Running a busy coffee bar and looking to squeeze a bit more from your coffee? Perhaps to amplify the acidity or mellow out the intensity? Pressure profiling may just be the thing you need! 

A good [pressure] profile can’t fix a bad recipe, but it can make a good recipe great. The Slayer Steam LP is a pressure profiling, volumetric machine that allows the barista to control & tweak the extraction to achieve a desired flavour. Slayer has been working alongside the P&R team, and together, we have worked on a few helpful tips and tricks to get the most out of your coffee (and your machine!).  

1) Pop the machine into Manual Mode for quick experimentation without overwriting any of your existing volumetric programs.

2) Establish a base recipe. Start off by limiting your variables and getting your coffee to taste good before you start playing with pressure. What does this mean? Get your brew ratio and a rough indication of time sorted either at a flat pressure profile (for new users) or your standard pressure profile (for experienced users).

Slayer coffee machine

3) Bracket your shots. With a minimum pre-infusion of 0 seconds and a max of 10 seconds, you could choose to taste 1 sec, 2 sec, 3 sec and so forth; but in our experience, that is both time-consuming and increases your risk of a caffeine-induced anxiety attack. We like to bracket our shots in three ways – tasting low (0 sec), medium (5 sec) and high (10 sec). If there is a clear winner – job done! If you prefer two shots, for example, the medium & the high, you can split the difference & run a 7 or 8-second pre-infusion. Better? Great!

4) Add in post-infusion at the end. Post-infusion to us often helps soften out any nasty edges, increasing perceived sweetness and reducing astringency. Get the other elements of your recipe sorted first, then taste a shot with a gram or two of post and see how it changes. Better? Lock it in, Eddy!

coffee recipe

5) Save your fancy new profile from manual. The machine allows you to ‘record and playback’ your shots for the duration of the day (or week, month or year!) using the volumetrics. You can even have your manual button default to the program you change most often! Neat.

In addition to the above, you may find that pre-infusion has more of an effect on the acidity and the balance of the espresso. How this presents will change from coffee to coffee depending on what you want to emphasise. With the Volcan Azul from our Expedition Series, we found a pre-infusion time of 3 seconds helps bring the fruit to the fore, amplifying aromatics and bringing a sparkling acidity without unbalancing the rest of the espresso. Yum!


As a more general note on the way to the Steam LP pressure profiles, it uses a cleverly designed pressure regulator to bring down the incoming line pressure to 2.5 bars. This gives a gentle pre and post-infusion and, in our opinion, is right in the sweet spot of giving the skilled barista the ability to manipulate flavour without opening a Pandora's box of infinite variables. If you would like to go further down the rabbit hole, that pressure regulator can be adjusted, with the highpoint being the max incoming line pressure, and the lowest setting being 2 bars. After doing many tests across various coffees, though, you can take our word that 2.5 bars has been selected as the factory setting for a reason! It seems to be the goldilocks pressure of providing amplified flavour, reduced channeling and consistent extractions. How good!

Slayer coffee machine

About the Author:

Hugh has worked in the coffee industry since the ripe old age of 15.  Over the last couple of decades he has had the pleasure of working through some of Sydney’s best cafes & roasteries.  The last three years have seen him defect to the south, working with Slayer Espresso as a Product Specialist & Business Development manager based in Melbourne.  Throughout this time Hugh has been working closely with P&R along with Coffee Works Express, Slayer’s distributor partner in NSW.

About Slayer:

We have been hand making machines in Seattle, USA since 2007.  Our mission is simple: to Make Coffee Better.  What does that mean? To design equipment from the perspectives of three key stakeholders - the Barista, the Technician & the Guest.  These three viewpoints prompt us to innovate and problem solve, alleviating pain points and providing an unforgettable experience.  It is this pursuit of excellence that leads us to work with leading, quality obsessed coffee roasters like Pablo & Rusty’s.  

Our product lineup currently encompasses three machines - the volumetric Steam EP, the pressure profiling volumetric Steam LP & the fully manual, flow profiling Espresso v3 (also available in a Single Group configuration). Want to know more?  Drop us a line.

Keen to know more about how Slayer and P&R can take your cafe’s coffee program to the next level? The P&R wholesale Team would love to chat. Let us know here.