Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Systematically Improving Espresso: Insights from Mathematical Modeling [pdf] (uoregon.edu)
60 points by tasubotadas 36 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 21 comments

James Hoffman (self-proclaimed "weird coffee person" with popular youtube channel on coffee) did an interesting walk-through of the results and the suggested process with commentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoYBLn9hRqs


Here is the Engineer Alan Hawse taking about how he "doses" his espresso with his CNC milled equipment.

Utterly alien to me (I'm not a coffee guy)

Decent Espresso makes a great machine to control espresso brewing parameters [1]

My favorite feature is the ability to give it different target curves to follow for different parameters during successive phases of the extraction. You can for example ask the machine to pre-infuse for x seconds at a given pressure and then switch to flow profiling and have the machine try to adjust the pressure to follow a pre-set flow curve.

It makes it a powerful platform to isolate experimentally the contributions of several brewing variables.

[1]: https://decentespresso.com/overview

And here I thought we were talking about logic minimization for combinational elements. This stuff goes back to the 80's but it wouldn't be surprising if there are new mathematical insights some day.


tl;dr for baristi and cafe owners:

You can get away with less coffee on a coarser grind if the shot you pull comes out rather rapidly since the amount of soluble material is similar to a "regular" shot.

This is an opportunity to save money, especially if you only use the shot for a milk based drink like a capuccino or a flat white.

When getting into specialty grade coffee it gets a little shakey, the taste is still rather good but the texture is a little off.

Yep, my favorite coffee bar uses only ~15g of grounds per shot, they "tune" for each type of bean. But it's true you don't need to go past 20g for a standard size portafilter. The volume yield is still in the range of a double in the high 30's, so it works just fine even without milk.

I would add that virtually all coffee you get at an independent cafe or even Starbucks is going to be speciality coffee.

Traditional non-professional espresso knowledge will often tell you that the espresso has to be packed super tight.

These results showed me that I could keep it loose and use less grounds and it's fine. Probably saving a decent amount of money at home not blowing through Illy grounds as fast.

Do any HN coffee drinkers have any recommendations for precise/scientific resources on coffee? I know a lot about brewing coffee in different ways and a cursory amount about the 'what' of what's happening to the beans/grind but would like to develop a more rigorous understanding.

I like the Illy [1] book on the subject. It is mainly about Italian espresso though and less representative of 3rd wave brewing.

[1] https://www.elsevier.com/books/espresso-coffee/illy/978-0-12...

What're the differences between the two?

Thanks! :)

I've recently gotten into espresso and found the professional barista's handbook to be a great resource. It's a short book but it goes into the science of how brewing espresso works. It also goes into drip coffew but that was a little less interesting for me.

Thank you!

For a second I thought this was about the Android testing framework, https://developer.android.com/training/testing/espresso.

They should be inventing a way to be able to drink coffee all day without negative side effects.

That would mean either:

1) removing caffeine from coffee. The problem with this approach is that it changes the taste of coffee. Specialty decaf is not as good as regular specialty

2) somehow prevent caffeine from getting to the adenosine receptors in the body. I don't know how they could do that

The reason the decaf isn't as good is because they don't sell as much. These days a good decaf is basically unrecognizable from the real thing.

It's true that there isn't much of market and I've had good decafs. However, one issue is that the process that removes caffeine is expensive, so it's really hard to find African decaf for example. I could only find Colombian and I know there's also Mexican. Only one roaster from England had Ethiopian.

Another issue is that decaf tastes like a stronger roast while I like very light roasts. So, yeah, I went back to regular coffee.


I tried it, but it never did anything for me, unfortunately. Perhaps it should be stacked, and I'm open to suggestions :)

What dosage did you try? Maybe increase that?

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact