Single Origin coffee is a bit like wine.
Different geographic locations produce different aromas and taste sensations. A coffee from Kenya may have floral and citrus notes, whereas a coffee from El Salvador may display more hazelnut and chocolate flavours. This is due to many reasons, including the botanical variety of coffee, how it is processed at origin, and how it is roasted for the consumer.
Of course, how you choose to brew your single origin coffee will also affect the flavours you notice in the cup. For the purposes of this blog, we will be focusing on espresso brewing.
Follow a recipe, but experiment with ratio.
Given the unique complexities of single origin coffee, each will have its own unique espresso recipe. This recipe, created through trial and error, will ensure the single origin is brewed to its fullest potential. A good recipe will foreground the unique flavours of the specific area of the world the coffee was grown.
For any espresso recipe, dose will always remain in line with the basket size you are using. So if you are using a 20g VST basket in your portafilter, you will dose 20g of ground coffee. The yield and time for each single origin may need some tweaking.
As a general rule, we recommend a 1:2.25 ratio. For example, a 20g dose should yield 45g of espresso. This is always a good place to start, with a shot time that runs as long as possible without the coffee tasting bitter. When your espresso begins to taste bitter, try making the grind coarser and the shot time shorter.
If your espresso is tasting sour, try increasing the yield by a few grams to see if that acidity smooths out a little.
Is your espresso lacking depth? Try decreasing the yield by a few grams to find the right balance of flavour.
Once you have your ratio locked in, start making adjustments to your grinder to get the shot times right. We find the best tasting shots often run between 27 and 33 seconds; this may vary according to the origin of the beans and the basket size you’re using. Always let flavour balance be your guide.
Using the methods above will help you to troubleshoot your single origin espresso. We hope these tips will help you to achieve the desired balance of flavour from your single origin coffee beans.
Learning to identify the nuanced flavours in different coffees is a great way to develop your palate. Single origin beans offer consumers the perfect opportunity to experience the many flavours that coffee has to offer.
We are currently loving our Karvan Colombia Santa Monica Natural, using a 20g dose, 45g yield, and pouring between 27 and 28 seconds at the roastery. Come in for a cup or click the link to grab a bag for yourself.