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Thread: Trouble 'choking' La Pavoni with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Special Prep

  1. #1
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    Trouble 'choking' La Pavoni with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Special Prep

    Hi CS Home Roasters,

    I purchased some Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Special Prep as it is considered one of the Snobs all round favourites.
    Roasted a 400g batch in the behmor with my usual settings – P1 to first crack, P1 for about 20 sec to reduce the heat a little, P2 until end of first crack + 45-60 sec.
    Came out on the light side, probably CS8 ish (although not too versed on the scale). Was happy with the result from the look/smell.

    I was probably too eager and decided to dive in 24 hour later. Used my standard grind settings on my Rancillio Rocky with stepless mod for my La Pavoni – please note I do dial in the grinder, but I find my ‘standard grind setting’ is usually a good start and can tinker from there.
    Grind about 14g into the PF, do the normal heating routine on the La Pavoni. Choked the machine and couldn’t pull the shot without fear of snapping the lever. Turned off the machine, cooled and depressurized and tried again. Turned the grinder back about 2 major units. Same result. Decided to switch back to Ethiopian Sidamo (a great bean fyi) and give the Yirgry a few more days to mature.
    Cut to this morning 4 days post roast. Turned the grinder back another 4 units, same result. Turned off and reset. Turned the dial on the grinder back 4 more units and the grind was very coarse (10 in total – keeping in mind 3-4 units is usually the difference between a very tight ristretto/almost choke and a loose pour like a lungo).
    Could actually pour the shot this time, but had to use a significant amount of body weight and a fear the lever might bend/snap. Still not happy with the pour as it took well over 40 sec and it trickled/dripped out. Normally I would get a decent trickle/flow. Each time however I did get an initial 5ml dumped into the glass of liquid but then choked after that???

    To my question: Has anyone experienced this before and what did you do?
    I think I will give the Yirgry another 4 or so days to mature, but I have never experienced this before even with very fresh coffee <24 hours after roast.

  2. #2
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    Update on anyone still interested.
    Descaled the machine and waited another 3 days (this morning) to try this bean/roast again.

    Had a lot more success, however still very strange pour.

    Lots of liquid came out early, a bit watery. Then the flow slowed back to a trickle, but a steady trickle. Roughly a 20 sec pour time. Adjusted the grind down a little and much the same, lots of initial liquid and then slowed to a trickle.

    Not huge amounts of crema, but the shot was lovely in flavor. Had a wonderful floral notes and marzipan/almond/cherry taste - which I wasn't expecting. Some further dialing in of the shot may provide a more syrup like pour.

    I think the descale helped a lot, but still having some weird issues with the pour which I haven't had before.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


  3. #3
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    Interesting pour. All I can think of is that you may need to dose less into the basket and go from there.
    The symptoms remind me of a full basket that lets a bit of water through, then the coffee grinds swell and block the flow as there isn't room for expansion.

  4. #4
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    I'd let them settle. Sounds like lots of gas still. Yirgi to me generally light in body - so less crema than many. Don't let it bother you too much - the taste is what its about!

  5. #5
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    Update numero dos.
    Let the beans sit for 8 days since roast and wen't back to fundamentals. First (as suggested) I was indeed overdosing the basket significantly. Normally I would dose to fill the basket which is roughly 14-15g of beans - what seems to work for most beans/blends I roast. Turns out for the Yirgacheff I was dosing up to 18-19 grams! Even though by the eye it looked a similar amount full.

    Turned the grinder right back down to a couple of notches above where I started in my original post. Weighed out only 12 gram of coffee. Far too watery and the pour took about 10 sec.
    Fiddle for another hour or so keeping the boiler/group head cool. Eventually settled back to about 14 grams and a slightly coarser grind than I would normally go and a light finger tamp.

    Produced a stunning tasting coffee, but very little crema. Again similar notes of almond, marzipan, cherry and even a little vanilla.

    Still a little more fine tuning to go and hopefully get a little more crema in the shot, but as others have suggested it doesn't produce buckets of crema anyway.

    Lesson to the wise; always check your fundamentals (dose weight, grind setting and tamp) before assuming anything else!

    Thanks for the feedback Tim & whykickamoocow.
    shewey and timmyjj21 like this.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jono_Willmer's Avatar
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    I'll be trying this coffee for the first time in a few days, I roasted 350g last night so I'll see how it turns out. I'll report back if I experience any of these issues.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Jono_Willmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono_Willmer View Post
    I'll be trying this coffee for the first time in a few days, I roasted 350g last night so I'll see how it turns out. I'll report back if I experience any of these issues.
    I found I actually had to grind a bit finer than other roasts I'd done?

  8. #8
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    Hi Jono,

    I think my main problem was the amount I was dosing. For some weird reason I could dose 17-18g in my double filter basket (which is waaayyyy too much for a little Pavoni) of the yirgacheff. Went back to basics and weighed each dose to 14-15g and troubles subsided. Not sure why I could fit a lot more in the same sized basket with this bean specifically.

    How did you go with your roast? I have had only sparing success with the Yirgacheff so far. Most have described the flavours as light citrus, lemon, even some peachy notes. But I got caramel, marzipan and cherry which was unusual. So I tried a lighter roast that was almost undrinkable because it was too grassy and underdone. So I have just recently gone the other way to the edge of second crack to see what the flavours are like. Haven't tried it yet though, giving it a few days to rest.

    Let me know your thoughts. Cheers!

  9. #9
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    Jono how did you go with the roast?

    I tried my latest attempt yesterday morning for the first time (about 4 days post roasting) and it was a completely different experience than the last one. It was like drinking lemon juice or the old Italian lemonchello - not what I was expecting after my first attempt was cheery marzipan and vanilla flavours. I'll be completely honest and I was stunned at the difference, it was striking.

    I had previously heard the Yirgacheff was normally a lot more citrus and fruity than what I think my first roast was and now I get those notes significantly more.

  10. #10
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    Behmor Coffee Roaster
    Like wise, I went finer too and got some better results

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