Updosing Again, Again
Trying to put my "money" where my mouth is, I've been doing updose experiments, trading off shots between 18g of coffee in a LM ridged basket and 18g of coffee in a generic triple basket. The coffee is Barry Jarrett's Decatur Street Blend pulled at 199F in the GS3.
In the LM basket it feels like a mildly "updosed" extraction. In other words, it's fairly close against the shower screen, but not crazy tight. In the triple basket, the 18g is a significantly underdosed extraction, requiring a finer Mazzer Mini grind setting by about 1.5 notches to maintain the same (~25 sec) shot timing.
I'm using a bottomless PF, cutting the shots off manually, getting about 28g of liquid espresso from the 18g of coffee. This makes the extraction ratio 28/18, or about 1.55. For you old-timers still measuring shots volumetrically, they're about 45ml (1.5 fl. oz.)
The nice thing about this experiment is that I'm pulling the same amount of liquid espresso from the same amount of ground coffee. The major variable is the clearance underneath the shower screen. What I'm NOT doing is increasing the amount of ground coffee in order to updose, because doing that will obviously result in a richer-tasting cup with a different balance.
Bottom line is, the "updosed" ("pressed") shots taste better to me.
Here's what Instaurator says about what I should be tasting: "A cup of espresso that has not been 'pressed' will have a slightly ashy characteristic and will be much thinner, more watery and slightly more astringent."
I taste the ashiness in the triple basket shots for sure. It has a harsher, negative impact on the shot. I really DON'T taste "thinner, more watery." Is that because:
1. my biological "tasting apparatus" isn't as good as Inny's?
2. Inny's updosed shots used more coffee to extract the same amount of liquid (ie, changed the extraction ratio)?
3. other factors (coffee, roast, northern vs. southern hemisphere, etc)?
4. I'm incompetent?
It'll be real interesting to read the second updosing article in the new Barista magazine. You know, the "Crying Game Issue" with Jay Caragay wearing a wig on the cover: