Low Fines Espresso

BH Unlimited Update, Mar. 13th, 2021.

We’ve published a new white paper from award winning Astrophysicist Jonathan Gagne , where he goes into epic detail on best practice in puck preparation for espresso. Plus, he explores the virtues of grinder burrs that have been made with a geometry that limits the amount of fines production. It’s a 20 min read, and, at a glance, may seem quite specific to Jonathan’s chosen equipment set up, but actually, this post goes to the heart of why dialling-in is so hard — possibly a lot harder than it needs to be:

‘[Removing fines] allows you to grind way finer, and extract a lot more of the coffee solubles in the same amount of time, and with the same amount of water. Remember that fines play a very important role in determining how fast water flows through your coffee bed; you don’t need to remove such a large fraction of the fines to start seeing a significant change in your drip rate, and you may need to grind quite finer to compensate. In fact, I suspect that this is the only reason why coffee beans need to be dialled in differently when pulling espresso shots.’


Anyone noticed that the Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT) is back in vogue? To check in on all the recent developments, we put together this new post on the BH Blog . Weiss is certainly one of the more affordable approaches to distribution. We noticed the baristas at Tortoise Espresso in Central Victoria this week were using a very eco friendly hack for doing the WDT: a champagne cork with four toothpicks judiciously inserted into the base.

Start and End Temps for Cezve

This week in the Immersion course, we have published Part 2 of the Experiments in Cezve. We’ve got you answers to these questions:

Should I Preheat the Water Before Adding It to My Cezve?
When Should I Remove my Cezve From the Flame?

The answer to the first of those questions is something along the lines of ... “Well you might as well...” There seems to be very little difference (virtually a rounding error) in the extraction yields of brews made with water preheated to 65°C (149° F) compared to cezveler prepared with grinds that are mixed into cold water, and then brought up to temperature. The time saving with preheating is huge — in some cases two or three minutes. So we recommend baristas save themselves minutes by keeping a PID controlled kettle on bar next to their cezve set up.

Then there’s the second question — when to stop brewing? This is a topic not unlike the old arguments between second wavers and third wavers about temperature. We’ve found no directive coming from any experienced cezve users, or from our own experimentation, to suggest going above 93° C (199.4° F) is a good idea with cezve brewing. There are a few who argue that high 80s is better, but what’s definitely clear is that there is an upper limit for temperature in cezve, and it’s lower than you might expect.

What’s a little deceptive is the precise position of your probe. If you simply rest a thermometer in the cezve with the tip of the probe touching the base of your cezve, you’ll tend to register a far higher reading than if the probe is suspended in position higher up. And the readings become quite unstable when the probe is surrounded by bubbles, towards the end of the brewing process. When using two probes (one close to the bottom, and one on the top) we recorded readings as much as 11° C (19.8 ° F) higher from the lower probe. Unlimited subscribers can jump in there and check out our exact temperature profiles in lesson IM 6.08 .

The Coffee Buyer's Guide to Guatemala

This week we feature an in-depth interview with 2012 World Barista Champion Raul Rodas. Raul hails from Guatemala and was a trailblazer for baristas from producing countries at the WBC. He now owns a small coffee roastery in Guatemala City, and also works as a green coffee sourcer and consultant.

Since importing green coffee to Guatemala is not an option, Raul has focused on exploiting the diversity of flavours already present in Guatemalan coffees to make his espresso blends, and to provide diversity in his single origin coffees.

In this interview, Raul gives a little insight into where to find interesting Guatemalan coffees, and some of the new or emerging coffee-growing regions that green buyers should know about. He also explores some of the reasons for the higher prices in Guatemala this year.

Raul then shares his philosophy for getting the most out of Guatemalan coffees as a roaster. While Guatemalans are often considered forgiving to roast, this means it’s easy to miss the more complex and subtle flavours that can be achieved with careful roasting, he suggests. ‘You can get a nice coffee or an amazing coffee, and it depends on how you roast it.’

CBG Guatemala - New Lessons!

Notes for Green Buyers:
CBG 4.04 • Interview with Raúl Rodas — Part I
CBG 4.05 • Interview with Raúl Rodas — Part II

Immersion - New Lessons!

IM 6.07 • Grinding as Fine as Possible
IM 6.08 • Should I Preheat the Water Before Adding It to My Cezve?
IM 6.09 • When Should I Remove my Cezve from the Flame?
IM 6.10 • Recap and Glossary
IM 6.11 • Comprehension Test — Chapter 6

As always, we're just an email away if you have any queries! Have great weekends and we look forward to seeing you next time.

To the Boundaries of Coffee,
Team BH