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Trying to improve extraction with a new high end machine - some pointers please!

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  • Trying to improve extraction with a new high end machine - some pointers please!

    Please could somebody point me to a good read that would help me with some good basics as a starting point for espresso. I have upgraded my machine to a dual boiler. Instead of 2 basket sizes, I now have 4 (7, 14, 17 and 22 grams),furhter increasing the number of permutations. Normaly I would make a double shot espresso and so have started with the 17g basket. I have a Mini Mazzer grinder and am dosing by levelling off the grind in the basket rather than weighing the dose. Then I have been adjusting the grind to get a 60ml pour in 30 seconds.

  • #2
    What machine are we talking about here?
    What did you upgrade from?
    Is your dosing and tamping technique repeatable(same every time)?

    My first pointer would be to aim for shorter pours(volume) and to use nothing but the 22g basket.
    I personally pour around 25-30ml in around the same amount if time from a 21g basket.

    Coffee taste is unique to each individual so if it tastes fine to you, drink it!
    I always spend an hour or 2 once per week trying different techniques with a coffee i know well just to keep my barista juices flowing

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    • #3
      G'day Leonardo...

      Can highly recommend the video series located on ECA's website, here... How to Make Coffee - Coffee Machine Steam Grinders Makers Commercial Domestic Italian Automatic

      Don't worry too much if the machines represented do not match yours exactly, the principles being demonstrated will still apply.

      All the best,
      Mal.

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      • #4
        So cool to see Scottie in a video. He is based in Hong Kong now and lives in my neighborhood.

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree with and do what Luke does: 30ml max from a 21gram basket. I've found that 20ml tastes good out of a standard double. Everyone's palate is different though. I had 20ml out of a LM GB/5 from a 9(?)gram single which tasted fine. So many factors to consider.

          Comment


          • #6
            I disagree with Luke's suggestion. What he is making there is not espresso but a very short ristretto. You can't get better at making espresso if you're making ristretto.

            My suggestion would be to start weighing. Everything.

            If you have a 17g basket, weigh 17g into it. Weigh with a scale that goes to 0.1g, because otherwise 17.0-17.9 will display as 17g.
            Weigh what comes out too. Weight, not volume, is what you're looking for. Crema and dissolved solids in espresso make volume an inaccurate measurement. Aim for 2:1 brew ratio. Eg 17g in, 34g out.
            Get that in about 25 seconds. Then taste. Adjust your grind and dose + or - 1g until you get something tasty.

            But tastes differ, so if after all that you decide you like very short ristretto - eg 22g in, 22g out, then drink that.

            Practice, test, practice, test, then do it all again. And again. And again. X 1000.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bames View Post
              I disagree with Luke's suggestion. What he is making there is not espresso but a very short ristretto. You can't get better at making espresso if you're making ristretto.

              My suggestion would be to start weighing. Everything.

              If you have a 17g basket, weigh 17g into it. Weigh with a scale that goes to 0.1g, because otherwise 17.0-17.9 will display as 17g.
              Weigh what comes out too. Weight, not volume, is what you're looking for. Crema and dissolved solids in espresso make volume an inaccurate measurement. Aim for 2:1 brew ratio. Eg 17g in, 34g out.
              Get that in about 25 seconds. Then taste. Adjust your grind and dose + or - 1g until you get something tasty.

              But tastes differ, so if after all that you decide you like very short ristretto - eg 22g in, 22g out, then drink that.

              Practice, test, practice, test, then do it all again. And again. And again. X 1000.
              17g of a dark roast will fill the basket quite a bit more than 17g of a light roast and this will lead to dosing irregularities depending on the coffee used. For consistency, volume is a far better variable to lock in.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Vinitasse View Post
                17g of a dark roast will fill the basket quite a bit more than 17g of a light roast and this will lead to dosing irregularities depending on the coffee used. For consistency, volume is a far better variable to lock in.
                I'm inclined to disagree. I don't believe either will prevent variability when bean properties change - these methods are only a way to reduce the number of variables adjusted (with neither resulting in the "perfect" coffee). However, one is much easier to do repeatedly; which would result in less variability between shots using the same beans; it is also clearly better at meeting the aim of reducing the number of variables.

                I suspect that if aiming for the same flow resistance, those who dose by volume will select a different grind setting to those who dose by mass, resulting in a different tasting drink.

                So, if you can repeat your dosing method consistently then it doesn't really matter which method you choose (provided you like what you produce). It is however, much easier to dose consistently by weighing (since dose volume depends on compaction, while weight doesn't).


                **
                Mathematically speaking, this is a multivariant non linear optimisation problem, potentially with many local optima. I doubt the global maxima lies on the curve of constant mass, and there isn't even a curve representing constant untamped volume.
                **

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                • #9
                  Thank you all. I changed from an ECM which I had got used to, to a non - paddle LM GS3 which is very consistent and is now showing up my lack of consistency!

                  I started by going too fine giving a long extraction time which I was cutting short at 30 seconds. Then I adjusted the grind back to give a faster extraction rate, but still less than 60 ml. This has improved the flavour by increasing the caramel notes and roundness and lessening sourness.

                  Now I need to get the dosing consistent? If I weigh the dose, will I get a significant change in volume with changes in the grind? How critical is it to achieve optimal fill using the screen imprint in the puck as a guide? Or is that overfill? The new basket does not have the ridge that I used to use with the old basket as a post tamp fill guide.

                  The traditional double espresso basket dose is 14g? The higher the dose, the thicker the puck the lower the extraction percentage for which I am trying to compensate by coarsening the grind?

