New machine (6910) - need help
Following my recent foray on this site, I have now moved up a grade in my forum?! Santa brought me a Sunbeam EM6910. My suspicions about my (lack of) knowledge/ability in my other thread have been confirmed!
After finally getting some beans and unpacking my machine, I had a quick read of the instructions, ran water through the machine, ground some coffee, put it in and ... atrocious! I hadn't checked the setting on the grinder (my old EM480) and it was between 15-20 (well on the way to 'coarse') (the packaged 440 is still packaged). I did use the single floor basket (as I pointed out in one of my posts, knowledge of this is quite recent for me - I was obviously using a double floor basket with my old machine). But I didn't properly measure the coffee - just ground it straight into the PF, tamped it (but not with a lot of pressure), inserted the PF. The water flowed through like a waterfall giving me a black coffee with no crema at all.
I made a new one, with the grinder set all the way to fine and tamped quite heavily. This time, I seemed to have gone too far and got another cup of rubbish with a really poor crema (but at least an imitation of crema - progress ... )
THEN, I decided to maybe use a bit of science. I started measuring how much coffee I was putting. I am using the single cup basket and have gone down from 17g to about 14 or 15g. It seems to be getting better. I am getting a better crema but not perfect. I also started checking the gauge on the 6910. With 17g and a very firm tamp, the needle went right to the extreme end of the middle section (but not into the red!). I found that if I tamped lightly, the needle didn't make it to the middle section of the gauge. Both situations resulted in ordinary results! Even I know that ... ;-)
So, with all the variables, (weight/volume, coarseness, tamp pressure) I could keep experimenting. But could someone kindly give me some pointers about a (new) starting point in terms of weight/coarseness/pressure. And recommendations about what variable to change first depending on my results? And no need to ponce about with niceties - I have thick skin!
PS: to the member who PMd me: your inbox seems to be full. Too much Christmas cheer?!
ive also got this machine and im using the grinder that it came with, i think theyve changed the grinder because i had to use shims on mine to make it finer. (a friend also bought one more recently and didnt have this issue). id recommend always using the bigger basket as you can pull wayyy better shots (use the one with lots of holes, the others are useless). pick a starting point for amount of ground coffee(aka dose), somewhere between 18-20 grams (im not using the original baskets anymore so this is just from memory). all youll need to do this in adjust the grind to extract faster or slower, ensuring you use the same dose. also try and get a good even tamp each time and make sure its consistent. and use fresh coffee, anything stale will make you job a lot harder.
i think on the newer grinder its about 19 grams on a setting of about 4 or 5
Sounds like you're on the right track Arfa but maybe your beans are stale. What are they and what's the "Roasted on" date?
Thanks for your responses.
the beans were roasted on 16/12/15. And I grind straight into the PF.
@Jameslev: are you suggesting using the double-cup basket? I am using the one with lots of holes but using the single size basket. Maybe I'll give the double basket a go. What can I lose (except 4-5 g of coffee!)
Originally Posted by ArfaGato
The single SB basket is almost impossible to tamp. It is a nominal 7-8g dose. The double is a nominal 16g dose - if you use the same 15-17g dosing in the double you are "within range".
The grinder setting "if calibrated" for espresso should be around 11 to 16 in theory: your grinder could be calibrated anywhere, so that is at best a rough guide only.
I suggest you put a lightly tamped known, repeatable dose of circa 16g in at around grinder setting 11 (starting point only) and see how long it takes for the shot to blond. Adjust the grinder setting until you get 25 to 30 second shots (not counting preinfusion). After that, play at will.
defintitely use the double basket, extracting 30-40 grams from a larger basket will be so much better than extracting 20ish grams from a single basket, also if you want to get sciency the single baskets are crap beacause they taper in. it all depends what set up youve got as long as youre weighing the amount of coffee each time and keeping it the same you should be right. i found on my machine 16-17g is too little for the double basket as you need to grind especially fine and this leaves a lot of head room which also speeds up your extraction, the basket is only a tiny bit smaller than a 20g vst basket (which i use around 21g in). also try and keep other variables as consistent as possible, tamping especially. check out what matt perger has to say about tamping and youll see what i mean. i honestly recommend spending the 30 odd bucks on a vst basket as itll make your life and coffee better. hope this helps