Tag Archives: Espresso

After brewing filter I empty the filter (throw it away if its paper, wash it if its metal), rinse and clean the apparatus, place a clean filter, (rinse it if its paper), add the coffee and brew. The aim is to brew with a clean, fresh apparatus. Pre-heated if desired.

When brewing espresso, I remove the portafilter, dump the puck, wipe the basket so it is clean and dry, dose, tamp, purge, insert portafilter and brew.

When I consider these methods side-by-side I am surprised by my apparent lack of concern for cleanliness when I brew espresso. If, after brewing a filter, I simply wiped it dry and neglected to wash the filter (metal) or replace it (paper), I would consider that rather sloppy work. Needless to say, lacking in quality.

Another observation is the concern for a dry filter when brewing espresso but not when brewing filter. Is a dry basket for espresso a well-founded requirement based on solid research or another espresso myth? Should I be more concerned with washing the basket and portafilter every time?

This probably just gives me a research idea. Extraction yields: dry, wiped basket vs washed, wet baskets.

Watch this space 🙂


When brewing espresso, measuring quality by the “length of the shot” is failing to understand the purpose of controlling variables.

“Length of shot” equals “strength”. A short shot will be very strong, and a long shot will be weaker. But neither is a measure of quality. It is, theoretically, possible to pull a quality 100g shot (although current technology makes this hard eg fines).

Quality comes from “extraction percentage” or “yield”. This refers to the amount of coffee extracted from the ground coffee during brewing. The arguably agreed upon range is 18-22%. At this point there is good, complex flavour and balance.

Looking back then, a short shot and a long shot can both be deemed to be good extraction if the right yield is achieved. This is why I say it’s theoretically possible to pull a shot the size of a cup and it still be delicious. Strength is simply the concentration in which the 18-22% yield is held.

Having said that, it is true that there are also general agreed upon strengths/concentrations, but they’ll all be sub-par if we fail to achieve a quality extraction.