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Thread: Em6910 advice needed re dosing

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    Em6910 advice needed re dosing

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I posted a question a week ago re dosing with the provided Sunbeam baskets as after buying a Mini MazzerE I realised I was way over dosing. ( many thanks to all those that replied) I have since bought an 18g VST basket but in order to stop it gushing through ( with a very fine grind) - I have to dose high so that after tamping - it is about 2 mm from the top of the basket . My guess is that this means that I am dosing close to 23 grams. Should I buy a 15g basket? What have other sunbeam owners done to avoid wasting coffee. BTW - the beans are 9 days post roast today- the shots taste good and pouring in about 26 seconds. Am I actually wasting coffee - I should I just suck it up and enjoy my coffee?

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    Or should I grind even more fine, which will mean once it is tamped it will be be about 7 or 8 ml below the top of the basket. My current grind is not powdery but finer than caster sugar

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    Senior Member mwcalder05's Avatar
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    Just fine up the grind even more rather than updosing. Classically you need a finer grind with the VST's (compared to the stock sunbeam baskets) as there are more, consistent holes in the bottom of the filter basket. Making the grind finer won't hurt the machine or grinder at all

    VST baskets are designed to have that specific weight in them so just stick with the 18g and make the grind finer.

    Michael

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    Thanks Michael - that is the sort of detailed info I need. I will give it a go

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    On my EM0480 grinder there's about 3 notches between a good coffee using the SB baskets and where I grind for my VST to get reasonable coffee.

    Also I then go another notch finer than that and progressive tamp. The combo gives rich coffee flavours and circa 25sec for 60ml. I'm dosing about 5mm down in the 18g basket.

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    Thanks JM - it is good to hear how people with the same machine are doing. I recently upgraded from the Sunbeam grinder - so can understand exactly what you are saying. I think this new grinder is actually grinding finer to even start with at the factory setting and I am trying to learn a new grinder as well as adapting to the vst baskets. All of this started when the timing of the grind indicated to me that I was over dosing in a major way. I will try aiming at 4-5 mm down from the top of the basket and giving the progressive tamping a go. I tended to do that with the sunbeam grinder anyway - but thought I would try utilising the timer on this grinder which doesn't have the facility to pause. Back to the future for me and I will let you all know how it goes

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    I tried lower level dosing with a finer grind and ended up with a very soupy puck. Is it possible that I am grinding too fine causing the dose to sit lower in the basket and the corresponding under dosing problems?

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    I was using an 18g Synesso basket with my EM6910 and found I was dosing around 22g. Very fine grind and not such a hard tamp. I was able to achieve a nice golden syrupy crema almost every time (a few clicks right or left on the grinder, depending on the batch of beans I was using)

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    Wish I could be more help.

    But I have a 7gm VST, with a naked P/F.
    I only dose it to just under the ridge, it is progressively tamped, maybe 3 or 4 times.
    Freshness of beans makes a difference.
    25-30 second pour, if I get it right!

    Sometimes I get a soupy puck, but I am getting better at getting a firm puck, I did this morning, but always some water on the top of the puck.
    Can't be helped, but the coffee is good, or so I think, but so do those callers I make coffee for.

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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Don't obsess with the state of the puck when using VSTs. Get the pour / taste right. It's more important that your pucks are consistent, rather than dry. I use a considerably lower dose when using my 14g VST (dose about 17g) than with a 14g Synesso basket (19-20g dose) in my machine (not a SB).

    *PS Is the 6910 the model that jettisons a small amount of low pressure water from the group as you stop the shot? If so, that'll leave a puddle.

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    Thanks for the replies . No there is no jettison of water from the unit - and up till now when I am trying to reduce the amount of coffee in the baskets , I have had no problem with wet pucks. I think I am going to have to just try to vary things a bit and see what combination of factors works best. I have stayed away from it all today as I have had a migraine and even the smell of coffee turns my stomach ATM

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    Don't obsess with the state of the puck when using VSTs. Get the pour / taste right. It's more important that your pucks are consistent, rather than dry. I use a considerably lower dose when using my 14g VST (dose about 17g) than with a 14g Synesso basket (19-20g dose) in my machine (not a SB).

    *PS Is the 6910 the model that jettisons a small amount of low pressure water from the group as you stop the shot? If so, that'll leave a puddle.
    Hi Barry O'Speedwagon

    Partly yes for the 6910.

    I have two 6910's, they are quite different from each other. The newer one adds about 10mm of very low pressure water on top of the puck just after the shot ends (in under one second). The smaller the shot, the more the "extra water". Leave it ten seconds and it would always be a (very) soupy puck. The older one stops instantly. Go figure...

