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  • technique question

    Hi guys

    Two things; a compliment and a question.

    I recently purchased the Expobar Minore/mazzer combo from Coffee Lovers. I live in Perth so my initial inquiries were made via email and then I had a number of discussions with Rick Mead from Coffee lovers over the phone. I have to say that Rick was really great to deal with, the machine, grinder and all the other bits and pieces I ordered (Rick also threw in a few freebies) turned up well packaged within about 3 days. The whole thing actually came on a small pallet as I think it weighed 40kg+.

    So anyone contemplating such a purchase, by all means give Rick a call. He was really helpful with the purchase and had tested the machine etc before shipping, so no problems there. I also have a naked PF coming in the mail from there as well.

    The machine has been great thus far, although I am still coming to grips with it.

    Now for my question.

    I have read barista techniques and done a bit of a search, but I cant seem to get a definitive answer.

    I have been using coffee I got from Coffeelovers initially. My technique has been as follows:

    Grind and overfill double basket.
    Level off basket with the back of a butter knife
    Tamp lightly first to get it level in the PF
    Tap the edge of the PF with the top of the tamper to dislodge any grounds on the side
    Tamp again with 12-14kg of pressure (initially I used the bathroom scales to get a feel for this)
    Quick flush of the machine and then pull the shot
    I am getting around the 55ml mark in just over 25 secs
    The puck has the impression of the shower screen. on it

    The coffee is coming out great to my palate, nice crema and much better than the usual stuff I get from the café at work.

    However the puck is coming out quite damp, usually there is water on top still, however, it does come out in one piece. It also leaves a little damp coffee around the edges of the basket. Which is more that I think should be left behind. It really needs to be rinsed out as there is generally a bit much to wipe out with a cloth, as I end up with coffee all over the cloth if I do. I have played with the grind to try and fix it but I still seem to get it, but I also knock the poor times out of whack.

    I roasted some beans on the weekend. My cousin in-law is a member here and he came me a selection of beans and a popper as a Christmas present because he knew we were going to buy the machine. It was a Peru bean, but I can’t remember exactly what. Anyway, I was pulling shots with that last night, and once I got the grind right, the pucks were coming out a lot drier and with very little coffee grounds on the inside of the basket. I had thought my technique was the same.

    So could the issue be that I just haven’t gotten my grind settings right on the wet pucks.

    Sorry about the long post.


  • #2
    Re: technique question


    Yes, grind is a possibilty.

    I think the single biggest contributer to consistency is a good routine.

    You seem to have a good one established, the only other thing that might be worth a play is how you dose your PF.

    There is a style of dosing which Chris (2muchcoffeeman) teaches called dose & collapse.

    Whilst filling your basket, tap the PF on the bench lightly a few times

    Then do the rest of your steps.

    This will pack just a little more coffee into the basket. Not much, but I find if I stick to this, I get drier pucks.

    Hope that helps.



    • #3
      Re: technique question


      I use a dose, tap PF on the bench to settle, tamp hard, tap tamp against side of PF a few times (to remove grinds from the side) and final hard tamp that seems to work for me. Recently I also tamp mid to late grind to make more room under Rockys outlet and get the final dose level right. I havent really had a wet puck after settling into that routine. Its more habbit and possibly a bit of compulsive obsessivness now. I also get a Sharman to bless each dosing but no luck with a God shot yet  



      • #4
        Re: technique question

        thanks for the replies.

        i will give it a try.

        i just found it weird that the beans i roasted resulted in a different puck.  there was a big difference in the grinder settings on tha mazzer between the two coffees too.  i had to move the grinder 3 & 1/2 notches/marks on the grinder adjustment to get a 25-30 sec pour.  

        although i am not sure if that is as a result of my roasting.  i think i might have pulled the beans out a little early.  they look a little light.  i got first crack at 4 mns and pulled them at just over 5, i dont think i got second crack, but i think i had too many in the poper and they all kept bouncing out (i also think i need a tin can to extend the the height of the popper) so i had to stop it.  i was doing it outside on a bench with no shoes on and the hot beans kept landing on my feet, so there may be an argument there for correct footwear.  

        im not too sure how the roas turned out as it tastes completely different to any coffee i have had before.  its quite sweet with a really strong fruity taste.  my wife thought i was making it up until she taseted it.  Is that a symptom of too short a roast, or is it the coffee.  I will check what the coffee actually was tonight.


