by Janet Stayte March 10, 2023 2 min read
If you're trying to make an espresso or espresso-based coffee, and the coffee is flying out of your portafilter spout, it's not going to make for a great tasting coffee. A quick espresso extraction means that the brew time, or contact time between the hot water, and your ground coffee beans, is too little to fully extract the flavour from your coffee beans.
Luckily for us, however, it's quite an easy problem to troubleshoot and fix, so you can get the perfect espresso extraction in no time.
There's two main causes for an espresso extraction that's running too fast, and most of the time, it's all about the grind size of your ground coffee. If your coffee beans are ground too coarse, the water can pass through the coffee grounds far too quickly, resulting in an under-extracted coffee.
By grinding your coffee finer, it can resist the flow of the hot water more effectively, and slow down your espresso shot time. We recommend an optimal extraction time of about 30 seconds, (or between 28 and 32 seconds).
To change your grind size, grind your coffee whilst moving the dial towards a finer grind. Remember, a little goes a long way when changing the grind, so make the change incremental, and test out the difference.
Grind one portaflter basket worth of coffee after making this change to the grind size, and dispose of it. Then test out the extraction time of the following shot.
An alternate cause for a quick extraction time, is the dose. If you're not using enough ground coffee for the size of your portafilter basket, the brew time will be too quick.
The size of your portafilter basket determines how much is the optimal dose of ground coffee. Most home espresso machines have a 15g portafilter basket, and commercial espresso machines tend to have a slightly larger basket size (of around 22g). You will always be able to make the best espresso by using the dose size determined by your basket size.
To ensure you're using the correct coffee dose, use a set of coffee scales to weigh your ground coffee before pulling your shot. By using scales every time you make your coffee, you can ensure you get a great coffee every single time. We have a range of coffee scales that we use and recommend here.
Lastly, keep in mind ratios. When making an espresso, the general rule is that of a 1:2 ratio, of dry coffee in, to brewed coffee out. For example, if you're using 21g of coffee in, you should be aiming for a 42g double shot when brewed, over the 28-32 second timeframe.
If you're looking for more help with getting the perfect espresso extraction, take a look at our instagram or youtube, where we regularly post troubleshooting tutorials, to help you get the most out of your coffee beans!
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