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    Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Equip

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Budget equipment with pressurized baskets makes it easier to not go wrong making espresso. However, it also makes it exceedingly difficult to make a good espresso. Restricted shots (cafe ristrettto) are particularly difficult as you will be walking the fine line between choking the basket and getting a pour. Ive learned much in the past few months. After going two kilograms of practice beans, I have some tips I would like to share with the community.

    This guide covers the more advanced aspects of espresso making. Id reccommend going through at least 1kg of beans before reading this guide.

    I am using a Sunbeam EM4800C with a EM0480 burr grinder.





    --------------------------------------------
    Intro: Its All About Consistency
    --------------------------------------------


    Once upon a time, i thought that I my espresso making ritual was consistent enough.



    Left: 25s pour. 20kg tamp. ~5ml. Grinder at reference point. <-- Far overextracted. Bitter. Undrinkable.
    Middle: 10s pour. 20kg tamp. ~15ml. Grinder +1 click. *<-- Underextracted. Sour and acrid.
    Right: 10s pour. 20kg tamp. ~25ml! Grinder at reference point. <-- VERY underextracted.

    The results dont make sense. The first pour was way overextracted. So i set my grinder one step courser. The pour time to blonding for 15ml was 10s. It was a gusher and was way underextracted. So i set my grinder back one step finer. To my surprise, the time to blonding was still *about 10s, but this time, 25ml had gushed through!!!

    This article is a summary of what i discovered about the quirks of my budget espresso setup while trying to figure out what went wrong. It is difficult, but achieving good espresso, even with pressurized baskets, IS possible. Its not "luck" on the budget machines as some may assume. So why were the three shots above so different? Read on...



    --------------------------------------------
    Part One: Getting A Consistent Grind.
    --------------------------------------------




    If you are like me, and only take about two coffees a day. The grinds stuck to the insides of your grinder could make a big difference in your shot. The picture above shows the amount of ground coffee stuck inside the grinder. They were dislodged by rocking the grinder back and fourth - the vibration from its rubber feet stomping let out more than two teaspoons of grounds. Also, if left overnight it will go acrid and your coffee the next day would be sour.

    TIP #1: ALWAYS remove stuck grounds from your grinder when changing your grind settings / or after you are done using your grinder.

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    Re: Adv Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq


    -------------------------------------------------
    Part Two: Essential Tools Not Included
    -------------------------------------------------


    Im actually quite disappointed that a $200 machine wouldnt come with a few simple accessories. I guess I shouldnt complain as even a $700 Rancilio Silvia doesnt come with a tamper...Anyway, here are some essential tools you WILL need to get consistent Results.




    Bathroom Scale: Make sure your tamp is consistent. For me, its always 20kg. I only ever vary it slightly (~3kg + -) when i notice that the room humidity has changed (more on that later).

    Sprayer: For cleaning the bloody diagonal frothing wand on the EM4800. Its a real b1tch to clean. Why cant they just make a smooth rounded tip like on the more pricey machines???


    TIP #2: Get everything consistent. Weigh beans before grinding. level grounds in basket with smooth wand. Tamp with even pressure. Make sure tamp is even and level.



    Tamper: Without one, your coffee machine is useless. The DVD that came with my machine showed a guy cramming in about 20g of coffee into the single basket!! Ridiculous. With a proper tamper, levelling and tamping is sufficient. The Sunbeam single baskets hold about 10g of coffee when done this way.

    Scale: Get your dosing consistent. I measure 10g of coffee for each shot. Its also useful for storing coffee!! I typically buy about 80g of freshly roasted beans from my local Italian Grocer. 60g goes in the fridge in an airtight tin immediately. 20g i keep in a small airtight container next to my machine for immediate use that day or the following morning. Remember, freshness is VERY important. Treat your beans like you would treat bananas. They go bad quickly.

    Something Round And Smooth: Used to level the grounds in the basket. One clean swoop sets an even surface for tamping. I use a milkwand sheath (the white wand in pic).

    Porcelain Bowl and Small Brush: Grind into a porcelain bowl. Use brush to agitate and break up any clumps. Important in judging humidity.


