The Espresso Compass (infographic)

Get familiar with the Espresso Compass:  like any good roadmap, it is best to know where you are at presently and where you want to go.  So, look at the cup and determine what taste you currently experience and what taste and mouthfeel you are trying to achieve.

espresso compass

NOTE:  espresso should have a mouthfeel as well as a crema strong enough to support sugar for a brief second before falling to the bottom of the demitasse

NOTE:  we know what you’re thinking, a what on the what with a huh?  It’s OK, we here at CGG are also demystifying experts!

  • Mouthfeel:  this is what wine experts are looking for when they sip and slurp their vino.  With espresso, however, you should not encounter any bitter notes and you should have a nice weight on your tongue.
  • Crema:  this is that gorgeous, red-ish layer on top of your espresso that is, essentially, oxidized bean (we’ll get more into this later on, promise!)
  • Demitasse:  this is a fancy little cup you can buy online and which should be capable of catching 1- or 2-ounce shots

Asssuming you’ve reached for this infographic, we believe you aren’t entirely happy with your espresso shot…and that’s OK!

If your brew runs through (too fast) then you like have your coffee grinder set too high, or have granules that are allowing water to rush through…so dial it back.  Conversely, should your shot take for…ev…er, then you’ve got sand-like grind settings that need to go up a bit.  If you forget, then just reference that lower, left-hand area of the espresso compass!

Wrapping things up, we’re now to the lower, right-hand quadrant of the chart and back to mouthfeel and crema.  In order to get a full bodied taste without all that bitterness, check your extraction time and amount.  Your shot should weigh between 15- and 16-grams and your shot should complete between 25- and 30-seconds.

Tyler Heal Author Image

Tyler Heal is not only a Barista, but a coffee and writing fiend. He’s the editor (and owner) of Coffee Grind Guru, a blog that’s dedicated to providing coffee lovers of all experience levels with the knowledge needed to improve their daily cup o’ joe.

  • Updated October 9, 2018
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