste like the traditional Italian espresso, full body, rich, slightly bitter with substantial crema.

    I'm only one guy with one setup that used one batch of coffee, a lot more testing could be done, I'd like to try a coffee made with this method of it does indeed taste like espresso and I'd be keen to know how it was achieved because saving money and improving taste? Who doesn't want that
    Hi BobSac,

    Thanks for the further info. My non-dialled-in experience was probably similar. I think we have to be fair to the authors - they very clearly say that the 15g/15s shots will be weak.

    It seems like the 15s shots also really clean up the bitterness, which seems pretty important to you. So the 15s shots don't sound like they're going to be great for you.

    The article doesn't really give us much to go on on what, if any, taste improvements to expect. There are some vague references to overextraction being bitterness.

    Personally, I guess for me, I'd call it a win by reference to the hardest to extract and most distinctive flavours. So like everyone in their coffee journey has had the experience of picking up a bag of something like a washed yirg and it says on the back of it "bergamot and jasmine" and you roll your eyes and say "I've never tasted that; yeah right, that's pretty fanciful." But there are lots of coffees that actually have this quality. If you cup them, you can taste it. But it's super hard to get it into an espresso. This flavour disappears super quickly at darker roast levels and longer roast times. I've found that the best way to get it is exactly with low dose, fine grind, but I haven't experimented with fast extraction times. The 15s shots that I tried weren't better in this regard; they seemed to be pretty ... bland.

    Now we need to be further fair to the authors. The 15s shots are only one part of the regime. They say they will be weaker. They say people may like more complexity. They offer two further solutions.

    There's the alternate way to get greater consistency, being the top regime in figure 6. Have you tried that? That is where you go a bit coarser so that you get a faster flow rate with a higher extraction, but you cut the shot shorter to get the same extraction. This, they point out, will be much higher in concentration, but it will be quite short. I don't know that they gave great directions on how to do it; I guess it's probably something like 15g dose, 20g yield in like ... 25s ... 20s ... really I have no idea; I'd need to look at the paper again and measure the EY. They do say it will be really short; maybe it's as low as 15g dose, 15g yield.

    Hendon et al then further say that we could try to get back the complexity of the reference shot by blending together the super short shot and the super fast shot.

    Not sure how much more I'll experiment with this; I've got a tonne of other coffee experiments on, so I might leave these to others for the moment.

    Cheers,
    Luca
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Don’t forget that the primary driver here isn’t just improving flavour/quality. In fact that’s probably secondary. People like Matt Perger and Scott Rao among others have frequently spoken about the fact that they want to find a way to reliably increase espresso extraction so that coffee shops can use less coffee but still achieve at least an equal result. In many cases the result in the cup may actually be better - I’m sure we’ve all had some pretty awful, bitter coffee from cafes. The main benefit for the coffee shop is reduced cost, but there’s also a greater potential benefit of the coffee industry using less coffee. While there’s no shortage of commercial grade coffee globally we know that the specialty grades are starting to feel some pressure from changing weather and climate conditions. So it makes sense that as this market grows we look for ways to become more efficient in the use of high grade coffee, at least for the foreseeable future until someone works out how to grow high grade coffee at low altitudes (it will happen eventually). So I’d suggest that if you can and want to experiment with these parameters at home go for your life, but all other home baristas should just keep doing what they’re doing.
    G'day LeroyC

    Ironically, we have had over a decade of reducing the amount of coffee and equaling / improving the flavour with no nasty side effects. If anything, the flavour improves.

    Traditional baskets / grinders rarely manage 16% extraction ratio without turning to quinine (i.e. unacceptably bitter). A grinder with an even particle spread and VST baskets instantly boosts that to over 23+% (some, like Perger, say 25%, perhaps "under ideal conditions"). So for the same flavour whack you can use about 1/3 less coffee. When I set up cafes "post VST" I split the difference - I switched them from 20g "standard baskets" to 15g VST baskets which added about 10% more flavour and used about 25% less coffee. IMO the VSTs always had a clearer, more defined and just outright better flavour - no trade offs there.

    I was lucky enough to access a medical laser refractometer and a set of automated rapid mechanical sieves (at a 3D stainless steel medical engineering workshop) a while back and the 16% and 23% figures quoted are not only published by a few aficionados, they are the actual measurements I consistently achieved over a weekend using quite a range of different coffee gear. There was only one 16% extraction from a standard "better quality" basket (the over-rated "EQ / HQ /EP precision baskets" and "good for the time" Synesso's to be precise) that was drinkable - all the others were too bitter (and noticeably more murky in flavour). Realistically it was only the 15% extraction shots that worked consistently.

