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Thread: Perfecting the shot

  1. #1
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    Perfecting the shot

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Somethings not quite right.
    Dialed in the grinder so my machine pulls a double in 28secs
    using the ranchilio double basket, grind until its full, level it off, tamp, pull the shot. Great, but it tastes bitter/sour (cant really pinpoint it because I poured the shot away)
    Im using beanbay so you cant blame an old roast unless you want to offend our host.
    possible ways to troubleshoot?

    on another note, what steps do you take to dial in the grind for a plunger?

  2. #2
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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Are you having milk drinks? I had the same problem but discounted the milk because it was freshly bought. I blamed the beans, grind and pour until I realized the milk was slightly off. Changed to A2 and havent had the problem since.

    G.

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    espresso shots, sorry I should of mentioned.

    I put one of them in A2 for a latte and the crema foam is a little bad, but the milk obviously makes the poor shot less of an issue.

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Looks like its back to the old grind, tamp, pour, clean drawing board.

    Dont you just hate that when you cant pinpoint a problem...

    G.

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    new machine, so its clean. Might invest in a microscale to measure the dose, and measure my tamp pressure. By the time I perfect it Ill be out of beans and itll start over again haha

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Ive also got a new machine and been through something similar. still getting it right. A few things Ive tried are
    grind a little coarser and tamp harder
    grind finer and tamp less
    grind coarser, same tamp to see what happens
    same grind, lighter tamp
    been playing around with the dose as well.
    are you getting it hot enough?
    Havent done a sink shot for a while now.

  7. #7
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    The Rancilio Silvia gives a better result if its underdosed rather than overdosed, though you should be dosing correctly anyway.

    Use the lines in the basket as your visual guide. Rancilio baskets both 14 and 18gm doubles have groove indicators. Use them as your visual guide. Too high in the basket, and your machine will have diffiiculty pushing water through, resulting in a less than ideal extraction.

    Do a cooling flush before brewing.

    Press brew button and wait for the water to stop "flashing", then lock in the portafilter straight away and brew.

    Im somewhat skeptical of scales unless its a very good quality small scale.

    Keep it simple. Do it right.
    Grind, a couple of light taps and top up.
    Level off with a card or icy pole stick.
    And importantly, tamp evenly to the groove marker of your Rancilio basket.
    Brew shot. If too fast or too slow, adjust the grind.

    Regarding plungers, you will need to adjust the grind down to what resembles coarse beach sand.

    Let us know how you went. Hopefully the others will post their results too. :)

    Gary at G

  8. #8
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    I forgot to mention that tamping harder or softer will have negligible impact on extraction.
    9 bar of extraction pressure is 16 times greater than a 15 kg tamp. My thinking is tamping pressure is alleviated when dry coffee grinds become wet and expands.

    Main thing is to be consistent and even in your tamping, together with the correct dose and grind.

    Gary at G

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    thanks for the tips so far. I am tamping to the line (weather its hard enough or too hard Im not sure because the line actually stops the tamper from pressing)
    I dose to a little pile, and level off. the grind is set so the double takes 25-28secs which I believe is "correct"
    my grinder auto doses so it should all be consistent.
    maybe it IS the beans :O

  10. #10
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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    oh, whats "flashing"

    and regarding french press, because theres no extraction time, how do you know when the grind is right?

  11. #11
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Quote Originally Posted by 32352635223137353B393E37500 link=1310366011/8#8 date=1310385179
    I dose to a little pile, and level off. the grind is set so the double takes 25-28secs which I believe is "correct"
    What volume of coffee is being produced in this time and are you dosing for a Single or a Double Shot?

    Also, there is a presumption that you are talking about a Rancilio Silvia so, is this correct or do you have a different machine?

    Quote Originally Posted by 32352635223137353B393E37500 link=1310366011/8#8 date=1310385179
    maybe it IS the beans :O
    If you are talking of recently acquired beans from Andy or one of our Site Sponsors, then I doubt it very much... ::)

    Have you received any training for the machine you are referring to? One on one training is invaluable for coming to grips with an espresso machine in the shortest time frame.

    The "Auto Dosing" grinder you refer to, which one is it? Without specific information, all of us are really shooting in the dark in trying to help you. Detailed specific info will help us to help you get things sorted out a lot quicker ;)....

    Mal.

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Quote Originally Posted by 0B26222E234F0 link=1310366011/10#10 date=1310391008
    What volume of coffee is being produced in this time and are you dosing for a Single or a Double Shot?

    Also, there is a presumption that you are talking about a Rancilio Silvia so, is this correct or do you have a different machine?

