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Thread: Trying to improve extraction with a new high end machine - some pointers please!

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    Trying to improve extraction with a new high end machine - some pointers please!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Please could somebody point me to a good read that would help me with some good basics as a starting point for espresso. I have upgraded my machine to a dual boiler. Instead of 2 basket sizes, I now have 4 (7, 14, 17 and 22 grams),furhter increasing the number of permutations. Normaly I would make a double shot espresso and so have started with the 17g basket. I have a Mini Mazzer grinder and am dosing by levelling off the grind in the basket rather than weighing the dose. Then I have been adjusting the grind to get a 60ml pour in 30 seconds.

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    Senior Member Luke_G's Avatar
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    What machine are we talking about here?
    What did you upgrade from?
    Is your dosing and tamping technique repeatable(same every time)?

    My first pointer would be to aim for shorter pours(volume) and to use nothing but the 22g basket.
    I personally pour around 25-30ml in around the same amount if time from a 21g basket.

    Coffee taste is unique to each individual so if it tastes fine to you, drink it!
    I always spend an hour or 2 once per week trying different techniques with a coffee i know well just to keep my barista juices flowing
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    G'day Leonardo...

    Can highly recommend the video series located on ECA's website, here... How to Make Coffee - Coffee Machine Steam Grinders Makers Commercial Domestic Italian Automatic

    Don't worry too much if the machines represented do not match yours exactly, the principles being demonstrated will still apply.

    All the best,
    Mal.
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    So cool to see Scottie in a video. He is based in Hong Kong now and lives in my neighborhood.

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    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    I agree with and do what Luke does: 30ml max from a 21gram basket. I've found that 20ml tastes good out of a standard double. Everyone's palate is different though. I had 20ml out of a LM GB/5 from a 9(?)gram single which tasted fine. So many factors to consider.

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    I disagree with Luke's suggestion. What he is making there is not espresso but a very short ristretto. You can't get better at making espresso if you're making ristretto.

    My suggestion would be to start weighing. Everything.

    If you have a 17g basket, weigh 17g into it. Weigh with a scale that goes to 0.1g, because otherwise 17.0-17.9 will display as 17g.
    Weigh what comes out too. Weight, not volume, is what you're looking for. Crema and dissolved solids in espresso make volume an inaccurate measurement. Aim for 2:1 brew ratio. Eg 17g in, 34g out.
    Get that in about 25 seconds. Then taste. Adjust your grind and dose + or - 1g until you get something tasty.

    But tastes differ, so if after all that you decide you like very short ristretto - eg 22g in, 22g out, then drink that.

    Practice, test, practice, test, then do it all again. And again. And again. X 1000.
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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bames View Post
    I disagree with Luke's suggestion. What he is making there is not espresso but a very short ristretto. You can't get better at making espresso if you're making ristretto.

    My suggestion would be to start weighing. Everything.

    If you have a 17g basket, weigh 17g into it. Weigh with a scale that goes to 0.1g, because otherwise 17.0-17.9 will display as 17g.
    Weigh what comes out too. Weight, not volume, is what you're looking for. Crema and dissolved solids in espresso make volume an inaccurate measurement. Aim for 2:1 brew ratio. Eg 17g in, 34g out.
    Get that in about 25 seconds. Then taste. Adjust your grind and dose + or - 1g until you get something tasty.

    But tastes differ, so if after all that you decide you like very short ristretto - eg 22g in, 22g out, then drink that.

    Practice, test, practice, test, then do it all again. And again. And again. X 1000.
    17g of a dark roast will fill the basket quite a bit more than 17g of a light roast and this will lead to dosing irregularities depending on the coffee used. For consistency, volume is a far better variable to lock in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    17g of a dark roast will fill the basket quite a bit more than 17g of a light roast and this will lead to dosing irregularities depending on the coffee used. For consistency, volume is a far better variable to lock in.
    I'm inclined to disagree. I don't believe either will prevent variability when bean properties change - these methods are only a way to reduce the number of variables adjusted (with neither resulting in the "perfect" coffee). However, one is much easier to do repeatedly; which would result in less variability between shots using the same beans; it is also clearly better at meeting the aim of reducing the number of variables.

    I suspect that if aiming for the same flow resistance, those who dose by volume will select a different grind setting to those who dose by mass, resulting in a different tasting drink.

    So, if you can repeat your dosing method consistently then it doesn't really matter which method you choose (provided you like what you produce). It is however, much easier to dose consistently by weighing (since dose volume depends on compaction, while weight doesn't).


    **
    Mathematically speaking, this is a multivariant non linear optimisation problem, potentially with many local optima. I doubt the global maxima lies on the curve of constant mass, and there isn't even a curve representing constant untamped volume.
    **

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    Thank you all. I changed from an ECM which I had got used to, to a non - paddle LM GS3 which is very consistent and is now showing up my lack of consistency!

    I started by going too fine giving a long extraction time which I was cutting short at 30 seconds. Then I adjusted the grind back to give a faster extraction rate, but still less than 60 ml. This has improved the flavour by increasing the caramel notes and roundness and lessening sourness.

    Now I need to get the dosing consistent? If I weigh the dose, will I get a significant change in volume with changes in the grind? How critical is it to achieve optimal fill using the screen imprint in the puck as a guide? Or is that overfill? The new basket does not have the ridge that I used to use with the old basket as a post tamp fill guide.

    The traditional double espresso basket dose is 14g? The higher the dose, the thicker the puck the lower the extraction percentage for which I am trying to compensate by coarsening the grind?

    For our specialty coffees is it better to go 17g or even 22g or 14 g and get the extraction right? Can you up the dose and get the extraction percentage right?

    Aiming for 20% extraction? Does a 2:1 brew ration approximate this?

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    So much of how individuals go about dosing comes down to how its roasted. This is one of those new philosophies going around that I think makes some real sense. Without having to go to extremes with crazy light roasts and only pulling lungos.

    Roasting darker so one can stick to a dated overdose by volume regime and pull under extracted, short shots which tend to all taste the same, lack clarity, full bodied like double cream, sweet and salty and sometimes very acidic / bright if not roasted dark enough = where problems start.

    Or roast a high quality SO to its sweet spot, which does not have to be uber light or anywhere near second crack - for some beans it might be.

    Have a dosing regime that allows accuracy in measurement of ground coffee used so one can tweak the dose to get the correct balance of flavour at the espresso machine, instead of going back to the roaster and saying its not roasted dark enough.

    I would hazard a guess that most of the time when people complain about their shots being bitter, they are actually tasting under extraction, to much DOSE of coffee for the resulting shot, too much acids / bitters / flavours = assault on taste buds over powering everything else. I will say that a shot tending more towards this range does better in making milk drinks, which is most of the market so pulling large dose double ristretto has seem to become the normale.

    If you know how much weight of grounds went into that shot, say 20g, you can then try dosing significantly lower around 15 - 16g, adjust the grind finer to get the same flow / amount of shot you had previously. Resulting shot will be much more balanced, nuanced more clarity. If its still to in your face, you can try grinding a touch finer and extracting longer - allow some blonding to actually take place before cutting the shot.

    Faster roasts or lighter roasts, blends containing 2, 3 or 4 different high quality beans that could probably stand on their own will need lower doses and possibly and slightly longer extraction to get a balanced shot.

    I would rather sacrifice some body for a shot with definition and clarity. This does not mean it has to be a filter roast, there is plenty of variation in the last 5 to 7 degrees Celsius prior to start of second crack and how one gets there to last a lifetime.
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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Steve, Your post needs clarity and definition, has too much volume and not enough weight.

    ;-)..... sorry, couldn't resist....... but seriously, I've read it a couple of times and can't quite work out what you're

    actually meaning by it..... 2nd paragraph for example?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    17g of a dark roast will fill the basket quite a bit more than 17g of a light roast and this will lead to dosing irregularities depending on the coffee used. For consistency, volume is a far better variable to lock in.
    Ummm... that's just wrong.

    What is correct is that 17g of coarsely ground coffee will take up more volume in the basket that 17g of finely ground coffee. This is why dosing by volume is not a consistent way of dosing.
    eg. You could dose coffee in basket, do 5c test to get the "correct" dose by volume (which let's say for arguments sake turns out to be 17g), and this results in a shot that is a little too fast and sour. You want to slow the shot, so grinds finer and dose to the same 5c test volume. You would actually have changed 2 parameters - not 1. You will have a finer grind AND a larger dose, and both will make the shot run slower.
    Not a good way to dose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    Steve, Your post needs clarity and definition, has too much volume and not enough weight.

