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Thread: New guy, help me on my journey to snobbery.

  1. #1
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    New guy, help me on my journey to snobbery.

    Hi all,
    My name is jack, and local to Perth. I am attempting to become a snob, but struggling.
    I have been a browser here, picking up tips and help from previous posts, but I think I need opinion.
    Hoping a fellow member can chime in with some help.
    I have base model gear that was $30 for a 800es breville, and a bcg450 grinder. I had to repair the circuit board on the 800es, and I have cut the stopper off the 450. I have also milled 0.5mm off the top grinder plate, and shimmed it down. I could get the grinder to eat itself if needed.

    I have a non pressurised basket, and have fresh beans from local roasters 'crema roasters' in canning vale today.

    The grinder is past the Turkish setting, by about a inch. But remember I have lowered top burr another 0.5mm, so its a lot finer than it seems.
    I have dosed with 18g tapping portafilter. After scraping flat and tamping I have 17.4g , im tamping as hard as I can, almost full body weight. I cannot get 18g into basket. I may have touched the screen on this shot as the coffee swelled.

    So I know I should get 36g espresso in a 30sec pull. It pulls that amount in 16sec. I start the timer as soon as I flick the pump on, so including the pre wet stage. I cannot stall this machine.

    I think I'm going to get another portafilter and mill it to a naked portafilter to see if its a tamping issue I'm having.

    I will attach a pic of the puk for opinion. I think it maybe holed, indicating I tamp badly.

    Opinions appreciated, I know I maybe need new gear, (and considering a better grinder) but I'd like to make this stuff as good as I can.
    Appreciated!

  2. #2
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    I had the same grinder and I found even with shims it simply will not grind fine enough.

    Personally I would look into another grinder (others may disagree) but there are grinders popping up here in Perth all the time. I doubt that much of an issue would be caused by tamping alone (36 g in 16 sec is very quick!).
    Some of the fines might get fine enough, but the consistency simply won't be there.

    I would recommend getting to the point where you 'choke' the machine - ie coffee simply won't come out because it is too fine. Once you get to this point you will know for certain you are finer than you need to go, before then it can be tough. Then dial back from the point where you choke the machine until you get about the 30ml in 30 sec mark and fine tune from there
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    I have linked some tinypic, but I think they are awaiting approval.
    Maybe I will pop down local coffee shop and get a small amount of ground beans to compare.

    Thanks for reply.
    I will more seriously consider a newer grinder.
    Or keep going finer until a magnet can pick the grinder teeth out of the bottom of my cup.

    Cheers
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  5. #5
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    They are up now.

    Hard to tell from the photos - but yeah I still don't think the grounds are fine enough. Does anyone you know have a slightly higher end grinder you could borrow or at worst grind some beans and then take them home. They will probably go stale in the journey but it might prove a point that you need a new grinder or not.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    The grind does appear to be to coarse need to go finer. That grind would be fine for a plunger coffee but not espresso

  7. #7
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    The grind should feel like gritty flour if you rub between your fingers. Best way I can describe the ball park, ie it's quite fine.

    Cheers

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    Thank you all. I will pop down local coffee shop, time their shot pulls and if they are around 30sec, I will buy a few grounds. Maybe able to get a dose for the price of a espresso. Will be good enough to try. Will report back.

    It is certainly a lot nicer with fresh beans, I'm quite excited to see these improvements.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    Thank you all. I will pop down local coffee shop, time their shot pulls and if they are around 30sec, I will buy a few grounds. Maybe able to get a dose for the price of a espresso. Will be good enough to try. Will report back.

    It is certainly a lot nicer with fresh beans, I'm quite excited to see these improvements.
    Sounds like a solid plan - what I would recommend if you can try to get the grounds and back home in under an hour or so (the shorter the better as ground coffee goes stale quickly).
    Then try pulling a few shots that way with varying dose and tamp. Personally I think the tamp doesn't make a huge difference, more of a fine tune. As long as you use a relatively firm pressure you are okay.

    Keep in mind the machine they at the cafe use will likely be higher pressure (or at least more consistent temp & flow than the Breville) but I still think it's a worthwhile exercise to eliminate variables.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    As stated the ground coffee from the shop will be for a machine with more pressure than your breville. You may find it will choke your machine. If you can’t get your grinder to grind finer then go with the shop coffee. As WhateverbeansNecessary stated do not tamp hard at first just enough to smooth the top, then experiment as you go. Good luck

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    The coffee shop was pouring 16 sec shots so I skipped them as possibly no better than what I'm doing. The girls aren't allowed to touch the grinder so that was a pass.

    I loaded my grinder, wound it tight. So that is to the 2nd stop plus 0.5mm shimmed. I got 17.5g in the basket leveled before tamp.
    Was 24sec for 35ml....and the pump was actually cycling and that's the first time I have heard that.

    So, I think definitely the grinder. Everyone is right!

    I will browse Gumtree and narrow results by looking here for reviews, and take my magnifyer to check the burrs.

    Thanks all!

  12. #12
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    Nice!

    35ml in 24 sec is certainly getting better! 1:2 ish is pretty reasonable, but maybe about 5/6 sec to bring it up to 30 seconds and drop 5ml or would make it less sour, but a great result!

    Gumtree can be a mixed bag of people asking too much, bargains and junk that has been hammered/not looked after. In the Hardware for Sale section here 95% of the time the gear has been looked after and people are upgrading their kit rather than "it doesn't work and i'll flog it off to an unsuspecting punter".

    Good luck finding something that works out for you though

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    The coffee shop was pouring 16 sec shots so I skipped them as possibly no better than what I'm doing. The girls aren't allowed to touch the grinder so that was a pass.

    I loaded my grinder, wound it tight. So that is to the 2nd stop plus 0.5mm shimmed. I got 17.5g in the basket leveled before tamp.
    Was 24sec for 35ml....and the pump was actually cycling and that's the first time I have heard that.

    So, I think definitely the grinder. Everyone is right!

    I will browse Gumtree and narrow results by looking here for reviews, and take my magnifyer to check the burrs.

    Thanks all!
    Also, how did it taste?
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    It is all about the taste

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    I feel it was still lacking. Sour would be my thoughts. But definitely on the way to better.
    I was happy with the puck on the latest drop. Only slightly disturbed by the water coming out the screen.

    I live on the junk others throw out. I also have a primadonna that I have replaced all the orings, and the water flow meter. I will put some of the new beans in that in next day or so, and crank it finer.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    I hope you get the result you are looking for

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    Been away for a couple of days.
    Tried the finest setting on the grinder and loaded 18g into that primadonna avant....choked it straight up! Reloaded at several settings finer....choked again. Used its own grinder on finest setting and its a 15sec shot, I had a laugh (watery and pretty bad) I guess its grinder needs making finer too.
    The 800es was warmed back up, and made a much nicer cup. But still short on time at 23 sec for 36ml. (Edit. 36g not ml)
    But its drinkable till I get a better grinder.
    Cheers!
    Last edited by Jackster; 30th November 2017 at 05:14 PM.
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    I need to clarify, and will go back and edit previous posts. My shot size is weighed, not measured in ml.
    I interchanged them without considering the crema may weigh less than water, and the initial syrupy drips may be heavier.
    Sorry if I confused.
    Could only edit post #17. But shots are weighed, not measured.

    I like these crema roasters beans. They are the mocha Arabica, when ground they smell chocolatey, and caramel, and toasty. Kind of buttery too. Yum!

    Would like to hear if anyone else has used their beans?

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    Haha, almost choked it!
    19.5g beans, 42g shot, 47 secs. Wish I had a pressure gauge.
    Different mouth feel for sure, more on the back of the tongue.
    Modded the grinder more, removed hopper, and bit of tube glued to top of grinder so weight of beans is more directly on the burrs. Also a shot glass will sit on beans and feed them in. At this fineness I'm understanding what was said about gritty flour. Its a little clumpy but I use a jar anyway, grind into jar, shakey shakey, and the jar inverted fits perfectly onto of, so a settling tap with jar held on keeps grinds where you want them. Tamp and away.
    The grinder has good grind retention (the only good bit on the grinder) with a bang and bump is around 0.2g

    Waiting on some replies to pms for a used grinder.
    Anyway, here's cheers and merry Christmas!

  20. #20
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    Nice, well done mate.

    Now that you are getting an all most choke - dial it back a little OR you can pull the shot out early. A lot of lever users (including myself) pull the shot out early as the lever will basically always deliver the same volume (give or take) so you can only play with the speed of extraction rather than the volume. So normally I will pull my shot and wait until the 30-40 second mark then take the cup away and leave the rest to go into a drip tray (or actually a plastic container).

    So you can try that or dialing the grind back to a more standard 30ml in 30 sec shot. Having said that i prefer a 20ml in 40 sec - but again the lever is a little different.

    Good luck.

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    Another go.
    I need to stop the shot a little earlier as it drips through another few grams. A little shorter on beans as bag is empty 15.4g so was aiming for 31g in the cup, ended up with 40.
    I think it was still a little more on the back of the tongue so that's in line with over extracted.
    I don't think it will get much closer with my old grinder.

    I welcome any musings.
    Video!

    https://youtu.be/CR8yxCSZ_v8

  22. #22
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    The extraction looks pretty good early - nice thick syrupy pour. Maybe blondes a little bit at the end, but doesn't look bad at all. Maybe cut off the water a little earlier and then take it out before the final drips.

    A good experiment to do is line up 6 shot glasses (or any glass) and then pull a shot in the first glass and change the glass every 5 seconds. So you have a 30 second shot in 6 different glasses. Then taste each one and see how it goes. You should find the first glass is like molasses and gets watery toward the end. The last couple of glasses will be a good tell if you are getting really bitter or sour tastes for over or under extraction.

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    Awesome. I will definitely do that.
    Could you point out the second you pick the blonding and i should have cut and moved the cup. I can't really see the blonding.
    I cut it at 1:04. It was a bit grainy in the cup at the bottom, but I guess that's again the cheap grinder chewing its way through beans any way it can.

    I'm going to cut the bottom of pf off at Christmas. I'm considering milling it off here, but a lathe will do a nicer job.

    Defrosting more beans for tomorrow.
    The puck looked good, but it had swollen heaps, and was a very small touch of shower screen even though I was well below the 2 cup mark on the basket. There was a little grinds on the screen too, so def touching. I did the 5c test on basket with 20g in it and it passed. I think I will use 15g next time.
    I had the shower screen out a few days ago. Omg, the crud in there, not just from me either.

  24. #24
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    Defrosting more beans for tomorrow.
    If you haven't already have a read of this thread: Introduction to the storing of roasted beans

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    The puck looked good, but it had swollen heaps, and was a very small touch of shower screen even though I was well below the 2 cup mark on the basket. There was a little grinds on the screen too, so def touching. I did the 5c test on basket with 20g in it and it passed. I think I will use 15g next time.
    Stick with the 5 cents test level. Have a read of this thread and a watch of it's video's: Clear naked portafilter


    Java "Isn't science fun?!" phile
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    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

  25. #25
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    Purchased a baratza 270w. Old grinder will be relegated to plunger duties.

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    Thanks for links. Hadn't seen them particularly, but picked up the same idea from many posts. I am storing beans as suggested. Squash air out, tape valve, defrost while sealed. Enjoy.....
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    So I know I should get 36g espresso in a 30sec pull. It pulls that amount in 16sec.
    I know I am going back to the start here, but that's probably about right depending on what you're looking for. Not sure where the math lands but typically a double shot would be around the 60ml in 25-30s (from around the 18-19-20g range depending on the basket), which is quite common in a lot of coffee shops. Though it sounds like you're going for the ristretto? In which case your experimenting is the only way to find what you're happy with!

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    I have to disagree with you RecR, I think 60 ml is far too much - 1:2 is usually a pretty reasonable ratio and would be considered a normal espresso shot. A 60ml shot with 20g of espresso (getting close to a triple dose) is 1:3 which is on the long side and a 1:1 would be more like a ristretto.

    Naturally it is all subjective to individuals taste - but in general I would think a 60ml shot would be over extracted and get the more bitter notes.

  29. #29
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    Yep you're right it's pretty subjective. I should probably have noted that 60ml in 30s is usually a more 'traditional' style shot. Whereas more recently ("third wave") it has become more common to have a much tighter extraction. Depending on the bean I've often found a 'traditional' double shot to be a bit under, but I've usually been able to sort it out with the grind. It does seem though that the days of "7g = 30ml and 14g = 60ml" are becoming a past time.

    Of course there's no wrong answer, some people swear by either style of coffee. It's all subjective. A bad grind or technique on either method will still result in a bad shot.

  30. #30
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    Jackster, I'm feeling your pain. I'm discovering that the more I learn, the more I don't know... and I'm starting to tear out the few remaining hairs.

    The old sunbeam EM6910 thermoblock with supermarket (lavazza) beans through a basic SB grinder made us quite acceptable lattes for many years. Then a brief stint with a La Cimbali proffesional HX machine made far superior and sweeter textured milk, but I still couldn't drink the espresso, despite the pulls matching all the theoretical numbers. I put it down to stale beans, dodgy grinder, and my inept taste-buds. I can tell that the taste is not nice/sweet/flavorsome, but I can't differentiate sour from bitter (and consequently I could never chose which way to adjust the shots).

    So I thought I'd throw the SB in the bin, sell the Cimbali, buy some modern equipment (Baratza 270W and Breville dual boiler), and try tune my taste by making espresso's instead of lattes... Well, every post of yours may as well be coming from my mouth!

    Unfortunately I don't have any advice for you, as I haven't overcome my issues. I think my solution will be to book a professional to come out and help me dial it in, and teach me sour from bitter at the same time.

