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Thread: LM Gs3 + Mini Mazzer + Bad barista skills

  1. #1
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    LM Gs3 + Mini Mazzer + Bad barista skills

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi guys. Ive had my GS3 for one month now, along with my mini mazzer doserless. Firstly, the machine is beautiful and Im sure, capable of everything I've read on here about that setup. It should be.

    My barista skills are not. Ive gone to a basic course, and had someone come around to go through things with me. Unfortunately nothing seems to have helped.

    I am fine with any shot containing milk, which hide my shot errors. I'm trying to perfect my short blacks and won't even try the famed ristretto as yet.

    I have put through 550 grinds on my mini mazzer so it seems, but probably not really that much as I find I am continually adding more than my "calibrated" double shot. I'm using a bottomless (as of two days ago) with the 14g basket.

    So here is my sequence: Assume Ive pulled a couple shots already so grinder is primed etc. Beans are never more than 10 days old and are from specialty boutiques or local roasters.

    Equipment: Mini Mazzer doserless, timed version. LM GS3 Manual Paddle version running from the tank. Using water from a local water thing (one of those 10L boxes, not distilled)

    1. Grind directly into portafilter. Lament over the clumping. Try to break up a few clumps. Weigh the grind. 15g into the 14g basket. This doesn't mound over the top so I settle the grinds by tapping the portafilter, and then tamp by feeling the edges of the tamper and the basket and pushing down with what feels like 30Lbs to me. In any case, I tamp in a similar way every time (I think). I clean the grind from the edges of the basket.

    2. I lock the portafilter in (Sits just before 6 o'clock so probably sitting where it should and is nice and firm).

    3. I preinfuse for 5 seconds (Only do this to try to reduce what I think is channeling)

    4. On full on the MP and watch the bottom of the naked portafilter. I get tiger striping, but also get early blonding. I stop it when the flow starts flowing more like water, and less like oily coffee (Supposedly the 3rd colour change)

    5. Disconnect portafilter, and purge.

    Taste: Usually sour as if under extracted. Tried making the grind finer, but end up choking the machine. Not getting the full 30mLs in 30s. More like 30mLs in 18 seconds. With my previous double shot portafilter, I would never get 2x 30mLs in 30s, and if I did, it definitely wouldn't be good coffee.

    Ive tried almost everything. I feel that it is a distribution problem. I tried the Weiss (WDT) method for distributing the grounds. I tried grinding directly into a container, mixing up the grinds and trying to break the clumps and then putting it into the portafilter. Nothing seems to be helping. I got some advice to remove the little grid (Not the mesh but the screwed in stainless steel grid) in the doserless funnel but this hasn't changed anything.

    I tried nutating, but didn't help. Got a very slow flow followed by a channeling. Tried settling the grind, over dosing significantly, and choked the machine. If I use 15g in the 14g basket, like I said above, it doesn't mound. Also when disengaging the portafilter, the top of the puck is quite wet suggesting that I am under dosing. My normal method was to follow the good coffee stores and disregard weighing, mound the grind, and sweep it flat, and then tamp. But this causes early blonding for me as I think my distribution is really off.

    I know that there is a lot of information here, but wondered if someone could advise me as to something else to try?
    I'm planning on finding some time to get into more training, but it seems like I'm really not making much progress. Ive searched through the internet for distribution tips etc, and have tried most of them with little success.

    Thankyou very much.

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    Sounds like you are doing most things right. I'll make two suggestions and then let more experienced people jump in. Firstly, you can experiment with change in dose. You can either up dose and grind coarser or down dose and grind finer and see how your extractions progress. If your shots are tasting under extracted then perhaps try down dosing and grinding finer. The other thing is the temperature of your brew water. What have you set the PID for? Perhaps you could increase temperature and see if this improves extractions.

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Morning CW,

    Have a read through post #1 in this thread http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-co...esso-home.html

    Lots of useful information there, it may well give you a clue.

    You say "Ive gone to a basic course, and had someone come around to go through things with me. Unfortunately nothing seems to have helped." was the person that came round able to produce acceptable results on your machine?

    The GS3 certainly has a good reputation so assuming its set up correctly there shouldn't be a problem.

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Hi cwliew and welcome to CS!

    Nice setup! To get yourself calibrated, use an 18 or 22 gm basket either naked or double spout. It's easier with a bigger dose.

    Set your grinder so that the shot chokes, as before, then start to make the grind more coarse, one adjustment at a time, until you get a decent shot.
    You will also have to adjust the timer on the grind setting of the mini-e as you adjust the grind, to compensate for volume change.

