All of Our Blog Posts

Celebrity Deathmatch: Forchheimer vs Darcy

A science professor told BH that with espresso, “in technical terms you have Forchheimer flows instead of good old Darcy flows”. What’s that?   Keen readers of this series will remember Darcy’s law from our discussion of bed depth in espresso. Darcy’s law is an...

Can You Please Summarise Cafe Imports’ Water Activity Paper   In our bi-weekly poll on the BH Facebook-group you asked us, "Can you please summarise this impressive research paper", which is based on a huge amount of cupping and data logging by influential green...

How to Read Chemical Equations

Any time you’re reading about chemistry, you’re going to come across chemical formulae and equations. You might well remember these from high school chemistry, but if it feels like a distant memory then this refresher might be useful. This post goes out to the BH...

What is the Maillard Reaction and Why is it Important?

The Maillard ‘reaction’ is actually a whole series of chemical reactions that are crucial to creating the characteristic flavours and brown colour of roasted coffee and many other foods - including chocolate, toast, and grilled steak. The reactions are named after...

Water Science FAQ

      What is the difference (if any) between a mineral salt, a dissolved mineral, and a mineral ion? A salt, in chemistry, refers to any ionic compound (IUPAC, 1990). For example, table salt, sodium chloride, is an ionic compound composed of sodium (Na+) and chloride...

Sometimes Geisha seeds Don’t Look Like the Typical Geisha Shape

Geisha, or Gesha, is a highly prized variety, with a distinctive jasmine aroma, and bright fruity acidity. These distinctive characteristics mean it has dominated coffee competitions, and become infamously expensive as a result. Geisha beans are often quite large and...

‘Seasoning’ group heads. Useful or nonsense?

‘Seasoning’ of a group head refers to the practice of making one or more ‘sink shots’ after cleaning an espresso machine - that is, shots that are thrown away with no attempt to taste them. Advocates of seasoning claim that the first shots have an unpleasant metallic...

The Great Distribution Debate: Results

Tldr: we found a statistical difference between using the OCD and finger distribution, and between palm tapping and finger distribution — but no significant difference between palm tapping and OCD. But we’re going to continue researching and have some cool ideas for the next experiment.

2017 Predictions and Promises Report

At the beginning of 2017 I posted my predictions and promises for the year. Here’s my report on how they stood up over the 12 months (ratings out of 10).

2018 Promises

Here’s what I’m promising we’ll knock out of the park for 2018.

August Survey Results 2017

In August we posted a survey to the Barista Hustle Facebook group. Along with our community moderators, we were thinking how to be more active and intentional about fostering a community environment, one which every single human feels safe and comfortable participating in.

Keep it Simple

Coffee brewers— both professional and enthusiast— love to make things complicated. Complex multi-step brew recipes and brewing devices with some unique feature have become standard. Fancy new features on espresso or brewing machines are demanded without any evidence of their necessity (hello pressure profiling).

Barista Hustle Community Guidelines

We aim to engage in meaningful, professional, friendly discussions surrounding coffee. A fundamental goal of Barista Hustle is to help the world make better coffee — and there is a lot that falls under that umbrella. So we want to talk about the deep and meaningful, the scientific and technical, the broader industry-wide topics, and the smaller individual level aspects. We want to talk about all the important stuff.

To enable these conversations to happen in a positive, respectful, and equitable manner, we have a few guidelines.

Coffee is the leased of your worries …

While extraction theory, EK alignment, and particle size distribution are all worthy topics of discussion here at Barista Hustle, these all mean nothing if you’ve not got a shop to experiment in. Jared Lawler gives us a fascinating view on the business side of coffee, with a solid list of points to consider.

DIY Water Recipes: The world in two bottles

Our Barista Hustle water recipe was and is a useful starting point for building water, giving you a good chance of success when brewing up coffee at home. For those willing to dive a little deeper, we can get far more specific.

Immersion vs Drip Coffee Brewers

There are two main types of coffee brewer – drip, and immersion. They each make coffee slightly differently, but one of them is far more efficient. Here’s why!


DIY Extraction Tasting

Help develop your palate by trying this simple experiment that will allow you to taste differences in extractions side by side 

Strength Calculators

These interactive calculators will help you understand the effect of adding water to coffee from the perspective of strength (Total Dissolved Solids, or concentration


The Cowculator figures out the precise breakdown of coffee, fat, protein and sugar in your milky drinks.


