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Thread: help with Piccolo & Mazzer mini

  1. #1
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    help with Piccolo & Mazzer mini

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi there, my husband and I are the very happy new owners of a Piccolo and a Mazzer mini, but were not having a lot of espresso success. Theres virtually no smell to the shot, and the taste is very bitter. Does this ring any bells with anyone? We cant afford to do a home barista course at the moment because were about to move and have two kids, and spent every spare cent we had on the machine & grinder after being inspired by an espresso at Tobys Estate.

    I adjusted the grinder to grind coarser and we are now getting grinds in the cup, should I head back in the other direction? I was just playing around.

    How high should I fill the basket? Do I fill it to the line? Sometimes the coffee only comes through on one side of the group handle, does than mean the coffee is packed harder on the other side?

    Does it matter that the coffee comes out of the doser unevenly into the basket? I normally spread it across lightly with my finger and then tamp, is there another way to do this?

    Im hoping there might be a kindhearted coffee geek out there, or two, who can help me with a few of these questions. Thanks very much...

  2. #2
    TC
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    Re: help with Piccolo & Mazzer mini

    Hi vixnix and welcome...

    You really do need that training.....

    http://www.espressocompany.com.au/how-to.htm

    If you are using beans which came form a stoopidmarket and are more than 3 weeks post roast, you are guaranteed a decidedly average cup.

    Best have a read over http://www.espressocompany.com.au/downloads/DomobarUserGuideSteaming.pdf as well or you will end up with a dead element *:(

    Good luck!

    Chris

  3. #3
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    Re: help with Piccolo & Mazzer mini

    Were using 2 week old yirgacheffe roasted by Tobys Estate - they smell pretty fantastic after theyre ground...just not in the cup. *:(

    Thanks for the info about the steaming! *The lovely staff at jetblack told us about that thankfully, and we dont have milk with our coffee so should be ok...Ill wait in hope of answers - were happy to keep trialling and errorring because we figure that its all practice, but I thought there might be a few shortcuts to be had here....

    Thank you for the welcome!

    ETA: Just checked that link, thanks very much. :)

  4. #4
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    Re: help with Piccolo & Mazzer mini

    A great combo... Ive had the same for the past 18mo or so.

    Check our Chris earlier post in the "pointy end" section. heres the link:
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1167622442

    You need to find a routine so that the only thing you really change is the grind setting (thats a little simplistic but itll do to begin with).

    Eg:
    I fill the basket, level it off with flat edge.
    Place a tamper gently on top let it settle the grounds.
    Refill the basket and level off again.
    Tamp.

    All the best.

    sd


  5. #5
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    Re: help with Piccolo & Mazzer mini

    Where are you located? In Brisbane, you can get free training at Di Bella where you bring in your own machine and get hands on training to teach you how to use it.

    Are you letting the group head and portafilter heat up fully before use?

    Grinding courser would mean less grinds in the cup, if anything. Try some beans from a local roaster which has been roasted in the last few days. That should give you a week or two of ultimate freshness.

    How long are your extractions? Perhaps you are under or over extracting. Aim for approx 30ml in 25 - 30 secs. Make sure you tamp with proper firmness... use the search function on this site, and good luck on your journey.

  6. #6
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    Re: help with Piccolo & Mazzer mini

    Thanks for all of your help *:) after watching the videos at that site and reading that post in the pointy end section we had much better results this morning! *Just what we needed. *I realised that our beans are stale as well. *They were roasted the day before we bought them, two sundays ago, but they just dont keep, do they? *Might have to start adventuring into home roasting.

    ETA: We are in Sydney, soon to be on the Central Coast. :)

  7. #7
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    Re: help with Piccolo & Mazzer mini

    The beans should be good up to about 3 weeks if properly stored..and usually peak in week 2. One-way, valved zip lock bags are best to allow the beans to degass.


  8. #8
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    Re: help with Piccolo & Mazzer mini

    Quote Originally Posted by 47595B5F514D5051575F340 link=1269690202/6#6 date=1269812414
    The beans should be good up to about 3 weeks if properly stored..and usually peak in week 2.
    A very subjective matter of opinion. ;)


  9. #9
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    Re: help with Piccolo & Mazzer mini

    Degassing??? *Valved bags?? *I had no idea about this. *We store ours in glass preserving jars because theyre airtight, obviously that is not the right thing to be doing...

    This place is such an amazing wealth of knowledge. Thanks for sharing with me!

    While Im typing this out, Id like to add that I think the instructions that come with the Piccolo are not very helpful. *It pretty much tells you how to turn it on, and run water through it - and actually doesnt tell you that, if you only read english, because there is a translation error. * ;D

  10. #10
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    Re: help with Piccolo & Mazzer mini

    Most italian machines come with zero instructions. Id recommend reading the thread on "e-61 brewing tips". It is at the top of one of the forums on here.

    It is essential to let any coffee machine heat up (at least 25 mins, preferably more... 40 mins should be enough for an e-61 machine) and also you should do a cooling flush prior to extraction. The above mentioned thread will explain more about these basics. If you pull a shot a few minutes after turning on, the only thing up to heat will be the boiler and thus the water will cool when it comes in contact with the group head etc - not ideal. A few degrees makes a huge difference to taste.

    One way valve bags are the standard in the coffee industry - aluminium foil bags (as seen for sale in beanbay) which almost all roasters pack their roasted beans in for sale to the public. The valve lets gas (co2 etc) out, and prevents gas getting back in.

    After roasting, beans degas and let off a lot of co2 over the first few days. People tend not to like the taste of beans still in the initial degassing phase (try for yourself, they dont taste very nice!). In general, 72 hrs to 2 weeks is a good rule of thumb for consuming, and the flavour profile will change over this period. Some beans and some roasts may last longer and may taste better after 2 weeks. eg. a lot of people on these forums enjoy indian monsoon malabar after 2 weeks rest.

    You have chosen a great machine and grinder combo. Fun times ahead for you :)



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