Stir it. ;)Originally Posted by 7268776A6C7D6A180 link=1262069848/0#0 date=1262069848
Ive been *trawling the ccs site but havent found an answer to my query and hope this post is not covering old ground. *My crema is bitter. The coffee, once you get through the crema is fine, sometimes really great but this darn crema, of which there is plenty, is a problem. I roast my own beans so the coffee is fresh, Ive experiemented with long roasts, short roasts, dark roasts and light roasts and feel reasonably confident my beans are OK. The colour of the crema is OK (caramel fudge) *but when I found my son apologising to one of his mates about the taste of the crema :-[ I thought it was time to do something about it. *Also, I had a coffee at a local coffee shop this morning, usually the coffee is just OK but this morning, I have to say it was better than mine *:( just because of the crema. *Any suggestions??
Stir it. ;)Originally Posted by 7268776A6C7D6A180 link=1262069848/0#0 date=1262069848
Hahahahahaha but yeah...hes right ::)Originally Posted by 14353E3E3923500 link=1262069848/1#1 date=1262069966
Ive found most crema to be quite ashey in taste on most coffees. I prefer to either stir or swirl it into the espresso before tasting it.
The crema houses most of the aroma inside the oils that make up the crema. Does the espresso smell ok after the extraction?
Not funny! This is a serious question and Im seeking help not flippancy, besides, weve tried stirring (to dissolve the 3 heaped teaspoons of sugar) and it doesnt help. *As long as the foam from the milk and crema sit on top of the coffee the bitterness *dominates. Now, can I have some suggestions, please. :)Originally Posted by 7D5C5757504A390 link=1262069848/1#1 date=1262069966
Yes, the expresso has a lovely aroma and once the crema and milky foam from the top of the coffee has gone, usually by being consumed, the coffee is fine, I could even say, its great. *My son is the suger consumer so I dont really know how he can taste the bitterness, but it is there. *I wasnt too worried about it until this morning when the coffee I bought from a local coffee shop was just lovely, no bitternes and a really nice coffee.Originally Posted by 50697779435B1C0 link=1262069848/2#2 date=1262074824
A few suggestions and a question:Originally Posted by 49534C51574651230 link=1262069848/4#4 date=1262075530
Try some of their beans and see how you go.
Has it always been like this?
Crema is very strong and bitter and there have been suggestions that if you dont like it, then spoon it off.
Bitterness is usually high heat or over-extraction or old oils--so: clean, adjust, re-calibrate; the grinder, the machine, you.
I was being serious and simply trying to be helpful. As stated by others since my intitial post crema can be strong and bitter. Many find stirring it with the coffee makes it more palatable.Originally Posted by 4A504F52544552200 link=1262069848/3#3 date=1262075126
You asked for a suggestion. I gave one that is simple, practical, works, and far from flippant.
Of course, there are several other possible causes, one of which is that your roasting is just not up to par. But you dont want to hear that now do you. :P
OK, now we are getting somewhere *:). *Ive started roasting the beans just a bit darker (taking the roast well into 2nd crack) and I have considered this may be the cause of the bitterness. This mornings crema was particularly bitter but I had left the beans in the hopper overnight, which is not what I would normally do, obviously stale beans are also a problem. As to my roasting "not being up to par" I am more than happy to accept and act on helpful comment/suggestion and in fact I have made posts in the roasting section *looking for assistance as I travel on what at times is a frustrating path of discovery with hopfully good coffee at the end.Originally Posted by 634249494E54270 link=1262069848/6#6 date=1262079147
The beans the coffee shop uses are a supermarket available proprietory brand so trying some would not be hard and a helpful suggestion, thanks.Originally Posted by 605542407048554A464B43270 link=1262069848/5#5 date=1262077253
If the bitterness is a result of high heat/over-extraction/old oils would the coffee also be bitter and not just the crema - not sure about this? Im quite confident in playing around with the grinder and I do try to clean it regularly (usually each morning after the coffee making session) and I think I am doing a proper job of it - follow the manuals instructions to a T but without anyone close by to compare such matters with I have to rely on information gained from this site. However, *Im not so sure about adjustments with the expresso machine - thats a world I really am a bit scared about. *The machine is relatively new but there is no way Ill say there is nothing wrong with it because, quite frankly, I wouldnt have a clue - have nothing to compare it with and the nearest coffee machine maintenance person is approx 164 klms away. "You", yeah, happy to accept its me, thats why the post in the first place.Originally Posted by 605542407048554A464B43270 link=1262069848/5#5 date=1262077253
That comment alone is also reassuring. *At least Im not alone with what I thought was a problem that possibly only I was experiencing.Originally Posted by 634249494E54270 link=1262069848/6#6 date=1262079147
Thank you to you all for the constructive comment, all is appreciated. :)
I would suggest a trip down to bills (you should know where I mean) and put some of his beans through your machine (after trying their coffee) and see how you go. He also does training which I would suggest would be a great idea (not sure if you have done any yet).