    TIP #3: Judge Humidity. Look at how the grinds stick to the sides of the smooth porcelain bowl when dosing. Eventually, you will get the hang of it. I vary my tamp by about 3-5kg to adjust to higher humidity. Sometimes i tamp as lightly as 15kg if i notice heavy sticking (i forget to warm up my refridgerated beans in advance sometimes)

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    Re: Adv Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq


    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Part Three: Important Care Tip For Pressurized Baskets
    -------------------------------------------------------------------




    This was THE reason why the three shots in part one varied so widely. Im sure many others have faced this problem with pressurized filter baskets and subsequently (and rightfully so) thought that pressurized filter baskets are crap. Some grinds ALWAYS get past the first layer of your filter basket and get trapped in the tight pressurized layer between the pinhole and the top part. Your filter basket may be partially stuck, generating far more pressure than what your machine was designed for. This results in a slow dark bitter shot. You then try to repeat it with a courser grind, but this time some particles dislodge and you get a gusher.

    Therefore, it is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to look after your pressurized basket properly. As a rough guide, if you have been taking good care of them, fill them halfway with water and press on the top with your palm to generate an airtight seal and a little pressure. With minimal pressure you should see water spurting out from the pinhole at the bottom. If water just drips out, your basket is partially stuck. If no water seems to come out, your basket needs to be flushed.



    TIP 4: Treat your pressurized filter basket the way you would treat your retainers/dentures. Flush them after each use. Leave them soaked in water. Flush before each use. It helps warm up the portafilter as well when you do that.




    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Part Four: Working Around Limitiations When Serving Guests
    -------------------------------------------------------------------


    One big limitation of budget gear is that it is slow to pull consecutive shots. The lack of a three way solenoid valve makes the puck muddy, and you will have to clean your grouphead with a cloth after each pour. I find that with my machine, I could comfortably serve two guests at once. Any more and the time taken to pull consecutive shots plus the time taken to steam milk is just too much for me.

    Using the double basket (again, another bag of worms as it requires a change to the grinder settings) you could pull a ~60ml shot into a small heated jug (i use a 300ml milk jug) and divide it into three small 90ml cups. Give em about 20ml of espresso each, stir in half a teaspoon of sugar, and top up with steamed milk. Its sorta like a piccolo latte and trust me your instant-coffee-drinking friends (if they arent coffeesnobs and are just normal people like uni students) will be impressed :)



    TIP 5: Serving more than 3 guests at once will take excessive time for preparation. Serve picollo lattes, or if you must serve 6 guests, prepare three double shots into a small steel jug in advance (ok, purists will cringe) and leave it on the warming tray shortly before your guests arrive. That way youll only have to foam the milk when they show up.



    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Part Five: The Problem With Fake Crema
    -------------------------------------------------------------------


    Fake crema makes it difficult to judge the quality of your shot by looking at the crema alone for the simple reason that you will get crema even if your grind is way too coarse or your tamp is too light. However, it is still useful in diagnosing shot problems.



    If you notice any light colored foam with large bubbles forming, its pretty much a definite sign that your coffee is underextracted (even if your pour time for 30ml is above 20s!!! This may be due to channels forming through the grounds. Uneven tamp perhaps?). Your coffee will taste sour.

    Pay close attention to the color of the crema. It should not turn blonde. You will not get striping due to the pressurized pinhole exit, but you should get a rich dark brown emulsion on top of your coffee. The moment you see it turn pale/light/yellow/blonde, stop the pour. If this happens in under 15s, you may need to set your grinder finer.

    The dark brown emulsion should drip slowly and constantly WITH RESISTANCE (this is the most helpful tip from the SUnbeam DVD, IMO). If it pours out like water, your shot is likely underextracted. Sudden pale gushes are often a sign of unlevel tamping, especially with the shallower single basket.

    TIP 6: Pale fake crema or fake crema with large bubbles are a sign that somethings wrong. Aim to achieve a slow, consistent pour with dark (fake) crema.



    My personal preferance: 20s. 20ml. 10g coffee. 20kg tamp. Shot restricted before any signs of blonding.

