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Thread: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

  1. #1
    JJJ
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    Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello all,

    Ive been having major problems with my extraction over the past week and despite hours of research i cant solve the problem so i again come to my CS brethren, cap in hand.

    Firstly, im still using my crappy Breville ES800 (im finally upgrading in the next few months, hopefully, because ive so outgrown this machine), an unpressurised double basket and my lovely K3T.

    Over the last week ive suddenly been unable to get a decent extraction, regardless of my choice of bean.
    Im getting a very quick pour, blonding within 10 seconds and generally a very thin, weak line of crema that dissipates almost instantly.
    Im getting 60mls in about 20 seconds, so obviously a little quick, whilst the flavour is okay, if a little weak and underwhelming.

    The obvious solution would be to grind finer but ive tried every grind from extremely fine to extremely coarse and the only way to alleviate the early blonding is to virtually choke the machine to the point where i just get a slowly dripping extraction.

    Ive used three different types of beans in the past week, two from quality roasters in Melbourne and one from CS, ranging from 3-4 days to 10-12 after roasting, and the problem is exactly the same with all beans.
    I gave the machine a really good clean about a month ago and my extraction afterwards was great, yet in the last week ive consistently encountered this problem despite not changing any other aspect of the process.

    Again, the obvious solution is to grind finer and whilst i can slow the pour that way, the early blonding and poor crema remains.
    Im still a real novice (but learning fast) so not sure what else it could be, perhaps tamp technique/strength? my dosing?

    This is really doing my head in so if anyone could offer any guidance or suggestions id be eternally grateful.
    That or just tell me to bite the bullet and go get the Vibiemme Domobar Junior ive had my eye on for quite a while. *;)

  2. #2
    TC
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Hi Ristrom,

    Barring a fault of some sort with your machine, it really sounds like stale coffee to me. What are you using and how old is it?

    If you do decide youd like to upgrade, we have stock of Domobar Junior and the numbers are nice ;)

    Cheers

    Chris

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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    yeah upgrade for sure.
    but meantime have you checked if youre not updosing too high?
    if youre mashing your puck then youd prob get what youre describing
    aaron

  4. #4
    A_M
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Quote Originally Posted by 3B2622272C2C490 link=1276556676/2#2 date=1276559815
    yeah upgrade for sure.
    but meantime have you checked if youre not updosing too high?
    if youre mashing your puck then youd prob get what youre describing
    aaron
    Ya... People will harp on about Tamp and polish...

    Channelling and or stale beans... *The 4 Ms

    If people only saw what happens; when ya dose to the extent you contact the shower screen...

    They might re assess their tamp method and ot dose levels.

    1: Tap, Tap, Sweep, Tamp, Dose, Tap, Tamp, Polish..


    2: Lock in and the puck is touching when ya about 2/3 locked in..

    That final 1/3 *or 1/4 etc does what...

    1: Adds another few thousands of compression.. Can be a significant pressure > 50kg

    2: The shower screen tears and rips the polished surface of ya puck..

    Thus that final 1/3 or more of locking in undoes all that work and effort that you have put into getting ya number right...

    It will also twist the puck and can cause channelling in different parts depending on the physical factors of the basket and shower screen..

    A: Seen a few where the show screen has to be replaced all the time and always full of coffee grinds.. *Opps... I wonder if some one has been crushing the shower screen... Opps OVER DOSING.. :o
    *

  5. #5
    JJJ
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Quote Originally Posted by 5D686562564A666F6F6C6C090 link=1276556676/1#1 date=1276558360
    Barring a fault of some sort with your machine, it really sounds like stale coffee to me. What are you using and how old is it?
    The three ive been using this past week are:

    * St.Ali Espresso blend, 10-12 days from roasting.
    * Auction Rooms Small Batch Candyman blend, 5-6 days after roasting.
    * Fiefys Blend 2010 from CS, 3-5 days after roasting (onto the 5th day now).

    The only one of those beans that ive used before is the Candyman blend which i used about a month ago and adored.

    All three are excellent quality and in the right range of freshness so im thinking the problem is either one of technique or the machine dying.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5D686562564A666F6F6C6C090 link=1276556676/1#1 date=1276558360
    If you do decide youd like to upgrade, we have stock of Domobar Junior and the numbers are nice Wink
    Nice numbers? Intriguing.

    The only reason ive not upgraded yet is that ive not had any experience with a machine above my current crappy unit so ive no idea how to judge which quality machine would suit myself and my better half.
    Ive got to bite the bullet soon because this machine is really holding me back but its a scary, overwhelming process for one so blind to quality machines.

    Quote Originally Posted by 6B7672777C7C190 link=1276556676/2#2 date=1276559815
    but meantime have you checked if youre not updosing too high?
    if youre mashing your puck then youd prob get what youre describing
    The basket size with these machines is smaller than average so its hard to tell what the perfect dose is but i think im getting my dose about right.
    Basically what i do is dose, tap, dose to a small mound, push the mound around to fill the basket, smooth off and tamp.

