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Thread: e-61 brewing tips....

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    e-61 brewing tips....

    Hi all,

    I thought that it was time to write this as many owners ask similar questions...Enjoy and modify as needed for your baby!

    2mcm

    Dosing and the shot:
    Firstly, you need to get a consistent dosing technique. With a Giotto, one way which seems to work for those starting out is to fill the group handle and ensure that the coffee is distributed to the edges. Make a small mound of coffee and brush off using a straight edge- or even the side of your index finger to get a totally full basket. Then, just sit your (heavyish) tamper on the coffee to settle it, fill and brush off again.... and then tamp to 15kg or thereabouts. This will enable you to get your dosing consistent. If you find that the group handle is hard to load, youre overdoing it- back off just a fraction by altering your technique a little but do so consistently. Another good method is to just dose to a mountain and bench tap to settle. Fil any gap, brush off to full and level and then tamp. Either should result in a similar and consistent dose.

    Whatever you do MUST be 100% repeatable and this is just one method- but a good one for beginners as it leads to consistency.

    Run a shot to see how things are going. 30ml in approx 25 sec pour time (per shot) is a good starting point. Check the puck to see that it is not wet and sloppy- if it is, your dose is poor and the coffee will possibly be disappointing. If you see holes in the puck, these are channels and will usually result in an unsatisfactory shot.

    Taste the espresso, give it 5 seconds and then note where on your tongue you taste it. I often call it the memory of the shot. If its towards the front, the coffee is sour and your grind is too coarse, if towards the back, the coffee is bitter and your grind is too fine. NEVER make a grind adjustment until you are certain that you have removed yourself as the source of the error.

    Adjust the grind to balance the coffee on your tongue- Imagine a see-saw with sour at one end and bitter at the other. With a Giotto and its built-in pre-extraction, I tend to look for a pour that starts a touch drippy and then comes to a fine, continuous stream. I also cut the shot when I see the first signs of blonding (pale, tertiary extracted coffee). I often find that the delay is more like 7-9 sec and the pour may be somewhat longer than 25 seconds.


    Milk Texture:
    As for milk, I suggest that you fill the jug to just below the base of the spout. Keep the jug vertical and orientate your hands and the the jug east-west around the steam wand. I recommend that you rest the back of the jug against the back of the wand to ensure that when you begin texturing you have support. There should be no need to tilt the jug. Apply good steam pressure to ensure that you create a whirlpool or SWIRL- this happens throughout the entire texture event. You need to imagine that your jug is a bucket and that the wand is a hose- make the water (milk) swirl by keeping the wand towards the edge of the jug- you should be able to do this so long as the wand is not in the middle of the milk. Within reason, the faster the swirl, the better.

    The swirl should be accompanied by a gentle hissing sound. If your jug is screaming, you have the wand too far into the milk- lower the jug until you hear good sounds.

    Once the swirl is established, you create varying amounts of foam by varying the amount that you lower the jug I call this the STRETCH- more for cappuccini, less for a latte and very little for a flat white. You will get the feel of the stretch quite quickly and will find that if you pour the drink which needs more head 1st, you wont need a spoon (aka L_plate barista training wheels ;)).

    Keep a hand on the jug- when its too hot (unbearable) to touch, you should stop the texture event.

    I find that there is no need to further immerse the wand with this technique. Remember that the milk is like an egg- it will set and harden- so have your shot running or completed if required before you texture your milk.

    Once the texture event is complete, keep the milk busy- I like to keep the milk swirling in the jug to POLISH it and keep it glossy and pourable. Its ok to tap gently on a bench to remove residual bubbles if you slipped when you were working... ;)

    Good barista technique involves rinsing whatever you use before and after- so do this with wand and with the group. They should come 1st- before you pour milk...

    Hope this helps...*;)

    2mcm
    chrisl, Holyfrog and LFM60 like this.

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Good advice, Chris.

    I would just add one motion to the frothing routine: After the jug is removed and the wand cleaned...... Swirl the jug itself by holding it and rotating the forearm quickly as if winding a bobbin, say.

    That removes any left-over bubbles, and imparts a nice sheen to the milk.

    --Robusto

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Thankd Robusto- knew Id forget to put something I do in! :-[

    regards

    Chris

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Chris - any thoughts on cooling flushes?

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Matt- youll most likely find that a flush is required if the machine has been idle for a period. Reject all water which is overly steamy or spitty. Other than that, 50ml is probably about right between flushes. I just simply reject water I dont like to look of ;)

    Chris

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Good summary. I dont put as much coffee in my basket by the sounds of it but I do tamp hard. I grind, tap, grind, tap then tamp - no fingers or leveling.