    ;-)..... sorry, couldn't resist....... but seriously, I've read it a couple of times and can't quite work out what you're

    actually meaning by it..... 2nd paragraph for example?
    If you mean the paragraph that begins with "Roasting darker so one can stick to..." then what he means is that up until about 2 years ago, the popular way to dose was grind coarser, dose higher, and pull ristretto shots - eg 24g in a 18g basket, and pull 25ml out (thanks to Paul Bassett). This way of pulling shots only gets the thick, rich, sticky, oily segment of the shot, and whether it's a natural ethiopian lighter espresso roasted coffee or a washed brazillian darker roasted coffee, it pretty much tastes the same.

    Problem is because it's technically under extracted, it will have sour notes to it. Different sours than a fast pour or light roast, more rich pungent sours.
    So to "fix" this, the roaster will roast darker to get rid of those sours.
    But then you have more roasty bitters getting into the shot, so you pull the shot shorter to stop getting those bitters.
    But then you're faced with those pungent sours creeping back in, so then you roast darker to get rid of the sours.
    But then you have more roasty bitters getting in, so...

    and then fun little cycle continues.

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    TC
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    Say what?

    Dose by mass and adjust grinder to suit. Alternately, dose by volume and adjust grind to suit. Either can be inconsistent if you're not good at adjusting grinders or not good at dosing by volume.

    I never weigh. I produce consistent shots. Something must be working right?
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    Senior Member Luke_G's Avatar
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    As you can see Leonardo, everyone has their own opinion.

    I have stayed away from the whole "specialty coffee" circle jerk for a few years and upon reading all the forums and doing the rounds of all the new and "best" coffee shops i have found 2 major differences from 2 years ago.

    Melbourne "style" roast profiles.
    To me, this is F'n stupid and a waste of good coffee. I can not stand the taste of ultra light roasted coffees as an espresso based drink. Tastes sour, fruity and almost battery acid like. If i wanted those nuances, i would ask for a pour over brewed with a low temperature.

    Scales & syringes.
    What is it with every would be barista telling you that you are not making a "correctly made coffee" if you are not weighing every dose and shot and running it through a refractameter.
    Don't get me wrong, i use scales from time to time and even weight a shot every now and again but not even this is completely repeatable.

    I know things change and we must move along with trends to suit consumer expectation but seriously, people need to read less magazines and trying to copy what 7seeMorespressblacko are doing and playing with their own individual hardware and coffees to find the variables. Taste it people... that's what is there for!

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    Bit off track I think...

    OP asked about his kick-ass new GS3 - which would have come with VST baskets - yes Leonardo?

    Others will (and have) recommended to dose by volume. However it is a fact that if you do, when you change your grind you will absolutely change the amount of ground coffee in the basket too. This is why I never dose by volume, because you will end up effecting 2 parameters - not 1.

    If you are using the VSTs, it is very important to weigh, and dose in your VST to the prescribed weight + or - 1g (so get yourself some 0.1g scales. evilbay has lots that are cheap. I just bought 0-3000g 0.1g ones for $20 and they're great)

    To address your specific questions:

    If I weigh the dose, will I get a significant change in volume with changes in the grind?
    Not significant, but noticeable if you were doing say the 5c test. On the mini a change of one 'notch', if dose weigh is the same, will normally result in around 3-5ish seconds difference in the pour.

    How critical is it to achieve optimal fill using the screen imprint in the puck as a guide? Or is that overfill? The new basket does not have the ridge that I used to use with the old basket as a post tamp fill guide.
    Very uncritical. My advice - forget assessing your fill by the imprint on the screen, there are too many variables associated with the imprint for it to be a reliable method of dose assessment. Seeing a clear imprint on the puck, and the puck being very firm and dry after the shot is (usually) an overdose on a VST.

    The traditional double espresso basket dose is 14g? The higher the dose, the thicker the puck the lower the extraction percentage for which I am trying to compensate by coarsening the grind?
    A higher dose does not necessarily result in a lower extraction percentage, it depends on how long the shot pours for and how much coffee comes out. Extraction percentage is how much of the soluble bits of the ground coffee make it into the cup, and without a refractometer, you're just guessing. So don't worry about extraction percentage, be guided by taste.

