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Thread: Dialing in a new machine

  1. #1
    Junior Member Moph's Avatar
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    Dialing in a new machine

    I've just upgraded from an EM6910 / SmartGrinder to a Profitec Pro 700 and T64 Pro. I've kind of blundered along with the EM6910 for the last five years doing what 'works' but need to upskill now that I have a decent machine. I will sign up for a barista course but have a full schedule for a couple of weeks, so I'm trying to get my head around the dial-in in the meantime.

    Setup:
    - Profitec Pro 700
    - Profitec T64 grinder
    - 20g VST basket in Profitec double spout portafilter
    - Fresh beans (roasted 24/10; opened yesterday) - medium roast Arabica blend
    - PerfectFit flat base tamper

    Current prep sequence:
    - 20g grinds in 20g VST basket (current scale only accurate to 1g)
    - 4 sideways palm knocks
    - 2 vertical knocks on tamper stand
    - finger swipe if needed (generally the knocks settle the surface out pretty level)
    - level tamp to consistent'ish pressure followed by 1/8'ish polish twist (no pressure)
    - clean away stray grinds

    Shot characteristics:
    - brew temp 93*C
    - first drops ~5s
    - 60mL ~26s

    Looks alright at first I think, but:
    - shot weight is 58g (34% brewing ratio)
    - crema isn't particularly great to start with and dissipates quickly
    - puck is wet; not soggy but much wetter than I ever had with the EM6910
    - espresso is yuck; makes a nice 1:3 latte but as espresso it's not a nice taste (I think it's bitter; I don't normally drink espresso though)

    I'm not going to pretend to be able to accurately identify the blonding point yet. Last shot I thought it was at around 23s but on watching some more Youtube vids I think I probably went way beyond blonding point. Just need more practice to calibrate myself.

    I think I probably need to dose a little higher (say 21g) and grind finer, but I'm a bit confused given that shot volume is currently right on the money at 26s. Should I just be ignoring shot volume and concentrating purely on blonding / taste / brewing ratio? Or is it possible that additional crema from a finer grind will make up the shot volume?

    Obviously I'll experiment more but any advice is appreciated

  2. #2
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    1. Check out Deb Monteleone's technique using the Profitec Pro on the Jetblack website https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=1wGNOLR3yh8
    2.Try using the double basket that came with your Profitec while you are getting used to the machine (congrats on the new kit). From what I understand, VST is a bit more finicky about getting the grind right.
    3. Consider investing in a bottomless group handle to help diagnose possible distribution problems
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  3. #3
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    60ml at 26s is pretty quick? I'm at about 30ml after 35s.

  4. #4
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    Volume seems a little high I would think?

    My personal preference is for a smaller shot. For me it's usually a 16g in and maybe 25-30g out. Also 26 is on the shorter side, but not exceptionally. Keep tinkering with grind - that will be the biggest factor in general.

  5. #5
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    People approach it differently but generally you want to fix most variables and change just one at a time.

    How I would do it is pick a dose, say 21grams, and then go as fine on the grind up to the point where the machine chokes. Then back up slightly and time the shot from there (measure volume too). I would ignore the blonding first at that point (so long as the shot looks like dripping honey) and focus on getting the 30s/60ml for the double. But once it is dialled in I wouldn’t drink past blonding point.

    Good luck, it is fun with a new machine.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member coffeechris's Avatar
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    I would suggest at 60ml in 26 sec you would be confusing bitterness with sourness, i use too. By thinking this i never thought the grind needed to be made finer and i would push along with trying to tamp harder or bulking up the basket with more coffee. My opinion, keep with the 20g and aim slightly for a finer grind until you find a happy medium.

    I personally have 18g to approx 26-38g out in 34 sec. Each to their own. But thats just me..

    The bottom line is if it taste good to you dont worry too much about what other peoples setup is and prep is. Use others advice as a guide and find what suits you and keep at it.

    Cheers,

    Chris

  7. #7
    Junior Member Moph's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. I've watched that Profitec Pro 700 demo more times than I can count ... she makes it look so easy =)

    Did think about going back to the supplied basket but figured I'd push ahead with the VST given I've been using it relatively successfully in the EM6910 for the last five years. Am certainly thinking about either buying a naked portafilter or butchering the single spouter that I'll never use otherwise.

    So far as volume goes, I was under the impression that 2oz (60mL) in 25-30s was the target out of a double shot? I certainly could slow it down a bit though and push the extraction out to 30s.

    I bumped up the dose to 21g for this morning's lattes and the puck was slightly drier but still on the damp side. Still cut the shot at 26s and had 54g extraction so brewing ratio was slightly better (39%) but still with room for improvement. Poured straight into Bodum glasses so don't know what shot volume was. Didn't have time to play.

    I like the suggestion of picking the dose, grinding to choke, backing it off to find 60mL/30s and then pouring shots to blonding point. A tasty double ristretto should be better latte base than a stronger but over-extracted double espresso.

  8. #8
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    You sound busy, mate. I would suggest marking the side of the bodum you pour into (or at least have an idea where 60ml/30ml is) so you don’t have to fiddlewith a shot glass during the daily routine. It may take you time but you’ll get there in the end. Your kit certainly is more than good enough for that god shot.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    I'd say stick to 20 or 21g, just pick one and go with it. Judge yield by weight but volume (as crema doesn't weigh much but takes up volume), you're pulling a 1:3 shot, which is a lungo. Try pulling a 1:2 shot (40g yield), which is an espresso, and then adjust the grind to get that in 25-30s.
    Sounds like you're on the right track and if you start ignoring shot volume and go by weight with a brew ratio between 1:1.5-1:2 you'll be golden.
    Last edited by level3ninja; 3 Weeks Ago at 10:51 AM. Reason: Autocorrect
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  10. #10
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by empty123 View Post
    People approach it differently but generally you want to fix most variables and change just one at a time.

