In a nutshell - Yup - Thatll do it.Originally Posted by mattm link=1156411805/0#0 date=1156411805
received my silvia/ rocky today from chris(thanks chris for all your assistance)
as this is my first experience with an espresso machine bought some cheap(vittoria) coffee beans to practice setting up grinder and machine.
After several fairly average looking attempts, coffee really watery finally had success with one that looked really good, approx 50ml in30 secs from double basket, dry solid puck with indent from screw head approx 2mm deep, and surprise a tan coloured creme? approx 3-4 mm on top of coffee(yippee).
looked so good had to try it
really bitter, hoping this is from old/stale/woolworths beans?
going to try and buy some fresh beans tomorrow
anyone got any ideas?
In a nutshell - Yup - Thatll do it.Originally Posted by mattm link=1156411805/0#0 date=1156411805
I mean absolutely no dis-respect when I ask you this. Can you tell the difference between bitter and sour? It is often very hard for people to differentiate between the two, especially with a new taste sensation, such as espresso :o.
Also, how long did you leave Silvia on to warm her up before you pulled the shot? If the machine wasnt quite up to temp, the brew water temp will be too cold, which will result in a sour shot. On the other hand, if the machine had built up too much heat, the shot might have been burnt, resulting in a bitter shot.
Hope this helps.
thanks for your replies
machine had been on for about 1.5 hrs, had pulled several shots(approx 6-8) before i decided to try and taste the one i mentioned earlier.
the process i followed was as follows
1. using brew switch on silvia filled cup with water through pf until thermostat light came on.
2.ground coffee into portafilter basket till level wth top,tapped on bench filled up again and levelled off with back of knife across top of basket
3. tamped with supplied tamper(now i understand what everyone says about it not being big enough) on bathroom scales to approx 15kgs
4. tested pf into machine and removed again to see if i could see mark left in top of grind by screw head(there was a slight mark)
5. reinserted pf handle and turned on brew switch for 25 secs (1/2 filled 2 60 ml shot glasses and looked really good)
6. smelt cofee, smelt like it was slightly burnt(i think) otherwise smelt really yummy
7. noticed that there were a couple of pale dots on the top of the creme?(blonding?)
8. tasted ......yuck think bitter? you may be right lovey maybe sour? not sure which one?
do you think im doing something wrong.
ps grinder setting is 9
thanks again mattm
Grinder setting sounds about right there, matt. Youve really just got to go out and get some decent fresher beans. Only then will you really be able to tell if it is your technique, which looks okay to me or the beans.
Your routine looks good, just a few further questions.
Did you pre-heat the shot glasses?
What did the pour look like? Was it dark, light, stripey?
The pale dots on the crema tend to indicate over-extraction.
This could be a result of distribution problems in the basket. As youve found out the supplied tamper isnt very good, its upgrade time *8-).
You are using the double basket, not the single one *:-?. (Makes a huge difference).
Otherwise, the beans are the prime culprit :P.
Hope this helps.
thanks, *do you know where i could buy some fresh beans from in brisbane, i realise your out in the sticks but you might know somewhere local for me. one of the other snobs here recomended merlo which are close but not sure how fresh their beans are?
thought i might also try only using approx 15 secs for the pour and see how that tastes.
thanks scoota gal
ps lovey i modified this for you, ;D yes im using the double basket
Matt, you can buy beans from just about anyone off the internet and that includes here. If I can get my beans from Melbourne in two days, you should be able to do it overnight.
I purchase beans from a roaster up near Noosa, in order not to offend here, PM if you want their name. I have mentioned them before. They will also mail beans and have an internet site.
I just got some beans from Fresh Coffee (Cosmorex) and they only took overnight from Canberra! So, save yourself the hassle of driving round Brissy and get some decent beans delivered to your door! It could save you in the long run and you shouldnt be too afraid of getting dudded as the good roasters will ensure that their beans they send you are the freshest!
Doing mail order, you learn to plan ahead a bit more with your purchasing. We have yet to run out of beans here and we have at least a couple of coffees every day in this household (which isnt much I know but there is only the two of us!).
There are also two roasters in Toowoomba and Ive tried both but sadly cant recommend anyone in Brisvegas itself, mainly because I dont know of any. Sorry!
I have had exactly the problem you described and have the same equipment! Some of the symptoms you have described (white dots on the crema, really bitter/ burnt taste) have been the same. I have even fitted a temperature controller to the silvia in my quest for the perfect shot - going so far as to adjust the temperature and extraction times along a range of shots in an attempt to find the cause. I have been using fresh beans from a roaster the whole time.
Things I have found - it seems to be related to grind/ dose and extraction time. I have read on this forum to have at least 4 cm of beans in Rocky for a consistent grind - hopefully this kills one variable.
I have recently purchased a Marzocco double basket - looks to hold significantly more coffee than the standard Rancilio basket.
I have been experimenting with the dose I put in this basket. I have also stopped worrying about trying to be exact with the time (25 secs or so) for the moment and stop the flow when the stream just starts to lighten - this seems to have solved the really bitter/burnt taste.
I know what you mean about the taste though! Mouth pulled back in a grimace of horrid bitterness - believe me it does not get any better when you try about 6 in a row in an attempt to get it right! Even made the wife try a few to make sure it was not just me...I had to go to St Alis (in Sth Melbourne) to re-calibrate my palate!
This probably does not help too much but at least you know you are not the only one out there feeling the pain! :P
Over to the experts for some ideas!
Merlo in Brisbane have a great name for high quality fresh coffee and they have a good spread of retail outlets around the place, addresses here...
344 Queen Street Brisbane
Phone: 3221 4561
239 George Street Brisbane
Phone: 3221 8789
Fax: 3221 8779
10 Market Street Brisbane
Phone: 3221 2616
Fax: 3221 2656
Gardens Theatre - QUT
2 George St
Phone: 3864 1987
Fax: 3864 1995
UQ St Lucia Campus - Duhig Building
Phone: 3346 7438
Fax: 3346 7439
Who knows, one of them might be just around the corner from you ;),
thanks guys(and scoota gal)
went to merlo today and bought some of their private? blend. they were really helpful let me taste test a few of their blends (all were good and different) also recommended a starting point for my grinder.
Instantly better coffee can definately recommend merlo to anyone in brissie their help was invaluable and i am now well on my way to getting decent coffee at home.
only 1 problem now, already had 5 shots of espresso today 4 at merlo 1 at home, then mum came around to check out the new gear and wanted a cappa. Ofcourse i had to make another for me as well, milk was a bit frothy and a bit cool for my liking but mum was suitably impressed and said shed be back this arvo for a long black.(must be doing something right?
anyway had to stop making or else i wont be able to sleep tonight, thinking i might go and buy some decaf beens so i can keep playing.
thanks for all your help and ill try all the suggestions offered and get back on the results
chris/andy cs admin moderator,
I was changing my profile today and entered an old email address that doesnt seem to work anymore. Is it possible for someone here to change it tomy current email address or is it lost for ever.
my old user name was mattm
just tried a few different things, backed off grinder another 2 notches coarser, filled filter from grinder levelled light tamp refilled tamped heavy approx 15 kg and presto best coffee ive ever had(i may be slightly biased) but gee it was good.
one happy little camper here
thanks chris talk coffee
ps i even managed some foam(wouldnt call it micro though)
can anyone tell me if this looks ok
took about 18 secs maybe a bit quick but tasted ok
Hey Matt, its usually pretty difficult to diagnose things from a photo, particularly seeing as colour setting will vary with different cameras, monitors, etc. That said, it looks to me like the crema that you have there is almost white! If the colour is correct, Id imagine that the shots would have had a thin mouthfeel and would probably have tasted sour. Although they could equally taste ashy and burnt if theyre from that stale Vittoria stuff! Definitely need to get into the 25 to 30 second ballpark.
Hope thats helpful ...
you are right about the colours they are look a lot paler in the photo than they were in real life.
they tasted alright though and since the photo was taken have tried one notch finer on the silvia, but the resulting coffe was a lot more bitter so since have gone back to the setting on which i took the above photo
in real life they look more like a tan brown
Well my shots fit into this thread here. Got the Expobar today and am consitent with my shots. Consistently bad that is. I know to go by taste rather than time at the end of the day but with trying to get grinder set correctly I have tried to stick close to the 60ml (LM double) in 25 seconds. It gets to 60ml in measuring shot glass in the 25 second mark but at first looks like 1/2 or more crema like substance than that disolves into the coffee and equates to about 30mls-ish with crema at the top. And tastes really bad. Sour at tip of tongue going off 2mcms guide. I am using fresh beans (week old Morgans) so feel safe with them. Could it just be that grind is too fine and that makes the top airy giving the impression of crema? As it disolves it is as if it is turning into liquid. I have booked in for a training course on Tuesday night so obviously that will help with my shots, as I will take my machine and grinder. I am also attending NSW roasting day with CS member tomorrow which I am sure will help also but am just trying to have more of a play around tonight. I have read previous posts and how to guides but brain is fried from information overload.
So any tips? I understand if my ramble doesnt make sense.
Brett- you are almost certainly grinding too fine and underdosing. Throw out the 5 sec delay 25 sec pour and look for a longer delay and starting a tad drippy. Please call and Ill talk you through it....Most newbies have the same problem ;)Originally Posted by Coffeechaser link=1156411805/15#16 date=1162542455
Bean a while since last here so thought id catch up with everyone
Since last chat have graduated to short black :p
Using merlo beans (riviera blend) using lm double basket making great coffee.
Only prob now is its hard to find a good coffee shop now for my fix at work
I totally share yr pain, after making great coffee on good machines at home you really get an appreciation for how many cafes make shite coffee on good machines and charge for it. I just spend too much time wanting to pounce over the counter in cafes and stop the shot, so am resigned to the safe house cafes I have identified in each state and the comfort of Brewtus at home.
The quest for perfection in the cup - its a curse I tells ya ;D
A how to dose starting point...Start with a double basket to calibrate things...
Dose your basket until its full. Settle the grounds off by tapping the portafilter against your palm as you dose to get a complete fill of the basket with a gentle mound of coffee. Brush off with the side of your index finger to create a perfectly full level basket.
Settle the grounds with just the weight of a good heavyish tamper and then top up to create a full, level basket again- then tamp to 15kg. For machines with lower shower screens, this may need to be modified a touch (I follow tamp with a brush out with the base of the index finger rather than the side to sweep away some coffee then polish off to tidy up the puck) , however consistency is the key.
A pre-extraction delay of at least 5 seconds is good, but many machines with inbuilt pre-infusion will have a 7-9 second delay. If the pour starts as drops and then develops into a fine stream, the outcome will often be good so long as there is no evidence of chanelling in a firm, dry coffee puck.
If the espresso tastes sour (tongue tip or thereabouts), the flow is too fast- a finer grind is required. If the flow is too slow, the espresso may be bitter (towards the back of the palate) a coarser grind is probably required.
The key is to balance the espresso across the palate without bitterness or sourness.
Always check the puck first to eliminate barista error and then if satisfied with the apprearance, then make a grind adjustment if required. The key is to dose well and consistently and have only the grind as a variable. This should head your espresso in the correct direction....
Hope this is of use ;)
Always so helpful 2mcm it appears that many people have similar configuration issues with the challenge. Just wasnt game to turn it so much but appears it needs a lot of turns to get it to budge. Have limited beans to play with tonight though and wanted some for tomorrow. Plus I can roast up a stash tomorrow to see me through. I should of called you prior to using 250grams of Morgans "The Pony". Just wanted to make sure my roasting wasnt going to be the problem. Looking forward to dialing it in. I am very happy with the package though and am sure it will see many years of faithful service.
Just wanted to point out one variable that might be frustrating you slightly ...
We tried out some Morgans "Ruby Fire" blend the other day, which was really great. Very caramelly, fruity and light, with a crisp finish. Sort of like Campos, but with more balls. The problem was that we had to dial the brew boiler up to 97C! Now, usually I wouldnt mention this sort of temperature issue to anyone who is starting off, but if the "Pony" blend also has an optimum temperature of 97C and your machine is brewing at, say, 92C (by no means a bad thing), I would expect it to be tasting quite markedly sour.
I thought that I should just mention that, because if its the coffee, you could spend weeks trying to figure it out ... especially if Chris cant taste it to point that out!
I have gone through The Pony anyway so can rule out that variable now. I can talk to Scott before I buy anymore and see what he says about that blend. He has been most helpful previously. I only have my roasted beans now which may or may not be a good thing. I still have to adjust the grind for sure though.
Well I now have drinkable coffee! I followed 2mcms advice from above in regards to dosing and than adjusted the grinder from there. Didnt get the chance for a photo as I was too excited and threw it down my throat. Was obvioulsy not perfect but is the best I have produced so far. I bought some freshly roasted beans today so I could make sure my roasting could not be to blame. I bought a coffee at the same time and I may be biased but mine at home was better. From a place I used to frequent before I found The Sea Bar and unfortunately the seem to have gone down hill in the Barista department, but still produce good beans. Wont compare my coffee to The Sea Bar though, Scott is beyond my league.