A very likely suspect! Im sure youre not roasting to the charcoal phase, though to my tastes, roasts that go well into 2nd crack will produce a more pronounced caramelisation, which in itself is bitter sweet. Interestingly, you can easily achieve a nice caramel flavour without the need to go to 2nd crack at all. I prefer most single origins to be roasted prior to or on the cusp of 2nd crack, not into it.Originally Posted by 79637C61677661130 link=1262069848/7#7 date=1262127039
So, my suggestion is to move away from the darker side. Still allow the beans to develop through the roasting phases, and try not going past 2nd crack but keep your overall roasting times the same. Then see if you enjoy the coffee (and crema) roasted this way.
And thankyou for not being defensive about my earlier remarks! :)
Roast maybe too dark--still to go.
Dosing and tamping--still to go.
Both would be bitter. Usually I find espresso without the crema rather bland so if your crema-less coffee is OK, then that is a difference Im trying to understand.Originally Posted by 273D223F39283F4D0 link=1262069848/7#7 date=1262127039
Temp. surf on HX--cooling flushes--how long do you flush, how do you know when to stop? Inadequate cooling flush can leave the initial part of the extraction (or all of it) too hot and hence too bitter.
Greg, the Bezzera group head on my model does run hot but I was told of this when I was investigating the purchase of the machine so its not an issue for me. *I run the water until it stops steaming and I have a nice steady hot water flow. This is done before every shot is pulled. As for dosing and tamping, well I guess Id have to do the video and post it for comment but I do have the tools ie Espro tamper and, thanks to Santa, a set of Scottie Callaghan dosing tools (the set of four tools - Santa didnt want to spoile me), which quite frankly, are just great.Originally Posted by 5F6A7D7F4F776A7579747C180 link=1262069848/10#10 date=1262150990
Dennis, With the leadup to Christmas I roasted several kilos of green beans taking all roasts to the dark side - doing as has been suggested - experiement, experiment, experiment! Just before Christmas I did a few roasts just into SC but Ive given most of those away so Ill have to do some more roasting, taking it on the lighter side to see if that has been the problem.Originally Posted by 5C7D7676716B180 link=1262069848/9#9 date=1262145003
As to my not being defensive (or not taking offence!), well, I did, but hey! were grown ups here and I am very aware how one person can interpret the written word differently from another but most importantly the outcome is a good one. Im learning and the comment from you all has been constructive. Win-win I think. *I wish you all the very best for the coming New Year, keep well and most importantly keep safe!
one thing to be aware of, if youre not already, is that at the point the steaming stops and a steady flow starts, the water might still be up around 97 deg (ie too hot). Have you tried flushing for an extra few seconds to see if it makes a difference?Originally Posted by 564C534E48594E3C0 link=1262069848/11#11 date=1262155983
Try the beans at different ages post roast.
Might taste better at 5 days rather than 2 days or even 14 days.
Not all beans are at their best at 3 days old, you may like the flavour at 7 days . As the beans age , they take on different characteristics.
Too many variables here.
Im going to suggest its a combination of the darker roast actually decreasing the fruit flavour, marginally too hot extraction, and too much coffee extracted from the grounds.
So try something like: lighter roast--no more than 20 seconds into second crack, age for 7 days to let degas, grind a double and extract 25 ml total in 15 to 25 seconds.
Let us know how you go.
Id also say it sounds like the roast level. Could also be something to do with dose/distribution/tamp - a naked group handle is an invaluable tool in diagnosing any extraction issues...
Are you stopping your shots by color or simply time?
To really emphasise any difference try stopping right on SC.Originally Posted by 05302725152D302F232E26420 link=1262069848/14#14 date=1262248647
Greg,Originally Posted by 704552506058455A565B53370 link=1262069848/14#14 date=1262248647
OK, will be roasting probably tomorrow. *Ive decided not to take the roast beyond just the beginning of SC. *My HX is a volumetric *and since programming the dose (60ml for a double basket/30 ml for the single) I havent really checked how its going - just acting on blind faith - so am more than happy to try your suggestion. I must admit I have never timed the extraction, just measured the output. Ill also use a temp guage to measure the water temp so see if its too far out. *Sure is a lot to this coffee making caper but it is fun getting there.
Bit late jumping in here, but the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of this thread was of this videoblog I saw on James Hoffmans blog.
Might be worth considering - not that I think you shouldnt try to see any other causes to the problem.
Hmmmmm that was interesting.Originally Posted by 7770716576706376656A70040 link=1262069848/18#18 date=1262505792
Ill do some non-scientific taste tests tonight.
