Good Methodology = Good Espresso

John says…

Testing SO Ethiopia Suke Quto espresso.

I love testing new espresso. I also love testing whether or not something will work as a Single Origin espresso or as a component for espresso. Today I had some extra Guji Suke Quto from last night’s tasting class. Now I’ve used this as a component of an espresso, but I haven’t really tried it as a Single Origin. Golden opportunity. This allowed me the opportunity to test without roasting an entire new batch, and if the roast level I used for the coffee will work or not.

So the question I am asking is, “Does it work?”

I’m pretty systematic about my testing. I know what range of grind to target, so I pick a midpoint and start from there. I keep the Synesso at the temperature set for the current espresso (199 F). No need to change until after I taste… but that’s still a bit away.

One step at a time.

I tare the portafilter and grind. How much? I guess and see where I’m at. 17g. Ok. Tamp. And as Captain Picard says, “Engage!”

First I’m just watching for flow. It’s too fast.

I adjust the grind a little finer. I dose the same weight. Looks a little better…

I’ll give it a taste. Sip. Mild citrus, hint of nut. … good, but it seems like it’s lacking something. It’s not a one dimensional coffee. I know there’s more there. I just have to find it.

Let’s approach 18 g.

Puck looks pretty good.

I always pull a second one so I know if it was a fluke or not, and it looks the same.



First sip – Candied ginger, sweet citrus and jasmine. Second sip – warm spice, a touch of bergamot, honey sweetness. Finish – dark honey to maple sweetness, restrained citrus, hint of spice.

Does it work?

I’d say, “Yes.” But it’s not that simple.

All coffees aren’t this easy. Even when they work. Sometimes I go through ten or twelve shots and I’m about to give up, then everything comes together. And then it fades. The real question isn’t “Does it work?” The real question is, “Can I do that again?”

Well, can I?

Grind. Dose. Distribute. Tamp.


And the answer is





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