Why This Recipe?
In this chapter, we discuss how to accurately reproduce a recipe. The recipe in a cafe is optimised to produce the best balance of flavour. When foods or drinks are balanced, they aren’t too sour or too bitter. No bad tastes stand out, and the interaction of tastes is harmonious. It also means the foods or drinks don’t dry your mouth or impart undesirable textural sensations. Recipe designers for a cafe taste-test until they find a formula that is balanced in flavour. The recipe designer might be a head barista in a cafe, or it might even be the person who roasted the coffee. If baristas can preserve the integrity of a recipe, their shots will be balanced.
The amount of coffee in a recipe determines the strength of a shot as well as how much the drink costs to make. These two issues are critical to the success of a cafe, so let’s discuss them separately.
Dosing and Strength
Espresso filter baskets come in many different sizes for a reason. It isn’t much different from the way a cook may measures out a quantity by volume, in a half cup or a quarter cup. A filter basket can be single or double; this is a very general classification. It is more useful to know the basket’s capacity. Common sizes are 7 g, 15 g, 18 g, 20 g, 22 g, and 25 g. A filter basket is designed to accommodate a certain amount of grinds. If it is over- or underdosed by more than 1 gram outside its stated capacity, the water won’t flow optimally through the bed of coffee grinds.
The Margin of Error for Dosing
Accurate dosing will deliver better consistency in the strength of espresso shots. Customers easily notice shifts in strength, even in milky coffees, when dosing mistakes range outside a ±1-gram margin of error. The recipe designer will establish the margin of error for a recipe. The tendency in specialty coffee bars will be for the required accuracy to be within 0.2 g of the specified dose.