Information on consulting services offered by Barista Hustle

Matt Perger

An introduction to Matt Perger, founder of Barista Hustle.

Barista Hustle Slack

The BH Slack has been suspended.  Turns out thousands of people in Slack isn't conducive to productive conversations. We'll see you on instagram though! 🙂

2017 Predictions and Promises

2017 is shaping up to be a massive year for Barista Hustle and the coffee community at large. The following is a few of my predictions and promises for this year and beyond.

The Cafe Button Project

A while back I talked about the potential value of having a button in your cafe that asked customers a simple question 


Stop Renouncing Refractometers

It’s 2016 and there’s still a lot of misinformation and anti-intellectualism surrounding refractometers for coffee. Here’s a couple phrases I’ve read recently, and my rebuttals

The Coffee Compass

The Brewed Coffee Compass is very simple to use: Brew it – Taste it. Find on compass

VST,WTF Part 3

Understanding more about the EK43 and why it makes coffee taste better. Part 3.

VST:WTF Part 2

Now that I’ve covered what a refractometer is and how it works, it’s important to understand what it can and cannot do. 

VST:WTF Part 1

A lecture called ‘VST:WTF?’. It’s a two hour long foray into the science of measuring coffee with a refractometer.

The Death Of The Death Of The Barista

Super-automatic espresso machines are getting better. I think it’s safe to say that in the not-too-distant future, they’ll be able to make coffee as consistently as a well trained barista.

You Want A Bold Coffee? Great!

Guests can only express what they want in the terms they know, and for many coffee consumers, the number one term they know is bold.

Nutation: An Apology

Back in the 2013 World Barista Championships, I used a tamping style called ‘nutation’ for all of my espressos – this is why I don’t recommend it.


To celebrate 10,000 subscribers, we’re doing a live Q&A this Friday.

How To Serve Addicts

Coffee is a drug, and its service is determined by the habits and rituals of addicts.

Espresso Recipes: Time

Time is the third variable in our espresso equation, and the last one that you should be manipulating.

Espresso Recipes: Understanding Yield

Yield is a compromise between extraction & strength. More of one comes at the expense of the other. If you’re ever frustrated by espresso, this may be why


Espresso Recipes: Measuring Yield

After Strength, the 2nd step to every good espresso recipe is yield. Yield is the amount of espresso in the cup after extraction. It’s measured by weight though—definitely not volume.

Espresso Recipes: Strength

In this continuation of our Espresso Recipes series, we break down one of the most oft-misunderstood concepts in espresso: Strength.

USBC Regionals Cancellation

The Specialty Coffee Association of America announced this week that they were planning to cancel the US regional Barista and Brewer’s Cup competitions in favor of a single national championship.

The Cowculator – Part 2

An interactive calculator for finding the exact breakdown of your milky coffee drinks, plus some exciting Hustle news!

The Hustle Expands

Exciting news to share: Alex Bernson is officially coming on as the Editor of Barista Hustle.

The Cowculator – Part 1

Milk is complex. This post breaks milk down and explains each of its components: fat, sugar, protein and “ash”.

For a Good Puck

You can stop worrying about sloppy, soggy, watery pucks because there’s nothing wrong!

Everything is a Blend

Every coffee is some kind of blend. This post details how processes at the farm affect evenness, with help from producer Aida Batlle.

Distribution Test Results

Testing distribution methods for espresso is turning out be quite a journey. This post is another step toward understanding what’s actually going on between the grinder and espresso machine

Let’s Talk About Roasting

This is a post about how to talk about coffee roasts. It isn’t a post about how to roast coffee (although there’s some nuggets in there).

Surface Area and Time

In this post I’ll be covering how to increase or decrease the overall extraction of a brew from a theoretical standpoint 

About The Hustle

If you’re wondering what The Hustle is and how it works, you’ve come to the right place. T

The EK43 Part Two

Understanding more about the EK43 and why it makes coffee taste better. Part 2. 


2013 WBC Finals

Video of Matt Perger’s 2013 World Barista Championship routine.

Man vs Volumetric

Explaining why your espresso bar will be grossly inconsistent if you’re not using volumetrics or weighing every single shot’s dose and yield.