    I took a quick photo of this mornings puck (taken a fair while after extraction).
    Excuse the blurriness, i should have reviewed the photos before binning the puck, but it should be enough to give a decent impression of what im getting.
    It definitely slopes in towards the middle and when i have a close look it appears theres a four leaf clover type imprint, which in hindsight is obviously an impression from the shower screen.
    The puck has been coming out a little moist, with remnants left on the sides of the basket after knocking it out.

    It hasnt always been like this, i have had periods where the puck comes out looking perfect and knocks out totally clean, as it should.



    Be gentle.

  6. #6
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Did you say what grinder you are using?

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Quote Originally Posted by 5C607D666C6D7A6F676C080 link=1276556676/5#5 date=1276564994
    Did you say what grinder you are using?

    Quote Originally Posted by 424242080 link=1276556676/0#0 date=1276556676
    Firstly, im still using my crappy Breville ES800 (im finally upgrading in the next few months, hopefully, because ive so outgrown this machine), an unpressurised double basket and my lovely K3T.

    Yes a good grinder is important

    KK

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    JJJ
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Quote Originally Posted by 4A766B707A7B6C79717A1E0 link=1276556676/5#5 date=1276564994
    Did you say what grinder you are using?
    I did.
    Im using a Compak K3 Touch.

    EDIT: Sorry, didnt see your post, KK.

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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    bit hard to tell from the pic...
    showerscreen impression in a puck after the shot is pulled is prob fine.
    check the puck before you pull a shot though to see any damage to the top of the puck.

    dose as per usual
    dry shower screen
    lock in gently
    DONT pull a shot.
    take your handle out gently and see what impression there is.

    aaron

  10. #10
    JJJ
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Quote Originally Posted by 4B5652575C5C390 link=1276556676/8#8 date=1276569490
    dose as per usual
    dry shower screen
    lock in gently
    DONT pull a shot.
    take your handle out gently and see what impression there is.
    Ive tried that before (and the 5c test) and never seen any impression on the puck.
    Ill try it again when i get home and report back (and possibly take a better photo of the puck, pre and post shot).

  11. #11
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    ok ristrom.
    it could be that youre underdosing, which might also explain the fairly wet puck (but on machines with no 3-way valve, pucks often look wettish

  12. #12
    JJJ
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Okay, ive made another shot and heres the verdict.

    Firstly, i got about 13-14 grams in the basket (bear in mind that its only a 51mm basket).

    A shot after dosing:



    A shot after smoothing:



    Now one after tamping:



    Quite bizarrely, i got a thicker, more timely pour with well timed blonding.
    Heres a shot of my, um, shot.
    I got about 50mls in about 32 seconds, a huge and unexplainable sudden improvement from anything ive gotten for at least week.

    The crema looked great initially but within about 90 seconds it had basically dissipated.



    A shot of the used puck minutes after extraction:



    Lastly, a shot of my basket after being knocked out:



    The light makes it seem like its really wet at the bottom of the basket but its actually not, but thats basically how my baskets have been looking of late post knock.

    The coffee itself tasted better than ive been producing recently (and is of a decent standard) but still lacked a kick and a depth of flavour ive come to expect from quality beans.
    In conclusion, i didnt change any of the variables (at least not consciously) so ive no idea why i suddenly got a much improved pour, and quite weirdly, the rapidly dissipating crema problem persisted.

    Thanks to everyone who is trying to help, i really do appreciate it.
    On the bright side, if, despite all these issues (and the limitations of a crappy machine) i can make a decent coffee i cant wait to experience what i can produce with a quality machine. *:)

  13. #13
    A_M
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Some great work..

    Now considering the system and basket size and format... Holes in teh middle and not much around teh out side..

    Ignore all teh other Rules etc and I would expect that if you were to just run a shot and stop it when it starts to blond / go watery..

    You might actually get a great shot..

    Be it 22sec and 40ml .. WHO cares...


    It is whats in teh cup and Fit for purpose..


    Your running unknown pressure, funny basket etc etc etc... You can not expect to tick teh box in all teh BARISTA check boxes..


    Go for whats best in teh cup... It is what the best do... Numbers are for those that cant ;)


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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    +1 AM
    given the size and shape of your basket, id tend to cut shots earlier if that helps with taste.
    the prob with some of these type of machines is that it is really only the puck that is moderating the impact of potentially 12+ bars of pressure from smashing your puck to pieces during extraction. it can therefore be real hard to pull nice shots if your shot prepn isnt spot on.
    aaron

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    JJJ
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Thanks boys.
    I only use the numbers as a reference point and only measured the shot and the time to give the experts here as much information as possible.
    Usually i just let it pour and stop it when it starts blonding, be it after 15 seconds or 30.

    Its the frustration of the horribly inconsistent shots that gets me.
    I understand that much of that comes down the unforgiving nature of crappy machines like mine but given i think ive developed solid, consistent techniques its terribly frustrating going on such a roller coaster between shots.
    And then theres seemingly unexplainable weeks like this past one where i just cannot get a decent crema regardless of the bean, the process or the grind and cannot see a way to correct it.

