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Thread: Newbie trying to produce a drinkable long black

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Newbie trying to produce a drinkable long black

    Hi
    Earlier today I purchased a Profitec 700 to go with the Profitec T64 grinder I bought 3 months ago. So I now have excellent equipment but am totally inexperienced using an espresso machine. Previously have only used stove top Bialetti and plunger. Both of which made ok coffee.

    I now have much improved equipment but it is clearly beyond my current abilities. I have gone through a kilo of coffee beans trying to dial in the grinder. I seem to be on the right track but the coffee I am producing is so strong I cannot drink it. Web search seems to indicate my brew ratio (18g coffee producing around 25-30ml coffee in 25secs) is too strong. I understand I need to subsequently dilute the shot with boiling water for a long black but am befuddled as to relative quantities etc. I think [?] I first need to make a less intense shot but if I allow the extraction to go well beyond 25secs to get 35-40ml will I not end up getting unpleasant flavours?

    I know I am a sad case but would really appreciate some help from any sympathetic and kind hearted souls reading this tragic post....

    Thanks to anyone who can offer suggestions.

    Paul
    P.S. I have booked a barista course - but that is a very long four weeks away.
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  2. #2
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    which coffee and how old?

  3. #3
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    Hi Paul its like you swapped your pushbike for a Lamborghini so there will be a big learning curve.

    Rolf is on the money with which coffee and how old and I think this may be your problem. Try milder and fresh about week old roasted beans.

    Add water or milk to the double shot until your happy with the taste and don't worry too much what the exact ratio is meant to be.

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    I'm guessing you are using a double basket to get 18g of coffee in the basket Paul. Are you aiming to get 25-30ml of total coffee extracted per brew from the double basket? If so being a double shot basket you should be getting around 50-60ml TOTAL coffee volume, and could certainly explain why your coffee is very strong and undrinkable. 25-30ml is about what you should get per shot and a double basket makes 2 shots.

    If that's the case then you'll need to wind back your grinder settings quite a way courser to get the desired volume. I think doing the barista course is a great idea as well to help you get the best from your very nice equipment.

    Good luck with it!
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plane24 View Post
    Hi
    (18g coffee producing around 25-30ml coffee in 25secs) is too strong. I und.
    That sounds like a really constipated shot.

    Ease up the grind setting a bit, let it flow and aim for a total of 40 to 50 mL from both spouts combined.

    With a long Black donít use totally boiling water but rather about 80C. You can get the temp down with a splash of tap water.

    Pour the shots over the top and try to run the streams down the sidewalk of the cup.

    This will float the shot on top and preserve the crema.
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  6. #6
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    Thanks everyone. The coffee I am using was bought fresh yesterday. The problem is with the workman and he cannot blame his tools. I will adjust grind to be coarser as per you recommendations and see how I go. Will report back later.

    Thanks again!

  7. #7
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    Some positive progress to report. After numerous attempts and another 500g of coffee I have got grind time of 6.9 secs producing 16.9g of ground coffee that produces 40ml in 24 secs. It even has crema! Brew ratio is now around 1:2.35 which seems to be in the right area at least.

    My wife has now banned any more grinding until this evening. Apparently she wants to watch the cricket without any intrusive background noise. Very selfish attitude if you ask me.....

    First observation: we newbies need to be told that grinder manufacturers are nasty people with warped senses of humour. They provide lovely great big dials on their machines that go from 1 to 10 but you end up tinkering with tiny, tiny changes between 7.25 and 7.75 for ages getting surprisingly different grinds. I was initially moving from 6.5 to 7.5 and wondering why I went from talcum powder to breadcrumbs.

    Second observation: I need to learn how to do this without making such a mess! Coffee grinds, spilt coffee, dribbles and mayhem from wall to wall. I used to think I was a reasonably tidy bloke but perhaps I was fooling myself.

    I will now devote the afternoon to the cricket and postpone actually making a cup of coffee until after dinner. With my luck it will probably be foul. But then again, maybe not. Fingers crossed.

    Thanks again to everyone who has offered me help. It is very much appreciated.
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  8. #8
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    Newbie trying to produce a drinkable long black

    Hi Paul.

    Hope itís all going well.

    Keep on trying and you will get there. Plenty of helpful videos on YouTube as well to guide the way.

    When you bought the machine did they go through the basics / basic cleaning routine with you to ensure you keep a clean machine between / after shots?

    Do you have a knock box? Or a microfibre cloth or two along with a group head brush to help with the cleaning thatís part of espresso making fun?



