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Setting your coffee recipe at home

Setting your coffee recipe at home

TERMINOLOGY

Dose:
This is the term used to describe the amount of coffee dosed into your portafilter per coffee. When making espresso it is good to weigh the amount of coffee being put into your portafilter as it allows you to repeat the same brewing process time after time and make small tweaks to the recipe where necessary. 

Yield:
This is the amount of espresso we receive out of the espresso machine. When pulling a shot of coffee, there is an ideal volume of espresso you should extract for the most ideal flavour profile. This ideal volume varies from coffee to coffee depending on a variety of factors; however, the desired yield is decided upon by tasting the final espresso and adjusting by increments until the desired flavour profile is achieved. Yield is related to the dose by a ratio known as the brew ratio, which is coffee in versus coffee out. When making espresso this brew ration is roughly 1:2 as opposed to filter coffee where the ratio is about 1:16. These ratios serve as a starting point for setting your recipe and can be varied to achieve your ideal flavour profile. 


Run time
Describes the amount of time your espresso shot is pouring for, from when you push your button/ turn your slider/ flip your switch (including pre-infusion) to when the espresso stops pouring. Your run time should be approximately 30 seconds for espresso, if your run time is too long try making your grind coarser or if too short, make grind finer; read our blog on grind size for more on this. 

Preinfusion
Preinfusion is the method of adding a period of lower pressure at the start of your extraction. The purpose of this is to soak your coffee puck in preparation for the period of higher pressure. Preparing the surface area of the coffee in this way decreases the risk of coffee channeling and ensures an even extraction.  The ability to do a preinfusion is determined by your coffee machine; base level machines will not give an option for preinfusion with the pressure being operated like an on/off switch, other machines will have it preprogrammed into the machine and may not be able to be adjusted. Higher end machines will allow you to pressure profile your espresso shots allowing you to program or manually adjust preinfusion times. If you want to test if your machine has a programmed preinfusion, pull a shot and watch as it begins to pour. If your shot has a 5-10 second delay from when you start pulling your shot to when the liquid starts pouring (and your runtime is still running at approx 30secs) then your machine has preinfusion.  


SETTING YOUR RECIPE

All volumetrically controlled machines will give you a way to program them to set your recipe, though some machines make it more difficult than others. Check out your machine manual if you’re unsure how to do this on your machine. 
All of our coffees have suggested brew recipes, they are all in the product information on our website. You can use these recipes as a starting point to extracting your coffee but feel free to tweak them to your own tastes. Below is a quick guide to dialing in an espresso to taste, this can feel a bit overwhelming if it’s the first time you’re doing it but the best way to learn is by doing and by tasting. 

As a starting point for your recipe dial in your coffee to the suggested recipe found on our website. Taste the espresso, a well extracted espresso should have a sweet and balanced acidity, it should feel smooth and syrupy as you drink it (we call this ‘body’) and should linger on your palate after drinking (this is called the ‘finish’). 

If you drink your espresso and it has a sour, puckering, overwhelming acidity, it has a really short finish or there’s a saltiness to the espresso, there is a good chance your espresso was under extracted. Under extracted denotes that either your yield was too low or your run time was too quick. To solve this, try increasing your dose by one gram whilst keeping the run time the same. If this doesn’t yield favourable results try keeping the yield consistent and increasing the run time by a few seconds (do this by making your grind finer). By only changing one variable at a time you can keep track of the changes you're making and you know exactly the effect each has. 

If your espresso tastes overly bitter, dries your mouth out, tastes hollow and watery then you have probably over extracted your espresso. Over extracted coffee means your yield was too high or the runtime was too long. To solve, try decreasing your dose by one gram whilst keeping the run time the same. If this doesn’t yield favourable results try keeping the yield consistent and decreasing the run time (do this by making your grind coarser)