    For our specialty coffees is it better to go 17g or even 22g or 14 g and get the extraction right? Can you up the dose and get the extraction percentage right?
    You can use whatever basket you want, but I would steer clear of the 7g single. Any double is fine (14g-22g), but the best way to try to get the "right" (there's no such thing as right and wrong, only tasty and not tasty) is to aim for 2:1 brew ratio (eg 14g in, 28g out; or 22g in, 44g out - both in around 25 seconds).
    Then once you have this, adjust your grind, OR dose, OR extraction time, one at a time, according to the taste you're trying to achieve.

    Aiming for 20% extraction? Does a 2:1 brew ration approximate this?
    Again don't worry about extraction percentage. Only way you can know this is by getting a refractometer, and I'd be recommending putting that $1000 into a grinder upgrade before a refractometer. It's way overkill.

    In a nutshell:
    - Get a 0.1g scale
    - Dose to prescribed amount on basket
    - Extract double the weight in the basket. Weigh the amount of coffee in the cup. Yes, measure liquid by grams, not mils
    - Extraction time of about 25 seconds
    - Taste, and adjust 1 parameter at a time until you have the taste you want.

    Have fun!
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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    Steve, Your post needs clarity and definition, has too much volume and not enough weight.

    ;-)..... sorry, couldn't resist....... but seriously, I've read it a couple of times and can't quite work out what you're

    actually meaning by it..... 2nd paragraph for example?
    Bames has rounded out what i meant pretty well.

    All of what I have wrote is just from my own experiences, with my own gear and tasting espresso out and about where ever I can.

    I acknowledge in a commercial situation one needs a fast repeatable routine to even have hope of making it. I have praise for the people willing to sacrifice some speed to try and get the best possible extraction for there customer though.

    I don't subscribe to the extremes of where these philosophies are going, ridiculous light roasts which have to be pulled long and loose to balance their still green nature. Does not mean there is no merit at all in the ideals. At the other end of the spectrum I did find myself going down that spiral of roasting darker just so i could use larger baskets, fill them up with what to me now seems a coarse grind and pull goopy shots all the time.

    I seek balance in all areas life and for me i think there seems to be a bit of a battle of extremes going from your David schomers et al ideals to the extreme thrid wavers with what i would call light for a filter roasts being pulled as lungo espresso. Maybe we can all meet in the middle some day and sing campfire songs around a turkish pot?

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    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke_G View Post
    I have stayed away from the whole "specialty coffee" circle jerk for a few years and upon reading all the forums and doing the rounds of all the new and "best" coffee shops i have found 2 major differences from 2 years ago.

    Melbourne "style" roast profiles.
    To me, this is F'n stupid and a waste of good coffee. I can not stand the taste of ultra light roasted coffees as an espresso based drink. Tastes sour, fruity and almost battery acid like. If i wanted those nuances, i would ask for a pour over brewed with a low temperature.
    Not sure if you're actually in Melbourne, but if you are, you may be interested in a place called "Brother Thomas". They advertise "Italian-style" blends for their espresso and I found them to be balanced, smooth and not at all third-wave-battery-acid-fruity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve82 View Post
    I would hazard a guess that most of the time when people complain about their shots being bitter, they are actually tasting under extraction, to much DOSE of coffee for the resulting shot, too much acids / bitters / flavours = assault on taste buds over powering everything else.
    The phrase "under extraction" gets thrown around a lot it seems.
    To me, it implies that the rate of flow was high relative to the rate at which solubles were extracted (resulting in a low concentration). This is independent of dose.

    What you are talking about is closer to the ristretto vs espresso concept (I.e. shorter extraction leading to higher concentration). It's not so much that the extraction is insufficient, rather that the dilution is low (as concentration in the cup decreases with shot duration).
    Last edited by MrJack; 12th August 2014 at 05:46 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke_G View Post
    As you can see Leonardo, everyone has their own opinion.

    I have stayed away from the whole "specialty coffee" circle jerk for a few years and upon reading all the forums and doing the rounds of all the new and "best" coffee shops i have found 2 major differences from 2 years ago.

    Melbourne "style" roast profiles.
    To me, this is F'n stupid and a waste of good coffee. I can not stand the taste of ultra light roasted coffees as an espresso based drink. Tastes sour, fruity and almost battery acid like. If i wanted those nuances, i would ask for a pour over brewed with a low temperature.

