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  • Coffee too strong, Im told

    Had a gathering over the weekend and had to make coffee for everyone Was a good oportunity to use my new grinder etc etc.

    Most feedback came back stating that it was just too strong.

    What I do not understand is how to make a weak or a strong cup. If I use less coffee, then the flow is too fast. What do I have to do here? I do not seem to understand the tuning process.

    Do I - use a finer grind and less coffee? Less pull??

    Gaggia classic, rocky grinder and a good tamper. Using Tobys Estate Etheopian at the moment..

  • #2
    Re: Coffee too strong, Im told

    Were you serving single or double shots?
    The Ethiopian beans are very fruity and bright and novice coffee drinkers may not like the more powerful characteristics, you could try a more mellow blend on your friends.
    Adjusting the grind wont change the strength of the coffee only the extraction rate.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Coffee too strong, Im told

      Did they mean too strong as in too bitter or too strong as in too much coffee?

      If too much coffee, cutting the shot short is the easiest solution. (I assume these were milk drinks?)

      Did you use a single or double basket?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Coffee too strong, Im told

        Originally posted by 2423322132570 link=1238388438/2#2 date=1238388836
        If too much coffee, cutting the shot short is the easiest solution.
        But dont you compromise the crema then?

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        • #5
          Re: Coffee too strong, Im told

          They were short blacks.....only a little longer..

          They may have meant too bitter. Good point. No matter how hard I try I cannot pick fruity from any shot I have made.

          It was a double basket. I can not get the right flow with a single although I have not tried with my new grinder.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Coffee too strong, Im told

            Originally posted by 626A65636B3134000 link=1238388438/3#3 date=1238388966
            Originally posted by 2423322132570 link=1238388438/2#2 date=1238388836
            If too much coffee, cutting the shot short is the easiest solution.
            But dont you compromise the crema then?
            I find I can get crema instantly......but in a short period of time, it starts to bubble and doesnt flow too well..

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Coffee too strong, Im told

              Sounds like if you are trying to pull short blacks past the puck? This will result in over extraction and bitterness.

              Try pulling short shots (less coffee) then topping up with hot water from the steam wand (not steam )

              Also while you are working on Grind and Tamp consistancy get a shot glass and a stopwatch and head for doubles (50-60ml) in 25-30 seconds.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Coffee too strong, Im told

                Originally posted by 555742555E1B0404360 link=1238388438/4#4 date=1238389295
                They were short blacks.....only a little longer..
                This can result in bitterness that may be perceived as "too strong".

                Pull three shots:
                One like on the weekend;
                One a lot shorter;
                And one a lot longer.

                Taste all three and see which one YOU like.
                Work out why you like or dislike them.

                Another way to do it (using the double) is to catch the first 20ml in one cup, the next 20ml in a second cup and the last 20ml in a third cup.
                Again, taste all three and see what you think.

                Actually, put a 4th 20ml in one more cup and taste it if you dare. :P

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Coffee too strong, Im told

                  If they were short blacks then as others have mentioned, you are probably over extracting the shots. Try what Thundergod mentioned, it is a good experiment.

                  Another thing to watch when making short blacks is that if you stop the shot early to make a ristretto, it will taste stronger than an espresso.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Coffee too strong, Im told

                    OK. I am warming the classic now to run some tests.

                    But that is what I do not get, Steve. Isnt an espresso the same as a ristretto. I mean, in a double basket, I can not, with the same grind and half the amount of coffee, see how as espresso can be made. All my shots have been a ristretto.

                    From what I have learnt so far, the flow should be like warm honey with a golden brownish colour....which is pretty close to what I am getting (some of the time). How is an espresso made with the same characteristics?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Coffee too strong, Im told

                      My understanding is that there are a few ways to do ristrettos... Either grind as for espresso but stop it earlier, or grind finer. In both cases you get ~30-45ml for a double ristretto. In both cases the actual amount of coffee should be the same as espresso.

                      An espresso is going to be waterier than a ristretto... Thats about the limit of my ristretto vs espresso knowledge ;-)

                      Hopefully somebody else can clarify anything I got wrong.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Coffee too strong, Im told

                        steve you got it right with how to make one, basically there are two schools of thought as to how to do it best, the cut it off early and the 20 ml in 30 sec.

                        The flavors are different as you are getting a different extraction from the last 10 ml, you get more of the harder to extract fractions (both chemicals and solids). I tend to describe the ristretto as being sweeter than the espresso as I think you get less acidity.

                        Thundergods experiment is an excellent one to do and I highly recommend it, another way of doing it is to get a teaspoon and drink small amounts from the flow as it goes along.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Coffee too strong, Im told

                          Originally posted by 4D716C777D7C6B7E767D190 link=1238388438/7#7 date=1238395399
                          Originally posted by 555742555E1B0404360 link=1238388438/4#4 date=1238389295
                          They were short blacks.....only a little longer..
                          This can result in bitterness that may be perceived as "too strong".

                          Pull three shots:
                          One like on the weekend;
                          One a lot shorter;
                          And one a lot longer.

                          Taste all three and see which one YOU like.
                          Work out why you like or dislike them.

                          Another way to do it (using the double) is to catch the first 20ml in one cup, the next 20ml in a second cup and the last 20ml in a third cup.
                          Again, taste all three and see what you think.

                          Actually, put a 4th 20ml in one more cup and taste it if you dare.  :P

                          So simple... but many forget....

                          Then start blending to realy mix it up

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Coffee too strong, Im told

                            Originally posted by 282F3E2D3E5B0 link=1238388438/10#10 date=1238399980
                            My understanding is that there are a few ways to do ristrettos... Either grind as for espresso but stop it earlier, or grind finer. In both cases you get ~30-45ml for a double ristretto. In both cases the actual amount of coffee should be the same as espresso.

                            An espresso is going to be waterier than a ristretto... Thats about the limit of my ristretto vs espresso knowledge ;-)

                            Hopefully somebody else can clarify anything I got wrong.

                            Um for me a ristretto is a 10 to 12 ml pour from a single basket, or two pours the same size from a double, with a double ristretto being a 20ml pour from a double basket

                            One thing with the Gaggia Classic is that they run very hot, so make sure you bleed off at least half a cup of water (or until the water coming through the group head stops steaming), and drain off another 30 to 40mls of water between pulling shots, to both clean out the group head, and to cool the whole thing down; excessively hot water equals burnt / bitter coffee!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Coffee too strong, Im told

                              I always make ristrettos. Mine are about 20-25 ml of coffee from 18 gm of grinds, in about 20 seconds.

                              My latté comes out to a TOTAL of just on 100 ml (see pic <--) and I have only rarely had people say it is too strong--usually before they taste it.
                              Many people who say they dont like strong coffee have had 2 of these in a row!

                              Greg
                              ps--the shot comes out as total crema and only shows black coffee after settling for 30-60 seconds.

                              Comment

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