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Coffee frustration... arghhh !!

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  • Coffee frustration... arghhh !!

    Hey all,

    Sorry its a bit long, but Im trying to explain all.

    Having a tough time last few weeks with my coffee. Lately I keep getting weak tasting coffee from my machine. kinda watery with no strong or bold kick. Im kinda at a loss as to exactly why. Ill give a brief rundown and would appreciate any suggestions or help as Im starting to get frustrated. >

    Home roasting. Using - Malawi  AA+ and Tanzanian arumeru, also some Robusta from last months bay. ( thinking I needed some robusta for the kick )
    Im not an expert at all, but I think Im roasting to second crack in my popcorn machine.
    allowing at least 48 hours before using.
    Im getting my 25-30 sec for 30mls or so of espresso, most of the time, sometimes its only a bees doodle from choking, so I cant grind any finer ( I think )
    Putting I think about 14-17gms in the filter, but allowing for optimum headspace with my VBM domo.
    Very little Crema. Lacks any real strength and POW in the shot that I think I used to get with mainly Kenyan AA. I think, for what should be a double shot, its pretty piss weak and Id be embarrased to serve my mates one. I try to have a good one at a good Cafe when i can to compare and they seem SO much more potent, like that good headspin feeling before Ive even finished the cup. thats what I want in the morning. The rush. tee hee.
    Milk-work is not competition standard, but its ok for me. Decent microfoam etc..
    I just dont know where or what to change ?
    Is it the beans ? perhaps they are weak flavour beans ? maybe I prefer the Kenyan ? I really dont have the experience to know all the differences.
    Is it my extraction ? should I try updosing ? is it just more coffee in filter = stronger shot ? or is that a dead end ?
    I remember at the start of the year the coffees tasting better, I just dont know if its me or the beans that needs to change. How long do Green beans last ? Ive had them, ( beside the Robusta ) for a few months, not a high volume user really.

    Thanks for reading and ANY help,

    I feel like a coffee imbecile at the moment. A expensive machine and gear and I cant get a good coffee from it.



  • #2
    Re: Coffee frustration... arghhh !!

    How about resting your coffee for longer?

    Just a suggestion. Crema will stabilise over time.


    • #3
      Re: Coffee frustration... arghhh !!

      Why dont you buy some fresh coffee from here (Ive just finished a bag of Expresso Wow and it was fantastic) and see whether it is your extraction technique. If thats ok then youll know to work on your roasting?


      • #4
        Re: Coffee frustration... arghhh !!

        are you using a blend of your own roasting? Initially i would recommend sticking to just 1 type of bean. When I was roasting with a popper, I always struggled to hear second crack. How long are you roasting for? What CS number are you roasting to?

        Are you tamping firmly?

        Do you get better results doing what you are doing with other coffees?

        keep at it... practise makes perfect (besides if you arent getting enough caffeine in your first one, you will need another )


        • #5
          Re: Coffee frustration... arghhh !!

          Hi Phil,

          Indeed there can be significant differences between different bean types and origins, which may account for some of what you are experiencing.
          As far as storing green beans, keep them relatively dry, and allow some breathing air, and they can last for up to 3 years, so that is unlikely to be your problem at this stage.

          Roasting in a popper can be difficult to get a good roast profile if the popper is unmodified....
          Biggest difficulty I had was extending the time between 1C and 2C out to around 5 minutes, with slow temp increase. This will give you a better roast and more body.
          One trick that can help is to tilt the popper and let some excess air up the side of the roast chamber so you slow the heating rate down a bit, (thanks to Mal for that tip). Dont leave it tilted, some experimenting required as to how long to tilt and how long to leave upright, and how often to tilt. Good idea to invest in a DigitalMultiMeter with temp probe to monitor roast temps, improved my roasting significantly, cos you can have some hope of controlling what happens between 1C and 2C.
          Also I often rest my roasts for up to a week before I use any of them (in valved bag)

          Next thing if extraction is weak and watery, is grind and dosing,...not uncommon either to have to change grind setting for different origin beans. Dose amount and grind setting can be adjusted to slow the extraction down (bigger dose, and/or finer grind) should help. May not matter if your extraction takes 40 secs if brew temp is right, you can get a nice full body shot.
          Try to be consistent with your dosing, 14-17g is a big range, best to stay within 0.5g if you can, and usually the most that you can fit in will give the results you are after. Also bigger dose may require slightly courser grind. If you think the grinder cant adjust fine enough to get you extraction within suitable parameters, you can adjust dose slightly, for me that would be one less tap on the bench to settle the grinds into the basket.

          Adding some Robusta will help with the caffeine hit.
          Warning though, Robusta is best if left to rest 2 weeks before use, (so when I am going to use Robusta I will roast it a week before the other beans that I am going to blend it with, then blend everything and let it sit a week)

          Plenty of things to try, keep trying, at least you know what you are aiming for



          • #6
            Re: Coffee frustration... arghhh !!

            Great advice Bullitt..... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]