    Scales & syringes.
    What is it with every would be barista telling you that you are not making a "correctly made coffee" if you are not weighing every dose and shot and running it through a refractameter.
    Don't get me wrong, i use scales from time to time and even weight a shot every now and again but not even this is completely repeatable.

    I know things change and we must move along with trends to suit consumer expectation but seriously, people need to read less magazines and trying to copy what 7seeMorespressblacko are doing and playing with their own individual hardware and coffees to find the variables. Taste it people... that's what is there for!
    I'm not telling you you're not making coffee correctly. The way you described making coffee in your reply was the exact correct way to make a triple riz. So if you like riz-bangers that's fine, but that's not an espresso, and the OP asked about making espresso.

    Ristretto is 1:1 brew ratio, espresso 2:1.

    Leonardo, if after comparing 2:1 brew ratio espressos on a few different beans to 1:1 brew ratio rizzoes, you discover you're on the riz train, then drink that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    The phrase "under extraction" gets thrown around a lot it seems.
    To me, it implies that the rate of flow was high relative to the rate at which solubles were extracted (resulting in a low concentration). i.e. This is independent of dose.

    What you are talking about is closer to the ristretto vs espresso concept (I.e. shorter extraction leading to higher concentration). It's not so much that the extraction is insufficient, rather that the dilution is low (as concentration in the cup decreases with shot duration).
    Its not about the speed of the extraction. Sound a bit like semantics coming into play. Maybe unbalanced extraction might be better ?

    There is a lot more taking place at toward the end of a shot than just dilution.

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    TC
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    Wow. The OP must be totally confused by now.

    Grab some training Leonardo. Dose and time are important, but it's also about consistency- what you do and balance of the shot. It's not hard, you just need some help with the training wheels.

    If you're in Melbourne, drop me a line and come in. We can fix this in 10 minutes and you won't need a pile of gizmos to make great coffee either.

    Chris
    Last edited by TC; 12th August 2014 at 09:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve82 View Post
    Its not about the speed of the extraction. Sound a bit like semantics coming into play. Maybe unbalanced extraction might be better ?

    There is a lot more taking place at toward the end of a shot than just dilution.
    My point was that people seem to use the term underextraction to refer to a number of (quite different) phenomenon.

    "Unbalanced extraction" isn't really better as a) it implies there is such thing as a "balanced extraction" (which really has no objective meaning), and b) it requires understanding of what is meant (I.e. it's jargon).

    I'm guessing what you mean is that if you use a high dose and restrict the volume passed through the puck the result is a high concentration of chemicals which extract rapidly, and a low concentration of those which extract slowly, relative to thier concentration in the beans ( aka, a ristretto).

    I'm curious to hear why you don't think it's about "speed of the extraction" (or rather, rate of mass transfer)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonardo View Post
    Normaly I would make a double shot espresso and so have started with the 17g basket. I have a Mini Mazzer grinder and am dosing by levelling off the grind in the basket rather than weighing the dose. Then I have been adjusting the grind to get a 60ml pour in 30 seconds.
    Welcome Leonardo
    Sounds like you're at a pretty good place already! Double basket, Mazzer Mini, fill, collapse once & level, tamp - 60ml in 30secs. Sounds A-OK to me for a doppio
    You happy with the way your coffee tastes?

    Cheers Matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    My point was that people seem to use the term underextraction to refer to a number of (quite different) phenomenon.

    "Unbalanced extraction" isn't really better as a) it implies there is such thing as a "balanced extraction" (which really has no objective meaning), and b) it requires understanding of what is meant (I.e. it's jargon).

    I'm guessing what you mean is that if you use a high dose and restrict the volume passed through the puck the result is a high concentration of chemicals which extract rapidly, and a low concentration of those which extract slowly, relative to thier concentration in the beans ( aka, a ristretto).

    I'm curious to hear why you don't think it's about "speed of the extraction" (or rather, rate of mass transfer)?
    If I want a slower more "ristretto" shot, I grind really fine and dose lower, generally its a shorter shot and reasonably well balanced.