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    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Adv Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Im sorry ezralim, as I can see youve put a lot of effort into preparing these notes, but Im going to disagree with you on a number of points that you might consider...

    a) *pressurised baskets dont make it easier to make espresso - they just make fake crema, so you think you might be making a good espresso

    b) *it sounds like you are achieving what you may think is a ristretto by altering the grind - thats not a ristretto

    c) *the sunbeam tamper isnt much better than a plastic one - I know you didnt say it is, but maybe you could clarify

    d) *you refrigerate your beans? :o I suspect the consensus here is that refrigerating beans is not a good way to store them.

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    Re: Adv Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis link=1214886480/0#3 date=1214888466
    Im sorry ezralim, as I can see youve put a lot of effort into preparing these notes, but Im going to disagree with you on a number of points that you might consider...

    a) *pressurised baskets dont make it easier to make espresso - they just make fake crema, so you think you might be making a good espresso

    b) *it sounds like you are achieving what you may think is a ristretto by altering the grind - thats not a ristretto

    c) *the sunbeam tamper isnt much better than a plastic one - I know you didnt say it is, but maybe you could clarify

    d) *you refrigerate your beans? *:o *I suspect the consensus here is that refrigerating beans is not a good way to store them.
    a) i cant agree more...

    b) "-.- this has been debated to death on numerous forums. I find that by using a finer grind i can slow the pour and hence get 20mls in about 20-25s with no signs of blonding. That is my definition. I guess everyone has different expectations for the ideal ristretto. Some people just use a normal pour but take only the first part of it, effectively stopping early to get a reduced volume.

    c) it is alot better than the plastic one. On the DVD, the guy uses the plastic one to jam 20g of coffee (dose, lightly tamp, dose, lightly tamp, dose yet again, then tamp hard) into the single basket. I guess if i were doing that it would be ok. But if youre levelling lose grinds on the single sunbeam basket before tamping (~10g), then the sunbeam tamper is just so much better for it. I can consistently get a level, even tamp. Its almost like it was designed for the sunbeam single basket. Ill post some pics about what i mean the next time i make coffee.

    d) yeah, but i dont hv a choice. The local italian deli where i get freshly roasted beans only takes delievery of fresh beans every week. So i get my beans every tuesday and it has to last me the week. With rising fuel prices i also dont see the point in making trips just to buy coffee. So i get about 80g of coffee each time i do my groceries. I could keep in my room i guess, but i figured it would keep fresher in the fridge. My experience is that beans arent very fresh after a few days stored at room temperature - or maybe the beans i bought werent too fresh to begin with (?) i dont know.

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    Re: Adv Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Re the beans ezralimm, not knowing the brand, they could easily be on the stale side before the deli takes delivery. The only way you could be sure is if they have a roasted by date on them. Then again, Id imagine if the deli is selling small quantities, they are storing it loose somehow and this probably means they are exposed to air. This too would affect how fresh they are, and how quickly they will go stale.

    Either way, I think you would be better off storing your purchase in something like a ziplock gladbag and trying to expel as much air out of the bag as possible, then keeping them in a cool dark place like a pantry cupboard. Storing them in the fridge is IMHO a sure way of allowing condensation to occur and spoiling the lovely volatile oils present in the roasted coffee.

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    Re: Adv Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    You can get 250/500g bags of fresh beans on your doorstep easily on the internet. They are usually about 3 days post roast and will be drinkable for a few weeks if u take care in keeping the valve bag zipped tight.

    I have bought beans from a non roasting deli style coffee store before and they were stale........


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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Good idea, although i only take about one coffee a day and that would last me more than a month. I think im going to stick with the local deli for the moment. They have 6 blends available. Currently trying some moccopan blend. Got a few more id like to try first before considering ordering beans online.

    Dennis, im gonna (sorta) take your suggestion. To prevent condensation, ill ziplock the beans then put them in the fridge. When taking them out, ill warm them up before opening the ziplock bag.


    Below is a pic of the sunbeam 52mm tamper fitting nicely in the basket with 10g of grounds in it. I find it really easy to get a level, consistent tamp with the sunbeam tamper and the pressurized single basket.



    note: if the basket were empty, the silver part of the tamper would be non-visible and about 1mm deep to the rim of the basket.