    Quote Originally Posted by Debs6 View Post
    Thanks for the replies . No there is no jettison of water from the unit - and up till now when I am trying to reduce the amount of coffee in the baskets , I have had no problem with wet pucks. I think I am going to have to just try to vary things a bit and see what combination of factors works best. I have stayed away from it all today as I have had a migraine and even the smell of coffee turns my stomach ATM
    Hi Debs6

    I have 2 1/2 sets of VST ridgeless. There are a few "VST traps" when first setting up a 6910 (hopefully with a naked p/f: VST's love them). A decent set of scales to within 0.1g is really helpful just to set the 6910 / VST up. FYI, Bonavita actually make accurate, repeatable scales (circa $100) for coffee making, complete with a drip tray. Personally, after the setup I only use scales when I hit a roast that does not play by the usual rules or I am setting up someone else's gear (too often lately). The other possible, but tricky initial alternative is to dose consistently on height and tamping pressure. 4mm from the top "post tamping" should be close enough to start with, play with it later to your own taste.

    Ignore the wet puck thing until after you can dose exactly to a "near spec weight" in your VST every time. VST state within one gram of rated weight, although I found the 7's were slightly better near 7.2, the 15's around 15.5 and the 18 circa 18.3. After you get the dosing under control you can sort out the grind which matches whatever tamping method you use to get a shot time of between 22 & 40 seconds. VST's take a lot longer to blond compared to standard baskets, some machines are at their best with a longer shot, some prefer shorter. FWIW, my newer 6910 seems to like around 32 seconds. YMMV. FYI, progressive tamping (about 8lbs / 3.5Kg or just the weight of the tamper if it is heavy enough) usually gives a better result in the cup, however it is time consuming and also needs "an extra notch finer on your 480"* compared to the more common 30lbs / 13.5Kg single tamp at the end.

    After your efforts give you a good cuppa, see what the 6910 gauge is telling you. All 6910's read differently with VST's, I suggest you get the coffee right then use the gauge as a guide to see what happens when you tinker and what is correct for your 6910. The actual gauge reading itself is close to meaningless as soon as you stray from standard baskets & grinds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Debs6 View Post
    Should I buy a 15g basket?
    After you get the 18 sorted you can make a good call on that one! It really depends on the strength of the roast you use / prefer, your personal taste, whether you a using a naked p/f (it is stronger & cleaner w more crema using a VST) and the limits of your gear (particularly the grinder). Also, how many different types of coffee you make. I calibrated my old 480 and with my usual medium SO roasts I ended up a few months later on 7g singles as the normal cuppa as a latte in a 250ml glass. A nearby roaster's medium got me scurrying to find my 22g VST to get near the same flavour whack. That is why I have a couple of sets of VSTs plus some strays: two places to make coffee and I make a wide variety of different coffees out of each place. Also, some smoking friends need to have their "deliberately shot taste buds" accommodated with higher doses. One gets Lebanese Black beans (very strong dark / burnt roast, usually for Turkish style coffees, complete with the traditional cardamom) in a 22g VST updosed to nearly 24g! No one else I know can drink it that way (far too strong). I taste test his cuppa by adding two parts water to bring the taste down to bearable. Oh, and I sometimes make traditional Turkish in my Ibrik without needed to water it down...

    A bit of good news for you: the VST basket's actual holes have a size progression from larger to smaller: 22 / 20 / 18 / 15 / 7 to make them quickly interchangable using the same grinding / dosing ratio / tamping method with minimum tinkering (thankfully).

    Tinkering with that lot should keep you amused for a while. Have fun.


    TampIt

    "an extra notch finer on your 480"*: just to give you an idea on dialing in your Mini. Once you get the texture of the grind sorted, try the 480 again with the same texture and see how it goes. Generally VST's seem to prefer conical burr grinders, however 480's vary markedly from unit to unit.

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    Thanks very much Tampit for your very detailed reply. It certainly gives me a lot of variables to think about. It really makes me think that I should buy a scale because I have been using my kitchen scales to approximate and am beginning to think that they are not calibrated finely enough. I think that my successful attempts at producing good coffee have been about 4mm below the level of the basket - and according to my kitchen scales that is weighing well over the 20g - approaching even 24 g. But it is really guess work. Did you buy any particular naked portafilter or will any of them generally suit the SB? The VST basket that I bought is the ridgeless variety as well. Thanks again for all the well thought out advice - I will keep you informed as to how I go.

