Espresso Anatomy – Exploring Brew Pressure

The perfect espresso brew pressure...

doesn't exist. That's just the truth, but if you search for it that online, you'll quickly find a lot of opinions. Many of those opinions are based on the tradition of a 9 bar extraction, but the source of this number is widely debated. Some say it dates back to some of the earliest espresso machine patents from La Pavoni. Others say that many early lever machines just happened to be using 9 bars of brew pressure by sheer luck, or just good old fashioned trial and error.

The further you dig the more stories you can find, but today in 2022 many third wave baristas, both home and professional, are pulling espresso shots on a wide array of pressures. Personally, I've been pulling on 6 bars more than any other for the last couple years finding it not only gentler on the puck resulting in less chances of channeling or other extraction defects, but also producing shots that tasted better on average than it's 9 bar competition.

But with machines at my fingertips that allow me to easily explore pressure I've decided to take a closer look at how brew pressure effects the shot and bring you along for the ride. So if you're as pumped to get into this as I am hit play on the video above and let's brew this!


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