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Our Espresso affair opens the door to all coffee techniques…

For many years now the focus in the UK has been on the espresso form of coffee production – for this we can thank the rise of the Italian style/Americanised menu coffee shop…

However, without this rise we would not have spawned baristas with an interest in rediscovering past ways of making coffee. This has in turn reinvigorated manufacturers to promote other ways of making coffee based drinks that do not rely on the espresso machine…

It is telling that the London Coffee Guide – the bible for seeking out great coffee in the capital of England – still lists the espresso machine the outlet uses together with the grinder that it is paired with. Therefore, we can presumably conclude that the 20% of other coffee styles achieved by Origin coffee in its London store is an exception rather than the norm.

It is undeniably a growing trend though for coffee shops to offer a variety of styles of brew and as such to ignore these methods would be folly – even if you subsequently only decide to offer one other way of brewing as an addition to your coffee menu.

There are many books and articles that go into the benefits of each type, but they fall largely into two categories of contact time between coffee and water – immersion and filtered. The different techniques justify a blog post all of their own so look out for these over the coming weeks.

When the coffee is immersed in the water the contact time is increased so the grind can be slightly coarser – filtered coffee on the other hand needs to be slightly finer in grind to slow down the passage of water through the coffee and thereby increase the amount of time it is in contact with the water.

Espresso is unlike any other method and extracts different compounds due to the pressure applied to pump the water through the coffee and the subsequent fine grind required to slow the contact time down. We are often asked for an espresso product that resembles a filter coffee a customer has liked or vice versa and need to explain the differences in production method that will make this feat impossible...!

The aim of all brewing methods is to extract the coffee to achieve amongst other things a ‘total dissolved solids (TDS)’ level in the finished product of between 18 and 22%. How you measure that is another story altogether…

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