Might explain all the stiring and use of sugar I noticed every time Ive been to Italy!!!
As with some others here I am forever trying different things.
The addition of a temp probe really surprised me as to just how much hot water I needed to flush to get correct temp. I am a big convert to just getting to SC also, this has made a great difference to a wider spectrum of flavours (I was previously roasting out).
However I still get some SOs and Blends with more of a bitterness to the crema than any of the others and dont know why, but a gentle swirl around usually does the trick, and for flat whites I stir it in after pouring milk. I do have friends who love this though and insist they enjoy a bit of bitterness (for want of a better word) each to their own.
Im like you Chris I love experimenting and I have been roasting a lot lighter lately and enjoying brighter espresso. With some roasts I get that initial touch of bitterness but after that the shot settles down and tastes great, thats the great joy of home roasting being able to explore all of the possibilities open to us ;) ;) :) :) :)Originally Posted by 3E2928362322297D7E7D4C0 link=1262069848/20#20 date=1262512007
Not really wanting to sound blunt here but, Roasters like (big names) spend alot of time blending , roasting at diff times, temp ,etc and tasting
before they release a blend to the public.
Could it be that your end result is just crap?
Well, we (I) am getting somewhere. Testing the water temp this morning, the flushed (after water has run for a few secs) water temp is 75 degrees :) and the steaming stuff is about 87 degrees *;) so Im pretty certain all is OK there, unless of course the temp guage is out. I pulled a shot (using some Malawi I roasted just before Christmas, and from memory I took the roast into RSC but only a few seconds) using the method suggested by Greg (double dose, 25mls in 15 secs - will look at dosing higher to slow flow a bit more) and the result??!! No bitterness in crema *;) - just a relatively smooth drink from start to finish.
So thank you to everyone who has had input on this subject. Some comments have been challenging and from my perspective thats good because if one doesnt question, explore, experiment, there is never improvement.
Now Im off to the kitchen for another shot of the Malawi :) :) :) :) :) :) before my day truly begins.
Oh! what a mess!! Yes, my HX does run hot after a while. I needed to guage every drop of water and let the flow continue way beyond the steam diminishing - temp, after flushing, is about 80 and can get at high as 100 degrees before flushing (my ealier measurements were when the machine had been on for about 15 mins). Ive now reprogrammed the HX - exactly 25ml from the single dose button and the extraction time is about 15 secs, sometimes less, sometimes more but I measure that time from when the button is pushed and husband thinks I should measure the time from the time the shot begins to flow but for obvious reasons I hope my measurement is right. Ive had fun this morning and the coffee tastes OK but interestingly there was one extraction where the crema was slightly bitter but perhaps thats the wrong word.Originally Posted by 6379667B7D6C7B090 link=1262069848/17#17 date=1262502879
Thanks Greg for pushing me and to others for comments which made me question. I have never bothered to measure and guage and just assumed everything is alright - maybe it was but Ive learned a few things about the coffee making process, my equipment and that I really need to be less messy/or better organised when making coffee! Thanks
Thats what ive been taught.Originally Posted by 78627D60667760120 link=1262069848/24#24 date=1262561764
Acidic maybe. Ive kown alot of people who mix the two.Originally Posted by 78627D60667760120 link=1262069848/24#24 date=1262561764
Have you tried running the shot longer?
eg. 25mls in 25-30 seconds
I prefer this extraction time, but personal preference comes into it here. Worth a try tho.
Enjoy the journy Addicted
Same here and it makes sense.Originally Posted by 220E0D080F3E36610 link=1262069848/25#25 date=1262562376
Rememeber what I always say about limiting the variables.
The amount of time it takes before it starts pouring may be different depending on other variables (grind, dose etc).
If you measure from when the coffee starts to pour it may takes 10 seconds to pour 30 mls or it may take 30seconds.
At least if you count from the time you push the button you only have one time frame to worry about.
That being said, from the time you push the button until the first drops should be ABOUT 8 seconds give or take (though I dont always worry too much about this one unless its way too fast or way too slow).
It took me close to 20 shots (stopped counting after the first 250grm of coffee - threw it, didnt drink it) and heaps of dose/grinder adjusting to get to the 25mls in 15 secs. *One shot was closer to 20 secs. The mess has been cleaned up for today but there will be a lot more tinkering at another time, no doubt.Originally Posted by 1834373235040C5B0 link=1262069848/25#25 date=1262562376
;D ;D ;DOriginally Posted by 565E5E3535484F5A493535597E7A751B0 link=1262069848/22#22 date=1262520201
Seriously...alot of time and fine tuning goes into creating an excellent blend .
What makes anyone think they can get it right at home very easily?
Its not easy at all.