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    I have been arguing this with myself and still getting mixed answers. I don't want to start something that has been covered to death everywhere.

    I just want a start point, then if I get that, I can change it up to suit myself after.

    I do understand the point. If a single espresso is 30ml, and a single dose is 10g, then my closer to double doses should be double the volume.
    I was aiming and trying for the 1:2 ratio in 30sec in a double basket into a single cup.

    I don't have any preferences yet. Im just trying to find a start point.

    Stupid grinder....has been on no2 click, have been backing it off more and more as its been too fine, now at 6 and its back to gushing.
    Will try it on 4 this morning....maybe into 6 cups, as mentioned above

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    Haha, the milk in a latte masks it all.
    Good on you timbo!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    the milk in a latte masks it all.
    yup yup! I dont think I realised how bad my coffee has actually been all these years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster
    Stupid grinder...
    Is this with the old breville, or has the baratza arrived?

  34. #34
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    Baratza is about a week away. Still in the mail.
    Maybe old grinder is playing up as I'm swinging it by its cord. Preparing to fly cast it out the door.

    Used baratza popped up localy on Gumtree too. Yep, yep...

  35. #35
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    This forum is so funny.

    I can't type 'I had a laugh'. It gets changed to 'I had a laugh'

  36. #36
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    I had a laugh I had a laugh I had a laugh giggled like a schoolgirl

    Pmsl
    Aha, its not a very thorough txtspeak converter

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    Wtf...this is likely to entertain me for a bit

    Wtf? Wtf works...

  38. #38
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    I think you need another coffee.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    I have to disagree with you RecR, I think 60 ml is far too much - 1:2 is usually a pretty reasonable ratio and would be considered a normal espresso shot. A 60ml shot with 20g of espresso (getting close to a triple dose) is 1:3 which is on the long side and a 1:1 would be more like a ristretto.

    Naturally it is all subjective to individuals taste - but in general I would think a 60ml shot would be over extracted and get the more bitter notes.
    60ml does not equal 60g, so itís wrong to say 20g in/60ml out is a brew ratio of 1:3. This is the very reason we encourage people to weigh everything, at least when theyíre dialing things in as crema volume and roasted bean density will make a difference to what that 60ml weighs. Iíve typically found 60ml of espresso weighs 40-50g depending on the amount of crema.
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  40. #40
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    Another go.
    I need to stop the shot a little earlier as it drips through another few grams. A little shorter on beans as bag is empty 15.4g so was aiming for 31g in the cup, ended up with 40.
    I think it was still a little more on the back of the tongue so that's in line with over extracted.
    I don't think it will get much closer with my old grinder.

    I welcome any musings.
    Video!

    https://youtu.be/CR8yxCSZ_v8
    That shot actually looked pretty good to me. One thing that no one has really noticed is that youíre over dosing the basket. Iíve had an 800es as well as a couple of Sunbeams that take the same 51mm baskets. I recommend a dose of about 15g if youíre using the original Breville or Sunbeam filter basket. 16g might work for some coffee with 16.5g being an absolute upper limit. Without any kind of preinfusion youíre gonna get slightly shorter shot times. The best shots Iíve had from the 800es tended to be 15g dose, 30g yield in 25-30sec. Again this is just a guide, but I highly recommend sticking to roughly 15g doses. This might mean you need to tighten your grind up one or two steps, but thatís part of getting a good extraction from this level of machine.

  41. #41
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    Its not a breville basket, but a single wall one..no name brand. It has a mark with a 2 on it. I can get 16g with a lighter tamp in at the marked line. I have found a sprung tamper, but not in my size, but the pressure is a lot lighter than I have previously been using. This gives more credence to Leroy's comment that I'm overdosing.
    I think you maybe right. With less in basket, I don't have to jump on tamper to get it to fit in.
    I have written 16g on my board as my dose. But grinder is backed off too far now. Try again later a little finer.

    Thanks all for your continued interest.

  42. #42
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    I found the dose/tamp suggestions quite varied.

    There are obviously many opinions on whether to updose in weight (22g in a 20g basket, 20g in a 18g basket etc).

    Then there are the processes to try.. the 5c rule, or lining up with a specific line on the tamper, or the concept of seeing a slight showerscreen screw indent on the puck after pulling the shot.

    Unfortunately for me, few of the above match using the level of the manufacturer supplied "razor" doser tool, so it seems you really do need to rely on having tuned tastebuds.

  43. #43
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    The 5c thing clearance was putting grinds on the showerscreen, probably because it was tamped so hard and resultingly grew quite a bit. 16g isn't touching the screen, so seems better in that regard.
    I can always come back up later...

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