All the excitment of producing a drinkable coffee has obviously caused me to ramble on. I am sure after training on Tuesday I will be even happier with what I produce. Sure is fun in the process of learning though. So all the newbies like me that are struggling, be persistent and you will get there.
Thanks for all the pointers people and I look forward to more direction and advice as the journey for excellent home produced espresso continues.
Interesting point, Luca....One would have to wonder if that 97 deg was required to get an acceptable shot, maybe the coffee simply wasnt that good/suited to espresso? I would have thought that most reputable roasters would aim for espresso blends which are actually suited to espresso machines?? :-?Originally Posted by luca link=1156411805/15#22 date=1162615254
Im not saying that brew temp is not relevant- we all know that it is....however I reckon that if you can only get a decent shot outa 0.5% of the machinery on the planet, the batch was botched.....
Yes, it was certainly very strange. I thought that it tasted nice. Delicate and caramelly, with a very clean, slightly acidic, finish. It would be a great shot to have after dinner. I dont think that it was botched because there were no burnt flavours at that high temperature.
Maybe Dean has a whole bunch of customers with rancilios, san marinos, azkoyens and other machines that run hot. If so, it wouldnt be hard to walk into such a cafe, give them a bag of a blend thats designed to run hot and have them switch over just like that!
Or maybe - and Im not the first to say this - the Sydney coffee scene just tends to have more acidic coffees that need to be extracted at a higher temperature. A look at the Golden Bean comp results would tend to confirm this; I think that all of the gold and silver medal winners in the espresso category were from Sydney ... hell, there was one particular coffee in the top 10 that was plain sour when I used it at the ICTF - bumped it up to 97C and it tasted burnt as well as lemon-juicy! Lets put 0.5C subtle tweaks aside - if you run a competition with a machine at 95C and Melbournites enter coffees designed to brew at 88C, they will taste like crap. Period.
End rant :)
Anyhoo, like I said, theres no way that you could know that about the ruby fire blend unless you had tried it and I could just imagine you and brett pulling your hair out trying to work out what was wrong with his machine or techique.
Who know; maybe that bag was completely anomalous ... but thats not something that Id expect from the guy whose roasting course AASCA were charging over a grand for!
I think on Friday no matter what coffee I was using I could have made it taste bad. Still looking for that consistency but am having fun in the process. Training tonight so hopefully there will be a marked improvement in the coffee produced at my house as I practice after that. Have had some good coffees among my attempts so that is encouraging and allows me to reflect on those good ones when I pull a shocker.
Ps. Or alternatively Luca I would be happy to run a Sydney v. Melbourne shootout to determine if one is better suited to my machine. All I would need is a 1kg "sample" of your finest blend *;)
Im finding if I pull a "tight" (not choking tight) shot the flavour is more intense and sweet... but thats with the EM6900... So I tend to go outside the shot timing parameters a little.... Its amazing the flavour differences you experience with just a slight movement in dosing...
For instance, I pulled a OK shot of SO Sumantran within the boundries the 25sec, 25mil area and I got a slight sour flavour... it was drinkable, so the next shot a updosed a little, slowed the extraction and walah... a sweeter coffee... even the aroma was sweeter smelling :-)
The difference in dosing was the first shot, I dosed, tapped PF on bench to collapse, then dose and tamp...
2nd shot, I dosed, tapped PF in bench, light tamp, dose and tamp...
Same grind - 2nd shot was sweeter....
Anyway... just sharing what I do if the shot is a little off in taste... :-)
I agree marcstolk, I have certainly proven that it is technique that is affecting my shot quality, or lack thereof. 2mcms post a few up helped a lot and has offered for me to give him a call about it. But I figure I will be better off for him and me if I wait until I can do it in person with a trainer watching me tonight and get corrections than put Chris through the stress of a novice like me getting correction over the phone.
I mean what is a few days of bad coffee at home when I have had many a bad cup at coffee shops over the years? Gives me a chance to play with my machine a little and work out how things effect the shot and milk texture etc. Not game enough to let anyone else drink if yet but i will get there. Although my wife has been very gracious and even tried balancing straight espresso across her tongue for me to help diagnose. All the while pulling faces because it is too strong for her. SO has become a bit of a family affair. My 10 week old daughter even layed in her chair in the kitchen on Friday and was entertained by watching me pull bad shot after bad shot.