        • #5
          Re: technique question

          sweet, fruity taste? yeah, thats a light roast, but thats not a bad thing. If you go for a really dark roast, youll get a really full bodied coffee, sweet caramelly, but not so much of the fruitiness.

          the key thing is if it tastes good, keep drinking it!

          and I recommend tapping the portafilter during dosing as well.


          • #6
            Re: technique question

            Definitely tap before you tamp, it settles the grind which important as it helps to elimate channeling. This is where the water finds the path of least resistance and your shot will be lacking. You can see it happen on a naked PF. As the shot comes out of the bottom of basket, the extracted coffee spout will wander around. Youll see where the water is rushing through, itll be blonde compared to where the water is struggling to come through, itll be dark brown.

            Beware you can overdose your machine, though the exobar shouldnt choke (where the pump cant force the water through the puck -most machines have a bypass valve which spits the water back into the reservoir or drip tray). Too fine a grind and too tightly packed in an attempt to get the right looking puck can see a shot pulled, but uneven extraction at the opposite end of the spectrum.

            Fresh beans make an enormous amout of difference, which is what youre noticing. Even a day between usage can affect the grind setting. Thats one of the problems when you buy a flash a machine and the company gives you a stack of beans. When youre new and youre learning, just as you think youre getting it right, you get to the tail end of the freebie supply (usually stale by now) and the shots just dont pull like they use to. Must be the technique, so you start stuffing around ...... and then some says, how fresh are the beans? ahh its all so clear now.... ;D



            • #7
              Re: technique question

              Sounds like you are 99 per cen there, Clint. The timing is good, and the taste is good.

              Water on the puck is indicative of insufficient coffee in the basket. But to pack in more coffee with your current grinder setting would result in a slower extraction. To compensate, youll have to adjust the grind -- make it slighty more coarse.

              To avoid an over-heaped basket ready for tamping, fill in two stages. Half fill, then tap on bench to settle the grounds. Then fill to above the rim, and tap again. By now the basket should be just about level without having to scrape (and waste) too much with your finger (or butter knife).



              • #8
                Re: technique question

                thanks guys

                the nake PF arrived yesterday, so i gave it a work out last night.

                i think the advice has been spot on too. as i pulled a shot with my previous technique (no tapping the PF as it was being filled) the pour was starting to come out all over the place with the naked PF. but with a tap inbetween filling the basket it was coming out with a more even colour across the basket and with one stream. although i was still getting the occasional random spray from the sides.

                the free coffee is just about gone now, so i will have to get in for the april poll before the green beans i have at home run out.


                • #9
                  Re: technique question

                  Gday Clinto,

                  Out of interest, what do you set the Brew Temperature to on the Minore? Do you know whether this refers to the temperature of the water hitting the coffee puck or prior to entering the Group? It would be interesting to know just exactly what the controller in these units is doing and how it compares with the actual water temperature entering the PF.

                  Always curious ,


                  • #10
                    Re: technique question


                    I have set the temp at 94. I havent tried changing it yet as I dont want to introduce another variable just yet.

                    From what i have read 94 is the temp at the group. The boiler actually runs 6 degrees hotter and you loose the 6 degrees via radiation on the way to the group. So i need to do a warming flush (rather than a cooling flush) when the machine has been idle for a while.

                    There is a good article here


                    and some more info on the minore/brewtus here




                    • #11
                      Re: technique question

                      Thanks Clint,

                      Much appreciated ,