Under dose or too coarse ?
Hey fellow CS,
I have been using my new Diadema Jnr semi auto machine now for a few months, and I'm still getting the hang of it.
I recently did a barista course and was able to pull a good shot on their commercial machine 2 x 30ml in 30 secs with a fairly firm dryish puck.
On my machine at home the extraction is still 60ml in 30 secs but its not as good. I cant get that "drippy" start and the flow seems a little more watery. but the biggest difference is when I remove the PF the top of the puck is really wet (almost soggy) and is hard to knock out...
any ideas what is causing a very wet puck?
Try a lighter tamp and adjust the grind to compensate.
I find that if I tamp too hard (and therefore use a coarser grind) I get a soggy puck and slight doughtnutting (small dead spot in the centre of the basket).
Tips for getting a base-line.
1 Use the same dose the same each time.
(overfill the basket and level flush with the top of the basket)
2. Tamp consistent.
(tamp as hard as you can, it will be more repeatable with less variation shot to shot)
3. Adjust the grind as your ONLY variable
(courser for a faster pour, finer for a slower pour).
If you dose and tamp on a really fine grind and "choke" the pour so you only get a few drips you can then make adjustments to the grind to speed-up the pour until you are happy.
I suspect you are introducing too many different variables to your routine, dose and tamp the same every time then adjust the grind to suit is the quickest and easiest way to get a good shot. You can later get more creative with under and over doses, lighter tamp etc when you understand your equipment and it's quirks better.
Sounds like his pours are alright the only issue is a soggy puck?
...and the soggy puck could also be caused by too fine a grind (which is the inverse of what you said) or too coarse or too much water pressure or.... you get the idea!
This is one of the gotchas with remote diagnosis without enough information or tactile "feel".
I read the question as "I don't really understand what I'm doing yet" and ergo a baseline is needed first.
True enough. FWIW I wasn't saying that a finer grind results in a drier puck; just that in my experience the combination of lighter tamp and correct grind had resulted in that.
How does it taste? (Serious question).
How much coffee in grams are you putting in to the basket and how much does the resulting double or single espresso weigh?
How long did it take to pour?
To answer your questions, the taste is ok but I know it could be and has been better.
the dose method I use is fill the chamber to a mound then one knock down on the forks of the grinder, then I use a flat knife to scrape off the coffee grinds level. Then I tamp. I do not weigh.
The golden mean as I understand it is 30mls from 30secs from a double baskets (I assume you're using a double / triple basket coz if not there's your problem right there!
Try fining you grind to slow your extraction down
Also are you purging your machine after each extraction?
It's good practise to put your empty handle back in the group head after the extraction, place a cup underneath, and run some water through it whilst giggling your handle back and forth to add / break tension
This is more of a regular maintenance thing, as opposed to shot quality, but if you're not doing it and back washing with a blind filter once per month, you'll be surprised how much gunk gets stuck in there - and over time this will definitely impact on shot quality ...
You want the tamped bed of coffee just below the shower screen, have a search for the 5 cent piece test. Basically you want the gap between coffee and shower screen to be thickness of the 5 cent piece. Once you have your ideal dose weight, it will generally only change within a couple of grams depending on the type of coffee its age and the grind.
Anyway the point is, once you have eliminated the dose weight variable, you can confidently adjust your grind finer or coarser to get the pour you want - CONSISTENTLY.
Obviously its not viable in a commercial situation, but as Dragunov said, in the home why not?
At MICE, and at some shops down in Melbourne I have seen baristas weighing each dose before extraction. Coffeesnob/coffeegeek/home-barista techniques are infiltrating the commercial environment as people strive to create better (or just more consistent) espresso.
I also believe in weighing shots, especially if you are only making 1-2 coffees a day. It's not too hard to incorporate this extra step into your routine and the information it conveys is very valuable, especially when you are trying to problem solve your coffee online.
I have an opinion about weighing espresso doses but.....each to their own...... :-)
There is no 'ideal weight' and if you want to go down that path (of weighing doses) then you have to find the dose weight that gives you your ideal shot.
You will have to weigh each dose until you find the one that works.
Then you use that weight for repeatability. Your particular dose weight will vary, according to your filter size, grind, tamp pressure, coffee roast and age, machine pump pressure.
I don't weigh my ( espresso ) doses but rely on consistent technique and a timed dose off the grinder.
I only weigh for pour over, plunger and cupping.