    Special thanks to all the people at coffeesnobs that helped me through my endeavor to make better espresso. :)

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Hi Ezra,

    I suspect that most here will confirm that you will be able to do much better if you choose fresh beans ;). Its a long, long time since I last experienced anything fresh from Mocopan.

    Next task, to get some unpressurised baskets so you can make some real espresso...

    Enjoy the ride...

    2mcm

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Quote Originally Posted by ezralimm link=1214886480/0#7 date=1215069855
    Good idea, although i only take about one coffee a day and that would last me more than a month. I think im going to stick with the local deli for the moment. They have 6 blends available. Currently trying some moccopan blend. Got a few more id like to try first before considering ordering beans online.
    Special thanks to all the people at coffeesnobs that helped me through my endeavor to make better espresso. :)
    Thats why we home roast. This way we know how fresh the beans are and how much we need for how long. And seriously, it doesnt take much time to home roast. Chances are youd be done roasting in the same amount of time it takes to get to your local deli and green beans are way cheaper too.

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Quote Originally Posted by ezralimm link=1214886480/0#7 date=1215069855
    Dennis, im gonna (sorta) take your suggestion. To prevent condensation, ill ziplock the beans then put them in the fridge. When taking them out, ill warm them up before opening the ziplock bag.
    I have to say, I dont even like my name in the same sentence as the quote above Ezra. You might as well place each bean in separate compartments of an ice tray, fill it with water, then freeze them! :P

    I just cant help myself from asking...how do you intend to, "warm them up"?

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    A one way valve bag isnt too hard to get at all and its not expensive either. Why dont you just put the beans into a valved bag and and keep it in a cool dry place instead of the fridge?

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Thats why we home roast. This way we know how fresh the beans are and how much we need for how long. And seriously, it doesnt take much time to home roast. Chances are youd be done roasting in the same amount of time it takes to get to your local deli and green beans are way cheaper too.
    I really really want to home roast. But me being a poor student, i couldnt really afford a raoster (eg. iRoast). I live in a room (hence the BIG humidity variation problem i face esp in winter) and cook in a communal kitchen.


    Ive done the tests. The commercial electric tops in the kitchen are unsuitable for pan roasting. They have heat transfer issues and dont work very well.

    The ovens are even worse. I cant toast garlic bread without getting some kind of "coooked oil" smell on it. They are cleaned, but not nearly regularly enough. I dont want to put coffee beans in them ever.

    I could get a popper, but then i have the problem of smoke alarms. My building is rigged up as though the owners thought it was made of dry wooden planks. Sometimes the alarms go off when i toast crumpets in my room or the nearby sink outside my room!!

    :(


    Perhaps when i move out next year ill try roasting.

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis link=1214886480/0#10 date=1215072017
    I have to say, I dont even like my name in the same sentence as the quote above Ezra. *You might as well place each bean in separate compartments of an ice tray, fill it with water, then freeze them! :P
    I just cant help myself from asking...how do you intend to, "warm them up"?
    Simple, I either pop em in the microwave or blow them with steam from my machine.

    ;D

    ok just kiddin..


    I buy 80-100g of beans a week. 20g goes into a small airtight container next to my grinder. The rest goes into a small airtight container in the fridge.

    So lets say ive used up my 20g. That night, I would take out the beans from the fridge and let them stand. I try to prevent condensation by not exposing the cold beans to ambient air at any time. In the morning when they are at room temperature, I would take out 30g. 10g goes into my coffee, the remainder goes into the small container next to my grinder. The rest of the beans goes back in the fridge.

    I find that the most convienient way of having a week long supply of acceptably fresh beans.

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1214886480/0#8 date=1215070256
    Hi Ezra,

    I suspect that most here will confirm that you will be able to do much better if you choose fresh beans ;). Its a long, long time since I last experienced anything fresh from Mocopan.

    Next task, to get some unpressurised baskets so you can make some real espresso...
    Enjoy the ride...
    2mcm

    Thanks for the tip.