    Once you have learnt how to SEE the milk frothed correctly you should start to learn to HEAR the milk frothed correctly.

    There is a changing pitch to the noise the steam makes and after a while you should be able listen for when the milk is ready rather than judge by touch.

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Ive realised I should be able to hear the difference but can anyone describe the sounds.

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Bit hard in words but youll notice the pitch gradually drops as the milk heats up and starts to drop faster towards the end. Since it is different on each machine the only way to recognise it is practice.

    Same thing with timing a pour; I started with a stopwatch but now I just look.

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Yes, certainly hard to describe in words. Sort or a ...chh-chh-chh.

    Its a sound which sounds as though youre doing things right.... Its a sound which sounds as if youre in control.

    But if you hear a definite deep groaning sound, that means the wand is just about touching the bottom of the jug and youve probably scalded the milk as well.

    Funny, but that last sound has made an indellible imprint on my memory --from hearing it so often in cafes.

    -Robusto

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    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    It sounds a bit like this....stated with 1/4 - 1/3 jug

    http://s158.photobucket.com/albums/t108/denniswells/?action=view&current=IMGP0658.flv

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Im right with the starting chh-chh and I know what a bad screaming jet noise is but what I was looking for was the change in sound that occurs when the milk is done.
    I think Wired may have come up with what Im looking for.
    I know the pitch changes towards the end of my texturing, I just wasnt sure what was supposed to sound good and what not.

    But is the pitch drop merely an indication of temperature or does it indicate that continuing will destroy microfoam?

    Im looking for a description of any sound that indicates the wand is working as desired.

    I think my milk is too thick ie foam is not micro enough.

    Definitely dont get meringue but the foam doesnt seem to be fine enough.

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    It really comes down to a "suck it and see" approach. Pay attention to the variables and you start to recognise the good sounds versus the bad. All of this goes out the window in a shop with all the background noise BTW.

    I just like the ambience of "good" sounds like the cracks coming from my HOTTOP and the contented pitch from my steam wand ;).

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Ill keep practising.

    Im deaf in one ear though and background noise of any kind, even at home, is a bugger.

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Quote Originally Posted by Wired link=1167622442/0#7 date=1175678101
    Bit hard in words but youll notice the pitch gradually drops as the milk heats up and starts to drop faster towards the end. Since it is different on each machine the only way to recognise it is practice.

    Same thing with timing a pour; I started with a stopwatch but now I just look.
    I am always learning something new here - now that I am paying a bit more attention to my steaming, I can start to hear changes as the milk heats up. And with practice it is slowly improving.

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    what does the screaming ringing in my ears sound mean?

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Either the steam wand is too low in the jug or its in your ear?

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1167622442/15#15 date=1176297368
    Either the steam wand is too low in the jug or its in your ear?
    Spot on.... love it!

    ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    I put its rubber hat back on the steam wand (cheap sundeam job) and thats fixed it, oh to upgrade !!!

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Sullo - I had one of those rubber things :-[

    Take it off (it only makes suds anyway) and put it in the bottom drawer until you sell your machine one day, then practice with the wand. It might take a little while but youll get there...just keep the round end bit about half submersed in the mlik with the jug tilted about 20 degrees.

    Try that for starters.

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Either the steam wand is too low in the jug or its in your ear?
    heheheheh....made my day, that one!!
    ;D

    L

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    :)

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Hi all
    Anyone out there have trouble getting a good shot out of the single group handle?
    I can get great shots out of the double and spent last night mastering this with my new grinder but i am all over the shop when it comes to the single group handle.

    The shots come out way too slow and i only get about 15 - 20mm in 25 seconds.

    I use the same method as the double handle in that i fill, tap, fill, level flat and then tamp. With the double handle i get two shots of near enough to 30mm at 25seconds and the coffee bangs out as a perfect puk aftererwards but nothing like this with the single, the puk is usually we on top and dry under or it breaks at the edges as you bang it out and generally takes about 4 bangs to get the thing out.

    Any suggestions

    thanks
    Mal

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Hi Mal,

    Single baskets can be tricky to work with. If you follow my dosing tips- which I think youre familiar with, there is one difference for a single:

    When you brush off after the collapse, use the bottom of your finger, rather than the side. Youll dig a depression and this should equalise things.

    I suggets that you always set grind for a double and then adjust your technique for a single...

    Chris

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    As Chris said bolb just a smidge less coffee.
    I switched to the single basket for one shot last weekend and it too was a little slower than Ive been used to as 99% of the time I use the double basket.

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Thanks Chris.
    I will try that one tonight.

