Whether you are looking to improve your espresso extraction at home, or you want to discern the quality of coffee at cafes and restaurants, the final taste of the cup of coffee is what really matters.
What you want to look for is bitterness, acidity and sweetness.
The sweet-spot that balances bitterness and acidity needs to be sought after for the perfect espresso and its achieved with a combination of variables (brew ratio, time, temperature, etc.).
If the coffee is too bitter, it is a signal of over-extraction. If the coffee is too acidic, it is a signal for under-extraction. Therefore, the best way to achieve a balanced pull, with the three flavors complementing each other, is practice!
Download the Recipe Card here to annotate the changes you make to one variable at the time, and compare the results in the cup.
Good espresso only really exists in contrast with bad espresso.
Another way to practice tasting espresso is with La Marzocco’s Discovery Coffee Subscription that introduces you to the excellent roasters we have on our doorstep here in Australia. On our journal you can find the brewing recipes they suggest for their coffee beans.