underextracted

October 14, 2011

Underextracted also known as my failure at hitting a moving target until I grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat.


This is a two part blog post because I started typing about my failure pulling a very nice shot and then I drank the very last shot I had of the coffee and it all changed…


I recently was given about 6 ounces of a very reputable cutting edge roast of coffee for espresso.  It was not like anything I had pulled before as far as I could tell.  It was like many of the trendy coffees today very fruit forward, lightly roasted, and highly acidic.  I like coffees like this although I also like pretty much any style of coffee for espresso as long as it is done very well.  I do not tend to go for really dark roasts very often, but a really good one (like Paradise or Stumptown produces) can be absolutely delightful.


The dark roasts are easier to coax the best out of because they are not razor’s edge where a small change makes a major difference in taste.  This roast was the opposite.  I could tell from the start that pulled just right it would be amazing, but getting it just right was going to take just the right grind, dose, temperature, etc.   IN particular if you got these wrong it seemed to be very sour.  The problem I found was that something this picky is unlikely to be perfect from the first shot, but six ounces is not a lot to play with.   To get that right you need to have some sense of a starting point from which to go.  I hoped I had that, but alas I did not.  The very first shot was sour, so I figured it was probably a bit underextracted.  This is where it stayed through many iterations and this is why I was expecting to post about my failure until I took that great sip...



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