    The grinder works a charm, very pleased with it, especially considering 4 out of the 5 shots i pulled last night with the double were great and all appeared to taste the same. Previously i really only had about a 20% or less strike rate at getting a great shot.

    And talk about a quiet grinder it makes my old one seem like a cement mixer

    Mal

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    Re: Giotto brewing tips....

    Quote Originally Posted by robusto link=1167622442/0#1 date=1167623054
    Good advice, Chris.

    I would just add one motion to the frothing routine: *After the jug is removed and the wand cleaned...... Swirl the jug itself by holding it and rotating the forearm quickly as if winding a bobbin, say. *

    That removes any left-over bubbles, and imparts a nice sheen to the milk.

    --Robusto
    i would say rest the milk jug on the bench and either gently nurse it back and forward every now and the to stop the contents from settling or swirl the milk around in the jug as you would a good red wine in the glass!

    but same same really

    acg

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    So should one dial in their grinder for a single basket or double basket 25 second extraction? Or should you be able to get the correct volume in 25 seconds with both with the same grind?

    Reason I ask is that my grinder was dialled in for a single, and the double seems to come through much faster.

    Sorry - hope this isnt too OT?

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    Quote Originally Posted by Matty P link=1167622442/15#26 date=1187005108
    So should one dial in their grinder for a single basket or double basket 25 second extraction? *Or should you be able to get the correct volume in 25 seconds with both with the same grind?

    Reason I ask is that my grinder was dialled in for a single, and the double seems to come through much faster.

    Sorry - hope this isnt too OT?
    Hi Matty,

    Dial in the double and then adjust your technique for the single. I use dose and collapse on the double wiping with a straight edge to get a complete fill and adjust my grind to suit.

    With a single, I wipe with a curved edge second time to slightly decrease the dose. This gives me consistent results...

    Chris

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    Iím a little surprised in view of all the intricate instructions mentioned regarding how to prepare oneís milk that nobody has even bothered to mention what TYPE of milk. According to what Iíve been told & also read in a number of places, it can make a great deal of difference.

    Iím also somewhat disappointed to note that whilst I was welcomed onto this forum by Andy, nobody else here has said a word & nobody at all has replied to my first & only request as the New Boy on the Block. Is it that nobody can offer any assistance or is it that nobody knows?

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    A belated welcome *to the forum, Davidvh2.

    But you shouldnt feel put out about responses (or non responses). *

    The question of milk type has been covered extensively. Have a look through the threads:

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?board=GotMilk

    Youll see the experiences of fellow snobs who have used full cream, skinny, light, soy *and a host of different brands. *

    The subject of your first post, about cleaning the Gaggia, may already have been covered too. *

    Again, its a matter of searching back. *

    Good luck.


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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    Thanks for the welcome robusto. Actually I didnt ask anything about a Gaggia at all. I asked as the "new boy on the block", about the cleaning of my Cimbali. Rgds David

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    hi Davidvh2. ... :)

    welcome to CS... and if i missed your first post, apologies! :-[
    with the number of posts made to this forum it is easy to miss some, particularly if you, like myself, only download the "20 latest posts" option and are not online regularly.
    to be honest, there are whole threads i have missed (out on... :P )...

    i will make amends and proomise to regualrly check the "newby" thread...

    consider yourself "caught up on" and avidly followed from now on! ;) ;D

    and in regards to the milk: absolutely! i just had a double ristretto latte with green-top milk ( here in Australia generally the low fat/high calcium) and it was drinkable... then i made myself one with regular full cream UHT milk and it was divine!!
    the difference in the structure of the microfoam, as well as the flavour of the caramelized sugars in the milk was huuuge!
    so, i will be good and drink the green-top mostly... but for true quality (and comfort food!! ;)) the full cream will come out!


    cheers,
    ;)
    L




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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    Chris tongue see-saw principle is quite intriguing. Ive never heard it before but applied it to a problem Ive been having.

    My extraction times/volumes have been good and the espresso looks the right colour, good crema etc.. However, the coffee taste ranged from fair to aweful. I tried the stockfleth distribution method (without a tap colapse) and adjusted grind/dose to suit. The coffee was terrible!

    Not being much of an espresso (short black) drinker, I was a little blind to what flavour profile I should be looking for when adjusting my grind and technique. I was tasting it on the back of my tongue - which I realise now meant my grind was too fine and I was experiencing bitterness.

    I have now backed off the grind substantially, increased my dosage using a basic "dose, colapse, dose, colapse, scrap level and tamp" approach. Espresso taste is more balanced on the see-saw and lattes are more drinkable (still not great).

    Would an overly fine grind and underdose result in harsh astringent coffee? It was really quite unpleasant!