    That was also the weekend I discovered why I had never liked conical burr grinder shots - they all generated a "twin peak" particle spread with too many unwanted fines. Presumably I am sensitive to the extra bitterness compared to the flat burred Major.

    Over to VSTs: I fluked one 24% extraction (Mazzer Major) that worked. Most other 23+% shots didn't work well until we switched to sieving all the conical grinder shots - then they came up to the Major. Meanwhile the Major jumped up another 1% - not worth the expense (a mere few 10's of K's for the sieves!) and the time / effort / hassle of sieving it. Later I switched to Mahlkoenig Vario gen2s and it did bump the extraction up a "minute tad" compared to the Major. I doubt it would hit 25% extraction anyway.

    Anyway, enjoy your cuppa whatever that is. If you are running VSTs with a naked p/f and a decent grinder, you are also using less coffee to obtain your fix... a win - win.

    TampIt
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  37. #37
    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Rest assured, the underlying motive is improving the bottom line, charge em more whilst giving less of what they are paying for, once again, we are paying more and more for less and less.
    More for less..jpg
    ... if you have decidedly said so.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    I'm a whole lot more interested on how or more to the point if, it will improve whats in the cup.

    Sounds like the research was conducted by accountants, certainly not coffee lovers.
    Not sure about that Yelta, it seems Michael Cameron at St Ali Barista is part of the driving force behind this. I don't know him but I assume he's a lover of coffee. I'll be really interested to see if St Ali stakes their reputation on the quality of this approach by implementing it in the cafe. Matt Perger used to preach the use of a course grind with a nutating tamp but has now stated that he was wrong. Whilst Perger used this approach at the World Barista Championship, as far as I know St Ali never implemented it.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtW View Post
    Not sure about that Yelta, it seems Michael Cameron at St Ali Barista is part of the driving force behind this. I don't know him but I assume he's a lover of coffee. I'll be really interested to see if St Ali stakes their reputation on the quality of this approach by implementing it in the cafe. Matt Perger used to preach the use of a course grind with a nutating tamp but has now stated that he was wrong. Whilst Perger used this approach at the World Barista Championship, as far as I know St Ali never implemented it.
    Yeah I have a feeling they may do it, they were very excited about it in the email they sent me! Haha.. But still curious as to Perger's thoughts, may have a look on Barista Hustle. Just know how big he was on as fine a grind as possible.

    Yeah I was there in the audience when he used nutating. I think his later thoughts on nutating was moreso not only the difficulty in learning it perfectly, and being able to consistently do the same thing over and over, but also in a commercial cafe environment. Having everyone do nutating exactly the same way to get the same or similar result in espresso is a big ask, so I think he ditched it only for that reason. Otherwise he says it's an awesome technique that really does work.
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    Regarding bean counting, financial incentives, etc, probably worth pointing out that that would have everything running the other way. St Ali and Sensory Lab have a thriving wholesale business. Their customers dropping to 15g instead of 20g for the same beverages would presumably be a much bigger revenue loss than whatever savings they might make in their own cafes. Whether it tastes good or not, I don't think you can seriously accuse the authors of putting profit over taste. If you want to make money in your wholesale business, might not be a bad idea to "upgrade" your customers to bigger VST baskets for "free".

    One thing that's yet to be explored is how roast interacts with all of this. If you cup a darker roast and a light roast under the same conditions, you usually end up with the darker roast tasting bitter pretty quickly and the light roast tastes good. Would be interesting to know how the long/fast shots affected dark roasts vs light roasts. Certainly more standard 15g dose/40g yield at normal flow rates might leave you with a delicious light roast shot and a very aggressive dark roast shot.
    Last edited by luca; 26th January 2020 at 07:40 PM. Reason: New last sentence, first paragraph
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    I think that they have really moved the goal posts here in this study which is interesting.

    We are talking lower pressure at 6 bar, 30 mls I think in 7-15 seconds. The normal variation among CS people is to brew a smaller volume for an 'acceptable' time of say 25 seconds.

    I am going to try this on the Wega although I can't change pressure. I'll need a smaller basket for my conical Robur. The Robur produces shots that tend bitter. If it works it would make espresso making easier in that a coarser grind is easier to achieve with more grinders. 15g shots in the normal pressure and time range can be finicky which is why I never bothered.

