Some of us cannot function without our morning coffee. In fact, many of us have trained ourselves to depend on coffee throughout the day for a burst of energy and increased productivity. We all know someone, or perhaps we are that person, who requires a cup of coffee in the morning, a midday pick-me-up, and an espresso after dinner to aid in digestion. Coffee is inextricably intertwined with our daily lives, but despite its pervasiveness in western culture today, espresso did not gain widespread popularity until the early 20th century. According to Coffee Affection, it wasn’t until the espresso machine became more widely available and produced in the 1900s that people began to consume the beverage on a regular basis. Shortly thereafter, coffee houses and coffee bars were constructed in Italy.
Espresso machines are only becoming more affordable, which means that an increasing number of coffee addicts are purchasing their own coffee makers and pouring shots at home. Nonetheless, some are discovering that preparing a high-quality cup of espresso is more difficult than they initially believed, and sadly, many of their drinks are sour and unappealing.
Espresso is prepared by grinding coffee beans, measuring the required amount, tamping it in the portafilter, and pulling the shot with water heated to 197 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit (via Perfect Daily Grind). There are quite a handful of tips and tricks coffee connoisseurs like to use in order to pull the best, most flavorful expresso, but in order to keep your own cup from going sour, focus on the grind of your coffee.In the study “Systematically Improving Espresso,” researchers conclude that when coffee lovers grind their coffee too fine or too coarse, the extraction of flavor can be altered and have an impact on one’s drinking experience (via Sciencedirect). According to Smithsonian Magazine, people frequently make the error of grinding their coffee too finely. By grinding the beans too small, the consistency of the grounds will be too dense and heavily packed in, hindering the water’s journey through the beans and creating either a bitter or sour flavor.
To avoid this issue, Above Average Coffee suggests aiming for coffee particles of 0.8 millimeters in diameter when grinding beans for espresso brewing. Seeing as how coffee grounds can be hard to measure precisely at home, the site says to try setting your coffee grinder to the medium-fine setting and make personal adjustments from there.
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