Poll #1: Fav Tag

Where does the 18-22% rule come from?

Mr @OhYmerej, you asked for it, and now you got it.

First of all, every piece of information comes from this site because I neither possess the knowledge wizardry of this info nor the expensive, expensive technology needed to take part in the wizardry.

One day Jeremy wondered….”where does the 18-22% rule come from mike?”

The only thing that I knew at the time was that in regards to girls, the 18-22 rule not only rocks, it is also very, very legal (eat that statutory….). As to how it relates to coffee….I didn’t really know. So I took to my friend google and searched….

To summarize, the 18-22% extraction means the percentage of solubles that are extracted out of the beans. Extract too little and you get underdeveloped flavour (typically a sour or green taste). Extract too much and you get overextracted (or bitter) tasting coffee.

Who do these figure pertain to?

The average American coffee palate ~1960s taken by survey.

Brew strength is also important and can be measured by TDS, total dissolved solids which in the same study is determined to be 1.15-1.35%.

How much does all this matter? I dunno, I wish I could just experiment all day with all of those expensive equipments but unfortunately I’m not enough of a coffee celebrity to have that opportunity. All I know is that the coffee that is being served by me on the Slayer on Saturdays probably do not adhere to those rules. I still think that coffee does taste good outside those parameters and probably has something to do with the way that coffee technology has changed. (More about the Slayer/pressure profiling experience will be discussed in the upcoming week)

Barista thoughts

One of the things I love most is dialing in coffee. Not only does it make me feel important, I also get the opportunity to make things as difficult as possible for my coworkers.


I employ a method where I use as many tools and variables as I can.

First I make sure that I get as many groupheads functioning at different temperatures as possible. Next I whip out the scale and dose a weight of coffee that is always a prime number and at a level that will make the work bench as messy as possible. Secondly I will make the pre-infusion time that is also a prime number so that it is difficult to keep track of when we really get slammed on bar. Now with the introduction of pressure profiling, things get more fun. Not only do we have to keep track of pre-infusion time, we also need to keep track of full pressure brewing and post-infuse. (#prime numbers, muahaha).

What do I accomplish?

Well over my many years of coffee experience (probably up there with Howell and sweetmarias …er…..) I have found that cloak and daggers is the trick to coffee. The more confused I make people, the more amazing and buddah-like I seem. So in order to continue to feel important, I find it essential to confuse not only customers but also my coworkers….no…wait, ESPECIALLY my coworkers.

Now dosing like 13g of coffee, preinfusing for another 17 seconds, full pressure pulling for 19 seconds and postinfusing for 23 seconds is a lot too keep track of…so I thought it’d be less confusing to introduce some new terms that are easier to “get a hold of”.


Coffee Translation: Piccolo Latte

When I first came to Australia and ordered a cappuccino…out came this frothy drink with dusted chocolate on it….SAY WHAT??!

Then I ordered a macchiato, and a small little cup with a dot of milk on it (“macchiato = mark of”, DUH!).

Apparently back in Calgary, people at Phil & Seb sometimes order flat whites. WTF is that?

Hopefully this is the first installment of a series to unconfuse the confused.

Edit: So I guess it’s not evident from the video, but piccolos are like N. American macchiatos but a bit thinner in milk but other than that its the same.