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What are your recommended guidelines for preparing espresso?

Temp: 200 F

Dose: The amount of coffee you use will be somewhat determined by your basket size. We highly recommend purchasing a 20 gram VST basket for your portafilter.  When dosing with a 20 gram basket, start at 20 grams of coffee.

Yield: We generally recommend a 1 to 2 ratio (so 20 grams in, 40 grams out). If you are looking for a thicker, more syrupy, punchier shot than you can change that ratio up to 1 to 1.75 or 1.5 (Ie 20 grams in, 35/30 out). (Keep in mind, every time you change your dose or yield you will need to change your grind pattern.)

Grind: This is where the dialing in occurs. The grind for espresso is very fickle and must be dialed in each day. You will need a high quality espresso grinder. Espresso is ground very fine. We recommend grinding as fine as you can until your espresso is tasting bitter. Then back off and go coarser until you hit the sweet spot.

Time: We don’t really use time as a parameter and use mostly weight-based parameters. The reason being that as the coffee ages, the timeframe of the shot may change but the weight will not. We do use time, however, as a kind of secondary guideline for how we are pulling the shot. Ie. if it starts too fast, our coffee is ground too coarse. If the shot starts to slow, coffee is ground too fine. Etc.

Signs you need to change your grind (providing all the other variables, including your tamp, are set):

Coffee is starting to fast. Coffee is too coarse.

Coffee is starting slow. Coffee is too fine.

Coffee is tasting too bitter. Coffee is too fine.

Coffee is weak or watery. Coffee is too coarse.