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Thread: Early blonding with Breville BES900

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    Early blonding with Breville BES900

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have one of the original Breville's which has been in to fix the OPV a few month's back.

    At the same time they also adjusted the pressure back from 11 bar so it now sits at 8-9 when in use.

    Since it's return I've noticed that my shots are blonding way too early so could this be a problem with the Breville as my technique has not changed? Only other variable is I've switched from bought beans to roasting my own greens from BeanBay. these are usually between 4 and 15 days post roast when I use them and mostly roasted to CS8/9.

    My morning ritual is as follows:

    -Machine powers up an hour before use
    -Brew temp set to 92
    -Remove group and dry
    -Using standard Breville double basket
    -Grind out beans
    -Tamp once and polish
    -Insert group
    -Press extract
    -shot clock hits 10-12 secs before coffee pours
    -at 15-20 secs it starts to blond but still stays thick
    -after 20 secs it starts to thin and look watery
    -measured out to 30ml by 40 secs so 30ml in 30 secs from pour commencing

    I've checked the dosage with a 5 cent piece today and it leaves a slight impression in the puck
    I've purchased a naked pf and can see no channeling occuring
    I've tried updosing and underdosing with the same result
    I've tried higher and lower brew temp with the same result
    I've tried many different bean combinations with the same result

    I'm really at a loss what to do now so could this be a machine issue?

    Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions.

    Mick

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    Going from a decent commercial roaster to roasting your own is quite large variable.

    How long have you been at it?

    What are you roasting with?

    It could be quite possible that you are not getting the most out of your beans. Order some of the same bean, green and roasted from BeanBay and do a side by side test.

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    50 roasts in to the roasting journey on a Behmor so have a fair few under my belt...

    Would be surprised if it's the roast to be honest as the beans look and taste great....I always chew on a couple after roasting

    You're right though it is another variable so I might just grab a small dose of beans from my old local roaster at the weekend to check it's not the roast.

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    G'day Mick...

    Have you tried adjusting the grind a little finer, to see what happens?

    If the pour still appears to blonde early, it will definitely be down to the beans themselves. I've noticed that this happens when a roast batch hasn't been roasted evenly all the way through the bean and is sometimes difficult to see even when breaking the bean in half.

    Try roasting some small batches with the Behmor (in order to reduce possible waste) of the same bean(blend), and use a profile that starts off a little slower so that the overall time stretches out a bit. Keep notes, and if this process reveals a profile that suits the bean(blend) better than the one you're currently using, you will hopefully achieve better pours...

    Mal.

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    Hey Mal,

    If I go finer the pour is way too long to get to 30ml and most importantly it tastes terrible

    I've also tried finer and under dosing to get the pour time down but no good!

    I normally roast 450g batches on a P2/P3 profile on the Behmor which takes about 20 mins but I've had the same issue with some Sulawesi Toraja beans which I roast in smaller 250g batches on a P5 profile for 22 mins. This one's a lot gentler on the power ramp.

    It's happening on every batch so surely I can't have roasted all 50 badly My process is pretty much the same whatever the batch size. Hit first crack 2/3mins before second crack and hit cool just after the first few snaps of second crack. I've had batches from a CS7 to a CS9 all with the same blonding.

    Mick

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Rightio...

    As a guide, what would the weight be, of your average dose to pull a 30Sec shot (in total including preinfusion time)? For a Double and Single shot...

    Mal.

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    Hey Mal,

    I only do doubles

    Preinfusion takes 10-12 secs plus 30 secs for the shot. I don't have any scales to weigh the coffee but have done the 5 cent test and also tried under and over dosing.

    Mick

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    G'day Mick,

    Your from your posts, the symptoms are confusing. You state:

    "I only do doubles" and "If I go finer the pour is way too long to get to 30ml and most importantly it tastes terrible".

    A double would be 60ml in 25-35 seconds. I think Mal was trying to work out how much ground coffee you use to make a double as a means to offer a diagnosis.

    From the two quotes above, it appears to me (and I think Mal too) that the grind setting is likely off.

    I'm definitely far from a pro but I have the same machine as you and am up to 1100 shots. I would class myself as pretty fussy (the wife would call that an understatement).

    Using the double basket correctly dosed and the pressure gauge as a rough guide only, a double for me is 55-60ml at 9 - 9.5 bar, preinfustion 10-12 secs and the total shot time 28-32 seconds (i.e. 28 - 32 seconds includes the preinfusion time). Within this timeframe, shots taste divine. Small grind changes significantly alter the extraction time and pressure and adversely affect taste.

