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Thread: Help me find that shot again!

  1. #1
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    Help me find that shot again!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Just need some help with my shot. Using a silvia and a k3 touch. I Preheat for about half an hour, flush till light comes on then grind fairly fine,dose small mound level off and tamp fairly lightly 10kg or so, using a double, about 2min after boiler light turns off i pour the shot, it blondes in around 5 secs at which point i have around 10 mls so i keep going. trying for 60ml for two cups but normally stop around 30-40 because it blonded very early. Have around the 40 ml in 25 sec. good crema, fresh beans from local roaster. Make two caps for me and my wife but mostly they taste burnt. If they dont they seem flat. Puck seems dry with the bottom intact but often a disturbance on top near edge. I also use %100 filtered rainwater. i have made a good shot once that tasted very sweet and i want it again, what am i doing wrong?

    chris

  2. #2
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Quote Originally Posted by 676C766D77686B73040 link=1263637267/0#0 date=1263637267
    it blondes in around 5 secs at which point i have around 10 mls
    Chris I dont own a Silvia but blonding in 5 secs would worry anyone no matter which machine they had.

    Blonding that quickly indicates to me that the coffee is offering no resistance to the water.

    Have you tried grinding finer?
    Have you tried settling the grinds after the initial dose then adding more coffee before levelling and tamping?

    To slow the pour you have to, either grind finer or add more coffee.



    Quote Originally Posted by 202B312A302F2C34430 link=1263637267/0#0 date=1263637267
    often a disturbance on top near edge
    This could be a sign of channelling.

  3. #3
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    I have tried. I find dosing difficult. If i try to up dose i cant do it consistently so i just level and tamp. I am still getting used to my k3, got it yesterday. Had a good grind but thought i wanted it a bit finer so i moved it a little. it choked, moved it back and it gushed, i have gone through 400g of beans in one day. threw most of it out. Basically you are saying grind finer, I will just have to keep trying to adjust it. it is very sensitive, came from a em480... so

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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    It can be frustrating I know. It may be a good idea to invest in a naked group handle so that you can see what the shot is doing. If it does not pour from the centre, you may find it is gushing from the area that you see the disturbance in the puck.

  5. #5
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Quote Originally Posted by 4C475D465C4340582F0 link=1263637267/2#2 date=1263640581
    came from a em480
    I used to own one.
    The k3 can make smaller adjustments than the Sunbeam so you will eventually have much better coffee.

    As I said, you can either grind finer or dose more; do whichever you are more comfortable with for now.

  6. #6
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Id be getting the dose volume right first (do a search for the 5 cent piece dose measuring technique) and then adjusting the grind to get the time. Be very consistent and careful with your tamp.

    40 ml in 25 seconds sounds about right, but the early blonding says something is not working out. Puck disturbance indicates this as well.

    Both machines you have are capable of good coffee so some deliberate adjusting (ONE VARIABLE AT A TIME!!!!!!!!!!!! :)) will get you there.

    Greg

  7. #7
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Which beans are you using Chris? Also, do you know when they were roasted.... :-?

    Mal.

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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Not sure whats in the blend, he calls it Jamaican spice. Not sure what day they where roasted but i know they are fresh. He roasts daily and sells them when they are ready, once they were too fresh and he told me to wait a day or so to use them.

    Dosing is killing me. If i try to updose a bit the silvia doesnt have much room and i often have trouble with the puck touching the screen. Im at the moment every cup nudging the grind finer but it always blondes in seconds. If its my tamp or dose im doing my best. The tamp is good solid 58mm but leaves half mm or so around it, would a pullman help or is it just user error with the dosing.

    Ill try the 5cent thing now...

  9. #9
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    tried the 5 cent test and failed miserably. dosed and scraped off level and tamped. i put the 5cent piece in the middle and loaded it. the puck was destroyed pushing the coin in around 4mm. The silvia has a large nut under the shower screen which pushed the coin in. So i took the coin out and tamped *loaded again no coin this time. Took it out without pouring and the nut from the screen was pushed into the puck by a few mm. Not good i take it, So am i updosing too much by even only leveling it, how can that be, too fine :o

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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    If youve still got the original screw in the Silvia then you dont need the 5c - just the impression of the screw by a smidge is good.

    If you are just dosing then leveling you could try a collapse at half full - I half fill the double, shake side to side once or twice to level then tap on bench two or three times finally filling, leveling & tamping.

    Im not sure what going from choke to gush with one change of the grinder could mean (other than the obvious - too big a change... you should only need to nudge the K3T by a mm or two each change)

    Your tamper sounds OK - Ive resisted the temptation of a Pullman so far (but there is a birthday due very soon) - mine is a decent solid aluminium also 1mm smaller than the basket but I can get fairly decent shots.