Re-read Andy's post #4 above, it contains everything you need to do.
Somebody who has the same machine as you may be able to help give you a ballpark figure. It could be anywhere between 14 and 20g for a double basket.
Try searching for threads on your machine and see what comes up.
As I said, I would suggest following normal dosing routine, slightly overfill basket, level off and then weigh what you have and use that as a starting point for future reference.
I dose mine at 17.5, generally, but different coffees, baskets and machines will work better/worse with different doses.
I find it easiest to weigh the beans before they go in the hopper (ie the grinder only has 17.5g of coffee in it at any one time). It's not ideal, but it's less faffing around than weighing grinds (possibly less consistent if a bean gets stuck, but I've not had any trouble).
I grind straight into a spare 300ml jug then shake it about to break up any clumps then dose - makes for a perfect distribution and fixed some big problems for me.
Timed grinders do 90% of the work for you but are far from consistent. A great dosing technique will get you closer 100% of the time. Weighing doses and resulting espresso is useful for diagnostic work and dialing-in in a commercial setting especially if you already know what your esoresso brew formula percentage is. I personally always brew between 55-60%. At work the ridgeless baskets can take up to 25+ grams but my target dose is always 21.0 grams +/- 0.3 g with a resulting double espresso weighing around 35 grams in 27-32 seconds. This is very close to 30 mL per single.
Yeah, as I said, I rely on consistent technique first.
You're quite right about timers being inconsistent. My Robur-e varies by as much as 1.8 gms but mostly
by only 0.2-0.4 gms (over a spread of 20 or so doses, or 500gms of beans).
Consistent dose and tamp technique will pretty much eliminate this variation.
If I weigh what I brush off the basket when levelling, guess what...... the same variation appears, almost every time .
The timed dose gets me in the zone, without having to weigh my doses and interfere with my zen.
I'm definitely not bothered by a potential 1% or 2% variation in doses.
I'm just not that anal ;-)
My puck is usually firm but wet on top so I read this thread - Andy's baseline tips have made a huge difference. I've stopped weighing and put away the bathroom scales for tamping, stopped toothpick distributing and I get that 60 ml double in 25-30 seconds more easily, just ground a step courser. Probably a temperment thing. Once I understand the process more I might go back to weighing for fine tuning but it's working better for me right now.
I was really hoping that someone reading this thread would go back to basics and start making great coffee without the need for dose weights and counting beans. While I understand that being accurate to a fault might result in closer to scientific consistency it's important to understand that it can also lead to complete frustration... and great coffee CAN be had with a fairly basic routine.
With a basic routine you can jump on any espresso machine, make a grind adjustment to suit the output and be producing pretty damn fine coffee within a couple of shots.
Please then adjust to suit your time and taste.
Good news indeed. FWIW when I make coffee I get soggy pucks all the time - do I care? Not really, because the coffee tastes great.
Thanks for all the great responses.
I started weighing my doses to get an idea of where I was at, and then I went back to basics as per Andys suggestions and now I have only a mildly wet puck and a consistent 60mls in 30 secs after adjusting the grind appropriately and I am happy with the taste so far.
Thanks again for all the advice.
Also I was reading through my machine (EM7000)'s manual (please let me know if this is deviating and hijacking this thread), it said not to extract more than 30mls? Does this sound like it's the bottomline or that only applies to a single basket condition (which I can't seemed to see if mentioned)?
Last edited by Brenchen; 8th February 2015 at 07:28 PM.
That sounds like a condition referring to the assumed use of a single basket.
This doesn't mean that you *have* to extract a full 60mls when using the double (or the full 30mls)....Many people prefer a slightly shorter pour for at least some beans (e.g 25mls/50 mls or so).
An alternate equivalent metric is that a 'normal' espresso produces approx 2 x the mass of brewed coffee to ground coffee (e.g. 30g of brewed coffee from 15g of ground coffee, 30g of brewed coffee represents approximately 60mls of brewed coffee *including crema*).
As BOS said so well - holes sizes etc vary so "all things being equal" a double will extract at twice the speed, a triple at three times the speed etc. Reality check - it usually will get you close enough to dial it in unless you are using VST / LM baskets, and even then some CSr's claim it it not 100% accurate. As usual, Javaphile is 100% correct - a single is 30ml in 30 seconds, a triple is 90ml in 30 seconds (all figures counting preinfusion, which is crazy in itself). Unfortunately, among a large number of other confounding factors, grind size affects the surface area to volume ratio which affects the extraction speed. That makes the "30 seconds timing" rather a rough approximation. If the coffee is good, you must be getting closer to the setup your gear prefers.