    If you're using the double basket and extracting only 30ml in 42 seconds, it sounds to me like the grind is way too fine and you're basically making a ristretto. Going finer as you state tastes terrible. I'm guessing very bitter.

    I hope I've read your posts correctly and that the above helps.

    Cheers.

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    Sorry guys for the confusion!

    I'm running the double basket and two glasses so when I say 30ml I mean 30 ml in each of the glasses!

    My total time is 42 secs for 30 ml in 2 separate glasses (I taste one and use the other with milk!) so I think we're on the same page mate. Let me know if I'm going mad here!

    Mick

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    OK then. At least that is cleared up.

    Sounds like your grind maybe only slightly too fine and not way too fine with the current beans. This still rings true (in my humble understanding) "If I go finer the pour is way too long to get to 30ml and most importantly it tastes terrible". Going finer makes the taste bitter. This is what I have found.

    From all of this, I think Steve82 above was on the money with his suggestion "Order some of the same bean, green and roasted from BeanBay and do a side by side test." This will enable you to either identify or eliminate your roasting as a cause.

    It almost sounds like the coffee is too fresh when starting off. Maybe wait a week from roast and re-try. Good luck.

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    Thanks mate, I've used beans at 3 days and 14 but still the same! I'll grab some commercial beans from the guys I used to go to at the weekend and report back on the results!

    Thanks for all your help gents!

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    Just as an aside Mick...

    42Sec is too long mate. Aim for 25-30Sec shot time regardless whether you're pulling Singles or Doubles. Given this aspect of your technique, you need to grind coarser in order to tighten up the shot time to something reasonable. Once you've done that, see how things go and report back...

    Mal.
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    So Mal, the 25/30 sec should include the preinfusion time?

    I just timed my local barista this morning and his was 43 secs including preinfusion so I'm getting confused here.

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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eaglemick View Post
    So Mal, the 25/30 sec should include the preinfusion time?

    I just timed my local barista this morning and his was 43 secs including preinfusion so I'm getting confused here.
    I suspect Mal means from the time the pour begins - ie you can see espresso starting to dribble/blob/pour down from the spout(s). Thats how I time things. If you are after a ristretto shot then its shorter.

    Cheers

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    Thanks, I think the time is good then.

    I read something else this morning that said preinfusion time can also cause early blonding so I need to take a look at this too! The factory default is 5 secs with 60% power so I think they tinkered with this when it went in for a service as I'm not seeing coffe drops until at least 10 secs and the power doesn't ramp to full until after that too.....

    Looks like I need to drink more coffee when i get home tonight

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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Sorry mate - cant help you with that. I have a FAEMA Due commercial 2 group with no preinfusion.

    Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by eaglemick View Post
    So Mal, the 25/30 sec should include the preinfusion time?

    I just timed my local barista this morning and his was 43 secs including preinfusion so I'm getting confused here.
    The clock should start from the moment the the pour commences, including preinfusion.

    I always aim for 30ml in 30 seconds, a few seconds either way is of little consequence, however IMO 43 seconds is way too long.
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    Doesnt pre-infusion slowly fill the puck and ramp up pressure as it goes to the point where the pour commences...if so I would simply start the stopwatch when the first drips commence.

    Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozscott View Post
    Doesnt pre-infusion slowly fill the puck and ramp up pressure as it goes to the point where the pour commences...if so I would simply start the stopwatch when the first drips commence.

    Cheers
    Doesn't much matter when you start the clock, as long as the total shot time, including preinfusion is a single shot of approx 30ml in 30 seconds.

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    I have never included pre infusion time..........counting from when the the first droplet hits the bottom of the glass/cup.
    Right from my first $250/hr home barista lesson about 6-7 years ago.

    I should qualify that by adding that I have never used the machine in question; only full e61 groups ( at home ), oh yeah
    and a 58mm lever group. ;-)
    Last edited by chokkidog; 22nd August 2013 at 10:37 AM.

