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Thread: Sour espresso

  1. #1
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    Sour espresso

    Hi guys,

    Im using the bes920 and is getting some really sour espresso.

    I've tried two blends. One from cafe cherry in Ashfield and another one from Gumption in the strand, sydney Cbd.

    Both coffee tastes really sour by themselves. The Gumption coffee in particular does not have a very strong coffee taste if you know what I mean.

    During brewing I start off with 9.5 then it lowers to around 8 to 8
    5 ish.

    Should I just keep switching coffee? I feel that that may be something that I am doing wrong.

    The beans are all within 1 week of roasting
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  2. #2
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    Have you tried playing with your grind or do you get it pre ground? When the shot pulls through does it look like a full stream similar to honey pouring or more like water gushing through really fast?

  3. #3
    Member nathanharley's Avatar
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    What is your dosing routine? Do you know what the capacity of your portafilter is? How much are you dosing, and what is the extraction time? What yield are you achieving in that extraction time? I suspect its not the coffee, just the dose and grind size. If you nail a 30g (ml) shot in 30 seconds as a ballpark, and its still sour, or unacceptable, then looking into pump pressure and or water temp. What machine are you using?


    Nate

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys, Im using roasted coffee beans and gr8nding thrm my self. It's deff not watery and I get around half a layer of crema or caramel layer and half espresso.

    I'm using the 2 shots portafilter so should it not be 60 ml? I think Im getting close to around 50ml. Will measure when I get back.

    Im using the breville dual boiler. Bes920.

    The watertemp is at 93c and pressure is between 8 to 9.5

  5. #5
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    If it's a lightly roasted coffee, it can taste sour through an espresso machine. You can turn the brew temp up to 94-95 to try and make it more drinkable but ideally you'd want to change to a darker roast.

    Does it say on the bag that the coffee is for espresso?

    The gauge response from your machine would indicate that the pump pressure is ok.
    Magic_Matt likes this.

  6. #6
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    Sounds to me like it's under extracted.

    I frequently buy my beans from Gumption (mostly Paracelsus Punch blend), and generally go for a 2:1 Yield to Dose ratio, and it works out pretty well. I use to have a BES920 too.

    I look to dose with 19.5g, and extract ~39g in 25 - 30 seconds.

    I found a set of scales massively increased my consistency

  7. #7
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    If you make a video of your entire coffee making routine we might spot something. Otherwise I'm working at Smithfield at the moment and am happy to pop over after work one day if you like. I've been using a BES920 for a couple of years now and am pretty confident with it.
    Last edited by level3ninja; 7th April 2017 at 06:02 PM. Reason: Autocorrect
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  8. #8
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    Has the machine warmed up fully?
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  9. #9
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    https://youtu.be/KKhw166vWRk

    Had to leave the computer on overnight to upload. Upload speed way too slow here.

  10. #10
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    How many mls did you get from that pour? It didn't look like a lot but could be deceptive.
    My thoughts was that it seemed to be channeling early as it started to waver very early and become thin.
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  11. #11
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    I thought it was around 60 ml but yesterday night I forgot to measure the espresso before drowning it in milk. So I filled a measuring shot glass with water and poured back into the glass guesstimated the amount of liquid.

    I'd say it is around 30ml. But will get a more accurate number when I get home from uni today.
    degaulle likes this.

  12. #12
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Looks like a nice pour - I'd try taking your temp up

  13. #13
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    ...or try known good coffee from BeanBay...

    (sorry for the blatant plug but if BeanBay coffee is sour then it's process/equipment and it will help narrow the problem down)

  14. #14
    Senior Member Logga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    ...or try known good coffee from BeanBay...

    (sorry for the blatant plug but if BeanBay coffee is sour then it's process/equipment and it will help narrow the problem down)
    I think you’ve earned the rite to do blatant plugs.

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  15. #15
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    Just measured it. It was around 25ml of espresso + crema in the 30 second.

    Does that seem a bit too little? should I vary the time or the grind size or the amount?

    Will deff buy the beans from bean bay after I finish this batch.

  16. #16
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Looks like you have a lot of channelling there. Your distribution looks pretty haphazard and I think I see a big divot at the back of your puck? Grind seems a bit fine to me but obviously hard to see from a pic but 25ml with crema is probably 20g or maybe even a shade under, which would indicate it could do with being a bit coarser. I reckon most snobs would go around 30-40g espresso from 18g ground coffee?

    Do you have a naked portafilter? My coffee improved really quick after going naked. It gets painful cleaning up the mess you make when you pour a bad shot with the bottomless portafilter
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  17. #17
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    When I made the ground one stop finer, the pressure went from 9.5 - 9 ish to 9 - 7.5 ish

    Will look into a naked portafilter. Does Breville make it? or should I be looking for a third party one

  18. #18
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    Finer or coarser? I'd imagine the pressure to drop if it were coarser.
    If you're based in Sydney I'll be happy to pop over and help you out if you're not too far

  19. #19
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vcb003104 View Post
    When I made the ground one stop finer, the pressure went from 9.5 - 9 ish to 9 - 7.5 ish
    Sounds like channeling. Try swirling a toothpick around in the basket for at least 10s before tamping.
    trentski likes this.

  20. #20
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Please don't take this the wrong way as it is intended as friendly advice...
    I reckon you would benefit greatly from attending a reputable home barista course, such as many of our Site Sponsors run.

    This will address many of the issues I can spot with your current technique I believe...

    Mal.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Sour espresso

    Heya OP,

    You don't mention whether you've had the machine a while and previously been happy with results; my thoughts would be sourness typically indicates one or more of:
    • machine not warmed up/running too cool
    • light roast beans
    • under extraction, which could be due to too-coarse grind, channelling leading to a quick extraction, or other factors.


    To rule out the first two, I'd first try some known-good beans. That will prevent you chasing your tail when the problem might be outside your control! Alchemy do have quite a few lightish roasts from memory. Espresso Wow from beanbay will certainly give you good results, and as you're in Sydney Campos Superior Blend is very reliable as an espresso with good body and the robust "coffee" flavours you're after, without much acidity. Warm up the machine thoroughly and if symptoms persist, maybe try dialing up the boiler temp on your machine a degree or so to rule that out.

    I haven't watched the video but sounds like in any case you have plenty of tips to go on with refining dose/distribution/tamp if that's introducing issues.

    Good luck!
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  22. #22
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    Hey bud I would start at a reference point of a brew ratio of 1:2 meaning for example 20g dose weight for a 40g Bev weight and taste you might need to extract more or less from that point. Dark roasted coffee you tend to wanna extract at a lower brew ratio say 1:1.6 so for example 20g dose to 32g Bev weight. Lighter roasted coffee you tend to have a higher Bev weight so a ratio like 1:2.2 for example 20g dose and 44g Bev weight. Your process to make coffee like everyone has mentioned needs work. Distribution, tamp, freshness of beans, grind will all play a part too. Hope this helps

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