This Week in Coffee: Dialing-In
This week in the cafe, we are brewing some familiar coffees and introducing some new flavor profiles to the mix. For pour over options, we are continuing to serve Ethiopian Konga and Guatemalan Chalabal Estrella both from Tandem Coffee Roasters of Portland, Maine. The Konga is soothing with flavors of vanilla, lemon-lime, blackberry, and cocoa. Chalabal Estrella is bursting with full bodied juicy flavors of cherry and lemon.
This week we have a new espresso in the hopper. From George Howell Roasters, we are pulling La Soledad from Guatemala. A light chocolate flavor and smooth finish of brown sugar sweetness surround a body flavor of green apple. This espresso stands nicely on its own and pairs particularly beautifully with milk.
With Espresso, Small Adjustments Go a Long Way
Every morning, part of our opening process is to "dial-in" the espresso. Espresso flavor is affected by many factors and each day, multiple times a day, we adjust our brewing methods to ensure that we are pulling the best shot we can. Variables include the dose or amount of ground espresso used, the grind size of that espresso, and the output size of the shot itself (as discussed briefly in last week's post).
When we start pulling a new espresso roast, we typically start with a smaller dose size that over time, as we get further from the roast date, increases to a slightly higher dose. We start each new espresso and each new day, with a base brew recipe. From there, the factors of the day and environment inspire changes to the process. If a shot pulls a little faster than we want and tastes sour, we will tighten the grind, favoring a finer grind that will slow the flow of water through the tightly tamped espresso grinds. If the shot pulls slowly and tastes bitter, we adjust to a courser setting, speeding up the shot. Noteworthy is how small these adjustments can be. One tiny little shift on the grinder setting will produce a noticeable difference in the taste sampled in the cup.
Throughout the day, as temperatures adjust in the room, the espresso can start to pull differently. We are always sure to monitor any changes to the espresso, weighing out individual shots as they pull, so that we can ensure the highest quality in every drink we serve. Curious to hear more about the intricacies of dialing-in? Feel free to chat with any of our baristas about the espresso we are serving.