The espresso extraction temperature can determine the final result in the cup. However, it also depends on many factors: the grind size, the roast type, type of filter, etc. We’ll explain everything so that you can make the perfect espresso at home!
A Little Bit of History
The espresso extraction water temperature has always been a tricky subject. Until 1947 the water temperature used in espresso machines tended to burn the coffee ground, resulting in very bitter cups of coffee. The situation changed when Achille Gaggia created his famous lever group and empirically determined the optimal extraction temperature to be 90°C. The INEI, the Instituto Nazionale Espresso Italiano, recommends that the water be between 86°C and 90°C. The WBC, the World Barista Championship, regulated the La Marzocco coffee machines to 92.5°C, while David Schomer from Espresso Vivace, who legitimised West American coffee, recommends 95°C (203.5 °F). Why is there such disparity? It is simply because the temperature depends on other factors.
What Can Influence Your Coffee Temperature?
- The Roast
Indeed, your coffee choice, and more specifically its roast type, will play a key role on your temperature settings. The darker the roast, the lower the extraction temperature needs to be, otherwise the coffee will taste bitter and burnt. The reverse is also true for a light roast. Generally, light roasts are avoided when brewing espresso because they usually bring out a very acidic espresso shot. However, you can increase the temperature to balance out any acidity you may taste in your cup and influence the flavours of your espresso. You will end up with a light, floral and/or fruity espresso shot depending on your light roast’s origins.
- The Amount of Coffee
Perhaps less well-known, but the amount of coffee in your filter also plays a role. The classic amount of 7g per cup gives 14g for two espressos. Nonetheless, there is nothing to stop you deviating from this amount. Many baristas tend to completely fill the portafilter before tamping, resulting in between 17g and 21g depending on the size of the filter. One of the reasons for this is to get more body in the espresso. By going from 14g to 21g, you increase the amount of coffee by 50%, meaning that you’ll have to increase the extraction temperature.
- Extraction Time
The extraction time also plays an important role when choosing the extraction temperature. We recommend the classic range of 20-30 seconds. The longer the extraction time, the more likely you are to burn the coffee, hence the need to lower the temperature.
- The Size of Your Coffee Cup
In France, an espresso is normally 60ml. In Italy, it’s around 25ml, or 10-15ml for a ristretto. As a result, for an equivalent temperature, a smaller amount of water will not burn your coffee. That’s why machines in France use a lower average temperature than in Italy.
Your extraction temperature should be between 86 and 96°C. If your machine allows you, you can also adjust the temperature according to the above-mentioned settings as well as your preferences, which is an essential element when defining your coffee profile.
As we have seen, there are many factors that can influence the espresso extraction temperature. It greatly depends on the type of coffee, its roast type and even the size of your espresso cup. Don’t hesitate to browse the MaxiCoffee website to know better about your coffee profile and check out our large selection of coffee beans ready to use and our espresso machine selection!
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