New and Improved Espresso

At Water Street Coffee, we’re always in pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee.  Over the years, we’ve found that the true definition of ‘the perfect cup’ is always evolving.  As advancements in equipment are made, new roasting protocols are developed, and new brewing techniques become available, there is always something new to experience in coffee.  We are constantly reviewing literature, attending trade shows, entering forums, talking to others in the industry, consulting the SCA, and experimenting with the latest and greatest equipment, techniques and products.

 Most recently, we came across new developments in the world of espresso that showed promise.  VST inc has been around for years making great coffee equipment, but it is one of their more recent creations that caught our attention: the VST brew baskets.

The VST brew baskets (see left) are unique for several reasons:

1.  The baskets are much deeper.  What’s better about that? We have room for more coffee!  That means we are now putting more coffee in your espresso drinks!

2.  The sides of the basket are straight instead of sloped. This shape allows water to flow naturally through the grounds instead of being forced into the middle of the filter.

3.  The holes in the basket are evenly spaced and remarkably uniform.  That results in a more even extraction (ie. Better tasting espresso!).

In addition to the new hardware, we’ve also adjusted some of our other brewing specifications for our espressos.  After a review of the literature and conversations with a lot of other coffee folks, we began a taste-testing journey (I say journey as the experimenting occurred over several months) manipulating every aspect of our espresso to try to discover the best brewing method.  We tried a much coarser grind and a much finer grind.  Also, we experimented with how much coffee we put into the portafilter and how much espresso we extracted.

We discovered that our espresso tastes best if we use a little more coffee, at a little finer grind, and a little less water.  We also discovered that different coffees responded differently to the changes, so now we brew each single origin espresso according to its unique specifications.

So, how does that show up in your cup?  Latte drinkers, you should notice a smoother, richer coffee flavor in your favorite beverage.  If you are a straight espresso drinker you will notice a smaller shot volume, but the espresso is now much more concentrated and flavorful.

Cheers to great espresso!