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Thread: Help me improve my diagnosis skills

  1. #1
    Senior Member prydey's Avatar
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    Help me improve my diagnosis skills

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi guys, i've been doing my coffee now for about 6 months so am barely out of nappies but things have been going ok. i've been using andy's 'espresso wow' beans for the last couple of months (fresh order each month) and everything was ok, but i decided i'd like to try something different so bought some beans from a local roaster (sorry andy). obviously this then requires some fiddling with the grind etc which is where the need for some better diagnosing comes in.

    i have always dosed the same way. fill the portafilter to a mound, tapping on the mat a couple of times during the fill to settle the beans, then level with a knife and tamp. i did the 5c test initially and then i just take note of how far the tamp goes in each time and my dosing is pretty consistent. previously, after the pour, i would always take note of the puck and there would always be a nice imprint of the shower screen on top, and it would knock out of the filter leaving the filter virtually clean. now, with the new beans, i've noticed when i pull the handle out, there is no smooth surface to the puck due to some of it staying on the shower screen. it knocks out ok but does leave bits around the edge.

    when i bought the machine i did a 'sweet spot' test, whereby you use the empty double wall single basket and take note of where the pressure guage sits. for my machine (em6910) that was around 10 o'clock. getting back to the problem at hand, the pressure sat around 11:30 on the guage, so combining that with the fact the puck was sticking a bit to the showerscreen, does that mean its still a bit wet? do i need to go a bit coarser on the grind? or even finer? finer would go close to choking the machine i think.

    any help appreciated. if you need some more info, just ask.

    also, another issue i have occasionally is the pour seems to go light very quickly.

    thanks

    Rob

  2. #2
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    I am going to give some dummy advice - everything you've asked can be experimented by a shot or two. And regardless of what advice is given, you will still need to test.. so I am not sure what the question is.
    Vinitasse likes this.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lilmeh View Post
    I am going to give some dummy advice - everything you've asked can be experimented by a shot or two. And regardless of what advice is given, you will still need to test.. so I am not sure what the question is.
    The statement above should be permanently tatooed on the CS homepage... it's pretty much the answer to 90% of the issues that come up on this forum.

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    I'd try dossing less grounds while using a finer grind
    With your technique described I'd try removing or reducing the number of taps to settle the grinds

  5. #5
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Rob,
    Does your coffee taste good? If so don't stress too much about what pucks look like (within reason). As long as they are consistent(ish) from shot to shot for the same bean, and you like to their taste, don't worry about it. I learned this the hard way. I'm not saying not to experiment.....but experiment to the get the taste you want, rather than the puck you want. I don't eat the pucks. FWIW I tend to like my coffee with less than the maximum dose and finer grind, but I'm not drinking your coffee.
    Cheers
    BOSW

  6. #6
    Senior Member prydey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lilmeh View Post
    I am going to give some dummy advice - everything you've asked can be experimented by a shot or two. And regardless of what advice is given, you will still need to test.. so I am not sure what the question is.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    The statement above should be permanently tatooed on the CS homepage... it's pretty much the answer to 90% of the issues that come up on this forum.
    here's a simple concept. if you aren't the type of person who can offer advice to a beginner, then don't click on these threads.

    afit1551 - thanks for your advice

    Barry O - to be honest, the coffee didn't taste that fantastic. it was still enjoyable, but possibly a bit 'watery' tasting. the pour itself looks ok.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prydey View Post
    here's a simple concept. if you aren't the type of person who can offer advice to a beginner, then don't click on these threads.

    afit1551 - thanks for your advice

    Barry O - to be honest, the coffee didn't taste that fantastic. it was still enjoyable, but possibly a bit 'watery' tasting. the pour itself looks ok.
    Hi Rob,

    I don't think the others were meaning to appear rude...perhaps just a 'choice of words' issue. If it's watery tasting, I doubt you are over-dosing (I tend to get a slight burnt taste if there is too much resistance in the puck).

    All the best,
    BOSW

  8. #8
    Senior Member prydey's Avatar
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    latest attempt, i went 1 notch coarser on the grind with much better results. i know the taste in the cup is the most important thing but i do still tend to take note of the puck. wasn't dry but was much better than before. shower screen stayed clean as well.

    might try 1 notch coarser again. see what happens.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    I don't think the others were meaning to appear rude...perhaps just a 'choice of words' issue.
    This.
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-co...questions.html

    Quote Originally Posted by prydey View Post
    when i bought the machine i did a 'sweet spot' test, whereby you use the empty double wall single basket and take note of where the pressure guage sits. for my machine (em6910) that was around 10 o'clock. getting back to the problem at hand, the pressure sat around 11:30 on the guage, so combining that with the fact the puck was sticking a bit to the showerscreen, does that mean its still a bit wet? do i need to go a bit coarser on the grind? or even finer? finer would go close to choking the machine i think.
    prydey, I was simply trying to figure out what you are trying to ask - if we look at your questions, each of them you can answer on your own if you just attempt it e.g. does it need to be coarser or finer?
    Alternatively, if you had said something like, I tried to go finer but it became wetter, or I tried to go coarser and something else happened, then it would provide more information for people to help you instead of asking questions made of possible solutions.
    Hope I'm making more sense this time.

  10. #10
    Senior Member prydey's Avatar
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    lilmeh - its all good mate. the reason i popped on here and asked the question was, i was hoping to be pointed in the right direction so that i wouldn't have to waste too many beans 'experimenting'. it appears that going more coarse on the grind was the right direction.

  11. #11
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    Rob, I too have not been doing this very long but the one thing I've discovered is that I need to put a lot of pressure on the tamper on the coffee in the filter basket. I've seen youtubes where pros apply the lightest of pressure with the tamper and simply spin it a few times to smooth the top. This does not work for me regardless of the courseness of the grind. My machine has 3 fliter baskets and I use the middle one the most (I like my coffee a little stronger) and I have max. coffee loaded in it. The large double basket never gives a slow shot unless it is completely full of coffee - even though others on this site recommend using the biggest basket for a single shot. I don't weigh the coffee so have no idea how much goes in. Nearly all the time I get a good coffee but occassionally it turns out watery and if so it gets ditched in the sink and I'll start over with a slightly finer grind - 1kg beans lasts me 3-4 weeks so this can be an issue trying to maintain consistency.

    Does any of this make sense to you?

  12. #12
    Senior Member prydey's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    thanks whiteman. re the baskets, i only ever use the double shot single wall basket. i'm pretty much always making 2 coffees at a time and if i just make one for myself, i just use a slightly bigger cup. most people will tell you to get rid of the others if you are grinding your own beans.

    as for the issue at hand, i think i'm on top of it. as mentioned above, rather than experiment, i thought i'd ask the question on here to point me in the right direction and save me wasting more beans than i had to.



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