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Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

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  • Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Hello all,

    Ive been having major problems with my extraction over the past week and despite hours of research i cant solve the problem so i again come to my CS brethren, cap in hand.

    Firstly, im still using my crappy Breville ES800 (im finally upgrading in the next few months, hopefully, because ive so outgrown this machine), an unpressurised double basket and my lovely K3T.

    Over the last week ive suddenly been unable to get a decent extraction, regardless of my choice of bean.
    Im getting a very quick pour, blonding within 10 seconds and generally a very thin, weak line of crema that dissipates almost instantly.
    Im getting 60mls in about 20 seconds, so obviously a little quick, whilst the flavour is okay, if a little weak and underwhelming.

    The obvious solution would be to grind finer but ive tried every grind from extremely fine to extremely coarse and the only way to alleviate the early blonding is to virtually choke the machine to the point where i just get a slowly dripping extraction.

    Ive used three different types of beans in the past week, two from quality roasters in Melbourne and one from CS, ranging from 3-4 days to 10-12 after roasting, and the problem is exactly the same with all beans.
    I gave the machine a really good clean about a month ago and my extraction afterwards was great, yet in the last week ive consistently encountered this problem despite not changing any other aspect of the process.

    Again, the obvious solution is to grind finer and whilst i can slow the pour that way, the early blonding and poor crema remains.
    Im still a real novice (but learning fast) so not sure what else it could be, perhaps tamp technique/strength? my dosing?

    This is really doing my head in so if anyone could offer any guidance or suggestions id be eternally grateful.
    That or just tell me to bite the bullet and go get the Vibiemme Domobar Junior ive had my eye on for quite a while.  

  • #2
    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Hi Ristrom,

    Barring a fault of some sort with your machine, it really sounds like stale coffee to me. What are you using and how old is it?

    If you do decide youd like to upgrade, we have stock of Domobar Junior and the numbers are nice

    Cheers

    Chris

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

      yeah upgrade for sure.
      but meantime have you checked if youre not updosing too high?
      if youre mashing your puck then youd prob get what youre describing
      aaron

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

        Originally posted by 3B2622272C2C490 link=1276556676/2#2 date=1276559815
        yeah upgrade for sure.
        but meantime have you checked if youre not updosing too high?
        if youre mashing your puck then youd prob get what youre describing
        aaron
        Ya... People will harp on about Tamp and polish...

        Channelling and or stale beans...  The 4 Ms

        If people only saw what happens; when ya dose to the extent you contact the shower screen...

        They might re assess their tamp method and ot dose levels.

        1: Tap, Tap, Sweep, Tamp, Dose, Tap, Tamp, Polish..


        2: Lock in and the puck is touching when ya about 2/3 locked in..

        That final 1/3  or 1/4 etc does what...

        1: Adds another few thousands of compression.. Can be a significant pressure > 50kg

        2: The shower screen tears and rips the polished surface of ya puck..

        Thus that final 1/3 or more of locking in undoes all that work and effort that you have put into getting ya number right...

        It will also twist the puck and can cause channelling in different parts depending on the physical factors of the basket and shower screen..

        A: Seen a few where the show screen has to be replaced all the time and always full of coffee grinds..  Opps... I wonder if some one has been crushing the shower screen... Opps OVER DOSING..
         

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

          Originally posted by 5D686562564A666F6F6C6C090 link=1276556676/1#1 date=1276558360
          Barring a fault of some sort with your machine, it really sounds like stale coffee to me. What are you using and how old is it?
          The three ive been using this past week are:

          * St.Ali Espresso blend, 10-12 days from roasting.
          * Auction Rooms Small Batch Candyman blend, 5-6 days after roasting.
          * Fiefys Blend 2010 from CS, 3-5 days after roasting (onto the 5th day now).

          The only one of those beans that ive used before is the Candyman blend which i used about a month ago and adored.

          All three are excellent quality and in the right range of freshness so im thinking the problem is either one of technique or the machine dying.

          Originally posted by 5D686562564A666F6F6C6C090 link=1276556676/1#1 date=1276558360
          If you do decide youd like to upgrade, we have stock of Domobar Junior and the numbers are nice Wink
          Nice numbers? Intriguing.

          The only reason ive not upgraded yet is that ive not had any experience with a machine above my current crappy unit so ive no idea how to judge which quality machine would suit myself and my better half.
          Ive got to bite the bullet soon because this machine is really holding me back but its a scary, overwhelming process for one so blind to quality machines.

          Originally posted by 6B7672777C7C190 link=1276556676/2#2 date=1276559815
          but meantime have you checked if youre not updosing too high?
          if youre mashing your puck then youd prob get what youre describing
          The basket size with these machines is smaller than average so its hard to tell what the perfect dose is but i think im getting my dose about right.
          Basically what i do is dose, tap, dose to a small mound, push the mound around to fill the basket, smooth off and tamp.