But yes marcstolk you are right as Chris also pointed out is better to go off taste than the magic 30ml in 25sec. rule.
Hey, if youre good entertainment thats a good thing... You even entertain yourself :-) I know I do....
I look at the rule as a guide only... taste is the ultimate judge :-)
Enjoy your course tonight Brett....
That sounds about right for a Ristretto Mark. Once youve savoured the joys of one of them its hard to go back to a straight espresso, the intensity and aromas are just not there.Originally Posted by marcstolk link=1156411805/15#28 date=1162859636
Mind you, an up-dosed 20-25 seconds shot is pretty awesome too.... seems to have more body and a generally smoother, better balanced profile than a standard shot. Its probably got something to do with requiring a slightly coarser grind with the higher dose. Sometimes I pull a few shots this way just to get a bit of variation in the outcome with various SOs and blends. Quite surprising sometimes just how different the outcomes are...
Well my domestic course is now complete and am pleased with the results. Helped me to see what I have read being done by someone who knows what they are doing instead of my own interpretation. In a class of 6 we had two instructors. One was the head roaster of the establishment and the other a competition barista. The roaster was raving about the shot he drank that I poured so that was encouraging. Plus got some help with my milk texturising and pouring so now I can practice, practice, practice.
Am stoked with my machine, grinder, and tamper. My equipment certainly was in a different league to everyone else who brought their stuff. Particulalry when I was the only one with a grinder. It helped me get more attention from trainers as well because it meant they could play as well.
Ah well,Originally Posted by Coffeechaser link=1156411805/30#32 date=1162898363
A sign of a true coffeesnob.... never go anywhere without my grinder ;),
They could see you were serious.
Yes, thats right... I always forget its called a ristretto.... but yes, spot on Mal...Originally Posted by Mal link=1156411805/30#31 date=1162885247
Yes, I do this quite often also... just to see what works with a particular SO bean and what doesnt work... It is all good fun...Originally Posted by Mal link=1156411805/30#31 date=1162885247
How do you run a course for someone who doesnt have a grinder? Tell them to pack as much coffee in as possible, then shrug at the results and move on to milk?Originally Posted by Coffeechaser link=1156411805/30#32 date=1162898363
Thats actually a fair question Luca!Originally Posted by luca link=1156411805/30#36 date=1162941624
Brett, they should have discounted the course if your gear was the star attraction? :-) ;) :)
Just a question on extraction time.
When do you all start your timers/counting - when you flick the brew switch or when the first drops appear in the portafilter spouts? *I used to do the latter and but now I start the timer when I turn the switch on - which on the Silvia generally means a five second infusion delay. *
When you flick the switch.Originally Posted by Idler link=1156411805/30#38 date=1162946550
Well obvisouly those people didnt get their value for money. The trainers told them they really need grinders and to spend the amount of money they spent on their machines at least. Most were in the sub 300 dollar category there. One person had a silvia but didnt bring it so not sure if she also had a grinder at home or not.Originally Posted by luca link=1156411805/30#36 date=1162941624
I got my monies worth Marcstolk, they gave me plenty of fresh coffee to take home with me. Most people were there because their partners bought it for them for presents. But once they knew I was a coffee snob they got excited and made sure I got the help I was after. I couldnt fault the course for my needs at all. Was weird everyone took some coffee home, in whole bean form. So I dont know how they intend to use it without grinders. Maybe their spice grinders will get a work out this weekend.
Im sure you got your monies worth... :-)... no doubt....
Yeh, I have a coffee grinder... was a real bargin... has these 2 spinning blades... oh the aroma of freshly ground coffee from my blades... Oh, these grinders arent capable of brewing quality coffee?? Well why do retailers sell them as coffee bean grinders......
Good question Pal, good question :)
Trust me, Ive had this discussion once with a friend who bought the above knowing that Im a coffee snob and that I know better.... ::) it was was a very recent discussion....
Knowledge is an education system on it own. :-)
Brett, Im so glad you found the course useful. Now you have equipment and training that are up to the job, the only thing between you and great coffee is practice. You just have make cup after cup after cup of coffee until you can do it in your sleep. And, of course, you cant let all that coffee go to waste - you have to at least taste every cup, and drink most of them.
Isnt life tough.... :P