    I do have the Bar Italia basket, but for some reason ive not been able to get a consistent results with it. Eventually, i gave up trying :(

    One day when i start working I will get a proper machine. For the meanwhile Im gonna stick with the default baskets and try to make the most of it.

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Quote Originally Posted by ezralimm link=1214886480/0#12 date=1215075974
    I really really want to home roast. But me being a poor student, i couldnt really afford a raoster (eg. iRoast). I live in a room (hence the BIG humidity variation problem i face esp in winter) and cook in a communal kitchen.


    Ive done the tests. The commercial electric tops in the kitchen are unsuitable for pan roasting. They have heat transfer issues and dont work very well.

    The ovens are even worse. I cant toast garlic bread without getting some kind of "coooked oil" smell on it. They are cleaned, but not nearly regularly enough. I dont want to put coffee beans in them ever.

    I could get a popper, but then i have the problem of smoke alarms. My building is rigged up as though the owners thought it was made of dry wooden planks. Sometimes the alarms go off when i toast crumpets in my room or the nearby sink outside my room!!

    :(


    Perhaps when i move out next year ill try roasting.
    Im trying to imagine what its like to be in a typical uni hall of residence. Or a student apartment block (like College Square in Melb...) If it was college square type, I think itll be hard but if it was like the Monash Uni Halls of Residence, you could perhaps set up a popper using an extension lead from say the common room to the side of a hallway somewhere. It might attract a few inquisitive types but Im guessing the attention will be shortlived because uni students are involved in weirder misadventures and interests anyway (ie. it wouldnt be abnormal to have uni students grow interesting plants using very creative setups). In fact, home-roasting wouldbe considered pretty mild....
    Id persist with the bar italia baskets if I were you. Whereabouts are you located? If you were nearby, I could pass you some freshly roasted beans and see if it makes a difference to the deli ones youve been getting.


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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Hi erzalimm,

    Thanks for the thread and pics. This has been quite useful for me since Im nutting through a lot of these same issues working with the equivalent Breville to your Sunbeam (Café Roma - ESP8C). Read about my adventures here: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1205812762/60.

    Im lucky in that I have room (and time) to roast, as well as a good grinder to get the most out of the fresh beans. But really, were in similar situations in terms of trying to get the best out of budget equipment...


    Quote Originally Posted by ezralimm link=1214886480/0#14 date=1215076859
    I do have the Bar Italia basket, but for some reason ive not been able to get a consistent results with it. Eventually, i gave up trying :(

    One day when i start working I will get a proper machine. For the meanwhile Im gonna stick with *the default baskets and try to make the most of it.
    Pressurised baskets are designed in such a way that they (to some degree) regulate the flow of coffee - the pinhole is only so big. This means that they probably produce more consistent results regardless of grinding, dosing and tamping factors - part of the pressurised baskets claim to usefulness for low-end machines...

    So, despite the fact that youve convinced me already that youre consistent, your "inconsistent results" with the Bar Italia baskets COULD be down to inconsistent grind/dose/tamp/other factor which is not being masked by the pressurised basket. COULD be that... could equally be down to the baskets not fitting the machine quite right (as in my case - I have Bar Italia baskets but they dont seal adequately with the Café Roma and I get blow outs).

    Now, its hypocritical of me to suggest this, but as long as they arent failing to seal or something, I think you should persist with the Bar Italia baskets! If mine sealed against the grouphead properly, Id use them! But at the moment I cant - or else I get hot water and grounds sprayed all over the coffee bench.

    In what respect are the Bar Italia baskets inconsistent? Or is it more of a case of "too expensive and wasteful to experiment properly"? I know the feeling...

    Cheers
    Stuart.

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Hi stuart.

    Looks like youve been having pretty much the same problems Ive been having with the Bar Italia baskets.

    I cant prolong the shots long enough before water starts leaking down the sides and dripping into the cup.

    It just does not fit properly.

    However, when the stars nicely align with the moon and a butterfly flaps its wings on the other side of the globe, I can occasionally pull off a somewhat decent shot with the bar italia basket. This happens so rarely its not worth the effort and wasted pours.


    ---- Once all basket maintenance issues have been sorted out ---


    The pressurized basket produces very acceptable espresso when you learn how to discern the bad fake crema from the real one. The real crema looks funny as it has been squeezed through a pinhole, but it is still crema none the less and tastes alright.