The other issue - wet puck - every late 6910 (post 2010) and 7000 I have encountered places a small amount of water at low pressure in the basket after the shot is pulled. AFAIAC, this help to prevent the grouphead clogging up with grounds, other CSrs dispute that. Regardless, your 7000 will always have a layer of water on the top of the puck. FWIW, I reckon the only use in examining the 7000's pucks is to tell whether you are getting channelling.
Hope this helps
Agreed Dimal. I put nearly 15gms in a VST 7gm single and dial that in to deliver a great ristretto. It passes the coin test believe it or not and is my favourite drink. I think the VST manufacturers would be horrified!!! There are no rules with coffee making, only guidelines.
VST rate their baskets at +/-1.0 g. Notional capacity is a very different concept. Given the need to use some sort of reference as a starting point to explain recommended shot timings without quoting a mass of links, I reckon it is fair enough.
VST themselves state in one of their FAQs "Use the recommended dose of coffee for a given basket (i.e. 20g +/- 1g in the 20g basket). If you err, it is best to do so on the low side (down to 19g). Do not use more than the recommended (21g) dose, doing so will force a coarser grind, which reduces the extraction yield as much as 1 - 2%, producing sour taste defects". In my experience, every gram after that drops the extraction ratio even more.
As a side note, the rest of the 5 pages probably have more intelligent comments on preparing espresso than anything else I have seen except my Illy "Espresso Coffee" which takes over 350 pages of fairly heavy going to provide a lot more testing data and reaches most of the same conclusions (clearly the VSTs higher flow rate & the resulting issues are not in the Illy book as it was written before VSTs were developed).
IMO, the "5 cent test" is probably responsible for destroying more good beans in a VST than any other factor. By traditional standards, a VST requires:-
1) a massively finer grind (about 30% "below standard espresso"). Most traditional grinders struggle to achieve that without generating excess fines - which leads to extreme bitterness.
2) a severe underdose (about 4mm of space from the top of the basket is a good starting point).
3) Preinfusion can make a huge difference to a VST shot compared to trad setups. Some roasts like a preinfusion time of up to 40 seconds (makes the "30 seconds including preinfusion concept" a complete farce). My personal refractometer readings showed clear differences directly related to preinfusion, so it was affecting both the quality AND quantity of flavour in the cup.
Scales are a really good idea to dial them in. Just weigh some grounds consistently at some figure near their rated dose and then adjust the grind to get the shot timing.
If your grinder is not up to it, you will know instantly ("mouthful of quinine" effect). Try cleaning and recalibrating the grinder and try again. If no joy, try to get hold of a really good "finer than espresso grinder" and you may be startled at the result. I use Mahlkonig Vario gen2's, however an HG One or even my old (secondhand in the late '70's) Turkish hand grinder works as well (at its second coarsest setting...).
I did a fair bit of refraction testing a while back - 7g dialled in @ say 21% to 23% extraction (as measured) would be a much stronger, sweeter & balanced cup than your 15g @ 12% extraction* cut short to stop it running bitter...
12% extraction* - if you are lucky, I actually measured between 8% and 10% consistently in a similar dosage setup.
Anyway, something worth playing with if you feel the urge.
All I can really think of to say to you mate, is Bullsh!t...
Last edited by barri; 13th February 2015 at 05:54 PM. Reason: spelling
So if LM are all about LM to the exclusion of all others and VST are all about VST to the exclusion of all others, all other shots, machines and baskets must surely then be rubbish.
It's about maximising bucks and it's sad to see science and spiel attempt to exclude the palate. You can extract 1000% and still have rubbish in the cup and there is plenty of it out there including that produced by many disciples of the two brands.
Way too much attempted brainwashing- too frequently from the paid marketers and the arrogant and egotistical.
Last edited by TC; 13th February 2015 at 05:03 PM. Reason: added more lest I get brainwashed as well
[QUOTE=Talk_Coffee;551526]So if LM are all about LM to the exclusion of all others and VST are all about VST !!
Whilst I understand the intent of this post I can't necessarily agree.
I am often trying new beans, roasts and blends at home.
To me that's the major benefit of having a good home setup - different flavours / cups when I want.
And just like my brand of oil - I have found once I've found a great setup, then stick to it.