    Yep I take your point, the term is used for different situations meaning different things to different people. when Im saying under extracted, its subjective, if the shot is not balanced properly with to much bitter acids which extract quickly in the first part of the shot then to my subjective taste experience its under extracted. I realise within the current new paradigm there are refractometers in use giving some objective data as to what % of extraction correlates with it tasting "good " or balanced and if its out of these % its under or over extracted.

    In terms of speed, I simply meant that it does not matter whether its a fast (20sec) or slow extraction(50sec) it can still taste under extracted.

    Apologies for this thread swiniging off topic. To the OP, to me it sounds like you would benefit from using the ideas in post http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-co...tml#post538087

    If you have the time for some accuracy it your prep then why not give it a go...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve82 View Post
    If I want a slower more "ristretto" shot, I grind really fine and dose lower, generally its a shorter shot and reasonably well balanced.

    Yep I take your point, the term is used for different situations meaning different things to different people. when Im saying under extracted, its subjective, if the shot is not balanced properly with to much bitter acids which extract quickly in the first part of the shot then to my subjective taste experience its under extracted. I realise within the current new paradigm there are refractometers in use giving some objective data as to what % of extraction correlates with it tasting "good " or balanced and if its out of these % its under or over extracted.

    In terms of speed, I simply meant that it does not matter whether its a fast (20sec) or slow extraction(50sec) it can still taste under extracted.

    Apologies for this thread swiniging off topic. To the OP, to me it sounds like you would benefit from using the ideas in post http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-co...tml#post538087

    If you have the time for some accuracy it your prep then why not give it a go...
    Acids are "sour"... not "bitter"

    To quote from The Society of Sensory Professionals:

    "Sour-Bitter Confusion

    There is a phenomenon in the sensory world widely referred to as the sour-bitter confusion that commonly occurs among untrained assessors. This occurrence involves the assessor describing a sour sensation as bitter and/or a bitter sensation as sour, with the former being more predominant. This practice appears to be limited to predominantly English-speaking countries such as the United States, Great Britain, and New Zealand6. Debate in the past has centered on whether this confusion stems from a physiological disorder or simply a deficit in exposure to and training with sour and bitter tastes4,5,7.

    Bitter and sour are two of the basic tastes and are found in a wide variety of foods and beverages to help balance the products flavor profiles. Compounds such as amino acids, peptides, esters, lactones, phenols and polyphenols, methylxanthines, flavonoids, terpenes, sulfimides, and organic and inorganic salts contribute to the bitter tastes in products such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and some fruits and vegetables2. Sour tastes are associated with hydrogen ions and organic acids and are found in such sour foods as jams and jellies, buttermilk, processed meats, sauerkraut, and other products1.

    Despite different compounds contributing to the sour and bitter tastes in foods, several studies have recorded subjects frequently confusing the two terms when attempting to describe simple solutions made with sour and bitter substances. In a study conducted by Meiselman and Dzendolet5, 80 subjects tasted 10 mL aliquots of 15 mM sucrose (sweet), 50 mM NaCl (salty), 2 mM HCl (sour), and 20 mM KCl (bitter) and asked to describe the basic taste perceived for each solution. While all types of confusions were made, the sour-bitter confusion was the most common error made, occurring in 21.25% of the subjects (sour being called bitter more frequent than vice versa). The scientists then instilled a correction procedure in an attempt to train the subjects on the different tastes, but 35% of these subjects still made the sour-bitter error. These results led the researchers to attribute the sour-bitter confusion to a physiological defect analogous to abnormal color vision.

    OMahony et al.6 conducted a large series of experiments in an effort to better understand the sour-bitter confusion. Some of the experiments were modifications of past work conducted3,4,5,7, while others were new designs. Of the new experiments, variations included using students in both the United States and Great Britain, inclusion of correction procedures when naming errors occurred, and varying the concentration levels of the simple solutions used in testing: sucrose (sweet), NaCl (salty), citric acid (sour), and quinine sulphate (bitter).