    How I would do it is pick a dose, say 21grams, and then go as fine on the grind up to the point where the machine chokes. Then back up slightly and time the shot from there (measure volume too). I would ignore the blonding first at that point (so long as the shot looks like dripping honey) and focus on getting the 30s/60ml for the double. But once it is dialled in I wouldn’t drink past blonding point.

    Good luck, it is fun with a new machine.
    Excellent advice...

    Mal.
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  11. #11
    Junior Member Moph's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, the advice has really helped. I'm going to buy some 0.1g scales to help dial it in but am noticing significant improvement already.

    Did a bit of playing tonight and my best shot overall was a 22g dose that pulled a 34g shot (double ristretto, ~44mL) in 30 seconds. There was still more acidity there than I find pleasing but it's a vast improvement on where I was this morning, and it made a lovely latte.

    Interestingly one of the earlier shots I did that almost backed up the machine (21g dose ground very fine; only 18g out in 35s) was even tastier - full bodied, great mouthfeel, slight nuttiness and very little acidity. It's the first espresso shot I've ever tasted that I actually liked. Only trouble was the shot volume was prohibitively low. I didn't think of it at the time but should I give that grind another crack but allowing even longer extraction until I get to useful double ristretto territory? Seems I'd be way outside of the normal 26-30s extraction guidelines.

    Also would I be correct in thinking that sourness / acidity is generally felt immediately at the tip and around the sides of the tongue, while bitterness is further towards the back of the mouth (almost feeling like the roof) and develops slightly slower? I've never really thought about the difference between sourness and bitterness until now =)

  12. #12
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    What’s the temp at the grouphead like? Interesting about the sourness that you always mention... At that level of extraction (22g 44ml 30s and just 34g), I would think the “sourness” would be gone? Have you tried increasing a bit to 94C (if it is the default 93C at the moment)?

    It might also help to use Paul’s technique (K Bean) of dividing the extraction into fourths and tasting each “quadrant” separately.

    If you like the espresso from the shot that nearly backed up the machine, I’d say go with that one!
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  13. #13
    Junior Member Moph's Avatar
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    Not sure what temperature at the grouphead is exactly ... just tried a dodgy test by running a K-type thermocouple up under the basket via the portafilter spout and plugging the spout with tissue to reduce flow rate through the empty portafilter. Recorded a peak reading of 91.7*C (PID set for 94*C) which seems reasonable given that the thermocouple takes quite a few seconds to stabilise and by then brew boiler temp is already dropping given the amount of flow through the empty basket.

    Boiler temp was set at 94*C for all of tonight's shots. I decided to bump it up from 93*C that I was using this morning as 94*C seems a pretty common consensus for the Pro 700.

    I did try dividing the extraction on one of the later shots (similar to the final 22g -> 34g in 30s) ... tasted first half shot at 18s, second half shot at 30s and the full shot at 30s. There were differences in taste between the three but all were still very acidic.

    I'll go back to the finer grind tomorrow and try pulling an even longer shot to see how the taste holds up after stretching it to a double ristretto. It just seems to break all the rules of what I should be doing so a bit confuzzled

    There's a cafe near here that makes great lattes, so I might head in there tomorrow and try a ristretto and espresso. Should give me something to compare my shots against.

  14. #14
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    I would suggest you grab a bag of their beans as well and that will give you a better comparison...

  15. #15
    Senior Member smokey's Avatar
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    I still use this method when dialing in a new roast - I put a tea spoon into the stream of the pour and taste it. I'd taste it probably 4 or 5 times to gauge it's flavour until it sours. I can then adjust the pour time / grind using this method. Plus when it starts to blond I taste test to determine when to stop the pour. It works for me.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moph View Post
    Interestingly one of the earlier shots I did that almost backed up the machine (21g dose ground very fine; only 18g out in 35s) was even tastier - full bodied, great mouthfeel, slight nuttiness and very little acidity. It's the first espresso shot I've ever tasted that I actually liked. Only trouble was the shot volume was prohibitively low.
    Do you want good flavour--or just good volume?
    If all the flavour was in the short shot what was "prohibitive" about it?

    Greg
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  17. #17
    Junior Member Moph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregWormald View Post
    Do you want good flavour--or just good volume? If all the flavour was in the short shot what was "prohibitive" about it?
    Our normal drink of choice is lattes ... an 18g double shot isn't going to flavour as much milk as a 40g'ish shot, so I'd be pulling at least twice as many shots to get two drinkable lattes.

    I've been playing with and tasting espressos purely to try to improve my technique and get the new setup dialed in. I'm at a point where the lattes are tasting great so I'll bear with it for a month or so until my calendar frees up and then put myself through a barista course.

    I have some different beans on the way too so will experiment with them. It's always possible that those I'm using aren't up to snuff. Far more likely that I'm the problem though =)

  18. #18
    Junior Member Moph's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Looks like it WAS the beans. Had some new beans arrive today and the first shot dialed in at the old beans' settings was better than any I'd had out of the previous beans - so much less acidity and just a more robust flavour and body overall. Adjusted grind and the second shot was better again - drinking it now as a latte. The grind was still a bit too coarse so will keep fine tuning it over the next couple of lattes and see how the espresso turns out once the shot is dialed in.
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