April 1, 2007
Filed under: Uncategorized — canadianbarista @ 10:24 am
One of the most common faults we see in baristas’ performances is inconsistent shotmaking. While making their 4 espresso, one set of shots run 25 seconds for 3 oz, while the next set is lightning quick at 17 seconds. What happened here?
It’s possible that a sudden tropical front invaded the competition stage, thus changing the relative humidity, causing the grounds to swell, thus creating more space between coffee particles, causing the quicker extraction. Possible, but unlikely, given the tiny gap between the two sets of shots. Yet, how many times have we seen baristas immediately try and dial in a new grind in the middle of their performance?
A more likely suspect is dosing.
With the pressure of two technical judges hovering over them, a 15 minute time clock, mom and dad in the audience, we can tighten up, and change our routine. This will vary our dose. If we tap the portafilter on the grinder forks just a little too hard while dosing, or use a little more downward pressure with our fingers while distributing, we can very easily work in a little more ( or less) coffee into the filter basket.
A fraction of a gram is all it takes to throw the shot times off, depending on the coarseness of the grind.
The technical judges watch every aspect of your dosing and tamping technique, looking for a repeating, consistent method. What they observe will be backed up by the shot times, and the density of the puck after extraction ( that’s what they are feeling when they poke their fat little fingers into your pucks) .
So remember, keep your dosing consistent. The technical scoresheet itself highlights this, because you are marked on ” CONSISTENT dosing and tamping.
The best competitors will have shots of equal volumes, equal extraction times, and pucks that feel the same density. So make sure you rule out a dosing problem before you hit the panic button and adjust that grind.