You might’ve heard that the perfect espresso shot is pulled at 9 BARS, which is right in between the “sweet spot” of 7 to 11 BARS. But are there any major differences if you brew at 8 BARS?
Let’s find out.
9 BAR VS 8 BAR Espresso
The main difference between 9 BAR and 8 BAR espresso can be found in the acidity. 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.
8 BAR Espresso
8 BAR espresso is not that much different from 9 BAR espresso. It’s slightly less harsh but keeps all the richness and flavor you can find in a 9 BAR espresso.
There aren’t any major changes like you get when you try 6 BAR espresso, which gives a sweet, subtle, balanced, and less bitter taste.
From experience, I find 6 BAR a lot more satisfying, and even though 8 BAR goes down the same way, it’s nowhere near the taste and potential of a 6 BAR. You should definitely try a 6 BAR espresso if you haven’t yet as this is in my opinion a real difference in taste and texture.
If you don’t own an espresso machine yet and want complete 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 an 8 BAR Espresso Shot
Pulling an 8 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 8 BAR shot.
Increase Your Brew Time
The lower you go in BARS, the more brew time you will have to add than usual. This makes sense as the pressure is not the same and thus you need to brew for a longer time. For 8 BAR espresso, I recommend about 5+ seconds longer than usual.
Explore Beyond Dark Roasts
One of the great things about brewing at lower pressures is that it allows you to brew light-roasted as well. This is really if you want to play around with 8 BARS to its full potential and it can deliver some incredibly tasty results.
How To Make an 8 BAR Espresso Shot
Making an 8 BAR espresso is quite straightforward.
- Fill the water tank to the designated line.
- Turn on your Espresso Machine
- Grind your beans very finely.
- Grab the machine’s measuring scoop, take 1 scoop of coffee grounds, and put them into the portable filter.
- 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.
- Make sure your Espresso Machine is adjusted to brew at 8 BARS and adjust the time between 25 to 40 seconds if your machine doesn’t allow for manual brewing.
- Depending on the machine, the brew will start automatically as the handle locks in place, or you may have to push a BREW button.
- 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.
- Enjoy your delicious 8 BAR espresso!
The Bottom Line
8 BAR and 9 BAR espresso are quite similar, it’s just a tiny bit easier to chug down.
I tried 8 BAR after 6 BAR espresso and maybe that’s why I’m not as surprised as I’d like. I highly recommend you give 6 BAR espresso a try as this is genuinely completely different from an 8 or 9 BAR espresso.