    Temperature may still be a bit high at 2 min - Ive gronked my Silvia but the ritual I use is to flush ~45ml after the light goes out (aiming for 102*C on my thermometer) then lock and pull the shot.

    Some other second order techniques that may give you some improvement are a "nutating tamp" (thanks to Mal - search for it) and preinfusion (run the shot for say 1/2 sec then pause for 2 or 3 secs before pulling as normal) - with a naked GH both of these have noticeably reduced channeling.

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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Thanks, but wouldnt the impression of the screw break the puck and induce channeling? I feel overwhelmed by the complexity of variables and getting sick of undrinkable shots, more i try worse it gets, miss my sunbeam a bit ;)

  12. #12
    hazchem
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    hey Chris, Miss Silvia can certainly be a little unforgiving at times. But with some perseverance she will give you more than just that one awesome shot.

    My setup is pretty similar to yours, and I find that Miss Silvia can certainly punish you if you use the wrong dose, be it under or over dose. One thing I would suggest is getting a larger basket than the double supplied with Miss Silvia, Im using a triple than can hold 18-21 grams, and found this really helped. A larger basket increases your margin for error and makes things a little easier, well, at least thats my experience.

    1. Flush boiler in stages. Dont just turn the brew switch on and let it run until light comes on, just run it for a few seconds each time until the light comes on, then wait.

    2. Once the light goes out, thats when I remove the group handle, wipe and start to grind and dose.

    3. Dosing is something I try to keep consistent from coffee to coffee, only adjusting my grind. Fill group handle about halfway, tap on bench twice, fill again until just over the top of the basket and tap twice again. Strike off with #2 scottie callaghan tool. tamp the coffee, I use an Espro so am using 30lb of pressure. If you dont have those tools, dont worry, I find that if I *havent dosed past the ridge in the basket Im pretty safe.

    4. Purge boiler briefly again to ensure the super-hot water is gone, once you see a nice even flow youve got it, not spraying all over the place.

    5. Put in group handle and flick the switch right away.

    6. Stop extraction when youre happy and/or blonding appears, whichever happens first!

    Thats what works for me at least anyway. Good luck!

    P.S. dont say anything critical about Miss Silvia where she can hear you, youll be punished on your next shot, shes hot blooded ... *;)

    Quote Originally Posted by 5D564C574D5251493E0 link=1263637267/10#10 date=1263718848
    Thanks,but wouldnt the impression of the screw break the puck and induce channeling?
    no, not necessarily. You only want a faint impression, not that ability to fit a screwdriver into it!

  13. #13
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Just pulled this shot, made the grind slightly finer, dosed level, tasted pretty good, but is that channeling i can see?


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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Funny thing is, i get that little hole near the edge everytime in the same place...

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    Senior Member Rusty's Avatar
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Hi Chris,

    It might be my screen, but the grind looks too coarse to me.

    The K3 needs very small adjustments to the grind - half to one increment at a time.

    Try this:

    1. Dose to the top of the basket and level off.
    2. Tamp harder and evenly.
    3. Look for a thick dribbling pour.
    4. Dont watch the clock - watch the pour!
    5. Stop when blonding begins.
    6. Adjust ONLY the grind to fine tune the pour.

    Lets know if that helps.

    Cheers 8-)



  16. #16
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Quote Originally Posted by 272C362D37282B33440 link=1263637267/10#10 date=1263718848
    Thanks, *but wouldnt the impression of the screw break the puck and induce channeling? *I feel overwhelmed by the complexity of variables and getting sick of undrinkable shots, more i try worse it gets, miss my sunbeam a bit ;)
    Hi Chris..... :)

    It is possible to replace that Hex Head bolt with a much lower profile stainless steel set-screw, either using a Button Head or a Countersunk Head. You could just remove the Silvia bolt, take it with you to a local Bolt & Nut place and see what alternatives they have on offer.

    Will make your Dosing life with the Silvia a hell of a lot easier.... ;)

    Mal.

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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Quote Originally Posted by 292238233926253D4A0 link=1263637267/12#12 date=1263729895
    ...but is that channeling i can see?
    Not sure but that looks like a naked GH ? *If so you should be able to check the output at that point.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0E23272B264A0 link=1263637267/15#15 date=1263806144
    ...replace that Hex Head bolt with a much lower profile stainless steel set-screw...
    I replaced mine with a SS mushroom head socket screw - much more aesthetically pleasing but I cant say I was able to significantly improve the shots (Gronking OTOH was a WOW moment).


  18. #18
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Quote Originally Posted by 11010310071B620 link=1263637267/16#16 date=1263808293
    I replaced mine with a SS mushroom head socket screw - much more aesthetically pleasing but I cant say I was able to significantly improve the shots (Gronking OTOH was a WOW moment).
    Its mainly to loosen up the dosing constraints a bit, more than anything else. That great big ugly bolt-head isnt very conducive to this. Anything that makes the journey a little easier is worth doing I reckon.... ;)

    Mal.