    It has me interested enough to experiment. They are saving both time and coffee which is a double win for a commercial environment. Obviously the taste has to be good too which is subjective.
    Last edited by wattgn; 27th January 2020 at 05:50 PM.
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn View Post
    I think that they have really moved the goal posts here in this study which is interesting.

    We are talking lower pressure at 6 bar, 30 mls I think in 7-15 seconds. The normal variation among CS people is to brew a smaller volume for an 'acceptable' time of say 25 seconds.

    I am going to try this on the Wega although I can't change pressure. I'll need a smaller basket for my conical Robur. The Robur produces shots that tend bitter. If it works it would make espresso making easier in that a coarser grind is easier to achieve with more grinders. 15g shots in the normal pressure and time range can be finicky which is why I never bothered.

    It has me interested enough to experiment. They are saving both time and coffee which is a double win for a commercial environment. Obviously the taste has to be good too which is subjective.
    Let us know how you go mate, am curious! I may try it when I get a decent roast, but I'm also unable to alter pressure, which I have a feeling may be an important factor in all this...

    But see how ya go!

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    We need Ghostbusters!

    Taaammmpiiit
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    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn View Post
    We need Ghostbusters!

    Taaammmpiiit
    G'day wattgn

    Hey, if you want me to bring the DE1 to Woodvale again for a CS meet, you only (**cough**) have to organise it at a time I am free...

    TampIt

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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    G'day wattgn

    Hey, if you want me to bring the DE1 to Woodvale again for a CS meet, you only (**cough**) have to organise it at a time I am free...

    TampIt
    Well the DE1 is a great machine for testing stuff like this out on. I sold the Mignon and have the Atom 60 on order but tried one quick shot shorter time with the Robur to 30mls. It did make a nicer shot actually for my tastes. Without a refractometer it would be hard to know what the extraction was.

    Another meet would be good. I will think about it.

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    Been running an r58 at 6.5bar for quite some time now after much experimantation. So varied the brew preasure, varied extraction times from less than 15secs to well over 60secs, varied the brew temp, varied roast level and profiles of many different beans whilst experimenting with various basket sizes ranging from 14g VST to 20g VST - all in the interests of science :-)
    Just for clarity - what is the 15secs starting point in the OP experiments?
    As far as I have noticed, every bean type and its associated roast profile may/will benefit from tweeks in any of the variables mentioned and just to add to the debate complexity - taste is completly subjective. For my go to roast proifle pulled at 6.5bar, I have found that 20g in 40g out in 40secs (from the moment the handle is pulled) is very satisfying and consistent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonar View Post
    Been running an r58 at 6.5bar for quite some time now after much experimantation. So varied the brew preasure, varied extraction times from less than 15secs to well over 60secs, varied the brew temp, varied roast level and profiles of many different beans whilst experimenting with various basket sizes ranging from 14g VST to 20g VST - all in the interests of science :-)
    Just for clarity - what is the 15secs starting point in the OP experiments?
    As far as I have noticed, every bean type and its associated roast profile may/will benefit from tweeks in any of the variables mentioned and just to add to the debate complexity - taste is completly subjective. For my go to roast proifle pulled at 6.5bar, I have found that 20g in 40g out in 40secs (from the moment the handle is pulled) is very satisfying and consistent.
    I think the article just interested me enough to try some different stuff.

    It made me appreciate that, at best, the general parameters used for espresso are just somebody else's guesswork. The flavour is all that counts and is very subjective. I enjoyed a 15 second 18g shot today and about 30mls. I find with the Robur that 18g and 25 seconds to give 50 mls is too bitter and overextracted for my tastes.

    It would be nice to have a refractometer but I checked in the cupboards and don't have one lying around...
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    Does anyone know when 9bar became the standard?


    It was already acknowledged 35 yrs ago back in my fund Uni barista days.


    Cheers

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Rest assured, the underlying motive is improving the bottom line, charge em more whilst giving less of what they are paying for, once again, we are paying more and more for less and less.
    More for less..jpg
    It dawned on me that the marketing guy who came up with this should be fired. He could've just watered down the product and saved the cost of having to resize the container - less obvious too.

  50. #50
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Ah so it turns out I CAN adjust brew pressure in my Profitec... has me intrigued. I don't think I would run the blind filter 'brew' for that length of time while I fiddle with the adjustment..

    And worried that I wouldn't get be able to get the pressure spot on where it was initially! But, will let you know if I have a tinker with this..

    https://youtu.be/uYKDQ3Stb3k



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