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    Rbn
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    My naked P/F was a normal SB one that I picked up from a repair shop.
    I cut the centre out of it to make it bottomless.

    I must get around to weighing the coffee in mine.

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    @Debs6 - not all PFs are equal. The lugs can be different in placement, so you need one that suits the machine. I did the same as Rawill - I was fortunate to have 2 x SB PF's and got one drilled out to be naked. Look at eBay or Gumtree or the like first for a PF specific to the 6910.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Debs6 View Post
    Thanks very much Tampit for your very detailed reply. It certainly gives me a lot of variables to think about. It really makes me think that I should buy a scale because I have been using my kitchen scales to approximate and am beginning to think that they are not calibrated finely enough. I think that my successful attempts at producing good coffee have been about 4mm below the level of the basket - and according to my kitchen scales that is weighing well over the 20g - approaching even 24 g. But it is really guess work. Did you buy any particular naked portafilter or will any of them generally suit the SB? The VST basket that I bought is the ridgeless variety as well. Thanks again for all the well thought out advice - I will keep you informed as to how I go.
    Hi Debs6

    You are welcome.

    I just noticed you are in Mandurah (just down the road from here).

    Scales: IMO they save more than their cost when time is spent running around in circles with cantankerous gear. I know Grand Central @ Bibra lake handle the two models of Bonavita scales which are designed for coffee. Bonavita probably have competitors, although my original set is still going after well over 20 years... and they have always measured consistently, as do my new ones. Some of the cheapies give a different reading every time you use them (even the so-called 0.01g ones), which kinda defeats the purpose.

    Dosing: The 4mm should be close enough as a beginning, however experiment away.

    Naked p/f to suit 6910 tends to be around $80 to $100, or if you can access a lathe it is about a 5 minute job (safety note: cut the centre out from the INSIDE). Also, in the meantime, remove that dreadful piece of plastic inside the p/f with a pair of needlenosed pliers after removing the spout: you may be surprised what you find under it! Feel free to PM me if you need more details, just don't expect a quick reply these days (massively over occupied for the next few months).

    Have fun

    TampIt

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    Well - it has been a full week since I last managed to get back to replying here- but the good news is that I am certainly moving in the right direction with the help of the people here and a short course that I attended last week. I bought the scale that Tampit recommended and now that I can be very specific with the dose I have managed to adjust the grind to a point where I am getting a consistently nice pour. The progressive tamping seems to have solved my soupy puck problems and I am getting a lovely rich pour . As yet I have not bought a naked portafilter - but have had to ease up on the expenditure as the Mini Mazzer grinder and scales together have put a hefty hole in my credit card account- so I am trying to be thrifty for a bit.

    i am still staggered at the difference in quality the grinder has made. I was pleased with my coffee before - but it has jumped up into a whole new level. My daughters have noticed the improvement too and tell me that I am now making really good coffee. I know that I enjoy my own coffee better than any that is offered in the town that I live near - although many might say that this doesn't mean much

    What are your thoughts on the benefits of a good tamper? At the course that I attended they used the Pullman tampers - that certainly felt "just right" in my hand and made the whole process of tamping lovely and smooth.

    Thanks once again for all the great ideas - collectively they have helped contribute to the lovely cup of coffee that I treat myself to when I stagger in from work each afternoon. In some ways I think that the ritual of making the coffee is every bit as enjoyable as the drinking

    Deb

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    Congratulations Deb.

    I told myself I couldn't justify a new/expensive tamper. I bought my VST baskets from Mark at ThingsCoffee and declined to get the fitted tamper to go with them. But my wife bought me a Pullman for Xmas and I have to say, it is a whole different experience. When you do the polish on the grinds it feels like it is floating on air where the SB one, which I thought smooth, now seems like it is doing its own special grind.

    You can certainly make excellent coffee with even just a bottle top as a tamper, but there is a pleasure in a fine piece of workmanship that I don't think you should deny yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Debs6 View Post
    I know that I enjoy my own coffee better than any that is offered in the town that I live near - although many might say that this doesn't mean much
    Trying to find a good coffee in Mandurah is like trying to find a little green man in Nevada - many of the locals seem to believe they exist, but...
    Last edited by MrJack; 29th April 2014 at 12:39 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    Trying to find a good coffee in Mandurah is like trying to find a little green man in Nevada - many of the locals seem to believe they exist, but...
    I couldn't agree more- if anyone knows of a hidden gem - please let me know

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    The best I have had down this way is from Lazy Jane's in Falcon- but I still prefer my own by a long shot

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    ^^ Not 'by a short shot'?

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    Smarty pants!



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