Extraction Time Question

coffeetalk

New member
Mar 24, 2004
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Hi all,

I have learned that the American extraction time for one espresso is about 15-20 seconds but the Italian type is about 25-30 seconds to make. What makes them different? Why is that?

Thank you.
 

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
874
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Seattle,Washington USA
Okay, I know I'm about to raise a few eyebrows with these comments. :shock: Extraction time will vary depending on the blend and roast. It's kind of hard to explain, but we have developed our blends to where you can pull wonderful shots between 16-22 seconds. Why? Because in the drive thru world where everything has to be done quicker, we had to adapt. Whereas, if you are going into a cafe setting or a cart you can take the time to pull the longer shots, heck, you can even do a little foam art...All right, everyone be gentle :?
 
I am for a 24 second shot. But I have seen 2 time frames. One starts as soon as the lever is pulled/button is pushed. Those run 30-ish. The other starts as soon as the first drops of espresso come from the portafilter.

I haven't heard of anyone with a good 15 second shot. If they, they've either changed the technology of coffee extraction or they're brewing weak espresso. I doubt anyone could change the physicals of coffee extraction, but coming from high tech (designing circuit boards for supercomputers in the mid 80s) and seeing what you can get as a desktop computer these days, I have to allow that there can be technological advances that might not have seemed possible a few years before.

That said, Boyle's law is Boyle's law. Volume, pressure, temperature are what you have to work with. Unless your superheating steam (don't let your insurance company know), you're going to be just increasing the pressure. To not over extract, you need more coffee in the filter or you're going to under extract. Add more coffee, and you're getting good TDS (total dissolved solids) but I'm stuggling to see how you're going to develop the coffee through brewing. If I'm in your corner of the world, I'll just have to try a double shot straight up.
 

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
874
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Seattle,Washington USA
I still stand by my previous post back in April. And for those that doubt me, come on out to one of our locations or visit one of our customers and have a shot of our coffees. I don't know Boyle (Boil) :wink: , but as you said JH, "I have to allow that there can be technological advances that might not have seemed possible a few years before."
And the timing starts when the button is pushed because that is when the machine is starting to cycle. And if you happen to be in my corner of the world, feel free to stop by any time :shock:
 

BaristaTrainer

New member
Oct 18, 2004
192
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Portland, OR
Extraction Times

Espresso extraction is chemistry and physics ... therefore there is a right way to do things. a 24-28 second extraction is the international standard and is the way espresso is meant to be. Espresso has been around for nearly 100 years in Italy vs. 25 or so in the US. I think we can and should learn from our elders.

I have never seen a "roast" that has been adapted for a quicker shot extraction, the shot will always be over extracted if pulled at 16 seconds ... I would rather wait the extra 10 seconds in a drive'thru or sit down for a better tasting beverage.

If you "do things quicker", you will be sacrificing quality. However, if you prefer a McDonalds hamburger to Ruths Chris Steakhouse and are willing to pay the same then by all means ... go for it.

Do not strive for mediocracy in this industry. Drive-thrus, sit downs, kiosks ... let quality be your best marketing tool.
 
The notion that the earth was the center of the universe stood the test of time. Thousands of year. Until it was proven wrong. And then it still took a long time to extinguish the notion that the earth was the center.

Plato & Aristotle believed that there were various substances that were the building blocks of the universe. Then people discovered molecules. And people believed those were the building blocks. Then people discovered atoms. And people believed those were the building blocks. And then people discovered electrons, neutrons and protons. And people believed those were the building blocks. And then...

Are you so confident that everything there is to know about espresso is known in just a hundred years? There is no horizon for discovery or innovation? Has every shot been pulled and all we can hope to do is recapture someone else's glory?
 

BaristaTrainer

New member
Oct 18, 2004
192
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Portland, OR
java hill ...

i totally agree that this industry is ever changing and you should stay on the cutting edge ... however, grind tamp and extraction are areas that have been researched heavily. It has been proven that the key to the proper espresso grind is the extraction time.

Just do your research ... ask roasters what they think ther coffees proper extraction should be ... look at who is winning contests for their coffees ... look for "true expert" advice ... and most importantly taste the coffee yourself!
 

BaristaTrainer

New member
Oct 18, 2004
192
0
Portland, OR
oh yeah ... as far as when the extraction time starts ... there are differences in machines that have pre-infusion and those that don't. You should always be pulling double (or triple) shots, a single portifilter will consistantly over extract the 7-9 grams of espresso required per shot.

a good example of changin technologies ...
 

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
874
0
Seattle,Washington USA
Ooh...chemistry & physics how cool is that :mrgreen: . Remember people used to think the world was flat, but after a long period of time, it was proven otherwise. Keep in mind things change just as time, and your reference to the elders is nice. However, if that is your arguement, how do you explain the use of pods (Illy)? Well we can save that for another day. As a roaster I'm always experimenting and improving where I can. So I don't necessarily buy the arguement about longer shots. That's okay if you believe in what was taught to you back then. But like good ol Chris Columbus I will continue to explore.
:wink:
 

BaristaTrainer

New member
Oct 18, 2004
192
0
Portland, OR
CG

good luck on your exploration ...

Dr. Ernesto Illy agrees that 25-30 seconds is the proper time for extracting espresso. I guess I believe him as well as my own taste preference.

anyway, I don't want to argue about this ... besides I would LOVE for my competition to be serving 16 second extractions ... oh wait, most of them already are.

:wink:

bottom line is that the US standard is different from the International ... if you are serving mainly 20oz flavored lattes and mochas no one will be able to taste the coffee anyway. call me a purist :)
 

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
874
0
Seattle,Washington USA
Hey BT:

I figured you'd catch my reference on Chris :wink: And with respect to Dr. Illy, he has done a lot for the industry in the beginning, however, the industry is continuing to evolve. And things change, besides there's nothing wrong with pulling shots between 25-30 seconds when in a cafe or coffee shop. Just as there is nothing wrong with pulling them at 22-25. However, as I mentioned in past posts that 16 seconds is in my opinion the absolute minimum in a drive thru enviroment. That is my point when it comes to blending and roasting for my markets. As for winning contests and awards, that doesn't interest me much. Don't get me wrong, it's great to get praise, but only when it comes from customers and folks doing independent studies, not entering paid or sponsored contests. :wink:
 

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