A Guide to (Re-)Calibrating Your Espresso Machine and Grinder Setup

Achieving the perfect espresso requires a well-calibrated espresso machine and grinder setup. Over time, these essential tools can change in performance and calibration, affecting the quality and consistency of the coffee extraction. In this expert article, we will explore the steps and techniques involved in calibrating an espresso machine and grinder setup to ensure optimal extraction and a delightful espresso experience.

Grinder Calibration

  • a. Clean the grinder: Begin by thoroughly cleaning the grinder to remove old coffee grounds and residue. This will ensure a fresh start and prevent flavor contamination.
  • b. Zero the grinder: Set the grinder to the finest grind size possible and adjust the grinder’s internal burr alignment until the burrs touch but do not grind. Gradually increase the grind size until the burrs no longer touch, creating a “zero point” for calibration.
  • c. Select the grind size: Start with a small amount of coffee beans and grind to the desired grind size. Extract a shot and evaluate its taste and appearance. Gradually adjust the grind size by making small changes until the desired extraction is achieved. Repeat this process with different coffee beans and blends to find the optimal grind size for each.
  • d. Consistency tests: Perform consistency tests by grinding a fixed amount of coffee several times and measuring the resulting coffee weight. Consistency in the output weight indicates a well-calibrated grinder.

Espresso Machine Calibration

  • a. Flush the group head: First, rinse the group head with hot water to make sure it is clean and free of any coffee grounds or oils.
  • b. Check water temperature: Measure the water temperature at the grouphead with a thermometer. Adjust the machine’s temperature settings, if any, to achieve the desired brewing temperature (usually between 195°F and 205°F or 90°C and 96°C).
  • c. Evaluate the brew ratio: Brew a shot using a predetermined dose of coffee and extraction time. Measure the weight of the extracted espresso to calculate the brew ratio (coffee dose to espresso weight). Adjust the dose or grind size to achieve the desired brew ratio and ensure a balanced extraction.
  • d. Evaluate Brew Time: Measure the time it takes to extract one shot. Adjust the grind size or dose to achieve the desired brew time (usually between 25 and 35 seconds), controlling the extraction and avoiding over- or under-extraction.
  • e. Steam wand calibration: Verify the performance of the steam wand by ensuring that it produces consistent steam pressure and achieves the desired milk texture. Adjust steam wand position and pressure as needed.

Periodic Maintenance

  • a. Consistent cleaning: Regularly clean and backwash the espresso machine and grinder to remove coffee oils and residues that can affect calibration and taste.
  • b. Burr replacement: Over time, the burrs on the grinder wear out, affecting calibration and grind quality. Replace the burrs according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • c. Water Filtration: Use a quality water filtration system to maintain consistent water quality, prevent scale buildup and maintain machine performance.

Conclusion

Calibrating an espresso machine and grinder setup is an essential skill for achieving exceptional espresso. By following the steps outlined above, including grinder calibration, espresso machine calibration, and regular maintenance, baristas and coffee lovers can ensure optimal extraction, consistent flavor profiles, and a delightful espresso experience. By mastering the art of calibration, individuals can unlock the full potential of their equipment, resulting in a perfectly balanced and delicious cup of espresso, time after time.

FAQs

How to (re-)calibrate an espresso machine and grinder setup?

To recalibrate an espresso machine and grinder setup, start by thoroughly cleaning the grinder to remove old coffee grounds and residue. Zero the grinder by setting it to the finest grind and adjusting the burr orientation until the burrs touch but don’t grind. Then gradually increase the grind size until the burrs no longer touch, creating a calibration point. Adjust the grind size by grinding a small amount of coffee beans and extracting a shot, gradually adjusting the grind size until the desired extraction is achieved. For the espresso machine, rinse the group head with hot water to clean it and measure the water temperature at the group head with a thermometer. Adjust the machine’s temperature settings, if any, to achieve the desired brew temperature. Evaluate the brew ratio and adjust the dose or grind size to achieve a balanced extraction. Evaluate brew time and adjust grind size or dose as needed. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and backwashing, burr replacement, and use of a water filtration system, is critical to maintaining consistent calibration and performance.

In summary, recalibrating an espresso machine and grinder setup includes cleaning the grinder, zeroing and adjusting the grind size, flushing and adjusting the temperature of the espresso machine, evaluating the brew ratio and time, and performing regular maintenance. These steps ensure optimal extraction and consistent flavor profiles, resulting in a delicious cup of espresso.

How do you calibrate an espresso grinder?


Quote from video: We’re going to distribute and tamp it consistently. We’re going to extract an espresso to a set weight each time. Then we’re going to look at the extraction.

How do you calibrate a coffee grinder?

Quote from video: Back to where we started. And making sure that that is going to brew the coffee we want all right and that’s it our grinder is now calibrated. If you don’t have a refractometer.

How do you reset an espresso grinder?

Note: Resetting the grinder does not require any disassembly. The espresso grinder is equipped with an automatic reset feature that turns the grinder motor off when it becomes overheated. After the grinder has cut off and been given time to cool down, it can be manually reset by depressing an internal reset switch.

How do you calibrate a perfect espresso?

The guide should actually read “How to Calibrate an Espresso Grinder”.

If the Espresso Tastes too Bitter try:

  1. Use a lighter roast colour.
  2. Decrease the extraction time.
  3. Decrease the dose (amount of ground coffee)
  4. Decrease the shot size (amount of water)
  5. Grind coarser.
  6. Tamp lighter.
  7. Decrease the Brew Temperature.

How do you program an espresso machine?

How to program the coffee machine:

  1. Turn on programming mode, if applicable.
  2. Prepare the portafilter with coffee as you normally would.
  3. Turn your thin scales on and tare an empty cup.
  4. Press and hold the ‘STOP/PROG.
  5. Lock your portafilter into the group head.
  6. Press the button you would like to program.