    I guess pours with pale foam streaks (fake white foamish crema with a pressurized basket) is what many mistook for crema *--> leading to claims that pressurized baskets produced bad shots with lots of terrible fake crema.

    One of the main points of this guide is to show that it is possible to consistently avoid making that terrible pale fake crema with a pressurized basket.

    ... the problem is that you will eventuallyl have to pay as much attention as you would to a normal system with non-pressurized baskets as the fake crema just makes shot diagnosis a lot more difficult (see part 5 of guide)



    conclusion: the pressurized baskets makes it more difficult to make good espresso as it produces (terrible pale) fake crema when the grind is too coarse or the tamp too light*. It is possible to get a proper extraction eventually, but one must not be misled by the pale fake crema and strive to get an espresso that is dark and pours with resistance.


    *My guess is that on a non-pressurized basket such a flaw would be obvious --> gusher. But the pressurized basket "normalizes" the extraction time so the user thinks hes getting a proper 25s pour when in reality it was underextracted.

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Update: A new cafe opened next to Coles Pinewood recently. Next to bakers delight.

    To my surprise, they sold freshly roasted beans and sell out their beans by the end of the week. This is probably because that area has very high traffic of shoppers.

    I bought 100g of their most popular blend to give it a try. The beans have a nice oily sheen to them and have a "chocolaty" smell.

    It took a full two clicks adjustment (coarser) to be able to pull a 20ml shot. Its like the grounds compress more in the basket. Is this normal?

    a 20ml/25s/9g shot produces a lighter crema than my previous lot of beans (as someone mentioned, probably semi-stale mocopan).. but it tastes so much better



    ^pic taken after stirring in half a teaspoon of sugar...prior to pouring in milk to make my morning cappuccino - hence the big black hole :p

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Ezralimm

    This is an Interesting Post/Journey you are taking us on.

    Ive been there myself with pressurised baskets and came to the conclusion that at best: the resultant espresso might look 70% as good as a real one and only taste 10% as good....ie you get some of the character of the beans, but the resultant mouthfeel is very thin and watery. Espresso is as much if not more about mouthfeel.

    A 20Kg tamp is higher than the norm [13.5Kg].
    Greg Pullman did a very interesting study of tamp pressure, in essence anything over 15Kg has little or no effect, in other words once a certain "compactedness" has been reached, thats it.
    I believe it is also possible to dislodge/crack the puck with too much pressure.
    Nevertheless, as you rightly point out consistant tamping pressure is critical.

    I agree with the others that fresh coffee is paramount and that you really need to stick with the non pressurised basket.

    BTW Those sunbeam grinders are reknowned for producing inconsistant grinds and explain exactly what you reported.
    I should know, Ive owned 2 of then.
    There are several work arounds you should check out

    I agree with the others that fresh coffee is totally paramount and that you really need to stick with the non pressurised basket.

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Just wondering what setting you have your grinder on ? I have the EM0450 grinder but cant seem to find the ideal setting to prevent a gush.

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Its all relative. No grinder setting will be the same. Grind is variable. It depends on coffee blend/origin, temperature, humidity, dose, pump pressure etc.

    The best advice you will ever receive is to keep on going finer until you get the right pour....granted you have a good dose.

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    ezralimm,

    I dont agree with pre weighing the beans before grinding. That is one of the most inconsistent methods I could ever think of. Try grinding by volume and using the collapse method. It takes a lot less time. When you get towards the end of the coffee grinding, you get what is called the pop-corn effect. The coffee gets coarser and coarser because there is no weight on top of the beans. Its very noticeable and why I think it is one of the most inconsistent methods of espresso preparation at home out there.

