The final day of Quinn’s continued roasting education focused on espresso…both from a theoretical/technical point of view as well as hands-on. Getting a great shot of espresso is a lot harder than one might think and something to be celebrated when you get one! Dialing in the espresso extraction is really important for shops because even if you have a great coffee to start, if you have a bad extraction, you will have a bad tasting end result.
Some of the variables for espresso extraction that a barista is constantly dealing with are grind size, amount of grounds to use, and how long to pull a shot of espresso. Once you nail the amount and time, then you move on to play with the particle size. Things like the age of a coffee roast or the variety will require you to adjust your grind size for optimal extraction.
Milk is often the other half of an espresso beverage for many people. High quality milk is an essential ingredient for good milk frothing- don’t skimp! High quality whole milk is preferred to get good microfoam for milk-based espresso beverages and can really elevate your beverage!
Why does a coffee roaster learn so much about espresso extraction and milk frothing? Espresso extraction really puts your coffee under a microscope so it’s important to really understand the ins and outs of espresso extraction and beverages. Coffee can also taste different when prepared as an espresso and even more different when paired with milk. You might find that you like one coffee as a french press or an espresso shot, but you may not like it when it’s in a milk drink. Finally, understanding espresso extraction helps people get good extractions of your coffee! The more the merrier.