    Hereís a video that may help ...

    http://<a href="https://youtu.be/Jjf...jfxr24iuuw</a>
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plane24 View Post
    I have got grind time of 6.9 secs producing 16.9g of ground coffee that produces 40ml in 24 secs. It even has crema! Brew ratio is now around 1:2.35 which seems to be in the right area at least.
    If that's 40ml including crema, it's unlikely it weighs 40g. I would recommend weighing the yield if you want to look at the ratio but don't stress about it too much. Have you tried a shot that results in a yield closer to 60ml including crema?

    Quote Originally Posted by Plane24 View Post
    First observation: we newbies need to be told that grinder manufacturers are nasty people with warped senses of humour. They provide lovely great big dials on their machines that go from 1 to 10 but you end up tinkering with tiny, tiny changes between 7.25 and 7.75 for ages getting surprisingly different grinds. I was initially moving from 6.5 to 7.5 and wondering why I went from talcum powder to breadcrumbs.
    Doesn't the T64 have a worm drive adjustment mechanism? It must have taken you forever to adjust from 6.5 to 7.5! Did you make multiple coffees inbetween 6.5 and 7.5? The instruction manual says "Please use only small steps when adjusting the grind; only Ĺ turn of the adjuster."
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  10. #10
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    Hi Matt

    I bought knock box, rubberised tamping pad and microfibre cloth with machine. A group head brush came with it but so far I have simply used a damp cloth to wipe underside of shower (?) head between shots. Group head brush has been useful only to scratch top of bald head while I puzzled over perplexing results. Have backflushing powder but suspect/hope I won’t need to use this after just 24 hours of ownership. Since I have barely tasted the eveil black stuff I’ve produced thus far the hygiene/cleanliness issues have not concerned me. The acid test comes after dinner tonight when I will try to recreate the double shot I produced this morning and add to hot water in cups to make lomg blacks.

    Stay tuned.

    Paul
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  11. #11
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Hehehe. Sounds like a good alternative use of the brush. Back scratcher also comes to mind.

    Was just trying to gauge how much gear and knowledge they set you on your way with. Good that you have some extra training coming up but as you say it can be frustrating at times starting out.

    Thank you for your inspiration Paul. Iím just now finishing up a cup of black gold with festive fruit mince pie on the side.

    Hope you get an enjoyable cup too.


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plane24 View Post
    Thanks everyone. The coffee I am using was bought fresh yesterday. The problem is with the workman and he cannot blame his tools. I will adjust grind to be coarser as per you recommendations and see how I go. Will report back later.

    Thanks again!
    Just to totally eliminate one factor, could you kindly confirm what you mean by 'bought fresh yesterday'. When were the beans roasted, and who roasted them?
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    level3ninja: Sorry - I am weighing things and the output was 40g of coffee not 40ml. Apologies for the confusion.

    And yes the T64 does have a worm drive. My main problem was trying to find an initial grind that was roughly what was needed. This was where I spent some time winding the worm drive as there is no quick way to disengage it and do bigger changes with just the dial (at least not that I have found). So I spent lots of time doing coarse changes to find a starting point. It was then I became aware of how very sensitive the beast is to small changes. Hence my attempts at humour regarding grinder manufacturers.

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    Barry O’Speedwagon (love that name by the way). Coffee is from Bay Coffee Roasters in Neutral Bay Sydney. They roast if not every day then every few days so I am confident the beans are not the problem. It’s me.

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    steiny555: you guessed correctly re double basket. I am indeed using a double. I tried a single just once and wisely decided to leave it in the box for now. Based on your advice I have managed to increase liquid output to around 40g from about 18g of ground coffee. To increase liquid output further I tried making the grind coarser but when I did so the output jumped alarmingly (doubled) with only a tiny change in grind. I suspect I may need to grind more than 18g of coffee because the filter basket is not getting filled up to the level I was shown to aim for in the shop. I think this may be contributing to the erratic differences in output I am seeing. I suspect I may be getting random channeling in the puck* because the filter basket is underfilled.

    As one of our Prime Ministers once said - life was not meant to be easy.

    * Even if my coffee is not getting any better I am at least picking up on some of the geeky barrista terminology
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    No worries, Paul. Was just making sure....we do get a few chaps say 'yeh, absolutely fresh, bought it from Woolies last week'. You can tell your Mrs that it's raining in Perth and the cricket might be disrupted anyway.