  16. #16
    JJJ
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Ive just added a photo of the puck after extraction to my previous post.
    I forgot it the first time.

    Theres a slight indent from the shower screen and it was a tad moist but that aside, i cant really see any signs of channeling etc.
    Perhaps you guys, with your better educated eyes, can see something ive missed.

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Quote Originally Posted by 121212580 link=1276556676/7#7 date=1276565530
    Quote Originally Posted by 4A766B707A7B6C79717A1E0 link=1276556676/5#5 date=1276564994
    Did you say what grinder you are using? *
    I did.
    Im using a Compak K3 Touch.

    EDIT: Sorry, didnt see your post, KK.
    Thanks; I missed that.

    So are you saying the adjustments on the K3T are not fine enough to get in between too fast and choked?

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    JJJ
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Quote Originally Posted by 3408150E040512070F04600 link=1276556676/16#16 date=1276579418
    So are you saying the adjustments on the K3T are not fine enough to get in between too fast and choked?
    Moreso that the range between too fast and choking isnt overly big.
    Right now im using a setting of about 40-41 and apart from the last shot the rest have been way too fast with blonding very early, yet if i make it finer by moving it anywhere near 35, the ground coffee clumps and the machine chokes.

    This is my first decent grinder so ive no idea if thats unusual or even what my base point setting should be.

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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Sounds like you might need to dose finer AND dose less.

  20. #20
    JJJ
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Thanks again for all the help, lads.

    Ive gone as far as i can with this crappy machine and it isnt worth all the frustration so ive finally relented and come this weekend ill be the proud owner of my first quality machine.

    Ive no firm idea of what to go for as ive never had any hands on experience with quality machines but just from the research ive been doing im leaning towards either a Domobar Junior or the Diadema Junior Plus.
    Hopefully theyre decent choices.
    Ill be in the safe hands of Chris from Talk Coffee so im sure ill walk away with a quality machine that im very happy and comfortable with.

    The bad news for the CS brethren is that as a total noob to such quality machines, ill probably have a whole new round of questions to bug you all with. ;)

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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Congrats on the upgrade jelous as can be...

    Just wanted to post for anyone searching and finding this thread that the problems you describe could be from using the krupps/sunbeam filter on the breville. My breville (different model) has a different shape to the rim so the krupps style doesnt seal well... i get vastly different results from my modified breville filter compared to the krupps/sunbeam filter I shelled out $30 for...

    Look forward to hearing what machine u end up with... even though I have just bought my breville I am sure upgraditis wont be far off :)

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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Quote Originally Posted by 4545450F0 link=1276556676/19#19 date=1276669671
    Ill be in the safe hands of Chris from Talk Coffee so im sure ill walk away with a quality machine that im very happy and comfortable with.

    The bad news for the CS brethren is that as a total noob to such quality machines, ill probably have a whole new round of questions to bug you all with. *;)
    You couldnt be in better hands Ristrom.... Chris is a bit of a legend around these parts and he will make sure that you are outfitted with the best machine to match your requirements; be it one of the two you mention or something else you havent even thought of... ;)

    Im also sure that Chris will provide you with enough hands-on training to have you pulling excellent espresso in very short order. One very happy camper, coming up.... 8-) ;D

    Mal.

  23. #23
    JJJ
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Quote Originally Posted by 0D20242825490 link=1276556676/21#21 date=1276777564
    You couldnt be in better hands Ristrom.... Chris is a bit of a legend around these parts and he will make sure that you are outfitted with the best machine to match your requirements; be it one of the two you mention or something else you havent even thought of... Wink
    Thanks, Mal.
    Ive read many a post here from Chris customers offering glowing praise for the whole experience so those words, along with words like yours makes me feel far more comfortable than i otherwise would be at such a daunting leap from crappy machine to quality machine.

    I bought my grinder from Chris but didnt have the chance to get out to his place so im looking forward to meeting him.

    Quote Originally Posted by 0D20242825490 link=1276556676/21#21 date=1276777564
    Im also sure that Chris will provide you with enough hands-on training to have you pulling excellent espresso in very short order. One very happy camper, coming up.... Cool Grin
    Thats very reassuring. :)
    Despite immersing myself in coffee culture in the past year ive never really had any experience with quality machines or quality coffee people so im looking forward to getting some guidance from an expert.
    Im sure ill benefit greatly from it and that will be reflected in the cup, which is all we can ask for.

  24. #24
    Coffee+carbon=heaven Mono's Avatar
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Good on ya. TC will guide you and offer appropriate advise...........enjoy the journey

    Steve :)

  25. #25
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Im going to guess ;D that distribution is your problem. Given good beans, decent grinder, what appears to be an appropriate dose (you didnt say what the result of the new 5 test was) and a good shot from your carefully prepared (photo-ready) basket, distribution is the next trial.

    I suggest the Weiss Distribution Technique and see how that works for you. A search here will find info.

    Greg

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    Re: Suddenly quick blonding, weak, dissipating crema.... Help

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    [split] [link=http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1277002952/0#0][splithere][/link][splithere_end]



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