  24. #24
    TC
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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Quote Originally Posted by Wushoes - David S link=1214886480/20#22 date=1215600644
    ezralimm,

    I dont agree with pre weighing the beans before grinding. That is one of the most inconsistent methods I could ever think of. Try grinding by volume and using the collapse method. It takes a lot less time. When you get towards the end of the coffee grinding, you get what is called the pop-corn effect. The coffee gets coarser and coarser because there is no weight on top of the beans. Its very noticeable and why I think it is one of the most inconsistent methods of espresso preparation at home out there.
    Agreed Dave,

    I think the quicker this method dies, the better. Consistent popcorning lacks consistency ;)

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Quote Originally Posted by Wushoes - David S link=1214886480/20#22 date=1215600644
    ezralimm,

    I dont agree with pre weighing the beans before grinding. That is one of the most inconsistent methods I could ever think of. Try grinding by volume and using the collapse method. It takes a lot less time. When you get towards the end of the coffee grinding, you get what is called the pop-corn effect. The coffee gets coarser and coarser because there is no weight on top of the beans. Its very noticeable and why I think it is one of the most inconsistent methods of espresso preparation at home out there.

    Thanks for the advice Wushoes :)

    Id love to do that.. But I only go through about 150g of beans per week currently. Im a student living in a small room and due to space constraints my grinder is right next to my machine and bath towel "-.- ... to a point where steam and humidity _will_ affect the coffee kept in it.

    My current method (with a EM6910) involves pretty much what you are describing. I over grind about 16g of beans for the single basket. Then I level it off with a milkwand sheath. Some grounds are wasted but i dont mind. I think the EM6910 single basket holds a bit too much coffee...im more fidgety than usual.

    I gave up with the pressurized baskets yesterday. I SACRIFICED A SKI TRIP TO MT BULLA !!!! *:( *after learning that the EM6910 was only AUD559 at David Jones. Damn sometimes I wished i chose a different hobby.

    Using fresh beans (delivered to shop from roaster on tuesday) i bought on wednesday, the first pour was a lil slow. Second pour was perfect... 30ml before blonding. It took kinda long - 35s, but tasted really really good. Made about 15 shots with the EM6910 already and im loving it. I find that longer shots (30-35s) seem to taste better than quicker pours. The needle is roughly on the border of the brown and red zones on the (unitless?) pressure gauge.


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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Quote Originally Posted by TripleShot link=1214886480/20#20 date=1215587237
    Just wondering what setting you have your grinder on ? I have the EM0450 grinder but cant seem to find the ideal setting to prevent a gush.
    My grinder settings range from 12 to 16 depending on the type of beans im using. In my experience (i dont have much so dont count on it too much), almost stale supermarket beans tend to require finer settings. Very fresh beans, the ones that have a nice oily sheen to them, require much coarser grinds. Its almost like they compact differently when tamped.

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Quote Originally Posted by reubster link=1214886480/0#19 date=1215586549
    Ezralimm

    This is an Interesting Post/Journey you are taking us on.

    Ive been there myself with pressurised baskets and came to the conclusion that at best: *the resultant espresso might look 70% as good as a real one and only *taste 10% as good....ie you get some of the character of the beans, but the resultant mouthfeel is very thin and watery. Espresso is as much if not more about mouthfeel.

    A 20Kg tamp is higher than the norm [13.5Kg].
    Greg Pullman did a very interesting study of tamp pressure, in essence anything over 15Kg has little or no effect, in other words once a certain "compactedness" has been reached, thats it.
    I believe it is also possible to dislodge/crack the puck with too much pressure.
    Nevertheless, as you rightly point out consistant tamping pressure is critical.

    I agree with the others that fresh coffee is paramount and that you really need to stick with the non pressurised basket.

    BTW Those sunbeam grinders are reknowned for producing inconsistant grinds and explain exactly what you reported.
    I should know, Ive owned 2 of then.
    There are several work arounds you should check out

    I agree with the others that fresh coffee is totally paramount and that you really need to stick with the non pressurised basket.
    I so feel ya. I guess all my efforts to be anal with the pressurized baskets had made me very in tune with the gross variables (dose, tamp, pre-warm, color, viscosity) in making espresso. Walking the fine line between choking the pressurized basket and making an acceptable shot was somewhat of a challenge. Now that im using a proper machine with non-pressurized baskets, its relatively a breeze to produce much better results.