Less variables makes it easier to get a repeatable quality shot in the cup - and that suits my diet.
That's why when I found an excellent dble filter - The HQ 14g ( exceptional production quality IMHumbleO) that I dose to to suit my machine, And a Synesso Single - both be can dosed at or near the true and traditional Italian Espresso Recipe.
They are both very stable and therefore repeatable good quality shots are easy to quickly dial in.
I intentionally moved away from the Australian scene of updosing (14+ g for a single shot, 20+ g for a dble shot)
baskets as I am concerned about the overall amount of Acid intake in my diet from my daily
2-3 cups (Coffee can be highly ?? Acidic).
And I am yet to be fully convinced that the Australian coffee scene of dble / triple updosing to overcome other unnecessary shortcomings in the espresso shot / setup is of a healthy longterm position for my healthy diet.
I would however be very tempted to try one of those HQ single baskets - if as I suspect there as good as the 14g
Basket it should be a cracker.
All I can really think of to say to you mate, is Bullsh!t...
Too many people read too much instead of practicing making coffee.
A few try to "buy better" extractions, eg, VST baskets, scales, etc.
Forget all the BS about the science of making great coffee, just practice as much as you can, yes it will cost you in beans, but it will be cheaper in the end.
TampIt wrote "(clearly the VSTs higher flow rate & the resulting issues are not in the Illy book as it was written before VSTs were developed)." Really you think VST baskets have a higher flow rate than other baskets?
Flow rate is determined by grind, dose and tamp pressure, not the holes in the basket!
As for the OP, just take in what Andy said and practice as much as you can, it will get there, it just might take a little time.
Hopefully still on topic:
Yesterday I had my Breville twin spout PF with Breville factory basket and along side it Brevilles naked PF and a 20gm VST.
I was making affogatos for the family and wanted single shots for my young daughters and a double for my adult Son.
Same grind and same prep tecnique albeit 18gm vs 21gm (eyeball not weighed) and behold both poured almost identically and wonderful results.
No grinder adjustment at all. I agree with Topshot.
Just compare the flow of water through the portafilter with and without coffee in it. I think that the size of the holes in the filters are largely designed allow coffee flow while stopping coffee grounds going through into your cup. With single walled filters it is the amount of dose and fineness of grind and tamp that mainly determines the flow rate, not the hole size.
Maybe the more expensive gadgets you buy for making your coffee the better you think your coffee tastes to justify the expence to yourself. Taste is such a subjective thing.
Last edited by Barry_Duncan; 14th February 2015 at 02:16 PM.
I have used the baskets which came with my Izzo, VST, other brands. My goto basket for the last 18 months or so is the Precision filter basket, this is not to say I won't change the baskets I use.
Everyone will eventually get a basket (brand) which suits their technique.
Everyone are all trying to get that "Godshot", which is great if all you drink is a straight shot.
Most of the coffees I have at home are with milk, so a "Godshot" is not required, but a very good shot is still required.
We all have to remember we are playing with an organic product, so there will never be two pieces of ground coffee grains the same size or shape.
Therefore, there will never be a puck being loaded into a machine that will be exactly the same as another (all our tamps, regardless of how good you are will vary by 100 or more grams), the amount of coffee in the filter will vary a little as well.
We all will however should be getting the most consistent dose and tamp as our technique will allow us.
I remember when I first started out years ago, I thought I would never get any consistent coffee. Now after how many thousand coffees later, I think my technique is fairly good (all my friends and family say I make the best coffee they have ever had). (I would bet London to a brick, just about everyone on this forum get the same complements from their family and friends).
The main thing for all of us is to have fun with making your coffee, as you all know, the coffee you make at home is better than most cafés and equal to the best!
So for 13bob, just keep practicing and as Andy said in post #4 dose the same every time and only change the grind, of that does not work, start again with a slightly larger of smaller dose and only change the grind, you will find what works for you and your particular machine.
Remember Roger Federer did not win Wimbledon numerous times and become one of the worlds greatest tennis players by hitting only 10 tennis balls!
... and which part(s) do you take issue with? AFAICSee, you have just started yet another flame war with not a single fact to back your comment. Whilst I fully expect that from a couple of web bullies (posts below yours - without a single data item or testable idea seems to be their SOP), I admit your post is both a surprise & a disappointment.
Anyway - please i/d the facts you disagree with and I will provide the info (when I get time to scratch myself).
Last edited by TampIt; 18th February 2015 at 12:54 AM.