    I was really getting quite frustrated at having a great coffee kit and producing crap coffee, but I think I am back in region of decent coffee now.

    Thanks Chris ;)

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    Quote Originally Posted by Matty P link=1167622442/30#32 date=1188470906
    Chris tongue see-saw principle is quite intriguing. *Ive never heard it before but applied it to a problem Ive been having.

    My extraction times/volumes have been good and the espresso looks the right colour, good crema etc.. However, the coffee taste ranged from fair to aweful. *I tried the stockfleth distribution method (without a tap colapse) and adjusted grind/dose to suit. *The coffee was terrible!

    Not being much of an espresso (short black) drinker, I was a little blind to what flavour profile I should be looking for when adjusting my grind and technique. *I was tasting it on the back of my tongue - which I realise now meant my grind was too fine and I was experiencing bitterness.

    I have now backed off the grind substantially, increased my dosage using a basic "dose, colapse, dose, colapse, scrap level and tamp" approach. *Espresso taste is more balanced on the see-saw and lattes are more drinkable (still not great).

    Would an overly fine grind and underdose result in harsh astringent coffee? *It was really quite unpleasant!

    I was really getting quite frustrated at having a great coffee kit and producing crap coffee, but I think I am back in region of decent coffee now.

    Thanks Chris *;)
    Aww shucks.....Anytime Matt ;)....

    p.s- A whole host of things could lead to astringency in a cup....

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    I know that weve already touched on the subject, but Im seeing a noticeable improvement in my shots by ensuring that I run a cooling flush immediately prior to placing the group handle in for extraction.

    Better crema which tends to not blond as quickly.

    Cheers,

    Pat

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1167622442/0#0 date=1167622441
    Taste the espresso and note where on your tongue you taste it- if its towards the front, the coffee is sour and your grind is too coarse, if towards the back, the coffee is bitter and your grind is too fine. NEVER make a grind adjustment until you are certain that you have removed yourself as the source of the error.

    Adjust the grind to balance the coffee on your tongue- Imagine a see-saw with sour at one end and bitter at the other. With a Giotto and its built-in pre-extraction, I tend to look for a pour that starts a touch drippy and then comes to a fine, continuous stream. I also cut the shot when I see the first signs of blonding (pale, tertiary extracted coffee). I often find that the delay is more like 7-9 sec and the pour may be somewhat longer than 25 seconds.
    Ive managed to do the tongue balancing thing - just got some freshly roasted beans from a boutique roaster/blender down here. Im getting 20-30s to a double, but the taste is still sub par. What other things can I look out for in my extraction? The colour looks good, and it isnt blonding alot, so I was thinking it could be due to temperature (gotta get this HX flush thing down... :P). That said, I was used to using a naked on my old machine so it was much easier to see tamping faults and blonding etc.

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    Quote Originally Posted by Sammus link=1167622442/30#35 date=1197359249
    Ive managed to do the tongue balancing thing - just got some freshly roasted beans from a boutique roaster/blender down here. Im getting 20-30s to a double, but the taste is still sub par. What other things can I look out for in my extraction? The colour looks good, and it isnt blonding alot, so I was thinking it could be due to temperature (gotta get this HX flush thing down... :P). That said, I was used to using a naked on my old machine so it was much easier to see tamping faults and blonding etc.
    Id avoid the old school tongue map thing. It has been discredited by scientific research. Those old "regions" or "zones" of flavour receptors are striclkly pre Kevin 07 ;D

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    Good points Cameron,

    What was presented was a generalisation.... ::)

    Nevertheless, give someone a sour underextracted shot or a bitter overextracted shot and they will be able to discriminate between them and "map" their own tongue, remember the sensations and recall them. i.e they learn...

    Funnily enough, many non-espresso drinkers do this very well, and can then appreciate the balance of a great shot....For those who are learning, this frequently leads to an appreciation of what is required.

    It works and has been the basis of many ephiphany moments in those I have trained and frequently converts latte drinkers into far more discriminating coffee lovers, many of whom begin to develop a true appreciation for espresso....

    Bottom line is to dose well and consistently and train instincts to view a pour, problem solve a puck and appreciate what is required to perform the task consistently and well...

    Chris

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    Hi All,

    So what is the general concensus on temp surfing with an E61 HX machine?

    I have a Diadema Junior semi-auto with pressure stat set so that the gauge reads exactly 1 bar when fully heated.

    I usually do a cooling flush (with PF in) while I grind, then dose and tamp etc.. and another flush immediately prior to slamming in the PF. My shots have been ordinary and sometimes a little sour making me think I allow the temp to get too low.