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    Well I've had nice shots ranging from 25 seconds to 33 seconds when I hit the double shot button on my BES900. I've always tried to keep it under 35 seconds and have had great shots with good quality beans. I remember buying a bag of beans from a roastery and they were crap. I kept pulling sour shots from it and thought it was my machine until I went to another roastery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    I have never included pre infusion time..........counting from when the the first droplet hits the bottom of the glass/cup.
    Right from my first $250/hr home barista lesson about 6-7 years ago.
    How can we argue with this? anyone who has paid $250 an hour to learn how to pull a shot must be on the right track.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradG View Post
    Well I've had nice shots at 25 seconds from when I first hit the button (including 7 sec pre-infusion) and at 33 seconds. I've always tried to keep it under 35 seconds and have had great shots with good quality beans. I remember buying a bag of beans from a roastery and they were crap. I kept pulling sour shots from it and thought it was my machine until I went to another roastery.
    Sounds to me like your on the right track Brad.

  24. #24
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Its all only a guide anyway. I cant imagine that pre-infusion would take more than a few short seconds anyway?

    Cheers

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    How many grams does the double take? If its roughly between 18-22 then I still would never be pouring 60ml shots, 18-22grams will generally start to blonde after 30-40ml anyway so try just pouring into one cup and stopping at the blonde and see if you like the taste. The days of 2 cups of coffee from one puck might be over I'm sorry.

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    G'day Mick,

    Don't be confused by the conjecture.

    You started off with a symptom of early blonding. Looking at your stated process, a few of us identified the total extraction time seemed to be 10-12 seconds too long, indicating too fine a grind. My assistance was based on the same equipment you are using not your local barista.

    The other variable identified is your roasting.

    In my experience, grind fineness and bean condition (roast/type/freshness) are the 2 most significant variables. Changes to either net a larger variation to the end result in the cup than do dose, tamp, temp.

    Therefore, I would be leaning toward one of these two issues to focus on to change your outcome.

    I reckon you would like to validate your roasting process (I know I would) so although changing roast or obtaining beans for back to back comparison will take time, I'd be doing this at some stage.

    Having said that, grind fineness can be changed right away and I strongly suspect this will be the ticket.
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    I've said it a few times about this machine, turn off your pre infusion until you get some shots your happy with, then turn it back on and note the differences.

    Forget about the bleeding hearts that have never used the machine, I have had some absolutely stunning shots at 40 - 42 secs, including 10 - 12 secs PI.
    However, most of the time I'm in the vicinity of 35sec total time, 7 - 10 sec PI @ 60 to 65%.
    I still find some coffees are better without PI, then some work well 5 - 10secs at 70%, which is about 3 to 4bar.

    So many variables between different beans and roasts.

    19 to 20g in the double basket is usually right.

    A naked porfafilter makes things a lot easier to diagnose, particularly when using long PI times.

    Don't worry about how many mls your getting, as soon as you see the pale stuff stop. Then try pulling another shot and stop a couple seconds earlier than you just did.

    If I'm making 2 milk drinks at once, I will use the EP tripple basket available from Talk Coffee.
    Can fit 24 - 25g , slightly courser grind and it will produce 2 very nice shots of good volume.

    Overall, keep tasting everything, keep experimenting and changing one thing at a time.

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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozscott View Post
    Doesnt pre-infusion slowly fill the puck and ramp up pressure as it goes to the point where the pour commences...if so I would simply start the stopwatch when the first drips commence.

    Cheers
    As soon as hot water hits the coffee (i.e. during pre-infusion) it is already brewing so you had better start your stopwatch then

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    Thanks for all the feedback guys.

    I'll turn off PI tonight just to taste the difference and go buy some commercial beans at the weekend to (hopefully) rule out any lack of roasting ability on my part!

    I've been watching a few vids today and see a lot of people slightly overdosing with the DB to pull their shots but not sure if they're using standard baskets or not...

    Think I'll also go get a proper set of scales over the weekend too just to get real nerdy and sort this out
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    Eaglemick: the answer is on your first line. You need 9+ bar at the grouphead to make espresso. 8 to 9 anywhere else is not enough - blonds early and tastes like (use any foul word of choice here). The is no way that machine can possibly work like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BradG View Post
    Well I've had nice shots ranging from 25 seconds to 33 seconds when I hit the double shot button on my BES900. I've always tried to keep it under 35 seconds and have had great shots with good quality beans. I remember buying a bag of beans from a roastery and they were crap. I kept pulling sour shots from it and thought it was my machine until I went to another roastery.
    Yep same here, my shots are usually in the vicinity of 30 - 35 seconds, including the standard 7 second preinfusion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve82 View Post
    If I'm making 2 milk drinks at once, I will use the EP tripple basket available from Talk Coffee.
    Can fit 24 - 25g , slightly courser grind and it will produce 2 very nice shots of good volume.
    Sorry I know it's OT but does the EP triple basket fit the standard PF? I've been considering buying a triple basket but wasn't sure if they fit.