    When you make each adjustment of the grinder setting, purge at least two shots worth of grinds so that you are not lagging behind the adjustment you make, with
    the shot being poured..
    It will take 1-3 doses for the grind changes to appear in your filter basket. (3 on my Robur-e, not sure about the mini).

    There is currently a lot of misinformation/confusing information around re dose and tamping, use the link that Yelta has provided.

    Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cwliew View Post
    ...I get tiger striping, but also get early blonding. I stop it when the flow starts flowing more like water, and less like oily coffee (Supposedly the 3rd colour change)...

    ...Not getting the full 30mLs in 30s. More like 30mLs in 18 seconds. With my previous double shot portafilter, I would never get 2x 30mLs in 30s, and if I did, it definitely wouldn't be good coffee...
    To me it's sounding more like a timing issue. You really need to cut it well before that watery stage. I manage to get 60ml in ~30s with now blonding at all, but that might also be because I use a 21g basket.

    I would keep playing with the dose/grind until you find the sweet spot you're after.

    It's a long journey to create a perfect shot, and equipment only does so much. The rest is up for you to perfect: fine tuning that grind/dosing/tamping technique. You'd be surprised how the finest of adjustments makes such a difference in the cup.

    Hope this helps.

    -Aaron

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    Senior Member mwcalder05's Avatar
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    Firstly, who else's mouth is watering at the thought of that combo? Secondly, the mini mazzer's adjustment collar is quite sensitive. One notch can easily mean 3 or more seconds. So with that in mind, I would definitely recommend following Yelta's link and go back to basics.

    Also if I was you, I would invest in a bigger basket. Sometimes with particular beans and roasts the flavours can only be tasted with a bigger dose and basket.

    Also, maybe some more advanced training for your high high class equipment couldn't hurt at all

    Let us know how you go!

    Michael

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    Thanks for your comments. I will take a read through that link tonight.
    I have a 17g basket and a 21g as well as my impossible to use 7g single dose one which I've banished behind the instant coffee as punishment.
    All is not lost - I am making absolutely delicious milk coffees so I can at least be happy in the morning. But when I'm at home working, I prefer to just go shot after shot of delicious short blacks.
    I have been playing around with pre-infusion which seems to be helping a lot. On the MP version of the Gs3 it is very very sensitive, and a mm too much movement on the paddle activates the pump. Definitely the coffee is better when I pre-infuse, so I put this problem down to channeling.

    I need to find someone to come around to regulate the coffee more. The barista that I got around was someone to help me more with my milk side, so that side is at least 100% better, and I can make delicious milk every time now. The basic course was fine as it taught me the basic movements like purging to keep the thing clean and bitter bean free, and proper use of a machine and the basics of dialling it in.

    I will try to bigger baskets, but to be honest, I want to be able to use the machine in all aspects of it, rather than an up dosing workaround with a larger basket. The pursuit of perfection shouldn't be beyond this setup.

    mwcalder - my mouth waters all the time when I make coffee. I'm in love with the whole process.
    Will try changing the grind and dose, but thought I should be aiming for a constant 14g-15g no matter how coarse or fine in order to keep at least one thing constant.
    Chokkidog - will try that method. Seems like a good approach.

    To put things in perspective, I'm going through 250g daily with only me drinking it - that's about 12 double shots after a bit of purging of the grinder between adjustments and half of those shots end up down the sink after the first sip.

    Will keep at it and report any successes.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mwcalder05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwliew View Post
    mwcalder - my mouth waters all the time when I make coffee. I'm in love with the whole process.
    Will try changing the grind and dose, but thought I should be aiming for a constant 14g-15g no matter how coarse or fine in order to keep at least one thing constant.
    Whenever I make black coffee at work I backflush and make sure it is all sparkly up there but I trust you already know/do this from your comments.

    Whatever basket you use, it's been designed for that dosage. Especially when it comes to VST and LM baskets so I find it helpful to stick to that dosage. It may be worthwhile just trying the bigger baskets and see what your palette prefers if you haven't done so yet. Also when you are setting your grind for 30mls in 35 seconds (I count the pre infusion) make sure your dosage is always the same shot after shot (scales are a definite help here) and your tamp is the same ei: double or single tamp/polish and so on.

    With the set up, there shouldn't be any reason that you can't pull a beautiful short black when you are at work. Maybe it's the beans??

    Good luck!
    Michael

    Btw: have you changed the grind during all of this? (dont mean to teach a grandmother to suck eggs but just covering absolutely all bases here )

  9. #9
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Absolutely no reason that you won't be able to successfully dose @ 14gms.

