The third wave of the UK coffee market is gathering pace as discerning consumers become even more educated about the coffee they drink. In fact, we are at a point where certain industry experts have identified a fourth wave of coffee enthusiasts. This new breed of aficionados will fuel a demand for even better coffees and is leading us all to consider whether 9 bar is the optimum pressure for all blends if we wish to achieve the desired taste experience that consumers are demanding.
Baristas are responding to this demand for improved quality by throwing away their recipe books and developing their own signature styles. The next generation of barista is questioning the norm and pushing boundaries to new heights in order to deliver coffee perfection.
Single origin coffees and ever changing house blends will require more flexibility and involvement from the barista to ensure that perfection in extraction is achieved each and every time. The traditional approach to pressure profiling through the brewing cycle is very simple. Apart from the initial and final steps, a constant 9 bar pressure is applied throughout.
Pre-brewing Brewing Tail
Traditional pressure profile
However, the new approach to creating that perfect in cup experience is very different. It is accepted that adjustments to the pressure need to be made throughout the brewing cycle in order to take into account the varying coffee blends in use and the type of drinks required – single espresso, double espresso, caffè creme etc.
Pre-brewing Brewing Tail
Customised pressure profile
The brewing cycle should encompass three different pressures:
1. Pre-brewing pressure: is the pressure on the coffee cake that mainly affects cream and texture in the cup.
2. Brewing pressure: is the pressure that mainly affects body, sour and bitter sensation
3. Tail pressure: is the pressure that mainly affects bitterness and astringency in the cup
The amount of pressure applied and the point at which it is applied during the cycle (along with the grind coarseness, water quality, extraction temperature and the quality and roast of the coffee itself) will have a direct impact on the texture, flavour and tactile sensations of the finished drink.
Sweet Bitter Acid Salty
Pressure profile: tactile sensations
Manufacturers such as La Cimbali are making it easier for baristas by leading the way with innovative technology such as the new Cimbali M39HD. This state of the art machine will provide group temperature stability to within 0.1 degrees and a pre-set pressure profile that will achieve a syrup style extraction that oozes with aroma and flavour, all at a push of a button. The machine can be easily programmed and set electronically by the barista, where it then remains constant, even if the barista was to change!
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