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    Very few cafes of the specialty kind if any are pulling 60ml double shots, this simply does not exist any more. Gone are the 30ml in 30 sec single shots of espresso.You would be very lucky to find any decent cafe that is pulling anymore than 30-40ml total(and 40ml is being generous)out of a double basket 20-24gm. Providing your machine is in correct working order and the coffee has been roasted correctly I am guessing it is your dose and grind. Fine up that grind and lower the dose, forget about the 5 cent test too in most of the cafe baskets after tamping you could probably put at least two 20 cent pieces in and still not touch the shower screen. Whatever your preinfusion is set at I would expect the coffee to come out about 5 sec after the pump kicks in at 9 bar.
    If you insist on timing your shots then this time starts the moment you have pressed the button(pre infusion inclusive). Watch your pour and to begin with just try to extract 30ml out of your double to start with and taste the shot, the timing is just a guideline its not set in concrete...roughly somewhere between 25 and 40 seconds. If the shot is a bit bright etc. you could try extracting a bit more than the 30ml to balance it out a bit more.Taste is key, less regard is given to time and volume in cup nowdays.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VX225 View Post
    Sorry I know it's OT but does the EP triple basket fit the standard PF? I've been considering buying a triple basket but wasn't sure if they fit.
    Yes, you will need to remove the black plastic insert if yours came with that.

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    eaglemick, I know you stated your shots are blonding a little early.. But how do they taste....?????

    Have I missed it, where you stated the shots are off or no good.

    Forget about what else is going on, If the shots taste good nothing else matters..

    Wonder

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozscott View Post
    Its all only a guide anyway. I cant imagine that pre-infusion would take more than a few short seconds anyway?
    G'day Oz...

    Yeah, it is only a guide - That is, 30/60ml in 25-30Sec (including pre-infusion time). In my view, as a guide this means plus or minus 5Sec, not all the way out to 40+Sec. The longer you leave the coffee puck in contact with the brew water (including pre-infusion) you are more likely to capture more of the bitter elements from the bean, hence the guideline of 25-30Sec (25Sec in fact). That time wasn't arrived at by accident, it was obtained after a significant amount of scientific experimentation many years ago, so I think it is a guide worth following but not necessarily with absolute rigidity.

    Just my thoughts...
    Mal.

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    An interesting read on the topic.......

    Coffee Under Pressure | Dogwood Coffee
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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Hhhhmmm.....I know those folks, they're not too far from my house! They quickly became known for producing some very interesting SO's.


    Java "Waves from the other side" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    G'day Oz...

    Yeah, it is only a guide - That is, 30/60ml in 25-30Sec (including pre-infusion time). In my view, as a guide this means plus or minus 5Sec, not all the way out to 40+Sec. The longer you leave the coffee puck in contact with the brew water (including pre-infusion) you are more likely to capture more of the bitter elements from the bean, hence the guideline of 25-30Sec (25Sec in fact). That time wasn't arrived at by accident, it was obtained after a significant amount of scientific experimentation many years ago, so I think it is a guide worth following but not necessarily with absolute rigidity.

    Just my thoughts...
    Mal.
    Hi Mal

    I agree with you mate. I prefer.even shorter runs for my own palette as I usually pull ristrettos but I never go to 40 seconds. So im wrong about pre infusion - you.dont leave that aside and only count actual visible pour time but the clock should start when the brew button is pressed by the sounds of things. I was looking at the fact that each brand that ran pre infusion might have different ramp up times that might skew the figures but I guess that might only be a second or two difference.

    Cheers

    Cheers

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    Thanks guys for all the feedback.

    @wonder, yep it tastes crap, I wouldn't care about blonding or timing if it didn't so I'm going back to basics to try and sort it out! I have been sinking a double shot into one cup and cutting the flow which works nicely for me but doesn't help the missus with her long black which is why I started the thread

    Just checked the PI this morning and it was set to 10 secs after it came back from the service centre so I've decreased it to 6 and increased the power ramp from 60% to 65% and can see a good visible change. Still not there taste wise but I don't have time to redial properly before running out the door this morning!

    I'll dial in tonight and report back.

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    OK, well I've got through quite a bit of coffee this evening!