    The results of these experiments clearly demonstrated the sour-bitter confusion with 13.3% of all 1629 responses for sour and bitter stimuli involving citric acid being called bitter and 7.7% of the responses involving quinine sulfphate being called sour. The authors offered several explanations as to why the subjects had difficulty distinguishing between sour and bitter tastes. One hypothesis is that the subjects have more cultural experience with sweet and salty foods than sour and bitter foods, allowing their perception of sweet and salty to be more clearly developed than sour and bitter. A second hypothesis is that subjects are more familiar with sucrose and salt in their pure forms than citric acid and quinine sulphate, again allowing the subjects to better develop their own personal concepts of sweet and salty versus sour and bitter. A third hypothesis involves the incorrect cultural labeling of typically sour foods as bitter, as in the case of bitter lemon. In regards to these hypotheses, the authors concluded that the sour-bitter confusion can be attributed to a lack in the clear understanding of the definitions of sour and bitter rather than a physiological defect6.

    References


    1 Da Conceicao Neta, ER, Johanningsmeier, SD, and McFeeters, RF. 2007. The chemistry and physiology of sour taste a review. Journal of Food Science. 72(2): R33 R38.

    2 Drewnowski, A. 2001. The science and complexity of bitter taste. Nutrition Reviews. 59(6): 163 169.

    3 Gregson, RAM and Baker, AFH. 1973. Sourness and bitterness: confusions over sequences of taste judgments. British Journal of Psychology. 64: 71 76.

    4 McAuliffe, WK and Meiselman, HL. 1974. The roles of practice and correction I the categorization of sour and bitter taste qualities. Perception and Psychophysics. 16: 242 244.

    5 Meiselman, HL and Dzendolet, E. 1967. Variability in gustatory quality identification. Perception and Psychophysics. 2: 496 498.

    6 OMahony, M, Goldenberg, M, Stedmon, J, and Alford, J. 1979. Confusion in the use of the taste adjectives sour and bitter. Chemical Senses and Flavour. 4(4): 77 94.

    7 Robinson, JO. 1970. The misuse of taste names by untrained observers. British Journal of Psychology. 61: 375 378."

  27. #27
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    And... how could a 50 second shot ever be underextracted?

    Please explain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    And... how could a 50 second shot ever be underextracted?

    Please explain.
    If you grind coarse and overdose you can have low extraction yield (the water never extracts solubles from within the relatively low surface area to volume grinds) and all the 50 second extraction does is run past the already extracted surface of the coffee.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    And... how could a 50 second shot ever be underextracted?

    Please explain.
    I know you like to include pre infusion in the total shot time....very large dose of lighter roasted coffee is hard to extract...extra long pre infusion, capable pump machine or lever..if the temp control is not spot on you can have a burnt bitter and overly acidic shot.

    Your previous post highlights my original point...when most people find a shot bitter it is probably overly acidic and maybe under extracted. In such a concentrated form its perceived as bitter, if you dilute it to a long black it becomes easier to perceive as sour, more like warm lemon juice ect.

    If someone perceives the shot as bitter, its bitter plain and simple, all the studies in the world don't change that. But that's not to say that I don't agree with them.

    The easiest calibration for a home user is to zest a lemon, then the pith and then juice it and taste them. If you want to know what real bitterness is go and buy an Imperial IPA.

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    What Steve82 and Bames are talking about very closely parallels the findings of James Hoffman (who I think was World Barista Champion at some stage) and Ben Kaminsky who works with Matt Perger.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-YI50dUC7g

  31. #31
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve82 View Post
    If someone perceives the shot as bitter, its bitter plain and simple, all the studies in the world don't change that.
    Therefore, if someone perceives that the moon is made of cheese, it is made of cheese... plain and simple? Sour is sour and bitter is bitter and never the twain shall meet.

  32. #32
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve82 View Post
    I know you like to include pre infusion in the total shot time....
    Of course I do... as should anyone who logically acknowledges that when hot water is in contact with ground coffee it is, by definition, brewing and must be included in the calculation of the total shot time.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    Of course I do... as should anyone who logically acknowledges that when hot water is in contact with ground coffee it is, by definition, brewing and must be included in the calculation of the total shot time.

    Not necessarily; the lower flow rate will result in a reduced extraction rate (as solvent of a lower concentration of solute will extract solute faster than solvent containing a greater concentration of solute. There is also the possibility that the water passing through during preinfusion might become saturated before making its way to the bottom of the basket (as which point it will be unable to extract anything further).

    Is this difference significant outside of a complete choker? Don't know, but it's not to be dismissed out of hand.