    If you are talking of recently acquired beans from Andy or one of our Site Sponsors, then I doubt it very much... ::)

    Have you received any training for the machine you are referring to? One on one training is invaluable for coming to grips with an espresso machine in the shortest time frame.

    The "Auto Dosing" grinder you refer to, which one is it? Without specific information, all of us are really shooting in the dark in trying to help you. Detailed specific info will help us to help you get things sorted out a lot quicker ;)....

    Mal.
    Ok,
    yes its a Silvia, Im dosing for the double basket (also have a 18g basket with similar results)
    it takes 28secs to get 2oz of espresso
    Im using the breville smart grinder with shims and have it dialed for shot extraction timing. I have it set with its auto dosing "iq" to give me a full basket of coffee.
    I level it all off with my finger, then tamp (using a pullman) down to the line.

    Im using Fiefys Latte Art 2011 organic @ origin, roasted 16th June.

    I temp surf the silvia, let it all heat up properly etc.
    Really confused as I thought the shot time was a good indicator of a good espresso unless Im missing somehting..

  13. #13
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    The so-called "Golden Rule" of a Single/Double shot of a 30/60ml volume of espresso in 25-30secs is but a guideline, not a Rule as such. Just something to get newbies into the ballpark until such time as you gain experience, knowledge and confidence of the process, and develop a workable technique.

    If at all possible, you should try to tee-up some training with a reputable outfit as this is a far better way to get everything sorted out and to identify issues with your current technique (if any).

    I have never tried Fiefys Blend but from everything Ive read, it does take longer to fully develop its flavour profile but once there, it hangs on to it for quite some time, so your batch should be right in the middle of the Peak Flavour Plateau right about now.

    If possible, try to stick with the ridgeless Synesso Filter Basket until such time as you have your technique sorted out. Only making life difficult for yourself by switching around. As often pointed out by experienced Silvia owners, youve got to be absolutely spot-on with your Dose as if it is even slightly too high, theres a good likelihood that the puck will be fractured by the hex-head shower-screen bolt and ruin any chance of pulling passable shots.

    There is a simple mod to overcome this problem by replacing the Bolt with a socket-head countersunk set-screw (stainless). This will allow you to dose the basket up to a more realistic volume without the risk of damaging the puck.

    Do you know if the OPV has been adjusted to deliver 9.0Bar at the Group? If not, this is something that should be attended to. Higher brew pressures will dispense shots that give the impression of over-extraction and be quite difficult to reliably dial-in from one coffee type to the next and even as the coffee you have ages...

    Anyway, hope some of this is helpful; Im off to bed.... ;)

    Mal.

  14. #14
    Senior Member sidewayss's Avatar
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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Hi. Im baaack.

    Ok. What youre doing looks ok for a espresso shot. ie28seconds for 2 oz.

    What i meant by "flashing" is the boiling water that comes through the group head when you do a cooling flush before you lock her in and press the brew button.

    If you start brewing once the light goes out, the water coming to the puck is too hot, so the taste would have a burnt flavour. So, what you do is wait for the Power light to go out, then press the brew button and let the overly hot water out until you dont hear that hissing noise. Takes about 5-7 seconds of flushing to do it.

    The Rancilio Silvias boiler temperature at the top of the heating cycle will be approx. 120 deg c. By the time the water hits the group head, you minus 15 degrees from that when the water goes through the group head, which makes that about 105 deg c. A bit too hot.
    When you dont hear that hissing noise, the water going through the group is below boiling point, which is better for brewing. The magic temp should be 92-94 degrees depending on the bean.

    Have a look at this link so that you get a better idea. Hope it helps.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhxvDusY3jk

    Bank on about 3 minutes for a plunger infusion for the ideal grind that resembles coarse sand.
    If unsure, get a roastery to grind some for you specifically for plunger, then look at the grinds and you will see what i mean.
    Plenty of info about regarding plunger coffee.

    Gary at G

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    One thing Ive noticed is that as I upgrade my equipment the flavours have become much more intense. Changing machine (to a Europiccola), grinder and coffee (from Grinders house blend to beanbay) at once is a big jump. Im suspecting that what I think is bitter may just be be the taste of good/different coffee.
    Anyway the experimentation is fun and the hints and ideas I get from here are invaluable. (sorry to hijack your thread but we seem in the same place)
    As another suggestion, try making a double ristretto and see if it is sweeter.

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    thanks again guys, very helpful, informative and easy to understand for a newbie.

    I have noticed, tamping to the rancilio portafilter grove still does put a dent in the puck from the screw, so I might find a flat screw to replace that..

    today I didnt tamp as hard evidently, because my 2oz shot took 20secs. it actually tasted better.
    Oh I am using a naked PF, and the shot is flowing nicely into the centre as Ive read it should.