                  For our specialty coffees is it better to go 17g or even 22g or 14 g and get the extraction right? Can you up the dose and get the extraction percentage right?

                  Aiming for 20% extraction? Does a 2:1 brew ration approximate this?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So much of how individuals go about dosing comes down to how its roasted. This is one of those new philosophies going around that I think makes some real sense. Without having to go to extremes with crazy light roasts and only pulling lungos.

                    Roasting darker so one can stick to a dated overdose by volume regime and pull under extracted, short shots which tend to all taste the same, lack clarity, full bodied like double cream, sweet and salty and sometimes very acidic / bright if not roasted dark enough = where problems start.

                    Or roast a high quality SO to its sweet spot, which does not have to be uber light or anywhere near second crack - for some beans it might be.

                    Have a dosing regime that allows accuracy in measurement of ground coffee used so one can tweak the dose to get the correct balance of flavour at the espresso machine, instead of going back to the roaster and saying its not roasted dark enough.

                    I would hazard a guess that most of the time when people complain about their shots being bitter, they are actually tasting under extraction, to much DOSE of coffee for the resulting shot, too much acids / bitters / flavours = assault on taste buds over powering everything else. I will say that a shot tending more towards this range does better in making milk drinks, which is most of the market so pulling large dose double ristretto has seem to become the normale.

                    If you know how much weight of grounds went into that shot, say 20g, you can then try dosing significantly lower around 15 - 16g, adjust the grind finer to get the same flow / amount of shot you had previously. Resulting shot will be much more balanced, nuanced more clarity. If its still to in your face, you can try grinding a touch finer and extracting longer - allow some blonding to actually take place before cutting the shot.

                    Faster roasts or lighter roasts, blends containing 2, 3 or 4 different high quality beans that could probably stand on their own will need lower doses and possibly and slightly longer extraction to get a balanced shot.

                    I would rather sacrifice some body for a shot with definition and clarity. This does not mean it has to be a filter roast, there is plenty of variation in the last 5 to 7 degrees Celsius prior to start of second crack and how one gets there to last a lifetime.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Steve, Your post needs clarity and definition, has too much volume and not enough weight.

                      ;-)..... sorry, couldn't resist....... but seriously, I've read it a couple of times and can't quite work out what you're

                      actually meaning by it..... 2nd paragraph for example?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Vinitasse View Post
                        17g of a dark roast will fill the basket quite a bit more than 17g of a light roast and this will lead to dosing irregularities depending on the coffee used. For consistency, volume is a far better variable to lock in.
                        Ummm... that's just wrong.

                        What is correct is that 17g of coarsely ground coffee will take up more volume in the basket that 17g of finely ground coffee. This is why dosing by volume is not a consistent way of dosing.
                        eg. You could dose coffee in basket, do 5c test to get the "correct" dose by volume (which let's say for arguments sake turns out to be 17g), and this results in a shot that is a little too fast and sour. You want to slow the shot, so grinds finer and dose to the same 5c test volume. You would actually have changed 2 parameters - not 1. You will have a finer grind AND a larger dose, and both will make the shot run slower.
                        Not a good way to dose.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by chokkidog View Post
                          Steve, Your post needs clarity and definition, has too much volume and not enough weight.

                          ;-)..... sorry, couldn't resist....... but seriously, I've read it a couple of times and can't quite work out what you're

                          actually meaning by it..... 2nd paragraph for example?
                          If you mean the paragraph that begins with "Roasting darker so one can stick to..." then what he means is that up until about 2 years ago, the popular way to dose was grind coarser, dose higher, and pull ristretto shots - eg 24g in a 18g basket, and pull 25ml out (thanks to Paul Bassett). This way of pulling shots only gets the thick, rich, sticky, oily segment of the shot, and whether it's a natural ethiopian lighter espresso roasted coffee or a washed brazillian darker roasted coffee, it pretty much tastes the same.

                          Problem is because it's technically under extracted, it will have sour notes to it. Different sours than a fast pour or light roast, more rich pungent sours.
                          So to "fix" this, the roaster will roast darker to get rid of those sours.
                          But then you have more roasty bitters getting into the shot, so you pull the shot shorter to stop getting those bitters.
                          But then you're faced with those pungent sours creeping back in, so then you roast darker to get rid of the sours.
                          But then you have more roasty bitters getting in, so...

                          and then fun little cycle continues.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Say what?

                            Dose by mass and adjust grinder to suit. Alternately, dose by volume and adjust grind to suit. Either can be inconsistent if you're not good at adjusting grinders or not good at dosing by volume.

                            I never weigh. I produce consistent shots. Something must be working right?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As you can see Leonardo, everyone has their own opinion.

                              I have stayed away from the whole "specialty coffee" circle jerk for a few years and upon reading all the forums and doing the rounds of all the new and "best" coffee shops i have found 2 major differences from 2 years ago.

                              Melbourne "style" roast profiles.
                              To me, this is F'n stupid and a waste of good coffee. I can not stand the taste of ultra light roasted coffees as an espresso based drink. Tastes sour, fruity and almost battery acid like. If i wanted those nuances, i would ask for a pour over brewed with a low temperature.

                              Scales & syringes.
                              What is it with every would be barista telling you that you are not making a "correctly made coffee" if you are not weighing every dose and shot and running it through a refractameter.
                              Don't get me wrong, i use scales from time to time and even weight a shot every now and again but not even this is completely repeatable.

                              I know things change and we must move along with trends to suit consumer expectation but seriously, people need to read less magazines and trying to copy what 7seeMorespressblacko are doing and playing with their own individual hardware and coffees to find the variables. Taste it people... that's what is there for!

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