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Grind It, Baby - Eat Drink Magazine, May 2004

Eat Drink May 2004

Grind It, Baby

You can be a world barista champion, have AAA Grade Arabica beans, froth milk like a legend and be working on the most hi-tech Italian espresso machine but your coffee will taste awful if your grind is incorrect. Differences in the humidity in the air and atmospheric pressure mean that it will have to change almost every day.

If you are working on a commercial espresso machine and grinder, ensure that you are adjusting the grind on a twice-daily basis to ensure that your 30ml shot comes out in 30seconds (the 30ml-in-30seconds rule). Turn the collar on the grinder and make the particle size finer if it is coming out too quickly (for example 15 seconds) and make it courser if coming out too slowly (ie 45 seconds). A quick pour will yield a weak coffee with little crema and a slow pour will yield a strong, bitter coffee with a dark, bubbly and inconsistent-coloured crema. The water from the group will have spent just long enough to produce a beautifully extracted espresso if it has spent 30 seconds running through the compacted coffee and into your cup.

At home, it is a little more difficult to get the 30second pour if you are buying your coffee already pre-ground. The only way you can influence the pour rate is by altering how heavily or lightly you compact the coffee before you insert it into the group. If your espresso is pouring too quickly, pack harder, if too slowly, pack more lightly. If you want to get serious about your coffee you should invest in a grinder but make sure you are able to adjust the particle size of the coffee (read between the lines – don’t get a cheapie!).


Matthew Gee and brother David Gee run Barista Basics Coffee Academy in Artarmon, Sydney. Their purpose-built facility focuses on teaching people how to use commercial espresso machines and grinders as well as domestic coffee machines. They have just written a book on coffee entitled bean there, drunk that... and several instructional videos including one entitled Latte Art and Presentation Techniques. They also run a wholesale coffee company and own an espresso bar in Brisbane. web: ph: 1300 366 218

Ó & Ô 2004 Matthew Gee and David Gee

Gee Brothers

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