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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    no, its not a naked, just the standard one, thing is every shot has the same looking hole no matter how i dose and tamp, is that normal? the bottom of the puck seems ok. I now have it barlely dribbling out and still blondes after about 10 ml or 5 secs. :-[

  20. #20
    hazchem
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Quote Originally Posted by 7D766C776D7271691E0 link=1263637267/13#13 date=1263730005
    i get that little hole near the edge everytime in the same place
    Quote Originally Posted by 7D766C776D7271691E0 link=1263637267/18#18 date=1263880546
    thing is every shot has the same looking hole no matter how i dose and tamp, is that normal
    Chris, if that hole is appearing in exactly the same place every time, regardless of all other conditions, Id agree its pretty odd. Are there any imperfections in the shower screen of Miss Silvia that could be causing it?

  21. #21
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    I checked the screen its okay, must be my tamping. Very frustrating though. I think its the temperatures that are changing my shots, i think i am dosing the same, but i keep grinding finer to get rid of the early blonding but i am near chocking it and it still does it. Ill get there, part of the fun i keep telling myself :-?

  22. #22
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    I may be completely wrong here but throwing a few things up in there air.

    The three generally accepted principals of a double shot of espresso are,

    1)14 grams of grinds
    2)24 second Pour time
    3)60ml volume

    If it were me I would be working around these constraints. Play with grind and tamp until you get these results. Once you are happy that you get consistent results adjust dose, tamp and grind for the flavor that you are looking for.

    If you could post a video up I think that would help a lot so people can see the pour etc.

    Good luck

    HTH

    Justin

  23. #23
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Can you twist the basket easily in the handle after tamping?
    If yes, try it and see if the hole moves accordingly.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Rusty's Avatar
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Quote Originally Posted by 2B141215080F3E230E180D04610 link=1263637267/21#21 date=1263890986
    I may be completely wrong here but throwing a few things up in there air.

    The three generally accepted principals of a double shot of espresso are,

    1)14 grams of grinds
    2)24 second Pour time
    3)60ml volume

    If it were me I would be working around these constraints. *Play with grind and tamp until you get these results. *Once you are happy that you get consistent results adjust dose, tamp and grind for the flavor that you are looking for.

    If you could post a video up I think that would help a lot so people can see the pour etc.

    Good luck

    HTH

    Justin
    Hu Jusin,

    I think you may be wrong *:o

    You are aiming at numbers instead of the shot quality. *You cant taste numbers - they are just a guide. *Its whats in the cup that counts *;)

    I would:
    Standardize the dose.
    Standardize the tamp.
    Make the grind the ONLY variable.

    I would also stop the pour when blonding begins, so long as you have around 25-30ml per shot.

    It workes for me *;D

  25. #25
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    ok, dose is standardized, as is tamp, i have kept changing the grind from 60 ml in 10 secs to 30. always blonds in five, always has those little holes in the top of the puck, but i noticed they do move around a bit. I am trying to stop when it blonds but i have only a dribble of coffee, yet still tastes quite strong.

    took a video, how do i post it though?

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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    here is the latest, notice the holes...


  27. #27
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    To me that puck looks ok. I wouldnt have thought that that amount of channeling would cause blonding so early.

    I know you state that your roaster has fresh beans. I dont know your roaster and I dont want to offend but can you be absolutely certain that the beans he uses are of high quality.

    Put it this way I know a roaster who sells me beans for $24 per kilo roasted. He roasts every friday so if I come on monday I can get a fresh batch that has been sitting for a perfect amount of time. Thing is his beans never yield great coffees. I suspect low quality beans with a lower amount of oil or beans roasted badly wont get a good extraction no matter the machine or barista operating it. Why dont you source 250g of brown beans from someone else that you know produces great results and try them. It cant hurt.

    The other thing is warm up time. If your machine isnt hot enough it wont extract all the oils etc and in my experience the pour wont be as good.

    The last option I havent brought up until now because Im pretty sure the baskets in the silvia are generally accepted as good(perhaps you have a dud) My machine is an Oscar HX machine. When I was reading up about them people had noted that the baskets were rubbish and there was no way to get a propper shot out of them. I left it until a fortnight ago to make the upgrade because I wanted to get a matching pullman tamper. You mentioned a new basket a pullman. The pullman is a delight to use in comparison to my old tamp but I believe the biggest improvement for me was the change to a synesso basket. Im not saying that synesso are the best but what I do know is that it is a far cry better than the standard basket i got. I have stepped back my grinder 4 clicks. Previously one click either way would have either gushed or stalled my machine and I used to end up with grinds in my cup. It is another variable and at $10 to $20 to replace the basket it could be worthwhile.

