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Problems with shots, or is it just the beans?

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  • Problems with shots, or is it just the beans?

    I know Ill work this out over time, but perhaps some of you can offer advice.

    Pulled a double shot this morning and it took 20 secs for 60ml, 10ml liquid, 50ml crema. Over the next 30-60 secs it settled to 30ml liquid and 10ml crema, so total volume was ok. Texture of crema was a bit "blancmange" like, taste fine (although Ive no experience with these beans so perhaps it should be different).

    Beans are Columbian Del Obispo roasted at Maling Room 15th, so only 4 days old.

    As a newbie, Im still trying to understand how all the different variables interact. Im guessing the size of the gas bubbles is the cause of the crema texture.

    Naturally Ill ask about the beans where I bought them, but that will be another week or so. Will also tweak the grind and see what happens.

    Anyone got experience with these beans, or ideas as to whether this is normal?

  • #2
    Re: Problems with shots, or is it just the beans?

    From my limited experience, most coffees within about five days of roasting are often quite fresh for use in espresso, you get a lot of crema but there is nothing wrong with the coffee! As the coffee ages post roast, it should settle down a bit in terms of the amount of CO2 its emitting.

    Also, Ill leave it up to the experts, but Ive found that lighter roasts tend not to put out as much crema, with some specific beans also being gushers in terms of the amount of crema they produce.

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    • #3
      Re: Problems with shots, or is it just the beans?

      Freshly roasted coffee often can take up to 6 days to settle after roasting. Up to this point the coffee releases a lot of Co2 which can effect the shot rate, crema colour and flavour development.

      If your coffee is too fresh, flow rate is often fast, light yellow in colour and has large gas bubble in the crema. Freshness can also produce sour flavour characteristics. I would suggest letting the beans settle for a bit longer before using them.

      Your flow rate sounds very fast, so should the freshness NOT be the issue, check your dose (nice and solid when tapped, if sloppy and wet, updose the basket) and check your grind size. If your flow rate is too fast the grind size may be a touch coarse, change the grind to a finer grind size.

      Over the next 30-60 secs it settled to 30ml liquid and 10ml crema, so total volume was ok.

      Crema is gold mate, dont let it settle, drink it straight away!!

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      • #4
        Re: Problems with shots, or is it just the beans?

        Originally posted by 535B555D5F454559555D360 link=1290131768/0#0 date=1290131768
        taste fine  
        thats the most important thing. Volumes, timings etc are only intended as a guide. Dont get too hung up on all that. Focus on the flavour in the cup.

        Originally posted by 293631323B2D36312A3F3231283B5E0 link=1290131768/2#2 date=1290137745
        Freshly roasted coffee often can take up to 6 days to settle after roasting
        sometimes less. sometimes more. There is no hard and fast rule.

        Originally posted by 293631323B2D36312A3F3231283B5E0 link=1290131768/2#2 date=1290137745
        Crema is gold mate, dont let it settle, drink it straight away
        nothing wrong with letting it settle. hell, pull 2 shots and let one of them cool to room temperature and see what you think (thanks to James Hoffman and others for this idea)

        I would also suggest you actually want to stir your crema back in a little anyway.

        so, Who me? you should experiement, tinker, taste. taste. taste. If you like the taste, youre getting it right and there is no problem

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        • #5
          Re: Problems with shots, or is it just the beans?

          As far as Im concerned, crema is flavour, texture and aromatic compounds. You let it settle too long, you begin to loose all that good stuff.

          Stir it and the crema breaks down, releasing all the good stuff ( technical coffee term) into the air, rather than on your palete.

          Drink it! Drink it quick! ;D

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Problems with shots, or is it just the beans?

            Originally posted by 455A5D5E57415A5D46535E5D4457320 link=1290131768/4#4 date=1290139303
            As far as Im concerned, crema is flavour, texture and aromatic compounds. You let it settle too long, you begin to loose all that good stuff.

            Stir it and the crema breaks down, releasing all the good stuff ( technical coffee term) into the air, rather than on your palete.

            Drink it! Drink it quick! ;D
            fair enough. For what its worth, in competition, you are instructed to stir the espresso you are about to judge. This is to return some of the concentrated flavours back to the espresso and provide a more balanced drink for you to asses. Theres been plenty of discussion as to whether or not this is valid. Perhaps you might like to try it and see what you think?

            Letting it settle and cool doesnt necessarily mean you lose all the good stuff either. I just means the espresso changes.

            Drinking it quick without stirring is just as valid as stirring, tasting once, taking in the aroma and then tasting again. As is letting the shot cool to room temperature and then drinking it.

            taste, tinker, experiment, taste, taste, taste and you never know what you might discover.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Problems with shots, or is it just the beans?

              Yeah normally I drink my espresso pretty much straight away, but wanted to see what happened, especially given it seemed to pour so much quicker than normal.

              For me its not just the taste, but mouthfeel and the crema texture is a huge part of that.

              I dont want to be pulling and discarding too many shots at $60/kg, but hopefully next week Ill have my greens and popper, so can do some experimenting.

              With any luck the PID/thermocouple/ssr will also turn up and that should be a big help.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Problems with shots, or is it just the beans?

                Im a stirrer - Of espresso that is....

                Mal.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Problems with shots, or is it just the beans?

                  Originally posted by 5158435A515C54390 link=1290131768/5#5 date=1290145466
                  Originally posted by 455A5D5E57415A5D46535E5D4457320 link=1290131768/4#4 date=1290139303
                  As far as Im concerned, crema is flavour, texture and aromatic compounds. You let it settle too long, you begin to loose all that good stuff.

                  Stir it and the crema breaks down, releasing all the good stuff ( technical coffee term) into the air, rather than on your palete.

                  Drink it! Drink it quick! ;D
                  fair enough. For what its worth, in competition, you are instructed to stir the espresso you are about to judge. This is to return some of the concentrated flavours back to the espresso and provide a more balanced drink for you to asses. Theres been plenty of discussion as to whether or not this is valid. Perhaps you might like to try it and see what you think?

                  Letting it settle and cool doesnt necessarily mean you lose all the good stuff either. I just means the espresso changes.

                  Drinking it quick without stirring is just as valid as stirring, tasting once, taking in the aroma and then tasting again. As is letting the shot cool to room temperature and then drinking it.

                  taste, tinker, experiment, taste, taste, taste and you never know what you might discover.  
                  i think espresso normally tastes better than the crema, this has been discussed quite a bit this year.

                  I was in a coffee shop in Sao Paulo on Tuesday where the barista offered to skim the crema off my long black - because it tasted better that way (in her opinion).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Problems with shots, or is it just the beans?

                    Originally posted by 363D2F33322F3F34393028292F5C0 link=1290131768/8#8 date=1290723879
                    i think espresso normally tastes better than the crema, this has been discussed
                    wow, that blows my mind, each to their own of course though. Crema has the most intensly concentrated development of oils, texture, aromatic compounds etc, in comparison to the black liquid coffee.

                    If i had an espresso with no crema, I would rather brew another style. I have tasted extensively espresso, the crema and the black liquid coffee seperately, but, crema is the gold for me.

                    Of course, each to their own.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Problems with shots, or is it just the beans?

                      Just a quick update to close out this thread.

                      It was almost certainly the beans.

                      Having received my bean bay order and roasted a few, I left the Del Obispo beans aside for a week and they were much less frisky. Less crema but denser, also a softer and more rounded flavour in the cup. They seemed to taste best 12-14 days post roast IMHO.

                      I also back flushed the machine again and then checked with same beans, still all good.

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