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Experiment with an espresso

Small experiment with an espresso

When we order or make a coffee and we notice it very intense, full-bodied or otherwise very diluted and bitter, we must know that not everything depends solely on the coffee. The extraction method and ratio play a big role. In this case we wanted to set the extraction method, we are going to make espressos. However, we want to know what is the result of making a coffee and obtaining more or less quantity in the cup, the extraction ratio.

It seems a bit time consuming having to make 5-6 coffees to see the differences, however there is a little experiment that will help us save a lot of time and coffee.

What we are going to do is a normal espresso coffee and we will change the cup, without stopping the machine, every 5 seconds and for 25 seconds. In this way we will have an espresso coffee separated into 5 glasses and we will see what has happened in each phase of the process.

With a set of 5 shot glasses and a small Ascaso will do.

We start to make coffee and when the first drop falls we hit the stopwatch.


We will soon see that the first coffee that comes out is dark and quite thick.

As the seconds pass we change glasses quickly. You can see how the color of the coffee becomes lighter and has a more liquid texture while losing the cream.

The end result is 5 glasses that are very different from each other, all belonging to the same cafe.

Analyzing the extraction percentages of each one, we have the following result:

 TDSGramsSeconds% acumulated extraction% extracted coffee
First coffee drop10 sec
Glass 120,96 %8gr15 sec9,29 %45,76 %
Glass 27,59 %13gr20 sec14,79 %27,08 %
Glass 33,75 %12gr25 sec17,16 %11,68 %
Glass 42,63 %11gr30 sec18,72 %7,70 %
Glass 52,07 %14gr35 sec20,30 %7,77 %
TOTAL6,43 %58gr35 seg20,30 %100,00 %
Dry coffee18,5 gr

It should be noted that we have allowed the extraction time to pass beyond what is required to observe that it falls at the end of the process, and therefore we obtain a final% TDS of 6.43, lower than the usual 9-10%.

Analyzing each glass in the mouth:

The first glass is very intense and salty, making it even difficult to drink. It has a very oily and thick body.

The second, even having a lot of body, is already more pleasant. It has acidic and sweet notes, although it has a slight salty touch.

The third glass is the sweetest of all and although it has a bit of body, it is somewhat diluted.

The fourth glass is bitter and slightly acidic, the sweet notes are very light.

The fifth glass is the most bitter of all and the most diluted, the cream is almost imperceptible.

It should be noted that we were surprised by the first glass, so buttery and intense, more than we thought it could be.

Looking at the data, we observe that the oils and the intense and acidic notes occur at the beginning of the extraction, they are the first to emerge. Most of the coffee is extracted in the first part of the process. Halfway through the process, the sweets appear and leave the bitter and a more diluted body for the end.

This does not mean that we have to make short coffees if we want to avoid intense bitterness, we must think that in this test we have let out more coffee than we would leave in a normal preparation. The ideal coffee is in a balance from all the glasses, which is what we usually drink. But nevertheless it helps us to determine where and when the nuances appear and to understand the process to be able to make small adjustments in order to obtain the flavor we want.

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