Producing a cup of espresso is a process that has lots of moving parts, it is easy to get confused and overwhelmed with the steps you need to take and the setup of the equipment. So one question that might pop up is about BARs, you may wonder: is 15 BAR enough for espresso?
The quick answer is yes 15 BARs is enough for espresso to make your favorite cup of coffee but there is a caveat you need to be aware of before you get started in preparing your cup or you might have a negative experience. I will need to explain first some basic concepts and definitions before I can tell you what the caveat is.
What is BAR Pressure?
This is going to feel like a bit of physics class so hang on.
The BAR pressure is defined as the measurement of atmospheric pressure or what they also called barometric pressure. This pressure is exerted upon the grounds of coffee to create that cup of espresso that you want to enjoy.
One BAR of pressure is equivalent to the weight of air at sea level, so 15 BARs means a pressure that is 15 times the weight of the air at sea level.
Pressure in espresso machines is the force that pushes the boiled water through coffee grounds extracting flavor, oils, and other soluble components.
Many coffee experts agree that 7 to 9 BARs of pressure in an espresso machine is the sweet spot to extracting flavor and making the best cup of espresso.
What is the Ideal Pressure for Espresso
We can divide the ranges of pressure in espresso machines into three categories: below 7 BARs, Between 7 – 15 BARs, and over 15 BARs. This division will help us answer the question “is 15 bar enough for espresso?”
In the category of below 7 BARs, you will probably get a weak and under-extracted cup of coffee, that happens because at this level there is not enough force that pushes water and air through coffee grounds to extract oils and flavors properly.
Between 7 – 15 is the typical range for extracting the best cup of espresso that you would enjoy and that would make you delighted.
Over 15 BARs can lead to over-extraction and actually burn your coffee, this doesn’t have to happen every time but you should keep that in mind when you’re preparing your cup of espresso.