    I've turned PI off and cannot hit 9 bars of pressure and 30ml in 30 secs. At 9 bar I'm running to 40 secs to get the 30ml. To get 30ml in 30 secs I come out at 7.5 bars and it tastes like cac! I've tried under and over dosing and adjusting grind accordingly but all get the same result

    Off to a commercial roaster tomorrow to get some more beans to rule out home roasting issues!

    Mick

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    Sounds like a good idea Mick.

    If you have no love with the commercial roast, sounds like they may have adjusted you OPV down a little too much...

    FWIW - mine sits right on 10 bar with a blind filter and my shots run around 9.5 or just above. I assume your still under warranty and will be able to take it back to them to adjust the OPV, even if your not they should still fix it anyway seeing as they didn't get it right the first time.

    If that is not the case, there is information around, pictures included on how to adjust the OPV yourself, if your comfy with some simple tools.

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    Thanks could be OPV related. Just checked and it's running at 9 - 9.5 (wavers a bit). Pretty difficult to get coffee at 9 bar if the machine just hits that with a proper blind filter in.....

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    Ok, found a shot measure today (25ml) and worked out I was probably aiming for 40ml instead of 30! Think I'm also over tamping! Reduced tamp and dose slightly and went finer and it's looking and tasting better. Just tried some Brazil Yellow Burbon that I roasted last weekend and I'm hitting 30ml now. Pressure seems a bit off and I think the machine's OPV is a tad low but tastes much better.

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    Mick and others.

    My BDB runs at 9.5 pressure when blind and 8 to 9 while brewing coffee. From the factory it was at 12 until adjusted by Breville while replacing the O ring.

    I have read that pressure is not as critical as temperature while making coffee. Anything between 8 and 12 bars can work well. I leave the temp at 93c.

    While my over pressure valve was set at 12, I experimented running at lower pressures by opening the hot water valve a little while brewing. There was no noticeable difference in flavour.

    I mainly use the single shot basket in a naked portafilter with about 14 g of coffee. I constantly adjust the grind to aim at 25 ml extraction in 25 to 30 seconds.

    I roast my beans in a popper and mainly use it from 5 to 15 days after with great results.

    Barry

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry_Duncan View Post
    I have read that pressure is not as critical as temperature while making coffee. Anything between 8 and 12 bars can work well. I leave the temp at 93c.
    No, that's not right mate...

    Brew pressure too high can give similar outcomes in the cup, to having too high brew water temperature, ie can develop bitter and burnt elements that can ultimately ruin a great cuppa. Best to stay within practically every major manufacturers' recommendation, of setting the maximum brew water pressure to 8.5-9.5 Bar. This very tight pressure range was determined many years ago via a lot of trial and error experimentation to provide the best results in the cup, by very smart people. Why deviate...

    Mal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Best to stay within practically every major manufacturers' recommendation, of setting the maximum brew water pressure to 8.5-9.5 Bar. This very tight pressure range was determined many years ago via a lot of trial and error experimentation to provide the best results in the cup, by very smart people. Why deviate...

    Mal.
    'Very tight pressure range' - be wary of the units resulting in a small (but rather arbitrary) number.
    1 bar is the difference in pressure between the earth's atmosphere and space, or from the surface to 10m under the sea.

    Pressure and temperature are funny phenomena. They can be varied by orders of magnitude with only relative changes in properties; but under certain conditions comparatively small changes can have significant effects (boiling for example!).


    That aside, it is interesting to see the comparison of high pressure to high temperature on the resulting espresso. Does it mute fruity or acidic flavours at all? I seem to be getting a very oily espresso; lots of chocolate, but no fruit or acidity. I assumed temperature was my only problem, but perhaps not.

  48. #48
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Totally confused here mate...

    I wasn't referring to the Troposphere, just the narrow preferred pressure range prescribed for the delivery of the best flavours in the cup...

    Mal.

  49. #49
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    Sorry, I was merely pointing out that given the pressures we are talking, 8.5 -9.5 barg isn't really a "very tight pressure range". Certainly moreso than 8 - 12 barg though

  50. #50
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Well mine's now tasting a lot better in that range. Thanks Guys for all your assistance

    Just popped some El Salvador Comasagua Bourbon in this morning and it's tasting a lot better. Hitting 30ml in 27 secs with no pre infusion. Some blonding at around the 20 sec mark which I understand is normal.

    One thing I have noticed is that the commercial roast I used to buy is a lot darker than my home roasts probably a CS10 versus my usual CS7/8 so I think I need to focus on going slightly further into 2nd crack whilst not setting off all the smoke alarms in the house



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