    Learning how to drive your gear will be easier at the start if you use your bigger filter basket.

    In my experience they are a bit more forgiving, re channeling, when you are developing your personal technique.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwliew View Post
    I will try to bigger baskets, but to be honest, I want to be able to use the machine in all aspects of it, rather than an up dosing workaround with a larger basket. The pursuit of perfection shouldn't be beyond this setup.
    Welcome cliew,

    Why the issue with larger baskets? Surely not $$$ when you have spent over $7k??

    Some coffees are just not suited to lower doses and if you restrict yourself to them, you will limit yourself and the coffee. FWIW, only tight@rS3 cafes will be using 14g in a double- so throw away the advice you have read or were given. It's yet more internet mumbo jumbo

    My advice is that you will benefit from lessons to help dose and distribute consistently. In addition, palate work will help you to get the best from your coffee.

    You have purchased a Ferrari. Now you need to learn how to drive it. Start in first gear.
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    Great advice. OK, its onto the 21g then from here onwards. Just to be perfectly correct on this, from a 21g basket, I should be extracting about 90mLs of coffee from a triple basket? If I'm using the bottomless portafilter, then that's fine, but 90mLs is a big shot. Otherwise, getting 30mLs from a 21g basket seems...wrong. Correct me here, as my understanding is that its 1 shot (7g) 30mLs. If you want a double, use the 14 or 17g and the double spout portafilter. 21g, for those who want it stronger but still a double.

    I've been trying to get a single shot from a 14g basket, so perhaps that's my problem (i.e. more with understanding than actually early blonding)

    I think some professional help might be required soon, or my machine might disown me.

    I only back flush at the end of a session to clean it all, or after Ive done many consecutive shots, but never just before a short black. Ill give it a shot, but the taste doesn't suggest over extracted bitterness, but under extracted sourness.

    More tries tonight.

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    Had similar issues with "transitioning" to my GS3.

    In hind sight it was really a combination of just getting used to my new baby - but more importantly working out the finer details of the VST baskets. Being anal retentive - I always want perfection ......

    Settled on the 17g basket, a finer grind and a lighter tamp. Depending on the coffee, often nothing for between 8-9secs then what I would have previouy thought as a pour that was just a bit too tight. But it gives the taste that I am after.

    Gotta confess - I am not a purist of brew ratios etc. I prefer to simply do - and adjust to acheive what I want to taste. So I tend to toss the 30ml stuff out the window.....call me a heretic but I have been using tight pours and up to 40 secs to get what I want.

    I use a similar pre-infuse time ( the gurgles on mine the give away). I have upped the brew temp slightly as well.

    The big game changer for me was talking the "taste tester / all round wonder woman" into allowing a Robur on the bench at home. The difference in consistancy between the mini and the robur is more than you would ever expect. The dosing of the robur to the vst works almost perfectly when the grind is correct - I used to find the mini a bit fluffier and basket tended to be a little underweight at correct grind. For consistancy - I weigh my portafilter load.

    Stick with it grasshopper - it comes together.

    I think the key here is that everyone has chipped in some fantastic advice - try some of the info - and formulate your process to achieve your results.

    "Operator error" is not an option! You will succeed!

  13. #13
    TC
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    My advice, keep it to 30-60ml max from anything 14g and upwards basket size. Best bet is to just choose one basket to work with rather than playing with so many variables that you don't know what's happening. I'd suggest a standard double.

    Baby steps when starting off, not advanced barista techniques.

    Also worth having a look at Scottie do his thing for some good pointers.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Good luck cliew. The only thing I can add is not to get too hung up on the weight of the grinds. Shower screen heights differ, beans differ in their density etc. Work out an appropriate dosing level for your machine (and there's a bit of flexibility there) and adjust grind to suit. Seems to be the most consistent method for me and I believe many others....but note, for my machine (Diadema Reale) this results in about 20.5-21.5g in a *nominally* 15g double basket (less in a VST though). I weigh the grinds for the purpose of consistency within one particular bag of roast beans....not across beans (and even then it changes as beans age / humidity changes). And most of all....have fun learning what works for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by an3_bolt View Post
    Settled on the 17g basket, a finer grind and a lighter tamp. Depending on the coffee, often nothing for between 8-9secs then what I would have previouy thought as a pour that was just a bit too tight. But it gives the taste that I am after.
    Exactly my experience when I switched to VST baskets. I thought that the first shot was going to be over extracted but turned out to be delicious.

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    kwantfm - did you have a LM GS3? I did a bit of reading and the LM baskets are made under license from VST and rebranded essentially. Anyone with a GS3 confirm this?