The end result of any blend is influenced by a lot more than just coffee beans, and that makes it hard to duplicate at home. Maybe duplication is not the goal.
Since the end result is fine tuned by tasting, it also contains the roasting, the grinding, the shot, and the taste buds of the taster.
The advantage of home roasting/blending is that you can satisfy your own preferences through your machine, your grinder, and your roaster.
For instance, Ive had great shots at The Coffee Barun, from Marks roaster, through his grinder, and through his tweaked Synesso, that I cannot duplicate at home.
In general though, I prefer my favourite single origins/blends made to my preferences on my machines. Are they *better* drinks than Marks? On one important criterion the answer is yes: theyre close to home and readily available without travel. :)
I dont recall anyone saying it was easy.Originally Posted by 1911117A7A070015067A7A1631353A540 link=1262069848/29#29 date=1262586695
I dont bother with blends most of the time, although this last week I have been experimenting with an Ethiopian and a Mexican I was given.
Im quite happy with my SOs so far.
However, easy or not, Im anal enough to "get it right", if I so chose, even though Im only at home.
Originally Posted by 1C203D262C2D3A2F272C480 link=1262069848/31#31 date=1262587787
Ditto, as most on this forum are probably also............hence the name
Evening Greg, I imagine anyone going down the duplication path is in for a lot of angst and very little success, too many variables (between home and commercial equipment) in the equation.Originally Posted by 516473714179647B777A72160 link=1262069848/30#30 date=1262587653
I suspect the most successful and ultimately satisfied home baristas will be those that concentrate on producing the best coffee they can on the equipment and beans that they have to work with, and as you and I both know the results can be outstanding.
Gday All.... :)
I think home-roasters can get a bit carried away with blending to be honest. I do blend from time to time but overall I stick to SOs; there is just so much to learn from a single bean varietal, never mind trying to get it right with several different bean types in the mix.
With the few blends that I have found work well for us here at home, most use only two bean varietals, a couple more are SO blends and two others use three bean types. Thats really it for me as it just gets too complicated and at the end of the day, all I want to do is enjoy my cuppa, not be forever playing around with different blends. When I do pine for something different (and of the highest quality of course), then I avail myself of the services, talent and experience of one or more of our great Site Sponsors.
Everyone is different of course and if mixing and matching beans (ad infinitum) is your thing, then by all means go for it. There is that saying though.... All time spent not enjoying your favourite brew, is time wasted ::). And I really do enjoy imbibing my coffee... ;D
Well said Mal. ;)Originally Posted by 1D30343835590 link=1262069848/34#34 date=1262598011
Guys, i understand and agree with what you are saying.
But to be fair it could take 10 roasts of the same bean to achieve something you are happy with plus there is no guarantee if you do the exact same steps that it will turn out the same again.
A lot of trial and error, and like Greg said also comes down to grind , dose, tamp ,pour etc.
The topic starter wanted to know why it wasnt working for him and with home roasting there are way to many variables to consider.
Having said that, nothing would be more satisfying than drinking your own creation.
Ive roasted over 60kg of PNG Kimel at home (thats more than 10 roasts).Originally Posted by 40484823235E594C5F23234F686C630D0 link=1262069848/36#36 date=1262605762
Ive just opened another 60kg bag.
I follow the same steps and guess what? It turns out the same.
Cant say I agree with what you say MeeStar, Im pretty new to roasting, less then 20 kilos and except for my first timid attempt (250 grams of Indian Tiger Mountain, underdone) have been delighted with my results, no disasters (yet) and repeatability is no big deal, sure there are minor differences but the variation is all part of the experience, I find it enjoyable and very satisfying, theres nothing like serving great coffee to guests and being able to tell them you roasted it yourself 8-)Originally Posted by 727A7A11116C6B7E6D11117D5A5E513F0 link=1262069848/36#36 date=1262605762
As far as bitter crema is concerned, sure it can be a little mouth puckering at times, I feel its part of the shot and an acquired taste, the more you drink the more you appreciate it.
Im pleased and a little amazed my simple question has taken us so far but thats what this forum is for. *The crema bitterness, now that I am using more lightly roasted beans, has abated, and I am continuing with the ristretto shot and quite frankly Im quite thrilled with the outcome and so are the other coffee drinkers in the household.
I decided not to get into the roasting debate but as my husband so simply said, "why cook when one can go to a restaurant?" and I think its a valid point. *We roast at home because we enjoy doing it and, after a development phase most of us are very happy with the result and, in the end, thats what its all about. *
Excellent result. Im glad we were able to help, and that your coffee is now to your standard.
As far as your husbands statement goes, while restaurants can cook, only some do it well. I dont know what its like in Orange, but here in Adelaide its a long way between coffee shops that make coffee anywhere close to my home brew.