          I took a quick photo of this mornings puck (taken a fair while after extraction).
          Excuse the blurriness, i should have reviewed the photos before binning the puck, but it should be enough to give a decent impression of what im getting.
          It definitely slopes in towards the middle and when i have a close look it appears theres a four leaf clover type imprint, which in hindsight is obviously an impression from the shower screen.
          The puck has been coming out a little moist, with remnants left on the sides of the basket after knocking it out.

          It hasnt always been like this, i have had periods where the puck comes out looking perfect and knocks out totally clean, as it should.



          Be gentle.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

            Did you say what grinder you are using?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

              Originally posted by 5C607D666C6D7A6F676C080 link=1276556676/5#5 date=1276564994
              Did you say what grinder you are using?

              Originally posted by 424242080 link=1276556676/0#0 date=1276556676
              Firstly, im still using my crappy Breville ES800 (im finally upgrading in the next few months, hopefully, because ive so outgrown this machine), an unpressurised double basket and my lovely K3T.

              Yes a good grinder is important

              KK

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

                Originally posted by 4A766B707A7B6C79717A1E0 link=1276556676/5#5 date=1276564994
                Did you say what grinder you are using?
                I did.
                Im using a Compak K3 Touch.

                EDIT: Sorry, didnt see your post, KK.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

                  bit hard to tell from the pic...
                  showerscreen impression in a puck after the shot is pulled is prob fine.
                  check the puck before you pull a shot though to see any damage to the top of the puck.

                  dose as per usual
                  dry shower screen
                  lock in gently
                  DONT pull a shot.
                  take your handle out gently and see what impression there is.

                  aaron

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

                    Originally posted by 4B5652575C5C390 link=1276556676/8#8 date=1276569490
                    dose as per usual
                    dry shower screen
                    lock in gently
                    DONT pull a shot.
                    take your handle out gently and see what impression there is.
                    Ive tried that before (and the 5c test) and never seen any impression on the puck.
                    Ill try it again when i get home and report back (and possibly take a better photo of the puck, pre and post shot).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

                      ok ristrom.
                      it could be that youre underdosing, which might also explain the fairly wet puck (but on machines with no 3-way valve, pucks often look wettish

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

                        Okay, ive made another shot and heres the verdict.

                        Firstly, i got about 13-14 grams in the basket (bear in mind that its only a 51mm basket).

                        A shot after dosing:



                        A shot after smoothing:



                        Now one after tamping:



                        Quite bizarrely, i got a thicker, more timely pour with well timed blonding.
                        Heres a shot of my, um, shot.
                        I got about 50mls in about 32 seconds, a huge and unexplainable sudden improvement from anything ive gotten for at least week.

                        The crema looked great initially but within about 90 seconds it had basically dissipated.



                        A shot of the used puck minutes after extraction:



                        Lastly, a shot of my basket after being knocked out:



                        The light makes it seem like its really wet at the bottom of the basket but its actually not, but thats basically how my baskets have been looking of late post knock.

                        The coffee itself tasted better than ive been producing recently (and is of a decent standard) but still lacked a kick and a depth of flavour ive come to expect from quality beans.
                        In conclusion, i didnt change any of the variables (at least not consciously) so ive no idea why i suddenly got a much improved pour, and quite weirdly, the rapidly dissipating crema problem persisted.

                        Thanks to everyone who is trying to help, i really do appreciate it.
                        On the bright side, if, despite all these issues (and the limitations of a crappy machine) i can make a decent coffee i cant wait to experience what i can produce with a quality machine.  

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

                          Some great work..

                          Now considering the system and basket size and format... Holes in teh middle and not much around teh out side..

                          Ignore all teh other Rules etc and I would expect that if you were to just run a shot and stop it when it starts to blond / go watery..

                          You might actually get a great shot..

                          Be it 22sec and 40ml .. WHO cares...


                          It is whats in teh cup and Fit for purpose..


                          Your running unknown pressure, funny basket etc etc etc... You can not expect to tick teh box in all teh BARISTA check boxes..


                          Go for whats best in teh cup... It is what the best do... Numbers are for those that cant

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

                            +1 AM
                            given the size and shape of your basket, id tend to cut shots earlier if that helps with taste.
                            the prob with some of these type of machines is that it is really only the puck that is moderating the impact of potentially 12+ bars of pressure from smashing your puck to pieces during extraction. it can therefore be real hard to pull nice shots if your shot prepn isnt spot on.
                            aaron

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

                              Thanks boys.
                              I only use the numbers as a reference point and only measured the shot and the time to give the experts here as much information as possible.
                              Usually i just let it pour and stop it when it starts blonding, be it after 15 seconds or 30.

                              Its the frustration of the horribly inconsistent shots that gets me.
                              I understand that much of that comes down the unforgiving nature of crappy machines like mine but given i think ive developed solid, consistent techniques its terribly frustrating going on such a roller coaster between shots.
                              And then theres seemingly unexplainable weeks like this past one where i just cannot get a decent crema regardless of the bean, the process or the grind and cannot see a way to correct it.

                              Comment

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