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9 BAR VS 6 BAR Espresso

Playing around with 6 BAR espresso is something I came across a few months ago when I heard it produces much more consistent and delicious espresso, but is that actually true? After some trial and error, I must say that I got quite surprised by the results.

So, let’s find out.

9 BAR VS 6 BAR Espresso

The main differences between 9 BAR and 6 BAR espresso can be found in the taste and texture. But is one worse than the other? Not necessarily.

9 BAR Espresso

9 BAR espresso is your classical espresso shot that you probably pull all the time and it’s the industrial standard in cafes, coffee shops, etc.

Espresso is rich, strong, and flavorful with quite a harsh taste which some people are not too fond of. But overall espresso is something we all love as it can be found in any coffee-related drinks, such as cappuccinos or frappuccinos for example.

6 BAR Espresso

6 BAR espresso on the other hand has a fascinating taste and texture. It all comes down to preference, as 6 BAR espresso has a sweet, subtle, balanced, and less bitter taste. The texture can also be a bit thinner than regular espresso.

This particularly is quite a nice change and you might even prefer it over regular espresso.

What I found out is that 6 BAR espresso with a 35+ seconds brew time is becoming my favorite type of espresso. It’s smoother and has more flavors that I personally like, it’s also a lot more forgiving of mistakes made during the puck preparation.

If you don’t own an espresso machine yet and want full control then I recommend the Breville Barista Express. It has everything you need like a grinder, water pressure range, digital temperature control, manual microfoam milk, and even all the extra accessories.

Suggested Read: 15 VS 20 BAR Espresso Machines

Tips Before Pulling a 6 BAR Espresso Shot

Pulling a 6 BAR espresso could be as easy as just brewing at a lower pressure, but there’s a little more that comes into play if you want that perfect 6 BAR shot.

Grind Finer Than Usual

Go with a finer grind size. Using a lower pressure introduces less agitation during the brewing process. Now, remember that no grinder produces perfectly even ground sizes, this is why we grind very finely for espresso.

When agitation meets the brewing process, these fine grounds go through something we call “fine migration” and they tend to end up at the bottom of the espresso puck. This actually creates more resistance to the flow of the water that has to go through the espresso puck.

However, less agitation (pressure) may result in less fine migration while using 6 BARS for espresso. This doesn’t only allow a finer grind, but it increases the surface area of the grounds, which decreases the flow rate. This allows for a great extraction with less agitation.

If you experience bitterness and sourness in your cup then it’s most likely from uneven grind size and uneven distribution of the coffee in the portafilter, so keep that in mind.

Increase Your Brew Time

Since you will be extracting your shot at 6 BARS, then it’s only normal you’re not going to get the same pressure, agitation, and fine migration as at 9 BARS. This means you should be brewing longer than usual to get a full extraction. I recommend 10+ more seconds than usual, with a preference between 35 to 50 seconds is ideal.

Explore Beyond Dark Roasts

One of the great things about brewing at 6 BARS is that it allows you to brew light-roasted as well. This is really if you want to play around with 6 BARS to its full potential and it can deliver some incredibly tasty results.

How To Make a 6 BAR Espresso Shot

Making a 6 BAR espresso is quite straightforward.

  1. Fill the water tank to the designated line.
  2. Turn on your Espresso Machine
  3. Grind your beans very finely.
  4. Grab the machine’s measuring scoop, take 1 scoop of coffee grounds, and put them into the portable filter.
  5. Once you packed your coffee grounds into the portable filter, simply pick it up, insert it under the tap, and twist it the correct way to lock it securely, so no water, air, or coffee escapes during the brewing process.
  6. Make sure your Espresso Machine is adjusted to brew at 6 BARS and adjust the time between 35 to 50 seconds if your machine doesn’t allow for manual brewing.
  7. Depending on the machine, the brew will start automatically as the handle locks in place, or you may have to push a BREW button.
  8. Once again, depending on the machine, you may have to click the BREW button again when the time is right to stop brewing, or the machine will stop on its own.
  9. Enjoy your delicious 6 BAR espresso!

The Bottom Line

Brewing a 6 BAR espresso is an exciting and interesting experience. I was amazed by the results at first but a 6 BAR espresso with 35+ seconds brew time became one of my favorite drinks.

But is one better than the other? Not necessarily, it all comes down to preference. Do you prefer a rich, flavorful & harsh taste? Then 9 BARS is your way to go. Do you like a sweet, subtle, and balanced taste? Then you should give 6 BARS espresso a try!

Don’t be afraid to play around with the brew times, grind size, and even roast as this can enhance your 6 BAR espresso even more to your liking. Happy caffeinating!

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