    Schomer recommends two flushes of 2 oz (60ml) each prior to extraction, so I am trying that now. I think previously they were quite a bit more than that :-[

    What do others with similar machines do?

    Thanks,
    Matt

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    I use a VBM Domobar super. Luckily I have a thermometer adaptor in the access hole in the grouphead so I can monitor my group temp. I find I flush about 200ml through the PF handle, then dry it, grind dose and tamp, then flush about another 60-100ml before lock and load. I usually get an estimated 92C extraction from that.

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    wow...92 at the group...thats quite low...for a lot of coffees, that temperature may cause the coffee to be a touch sour. However, I guess its all relative....your thermometer will never give you an accurate group temperature, but I guess it gives you a reference point to work with....nice

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    200ml seems like a large flush. Schomer recommends no more than 60ml at a time, his logic being that the machine is only designed to deliver a small amount of water at a time at a stable temperature - any more can throw it out of suitable range.

    What sort of flush do other HX owners do?

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    A mate of mine has a bezzera hx machine He flushes about 20 - 30 mls dries the handle and basket loads, tamps and pulls the shot, works a treat I feel that you may have other problems if your not getting good results using this method. Is your coffee fresh, are they excellent beans, have they been rested and degassed properly, lots of questions.... As wushoes said 92 degrees will result in sour or straw, earthy like tasting coffee.

    I can tell you that a pid will give you absolute temperature control and no more temp surfing, completely removes the variables from the equation.

    I hope this helps.......... Ray.

    By the way flushing large amounts of water will definitely destabilise the boiler temperature.

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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    I flush around 200ml which brings me down to around 94C. No big deal though because I run the flush while Im dosing/tamping. Once I see a nice smooth stream of water, lock & load!

    Evan.

  45. #45
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2005
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    255

    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    Why are you trying to tell me what I taste when I brew? Yes they are quality fresh roasted beans that have been degassed, and they taste great. Im not looking for an analysis of some sort of problem youve decided Im having, I was simply offering advice from my experience.

    For what its worth, the brew water is 92C, which is more like 95C at the group. I originally learned the technique from the how to manage HX temperature guide on Home-Barista.com - they even go as far to say that coffee brew temp should be somewhere between 192-202F (depending on beans, personal taste, etc etc) which is about 89C-94C. I picked somewhere in the higher end for my original target and was happy with the results, nuff said. If that temp gives a unsatisfactory extraction, Ill adjust my flush accordingly. My thermometer is regularly calibrated in that range so theres no problem there.

    Your mates bezzera machine is likely very different to my VBM domobar super, so the same technique will give very different results.

    I dont like the idea of PIDing a HX machine, and I couldnt be bothered going into why. If you get acceptable results though good for you.

    If you every peruse H-B you will come across many interesting things, for instance Ive seen a lot of shot temperature graphs which havent been clipped and include cooling flushes and whatnot, and Im pretty confident that flushing a few hundred ml through the group isnt destabilising anything, and will regularly be following with a perfectly stable shot profile.

    Heres a pic of my machine for anyone who cares :) its too big to attach directly, so heres a link: http://issima.customer.netspace.net.au/VBM.jpg

    Cheers

    Sam

  46. #46
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    19

    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    Hi Sam - nice machine you have there!

    I think that Ray was referring to my issues. I am a big believer in sticking to what works for you, but at the moment my coffee isnt as good as it could/should be. Just trying to determine if the brew temp might be part of the issue.

    And yes - my coffee is fresh and excellent quality. Not sure about degassing? Mine comes in a bag with one way seal and I transfer about 250g to an airtight glass container at a time and use it from there.

  47. #47
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    You cant get the excess air out of a glass container.
    Youd be better off transferring them to a ziplock bag so you can squeeze the air out.

  48. #48
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
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    Warwick, QLD
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    15,142

    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    Beautiful piece of kit there Sammus 8-) and a well stated case for doing things the way you do. I too would never PID a HX machine, totally unnecessary as has been explained ad nauseam in other threads about the subject ::).

    Keep on truckin Sammus, errr... I mean brewing ;)

    Mal.

  49. #49
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    4,512

    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    Gday Sam!

    Would love to see a pic of that thermometer adaptation - Im intrigued! ;)

    Sounds like youre enjoying your new machine. Am sure you will master the sweet spot - ya just gotta drink more of the stuff! :)

  50. #50
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: e-61 brewing tips....

    Dennis,

    Sammus posted a link to a picture of his machine.
    You can see where the temp readout sits on the group head.
    http://issima.customer.netspace.net.au/VBM.jpg

    Ive been thinking of getting one too.

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