    The pressurized basket system took me an average of 30min to make a simple acceptable latte... due to constant risk of choking, the anal-ness needed to get the dose/tamp just right to produce something reminiscent of espresso. Muddy pucks and cleanup in general was also a big inconvienience.

    Now it takes less than 5 min to do the same thing... and does not require the same anal-ness.


    Thanks for the suggestion, I will experiment with tamp pressure this afternoon.

    Regarding the grinder, Ive found it acceptable, so long as I make sure that the grounds (from a prev grind setting) were cleared from the insides of the grinder. Youre right... it isnt very consistant. I weigh my tamps and never froth and pour at the same time as my eye is always on the pour and the clock. No matter how i try to standardize my technique, the time taken before pale streaks start to form does seem to vary by about 3-4s between shots on the same grinder setting.

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1214886480/20#23 date=1215603946
    Quote Originally Posted by Wushoes - David S link=1214886480/20#22 date=1215600644
    ezralimm,

    I dont agree with pre weighing the beans before grinding. That is one of the most inconsistent methods I could ever think of. Try grinding by volume and using the collapse method. It takes a lot less time. When you get towards the end of the coffee grinding, you get what is called the pop-corn effect. The coffee gets coarser and coarser because there is no weight on top of the beans. Its very noticeable and why I think it is one of the most inconsistent methods of espresso preparation at home out there.
    Agreed Dave,

    I think the quicker this method dies, the better. Consistent popcorning lacks consistency ;)
    Ooh, that might explain the slight differences between pours im getting.

  29. #29
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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Ezra, my offer for some home roasted beans to try out against the ones youre getting from the deli is still open if youre interested. I work 5 minutes away from Monash Clayton (Mulgrave) so its not a problem for me to drop them off to you. From the description of your room, Id have to guess youre in one of the Halls of Residence and if it is, I sympathise with your lack of space.
    Have fun with your 6910.

  30. #30
    A_M
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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    [quote ] This is an Interesting Post/Journey you are taking us on.

    Ive been there myself with pressurised baskets and came to the conclusion that at best: *the resultant espresso might look 70% as good as a real one and only *taste 10% as good....ie you get some of the character of the beans, but the resultant mouthfeel is very thin and watery. Espresso is as much if not more about mouthfeel.

    A 20Kg tamp is higher than the norm [13.5Kg].
    Greg Pullman did a very interesting study of tamp pressure, in essence anything over 15Kg has little or no effect, in other words once a certain "compactedness" has been reached, thats it.
    I believe it is also possible to dislodge/crack the puck with too much pressure.
    Nevertheless, as you rightly point out consistant tamping pressure is critical.

    I agree with the others that fresh coffee is paramount and that you really need to stick with the non pressurised basket.

    BTW Those sunbeam grinders are reknowned for producing inconsistant grinds and explain exactly what you reported.
    I should know, Ive owned 2 of then.
    There are several work arounds you should check out

    I agree with the others that fresh coffee is totally paramount and that you really need to stick with the non pressurised basket.[/QUOTE]

    Have to agree with the comments above, but do not let any one put you off your voyage of discovery.. Rather learn from it and take on board what others have also found.

    I had a system not unlike yours and my three major points/steps forward wer;

    1: Good quality / fresh beans
    2: Non pressurised baskets.. There are a number that will fit the Sunbeam
    3: Grinder..

    With these under ya belt, new paths will open up for you.

    Enjoy, and remember a good coffee is defined by the consumer... I have some friends who would never drink any thing else but Pablo (Instant) and if that is what they are happy with; what gives me the right to tell them there wrong.

    However I always offer a REAL coffee when they come over :-) One day their tasts might change :-)

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    I also will be returning to Monash Clayton full time....beans can be had from me too.

  32. #32
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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Quote Originally Posted by Wushoes - David S link=1214886480/20#30 date=1215681085
    I also will be returning to Monash Clayton full time....beans can be had from me too.
    I didnt know you were into roasting, David.

    Just curious to know what roasting equipment you use?

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    Re: Pic Guide To Getting The Best Out Of Budget Eq

    Thanks for the offer guys, but for now i think im going to hv to pass.

    Yeah, im in the halls of residence.

    Im not ready to be poisoned into getting a roaster...yet.



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