Published: Jan 30, 2017

The Espresso Compass

The Espresso Compass is a little more complicated than the Brewed Coffee Compass. Last year I wrote a series on Espresso, culminating in a video showing the relationship between extraction, brew ratio, and the coffee control chart. If you’re on top of that, you’ll get this compass in no time. If not, I recommend reading my posts on espresso Dose, Yield, Time and the video ‘Putting it All Together’.

Link to hi-res version.

A few pointers:

The Espresso Compass is at an angle because I wanted to keep the usual x/y orientation of Extraction and Strength as they are found on the coffee control chart.

Each slice of the triangle shows the flavours you can move through when adjusting yield. Increasing yield will make the espresso simultaneously weaker and more extracted. Reducing yield will make the espresso simultaneously stronger and less extracted.

Moving to a different slice requires changing grind setting and extraction evenness. In lower and less even extractions, you’ll notice that over (red) and under-extraction (yellow) are much closer together and the sweet spot (green) is smaller. If you’ve ever had a simultaneously bitter, sour, and low strength espresso it was likely sitting in the lower left slice.

The more you improve and increase your extraction, the further away from that hell you will be. More even extractions have a much larger sweet spot that tastes more like the coffee itself, and less like the taints of poor extraction.

Note: increasing extraction can only really be done in conjunction with improving its evenness. Grinding finer and finer does not result in a continuous increase in extraction, and it certainly doesn’t always result in more deliciousness. A lot of the time it results in the exact opposite. For more on this, read up on the law of limiting returns in espresso here.

As always, if you need any help I’ll be down below! Please feel free to share this graphic with other coffee people – all I ask is for a mention or link to the blog alongside it 🙂


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1 Comment

  1. AlexF

    Yes, I would love to see that variable applied. Has anyone don this?

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