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Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

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  • Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

    I spent an hour today using a bottomless portafilter to try and improve my dosing technique. I was using some supermarket coffee as I didnt want to waste any of my home roast. I found the coffee clumped more than fresh coffee and it was actually very hard to get the coffee to come out in a single stream in the middle although I got better by the end of it.

    I then switched over to some fresh beans. All the shots I pulled with the fresh beans looked like it was coming out better, even when I intentionally dosed/tamped it badly.

    Im not sure now whether it is better or worse to practice dosing/tamping etc with stale coffee... Is it better because its easier to see the flaws, or worse because its nothing like fresh coffee?

    Also I noticed with either beans that the stream was often not actually in the center but a bit closer to the handle. Would this be due to uneven tamping?

  • #2
    Re: Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

    You should never practice with stale coffee. The Co2 from fresh coffee will effect extraction and taste. Fresh coffee extraction is something that you will never stop learning. From understand when coffee peaks to how it taste. Also supermarket coffee cost just as much as fresh coffee. If you are using a blend and its fresh, its takes a good barista months to understand excatly what it does. From which days it peaks, to getting the most out of it on a particular time. Stale coffee is only good for one thing..... filling up a rubbish bin.

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    • #3
      Re: Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

      Originally posted by AndyL link=1165640695/0#1 date=1165657165
      Stale coffee is only good for one thing..... filling up a rubbish bin.
      Actually, Andy, i beg to differ, my worm farm just loves stale coffee - seems to excite the little buggers!  Although, I agree with you in that, when I was setting up my new machine at home recently, I thought Id muck around with some beans that had been in the back of the cupboard for a while, to get the grind, dose, and tamp right... but I couldnt figure out why I couldnt get a decent crema.

      So I switched to fresh beans, and then, viola!  Started pulling great shots straight away.

      At the end of the day there is no substitute for quality.

      If I wanted to drink crap coffee, Id go out for it! (FYI: Your joint not included!)

      Cheers,

      Pat

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      • #4
        Re: Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

        Stale coffee is good for practicing...Fertilising the garden.

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        • #5
          Re: Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

          Stale coffee is fine for practicing latte art. The crema isnt as good, but you can still see whether or not youre pouring correctly.

          As others have said, fresh coffee is cheaper than supermarket coffee.

          Cheers,

          Luca

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          • #6
            Re: Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

            I used stale coffee in my garden and the slater population quadrupled.

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            • #7
              Re: Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

              :-), well its not like I actually paid for the supermarket coffee myself so the price was right.

              The problem with using fresh coffee is that I generally want to drink each shot I make. At least with stale stuff I dont even try :-) Anyway I did work out a few things so it probably wasnt completely wasted.

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              • #8
                Re: Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

                should set up another thread. 100 things to do with stale coffee.

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                • #9
                  Re: Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

                  Like, when the parents in law stay, and their time is up, serving stale coffee can be a real disincentive to actually staying longer...

                  ACG [smiley=bath.gif] [smiley=bath.gif]

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                  • #10
                    Re: Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

                    Originally posted by AndyL link=1165640695/0#7 date=1165724776
                    should set up another thread. 100 things to do with stale coffee.
                    Ooooh

                    That could get nasty..... better get the "bleeper" fired up and ready

                    Mal.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

                      i find stale or poor coffee behaves very differently to fresh coffee- Ive found the grinds necessary to be way different. Id just accept that you may waste $10-20 and see it as money well spent.
                      Realistically you will probably use only a fraction of that unless what is really at stake is the users inexperience, not just dialing in the machines. I found Greg Pullmans tamper with its alignment rings and flat base and tight fit to be very helpful in getting even tamps.

                      All the best
                      Brett

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                      • #12
                        Re: Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

                        Stale coffee may have its use. Certainly it wont be helpful when it comes to judging crema. No use sampling its taste and then making corrections accordingly. Humidity, variety and degree of roast affect the grind as much as age.

                        But I can think of one use: tamping practice. Stale or fresh, getting an even tamp, i.e., not lopsided is important. Using the correct pressure. Probably no need to even go as far as inserting the basket in the group.

                        Tamp, examine, empty.

                        Then give it to the relatives to burn in their stove top!! They wont know the difference. Might even think it an improvement on the stale bricks theyre used to.

                        --Robusto

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                        • #13
                          Re: Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

                          Originally posted by robusto link=1165640695/0#11 date=1166353318
                          Stale coffee may have its use. Certainly it wont be helpful when it comes to judging crema. No use sampling its taste and then making corrections accordingly. Humidity, variety and degree of roast affect the grind as much as age.  

                          But I can think of one use:  tamping practice.  Stale or fresh, getting an even tamp, i.e., not lopsided is important.  Using the correct pressure.  Probably no need to even go as far as inserting the basket in the group.

                          Tamp, examine, empty.

                          Then give it to the relatives to burn in their stove top!! They wont know the difference. Might even think it an improvement on the stale bricks theyre used to.

                          --Robusto
                          I give my stale coffee to a work mate- she has this little breville that was given to her- it makes doubtful coffee no matter what you do, so the stale coffee is great and its probably a year younger than what she uses otherwise!
                          Brett

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

                            Originally posted by telemaster link=1165640695/0#12 date=1166389092
                            [/quoteI give my stale coffee to a work mate- she has this little breville that was given to her- it makes doubtful coffee no matter what you do, so the stale coffee is great and its probably a year younger than what she uses otherwise!
                            Brett

                            You often wonder: where ignorance is bliss, is it folly to be wise, or should we go in full of snobbish bluster and correct the error of their ways in the interests of bringing fulfilment to their deprived tastebuds?

                            --Robusto

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Fresh vs stale coffee when practicing

                              Originally posted by robusto link=1165640695/0#13 date=1166389584
                              You often wonder: where ignorance is bliss, is it folly to be wise, or should we go in full of snobbish bluster and correct the error of their ways in the interests of bringing fulfilment to their deprived tastebuds?
                              Wow!

                              Talk about waxing philosophical there Robusto, must be under the influence of some great coffee ,

                              Mal.

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