blog from the ceo & superbarista of phoenix coffee, home of the best baristas in cleveland, ohio

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Steel on steel, clink goes the portafilter

Sometimes the espresso comes out of the portafilter spout too quickly. The stream is too thick, too fluffy and you can tell that the crema is going to shrink. So what is a superbarista supposed to do in an instance like that? You might say adjust the grind, but I found today that just packing the portafilter handle differently was all that was needed. After I dosed out the usual amount of coffee, I tapped the portafilter handle on the stainless steel counter. This is an additional step in my usual basket packing procedure. But it can make a big difference. After the tap on the counter, the ground coffee settled noticeably in the portafilter basket, making room for me to add more coffee and then tamp and polish. After fixing the basket in the group head, I saw that the stream of espresso looked denser and came out at a more appropriate rate, with better extraction. The latte was divine. Heretofore I have been against the tapping-on-the-counter methodology since it seemed that it would introduce another unnecessary variable. But today I learned that it can be a viable solution in lieu of grind adjustment which can be tedious and which can also need to be readjusted in a matter of hours. The skilled barista can add this to his or her bag of tricks for acheiving perfect extraction.


Blogger Jeff Hess said...

Shalom Sarah,

The next time you see me in Phoenix, I have an espresso question for you.



2:48 PM, May 12, 2005  

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