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  • Espresso early Blonding

    Howdy all,
    I've been lurking for a while and feel I need to ask some advice to improve. I wasn't too sure where to post this, but all the other sub-forums are dedicated to equipment so I thought this would be the best place.

    I'm looking for some advice to how to tell when blonding is occuring, and if there is anything you can do when it does occur.
    Here is a video I've taken this morning: https://youtu.be/8Wl5b9xSMHg
    I'm guessing blonding is occuring at around the 21 second mark. Any confirmation would be great. If there's any other points for improvement I'll be gladly to accept criticism (constructive please!).

    This leads to my second question, if you notice a shot in the making starts to blonde, would you cut it there rather than go for the full 50-60mL extraction? Or is it important to do the full 25-30 second brew time? I think if you cut it short, that'll lead to a shot halfway between a ristretto and espresso.
    Many thanks in advance!
    Charley

  • #2
    I'd say around 25-26s is when it's done.

    The shot still had some colour to it by that time but as you can see, the streams of coffee are starting to break up and flow erratically. The coffee has also thinned out and lacks body. These are also indications that the extraction is complete.

    Stopping the shot early is better than letting it run into blonding. Letting it run will give a watery, underextracted taste, cutting it before blonding occurs ensures the shot tastes as good as it can.

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    • #3
      Espresso early Blonding

      I concur- what noidle said. Not bad really, just needed to be stopped a few seconds earlier.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the comments, they're much appreciated. I'm finding it hard to tell when I should be cutting it short when it comes to relying on color. I take it that the texture of the stream is another indicator alongside color in determining when to stop a shot.
        If I were to try to extend to the full 25-30 seconds extraction time before it starting blonding, would I be grinding more finely, or increasing the dose, or a combination of both? That was a 18gm dosage in the video.

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        • #5
          Definitely not a combination of both, make sure you only ever adjust one variable at a time. It depends what equipment you're using, but as 18g is already a good size dose I'd lean towards a slightly finer grind first.

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          • #6
            The machine you are using (BES860 or BES870, not sure but they're both pretty much the same) has 54mm baskets which have significantly smaller capacity than the more conventional 58mm baskets.
            The maximum dose you should use, in the double shot basket when tamped down, should have the silver edge of the standard tamper level with the top of the basket. Not sure how many grams that would be, probably 15-16.

            Whenever I use these machines, I tend to dose a bit lower than that and grind finer. As LeroyC said, adjust one variable at a time until you see results.

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            • #7
              You have a keen eye, I'm using a bes870 and I do find the baskets for this machine quite small when comparing it to other machines.
              I find that with 18gm tamped, the silver lining on the tamper is just maybe 1mm under the basket rim.
              I've might try grinding it one step finer and see what the result is like.

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              • #8
                Age of beans can also make a difference to when blonding occurres.

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                • #9
                  Yes freshness is a very big factor I found recently. I'm using freshly roasted (4-5 days old) in the above video.

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                  • #10
                    I think your blonding started at 17-18 seconds.
                    I would have pulled it at 18-20.
                    After 20 you really were just getting washy blonde.

                    At 17 seconds you can see how the pour starts to go from thick and viscous in the left hand side to more watery (the shape of the pour starts to slacken off and pull in towards the centre) and then starts to change colour.
                    The first sign was how the pour itself changed and then the colour quickly followed.

                    By 25 seconds you'd gone from natural blonde to peroxide, so to speak.

                    I think watching carefully both how the pour itself changes shape and the colour changes is important as both are signs of extraction changing.

                    Naked PF is a great tool for this as you can observe colour and flow across the entire basket.

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                    • #11
                      Hmm I can see what you mean. It looks like there's different standards (or opinions, whichever way you may look at it) in differentiating when the pour is still thick enough or not.
                      I would love to get a naked portafilter, I hear they're a great learning tool to start off with, but the one that fits my machine seem to be quite expensive and I'm already looking to save up for my next 'real' machine.

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                      • #12
                        All the timings, quantities, etc., are only indications.
                        The only true test is how it tastes TO YOU.
                        Experiment--one change at a time--until you get coffee you love.

                        Greg

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                        • #13
                          I actually think that's a bean/roast fault. The pour is great and then switches off quite suddenly really. Are you 100% sure they are four days old?

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                          • #14
                            I'm 90% sure they're recently roasted. I'm assuming the beans are still degassing (bag is expanding every day after I squeeze the air out). The supplier could've lied to me I guess, but it definitely is much easier to achieve this pour with these beans than the month old beans I chucked out.

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                            • #15
                              How dark was the roast? I'm finding some dark roasts need at least 2 weeks before they start hitting their stride.

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