    Seeing as you've got a camera, wouldn't hurt to take a photo of your ground coffee scattered on a piece of white paper and also pinched between two fingertips (to see how it cakes).
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  17. #17
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    Latest update:

    Have produced two sets of long blacks (one pair longer than the other). Both poor but drinkable. Would send back at a coffee shop. Crema is weak and disappears while carrying cups from machine to (testy) wife.

    This is all getting too frustrating and my wife is very unhappy at the expense (approaching $6000 if you include grinder) for such a miserable result. Not looking good for Christmas. Woe is me.....

    I think I urgently need to arrange for some private barrista training tomorrow.

    Can anyone suggest a person or company I can contact in Sydney (especially North Shore)? Don’t need to be taught about anything other than making decent espresso and long blacks. We can learn about milk frothing etc when we go to the already booked and paid course in late January.
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  18. #18
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    Newbie trying to produce a drinkable long black

    Hi Paul

    You never know your luck... One of the site sponsors might be free to help over the next few days. Jet Black espresso is over your way. Di Bartoli are just across the bridge and down a bit 🤣. Paying these people money in exchange for help is also good at this busy time of year.

    Or perhaps the place where you purchased the machine from?

    You could just take your portafilter, grinder and beans with you.

    If you work with someone and have those dialled in right then you should be good to go at home too. (Assuming your machine is ok). But that would be a good start.

    Can you take a video of whatís happening? Post here via YouTube?

  19. #19
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    Matt

    What an excellent suggestion. I will take grinder etc to the place I bought my equipment and they should be able to get me on track pretty quickly. Now I can get some sleep. Yippee!

    In the unlikely event it fails I’ll post a video (but it may well take the form of an online suicide). Just kidding.

  20. #20
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    Hi Paul,

    Happy to hear you are making progress in the right direction, easy mistake to make when you are first starting out.

    I'd be quite surprised if making very small changes in grind make such a dramatic change in the volume of coffee produced. I think you hit the nail on the head about not having the right dose of ground coffee in the basket. This is something that you need to learn to get consistent pours. If you get a consistent (and correct) dose of coffee, then the grind is your main other variable (providing fresh beans are used of course).

    Try looking up the '5c piece' test for a good guide on proper dosing levels. I've not used your machine or grinder before, but maybe as a rough guide fill your portafilter level to the rim with coffee beans and this should be a ball park guide to how much coffee you need. Weighing the beans used for each shot could also help with consistency once you get the hang of dosing.

    Also as level3ninja mentioned earlier 40ml is a little low for a double standard espresso shot, I'd aim for between 50-60ml over the 25-30 seconds.

    Hope thats not all too confusing, again training is money well spent (especially when you've got top shelf equipment that should be able to output coffee as good as most cafes!)

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    Hi Paul...

    I am very soon to be in exactly the same boat as you in that after a goof few months the kitchen is finally finished, plumbers coming tomorrow to plumb everything in and then I will be trying out the machine - an Alex Leva and Eureka Atom in my case.

    I will be keen to hear how you went with the training as I plan to do exactly the same next year.

    Will post some pics of the new set up in the next day or so.

    Good luck with it all.

    Alastair
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  22. #22
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    Update #2

    Following advice I took my grinder back to the shop this morning along with my coffee. Received warm welcome and they had no issues with dialing in my grinder. As it happens I had the grind setting right. I was just underdosing. My grind time was 6.9 secs but it needed to be 8.3 secs.

    I have been out all day so have only just had a chance to try it out at home. I cannot claim total success but I did at least produce two recognizable long blacks. With more practice I am optimistic my shots will steadily improve.

    Thanks again to everyone for your advice and support. It is a delight to have good people like you take an interest and offer help to a stranger.

    Merry Christmas.
    Paul
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  23. #23
    Fry
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    Nice thread and some good troubleshooting going on. Here's a bunch of geekery I've come across recently which helps me make sense of the whole dialling in thing (a work in progress to be sure.)
    Commercial link removed as per the Site Posting Policy
    Happy brewing, I'm sure you'll have it down pat in no time.
    Last edited by Javaphile; 20th December 2017 at 10:43 AM. Reason: Commercial link(s) removed

  24. #24
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    Hi Paul

    Very Glad to hear you got things sorted out. Sometimes a bit of face to face support can help get things sorted out.

    Hopefully you're getting some more enjoyable and consistent shots.

    Noticed the link to this gross sounding video didn't work... "three legs on your espresso stool"... doesn't sound good. But it may help.
    :-)

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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Just one other thing. Sorry if this is obvious, but are you tasting the straight espresso shots from your machine?

    This is a critical part of dialing everything in. You canít make a good long black without a good espresso shot!

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