    This either means:
    -Im under dosing - or dosing less than I expected to
    -The bean prefers slight under extraction
    -The pressure thing is too high. I might hunt down a pressure tester

    Ive probably got 2 pucks left of the bean so Well see how the sumatra mandheling goes.

    I must say the silvia has been a big learning step.

  17. #17
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Try to be as consistent as you can. Keep your tamp and dose the same and adjust the grind to get your timing right.

    What G@G described above is called "temp surfing" there are lots of posts about it and lots of information if you google for it. Forum member Randy G has a good write up on his blog http://www.espressomyespresso.com/ chapter 58 but remember he is running his on 110 volts so there might be some variance with your machine.

    Try and get hold of one of those pics that tells you where on your tongue flavours are, then let the espresso wash over your tongue and see if it is bitter or sour you are tasting, you could even go as far as doing the same with lemon juice to get a feel for sour and/or cocoa for bitter.

    Persist, it is worth it 8-)

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    well as expected I ran out of beans before I could figure it out. Ive been playing with my tamp technique, my grinder doses 18gm and im getting good shots now in 25-30secs. I think it may just be my technique and learning this vastly more exposing machine!

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Ive been going now for three years using a first-class machine and the best beans (Beanbay) at the right time post-roast and I still fuss about the right combination of grind, tamp, dose and temp. The moment I use a new bean I start learning again.
    When I first got my machine, I worked with the one bean (WOW) from the one batch until I worked out the right combination of factors - then I applied those principles to subsequent beans/batches. I dont think you can ever allow yourself to get complacent if you want consistently high quality shots. But then who would want to be complacent about great coffee.

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    If it is over extraction could you pour half a shot and see if the flavor is gone this could be a clue.

    Also how hot the machine is can make a difference if the machine has been used in the last 10 minutes it may be hotter that the first shot from cold.

  21. #21
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Quote Originally Posted by 5F584B584F5C5A585654535A3D0 link=1310366011/17#17 date=1310552782
    my grinder doses 18gm
    I wouldnt be relying on that to ensure accurate consistent dosing.

    I grind to a mound, smooth it off with my finger and tamp very lightly, maybe 2kg? You can adjust the grind fineness or the dose by changing the smoothing but only do one at a time, try and keep everything else consistent.

    When I had a Lucy (Silvia with built in grinder) my puck always showed the screw imprint after I had pulled the shot, but not if I locked it in and then took it out again, but it was close ( 5 cent piece on top of puck gives you a guide).

    Sounds like you have got it pretty much dialled in, so from here on in judge your success by how it tastes 8-)

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Yeah I have the same problem, Im currently using an EM6910* and even if I get 60 mls in 25-30 seconds. It could taste either bitter or sour. It could even still be under a week post roast, and I store the beans in a 1 way valve bag. Just that I open it every time I want to pull a shot, I guess it does effect it somewhat. Ill usually put the beans straight back after Im done and squeeze out all the remaining air in the bag.

    I usually leave my machine on for 10 minutes to get it warmed up as well, so temperature should be out of the equation. I tamp evenly, warm up the PF and cups before pouring my shot.

    Edit: Forgot to mention that Im using the EM0480 grinder.

  23. #23
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Quote Originally Posted by 243726202B2C3120450 link=1310366011/21#21 date=1312534521
    I usually leave my machine on for 10 minutes to get it warmed up as well, so temperature should be out of the equation.

    sour can be from a cold machine. You might benefit from a 20 minute warm up time, even though after 10 minutes it appears to be hot enough.

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Quote Originally Posted by 001302040F081504610 link=1310366011/21#21 date=1312534521
    Edit: Forgot to mention that Im using the EM0480 grinder.
    You may want to "purge" the grinder for a couple of seconds, as the EM0480 is known for having a high grind retention.

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Hmm but Ive read before that 10 minutes is enough for the 6910 but I could try it.

    Yeah I do purge the grinder to make sure it doesnt choke up and push out chunks.

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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Quote Originally Posted by 392A3B3D36312C3D580 link=1310366011/21#21 date=1312534521
    even if I get 60 mls in 25-30 seconds. It could taste either bitter or sour

    Could also be the result of inconsistent preparation.
    Channeling during the extraction could still result in a 60ml in 25-30second poor, but would reflect badly in the cup.
    What is your espresso preparation ritual like?

  27. #27
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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    The puck doesnt have any holes to show forms of channeling though. I usually updose in order to get a firm puck for the 6910 and then use an ice cream stick to level it and then just tamp it with 15-20kgs of force.

  28. #28
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    Re: Perfecting the shot

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Hmm, it seems quite difficult to diagnose from across the keyboard,
    perhaps a video of your issue may help us?



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