    GL

    Justin

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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Your right, Ill try the new basket, the beans are the best i can source. Way better the GJs. He supplies all the best cafes around here, ex estate manager from africa. Knows his stuff and made me the best coffee i have ever tasted :D

  29. #29
    hazchem
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Quote Originally Posted by 3E352F342E31322A5D0 link=1263637267/27#27 date=1263982188
    the beans are the best i can source
    Like Justin, I dont want to be down on your local roaster, I dont know them either. But, the issue is continuing in spite of your attempts to adjust your processes and follow the suggestions that have been made. At this point in the fault finding process, Id be looking to change something else, and the coffee is where Id be going next.

    potentially you can source other coffee, either from beanbay or one of the sponsors. Id recommend trying a different coffee and seeing what happens.

  30. #30
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    I did get a different blend yesterday, but same result, i will try a different source soon, would temperature affect blonding, should i pour when its hotter or colder maybe? In anycase they do taste good compared to my sunbeam stuff so i am happy, just would love to see 25 sec of black stuff :(

  31. #31
    hazchem
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Quote Originally Posted by 464D574C56494A52250 link=1263637267/29#29 date=1264053349
    different blend
    Quote Originally Posted by 464D574C56494A52250 link=1263637267/29#29 date=1264053349
    same result
    Quote Originally Posted by 464D574C56494A52250 link=1263637267/29#29 date=1264053349
    try a different source

    Chris, while temp will have an impact on your extractions, I think youve just answered your own question above really.

  32. #32
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Is it possible that you are getting good extraction but you are misinterpreting blonding? It really does seem as though you are doing everything right and the small channeling you are getting shouldnt completely stuff up the extraction I wouldnt have though.

    Once again pics or video of the extraction would be beneficial.

  33. #33
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    to me blonding is where it changes colour, it starts near black for a few secs then it suddenly starts getting lighter until its near the colour of coffee after you add milk... am i right?

  34. #34
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Note now that I am also a noob but it is my understanding that blonding is when it becomes pale. Blonding isnt when it starts changing color. after about 5 seconds I would expect it to change color but to a rich deep browny golden red color. Blonding is later on when that pales out to a yellow color. When it is closer to the color of coffee when you add milk as you say that is blonding. If that is happening towards the end of your pour in the 20-25 second mark then you are doing everything right. Stop the shot when it goes yellow and you should have nice coffee.

  35. #35
    Senior Member Luke_G's Avatar
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    The extraction will only be "black" for the first 2ml or so..after that it will look like crema flowing off the spouts of the handle. It sounds a bit like you are worried so much about blonding that youve convinced your mind *thats what it is?

    Pour the shot down the side of a cup and you will see the color change on the surface of the shot...take a photo of it and post it for us.

    Failing that, if these things were happening on my machine(not a Silvia) then its either brew temp or weak tamping. Try those :)

  36. #36
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Some useful discussion here on just what is meant by "blonding":

    http://www.home-barista.com/tips/when-did-this-espresso-extraction-go-blond-t5747.html

    I lightened up a bit after I found this.

  37. #37
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    okay ;D

    That explains it, I thought you guys were getting 25 sec of black, sorry all

    here is a pic, not sure what it is supoosed to look like but now i can concentrate on taste and not worry about the blonding, is stays that nice brown colour for long enough. Thanks all for help anyway, now i feel dumb....


  38. #38
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Shot looks pretty good to me. Could be more crema, but well on the right track.

    "now i feel dumb ..." * Dont, no need for that. Weve all been there. At least a couple of times I wanted to turn my machine into a boat anchor. Luckily I dont have a boat.

  39. #39
    Senior Member Luke_G's Avatar
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Yeah it looks ok...not what i had pictured from your description. If anything it looks like you could slow the pour a little by tightening your grind slightly.
    Quote Originally Posted by 5158435B5C5857390 link=1263637267/37#37 date=1264077055
    I wanted to turn my machine into a boat anchor.
    You wouldnt be the first hazbean... thats why there so many Sunbeams and Bevilles on feebay. Because nobody is ever shown how to use them properly.

  40. #40
    Senior Member Rusty's Avatar
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    Re: Help me find that shot again!

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 5E6779774D55120 link=1263637267/38#38 date=1264101391
    Yeah it looks ok...not what i had pictured from your description. If anything it looks like you could slow the pour a little by tightening your grind slightly.
    Quote Originally Posted by 5158435B5C5857390 link=1263637267/37#37 date=1264077055
    I wanted to turn my machine into a boat anchor.
    You wouldnt be the first hazbean... thats why there so many Sunbeams and Bevilles on feebay. Because nobody is ever shown how to use them properly.
    Sunbeam does a great job with its free training course *8-)

    Not sure if Breville has anything similar *::)



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