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Creating Espresso part II: Dosing


Note: Sorry for the delay on this one. I’ve had a lot happen.
In our last adventure we learned about beans and grinding! If you missed out please check out the post for January 31, 2008 at http://billykangas.blogspot.com/2008/01/creating-espresso-pt-1.html
The next step for making the mind blowing paradigm shifting explosion of coffee goodness that is espresso is called dosing. In the world of coffee there are two ways you can over-dose. One is of course the obvious caffeine overdose which is not pleasant in any way. The other is one way in which you can fill your porta-filter with coffee! This one can be quite amazing! Are we ready to learn about DOSING!!! I hope so.
A definition
Dosing: In the espresso process, the action of delivering ground coffee to the porta-filter and it’s even distribution before packing. (David C. Schomer)
In most shops today you go into you will see two ways people dose. The first is what you will see at major chains and that’s button pushing. Someone will push a button and a machine will grind dose and pull a shot. This is a super-automatic dosing method and it has no real way for a barista to interact with it in real time. The other major dosing method you will see is using a using the grinder level. A barista might fill the lower part of grinder with ground coffee and dose it using the lever as drinks are ordered. This I will call Bad Dosing. Dosing in this manor will ensure your coffee will not taste fresh. Coffee should be ground seconds, not minutes, before brewing, and certainly not hours!
Grind just enough coffee for what you are making!
If you are in a shop that doesn’t turn on the grinder when you order a drink but just clicks the grinder twice, RUN. Run as fast as you can you may want to knock over some things on your way out in order to impede the coffee from pursuing you further.

What you want to do it turn the grinder out and click the lever as it grinds into a clean dry porta-filter. The way some people make coffee, and this is mostly a mater of taste, is to fill up the filter to the very top with coffee. Then tap the portafilter lightly one or two times on the counter or the edge of the grinder (NOT ON THE SPOUTS) this is how you up-dose, or “overdose.” Under certain conditions this helps the shot taste sweeter.

Coffee expands when it comes in contact with water. The sugars are extracted earlier in the process. By overdosing you allow the coffee to extract at a regular rate early on, but the extraction slows in the middle of the brewing process because the coffee has expanded and creates a denser mass for the water to penetrate. Another benefit of up-dosing is it allows for a slightly longer extraction time because there is more coffee being extracted by a consistent amount water and heat.

BUT beware! Too much coffee can result in an uneven extraction.

The cardinal rule: Do what tastes best. Every coffee wants to be pulled in it's own special way. Spend some time with a bean and find out how it likes it.
Next Time we will talk about Distribution, and if there’s time… Packing!

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