    I need to get a proper weighing machine as mine doesn't fit my portafilter on it, so a bit useless in weighing the final product before extraction.
    Will keep at it. Might try increasing the brew temperature 1 degree. Current on 92.

    Thanks for your posts so far.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwliew View Post
    I need to get a proper weighing machine
    Nope. Learn how to dose and distribute correctly. It's all about that, but I might have mentioned that before this week. At the moment you're concentrating on bits and pieces. Concentrate on technique, not crutches. Use your scales to weigh yourself...

    Might try increasing the brew temperature 1 degree. Current on 92.
    Try 94 deg if you're using medium-dark roast.

    LM baskets? Rubbish. Hate them. Get a good well, designed ridgeless basket.

    VST? If you want to hate your coffee and machine whilst learning. VST is the perfect way to do it. They're for advanced users, not training wheels. Still hate them though (even more than LM).

    Thanks for your posts so far.
    Thanks for the thanks....

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    Hmm, so can't use LM baskets, and can't use VST baskets? I think I'll just stick to my LM baskets for now. It was how my machine was born. When I can pull some nicer shots, then maybe get new baskets.
    Will try increasing the temp - its the one thing I haven't tried yet.
    I am in Adelaide guys.

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    Senior Member mwcalder05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Nope. Learn how to dose and distribute correctly.
    LM baskets? Rubbish. Hate them. Get a good well, designed ridgeless basket.

    VST? If you want to hate your coffee and machine whilst learning. VST is the perfect way to do it. They're for advanced users, not training wheels. Still hate them though (even more than LM)
    I would say scales are a great starter to get consistency and less frustrating results to dial in your technique although not necessary they can help when you just start out.

    So the option that we are left with is no basket?? What's your recommendation?

    M

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    Quote Originally Posted by cwliew View Post
    kwantfm - did you have a LM GS3? I did a bit of reading and the LM baskets are made under license from VST and rebranded essentially. Anyone with a GS3 confirm this?
    I don't have a GS3... VST baskets were a joint venture between VST and LM. I'm pretty certain that LM baskets and VST are exactly the same. I had a horrible experience starting up with my VSTs but as my dosing and distribution improved (nods to Talk Coffee Chris) things got a lot better with the VST. Now it's my preferred basket and I honestly think my extractions are better than they ever were with my stock baskets.

  21. #21
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    Wink

    The LM version of VST baskets are 17 grams for the double, and ridged for commercial use, against the recommendation of the VST chap. Something about disrupting the flow dynamics inside the basket, but LM insisted.

    They are only supplied with the Strada currently, as far as I know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coffee_machinist View Post
    ... ridged for commercial use, against the recommendation of the VST chap.
    Really interesting... goes to show how expedient business people can be as VST makes both ridged and ridgeless for their 22, 18 and 15 g baskets and only ridged for their 7 g singles. I just bought a second 18 g and was fascinated to see that the serial number implied that it was a 17 g basket.

  23. #23
    Senior Member mwcalder05's Avatar
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    All I know is that we use VST'S at work and I've never tried the baskets that came with the 2.5 year old machine. But the VSTs make fantastic coffee at work and at home.

  24. #24
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Just one from left field…
    If the machine is only a month old, then maybe the taste you're getting is still from the boiler settling in? Have a mate who got a brand new E61, and I took some of my beans over. Was shocked how sour and metallic these tasted in a short black compared to what I was making at home with the same beans on an older machine. Just a 'brassy' taste…
    Might improve as the boiler seasons? Dunno - maybe the GS3 has a SS boiler…

    Just a thought!
    Matt


    But nice setup

  25. #25
    TC
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    The GS/3 boilers are SS.

    The solution here will be one of or more of coffee, dose and distribution.

    The OP needs to learn sound, consistent technique. In my experience so far, I have yet to have a client present for training with good technique.

    The answer will not be found in purchasing a draw full of coffee gizmos or seeking complexity out of what is simple, but then what would I know!

    Time out for me in this thread.....

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    Anyone here have recommendations on where to do good training in Adelaide? Either in class, or having someone come over and teach you on your own machine?
    I would prefer having someone over as its more relevant that way, but don't really know how to go about getting this organised.

  27. #27
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwliew View Post
    Anyone here have recommendations on where to do good training in Adelaide? Either in class, or having someone come over and teach you on your own machine?
    Morning CW, Coffee Craft in Adelaide, Glandore run training sessions, they seem pretty expensive to me, $210 for a three hour session

    Or you can adopt a do it yourself approach and follow the steps in post one of this thread http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-co...esso-home.html

    At no cost at all, its an easy to follow DIY work instuction, all logical common sense stuff.

