Our definitive guide to obtaining the perfect espresso. (continued)
The espresso should extract between 25 – 30 seconds, from the moment you start the extraction to the moment the 30ml glass is full, crema included.
As its pouring from the spout it should look like honey dripping from a spoon, the common term for this is a “mousetail” and more recently an “espresso tail”. This is kinda hard to explain so I’ve added some pics for your viewing pleasure.
When the pour first starts, it should have a very rich golden brown crema, with an almost red tinge to it. As the coffee continues to pour the colour of the crema will change from dark golden brown with a red tinge to a lighter shade golden brown and finally light or pale yellow (commonly called blonding). How ever, the change in colour should change in shades, if the colour changes rapidly at any point in time it’s a sign of channelling (more on this later) which will result in an imbalanced extraction and is a negative.
Your “biscuit” or coffee “puck” (spent coffee grounds) should be sightly sponge like, but solid. It should hold together if you take it out of the basket and should be moist, but not wet. In that same respect it should be dry, but not crumbling. This is also kinda hard to explain so I’ve added some more pictures for your viewing pleasure.
So there you have it, the perfect espresso extraction. Of course, this is the perfect extraction, and there is a lot more to it if you really want to know. But from this we can see that if any of these 4 points is not present in your extraction there is the chance the espresso will not have the perfect amount of dissolved solids in it, and will there for taste unpleasant, and in some cases offensively bitter!
So make sure you follow these guidelines and you will have perfect espresso every time.