    I suspect the inverted tamp brigade, who insist the dosed basket must be swept with the wing feather of a barn owl, would do well to revisit the article, but perhaps not, its all too simple.
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  28. #28
    Senior Member mwcalder05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    I suspect the inverted tamp brigade, who insist the dosed basket must be swept with the wing feather of a barn owl, would do well to revisit the article, but perhaps not, its all too simple.
    I like to lightly tamp every 0.5g of coffee I put in the PF! You have a problem with that??... *rollseyes*

    Michael

    (Extreme sarcasm here)

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    they run classes at Rio Coffee on Stephens Terrace too but don't know what they cost or a like but the rest of their stuff seems very good.

  30. #30
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwliew View Post
    Hmm, so can't use LM baskets, and can't use VST baskets? I think I'll just stick to my LM baskets for now. It was how my machine was born. When I can pull some nicer shots, then maybe get new baskets.
    Will try increasing the temp - its the one thing I haven't tried yet.
    I am in Adelaide guys.
    Me again CW, unlike Chris (Talk Coffee) I quite like the LM baskets, and used one (18 gram) exclusively on my Bezzera, that is until he offered his range of Precision baskets, they certainly are an improvement on what has gone before.
    As far as VST baskets are concerned, I have a couple, they really are a PITA to use, not saying you cant pull decent shots with them, you most certainly can, however you really have to have your ducks in a row to get the best out of them.

    In my opinion Precision baskets Precision filter basket 58mm- Espresso parts are easy to use and represent good value for money.

    You say "When I can pull some nicer shots, then maybe get new baskets" my feeling is that a few dollars for a new basket will greatly improve your chances of achieving these "nicer shots"

  31. #31
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4heckssake View Post
    they run classes at Rio Coffee on Stephens Terrace too but don't know what they cost or a like but the rest of their stuff seems very good.
    Welcome to Coffee Snobs 4heckssake.

    Seems like Rio Coffee have been around forever.
    They certainly are an interesting place to visit (they have an enormous range of all things Italian) just don't expect much in the way of service and you wont be disappointed.
    As for their roasted coffee, the less said the better.

  32. #32
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwcalder05 View Post
    I like to lightly tamp every 0.5g of coffee I put in the PF! You have a problem with that??... *rollseyes*

    Michael

    (Extreme sarcasm here)
    G'Day Michael, my preference is every 0.45g, to each his own.
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  33. #33
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    You'll find superior results if you measure your micro-doses using the Imperial, rather than metric, system Yelta. Just temporarily ignore the fact that there's no basis in science for my assertion, this should just help add another 'entertaining' complication to what is essentially a 4 variable process.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    You'll find superior results if you measure your micro-doses using the Imperial, rather than metric, system Yelta. Just temporarily ignore the fact that there's no basis in science for my assertion, this should just help add another 'entertaining' complication to what is essentially a 4 variable process.
    But there is - if you're dividing something by 3, 1/3 is a lot more precise than .33333...
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    Ha! Very good. Im starting to think I've over thought the whole process...
    Will take a look around at some courses to see if I can pick some more up.
    I have read the linked article. Thanks for that.
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  36. #36
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    You'll be right cwliew....keep it simple at first, get a method that works consistently for you, then you can bugger around as much as you like.

  37. #37
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Good thinking!
    Veneziano ( site sponsors) in Adelaide, also advertise courses.

  38. #38
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwliew View Post
    I have read the linked article. Thanks for that.
    Did you gain anything from it? theoretically following these guidelines should have you producing good espresso within a few days, of course things do tend to get a little hectic when the pressure is on, regardless, practice is the key.

    Once you have it sorted you'll wonder what all the drama was about.

  39. #39
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    If nothing else, a course is useful for the purpose of reassurance / confidence ....and I'm sure that some courses / training are probably pretty useful in their own right.

  40. #40
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    The Veneziano people may well be your answer to training CW, had a look at their site and they have a Brista @ home course 2hrs $150, seems they are quite happy for you to take your own machine and grinder.
    Barista Training Courses Melbourne Brisbane Adelaide | Buy Coffee Beans Online – Barista Courses – Wholesale Cafe Supplier

  41. #41
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    G'Day Michael, my preference is every 0.45g, to each his own.
    I tamp at this weight each time too, just for consistency.
    Of course at work if there is any more than 2 people in line I let them know it'll probably be a 35 minute wait.
    Last edited by Ronin; 4th December 2013 at 06:21 PM. Reason: Gramma



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