  34. #34
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    The rate of extraction notwithstanding, the coffee is still being extracted to some degree and is, therefore, being brewed. The coffee is also being subjected to heat in the vicinity of 92-96 degrees for the entire infusion period so if you want to make sure your coffee isn't being burnt you will have to take that time into consideration.

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    Really, your points highlight the fact that measures of total brew time, brew volume or TDS are too crude to reflect the dynamics of the process.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    The rate of extraction notwithstanding, the coffee is still being extracted to some degree and is, therefore, being brewed. The coffee is also being subjected to heat in the vicinity of 92-96 degrees for the entire infusion period so if you want to make sure your coffee isn't being burnt you will have to take that time into consideration.
    Two questions:

    - If you include everything from regular to negligible extraction rate in the extraction time, doesn't the extraction time become a completely useless number for anything except shot-to-shot consistency on your own machine?

    - Does coffee actually burn or degrade due to heat at reasonable extraction temperatures in the time frame we're talking?

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    Simple resolution. Count (what I will call) "Infusion" time and "Extraction" time separately.

    Infusion time is the time from the first water hitting the coffee to either first drops from the basket (if using naked) or first drops seen on the spouts (if using spouted).
    Extraction time is the rest of the time until pump deactivated.

    Both are important times, and variations in these times will absolutely affect extraction and taste. Infusion time - or more so pressure - will definitely affect both infusion time and extraction time, as a longer low pressure pre infusion (eg water mains pressure only) will INCREASE flow rate. In practice this means you can grind finer. If I am pre infusing with mains pressure, I can grind 1-2 notches finer on the SJ. Same grind size will choke an immediate pump activation brew, but mains pre infused brew, where pump is activated when first drops appear from the basket, will flow.

    We are so far from the OPs questions - sorry Leonardo!

  38. #38
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    Simpler solution. Look and don't count.

    Judge the shot by appearance and most importantly balance (i.e. taste). We have senses and once shown how to use them, it's actually easy.

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    I agree with you Chris, timing is a nice base line when you are learning the ropes but at some stage you should let your senses take over and let them be your guide. The slayer journey has had me throw away all my previous notions on brewing coffee and turn on the senses, and I'm loving it.

    Chester
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Simpler solution. Look and don't count.

    Judge the shot by appearance and most importantly balance (i.e. taste). We have senses and once shown how to use them, it's actually easy.
    Quoted for awesomeness!

    This thread has really gotten away from its OP.
    Is there somewhere else we can argue about "whats right" and such?

    I'm gonna go dig up an old thread or start a new one for some healthy extraction discussion and general garbage

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Wow. The OP must be totally confused by now.

    Chris
    That's what I was thinking!!!!


    It's all somewhat relevant though. At the very least it shows how much time people put into working this stuff out and yet it's still subjective. It'll never be any different because everyone has different tastes and the definitions are too narrow to fit the wide variety of all those tastes.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Simpler solution. Look and don't count.

    Judge the shot by appearance and most importantly balance (i.e. taste). We have senses and once shown how to use them, it's actually easy.
    Having had nothing but a Gaggia Classic and Breville grinder until recently this sort of approach was the only one available to me. You can get some amazing results this way.

    I've never had much exposure to high end equipment so excuse me if this is a stupid question, but would a programmable grinder not improve dose consistency?

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    Thanks for the offer! Will look you up next time I am in Melbourne.

  44. #44
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Having had nothing but a Gaggia Classic and Breville grinder until recently this sort of approach was the only one available to me. You can get some amazing results this way.

    I've never had much exposure to high end equipment so excuse me if this is a stupid question, but would a programmable grinder not improve dose consistency?
    Sure, though plenty of people get by fine dosing by eye..

    A ten dollar scale will perform the same function if you want to take the guess work out., it's about whether you want pay for extra convenience.

  45. #45
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    Great advice Bames, and I'll get a suitable scale! On a crude kitchen scale I am filling the 17g basket with 19g of grinds.

    I have now calibrated the volume delivered - the machine delivers in pulses and this needs to be corrected for by setting the 'volume' by running water through a coarse grind and fixing it at the point where 60mls are delivered. My tamping is consistent and I am getting 40mls in 25 seconds. Tasting great now. Borderline ristretto? I am sticking with the same coffee blend for now to limit variables. Great journey through the variables and the effect on taste!

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    This is a good read and adds to the debate:

    Some Aspects of Espresso Extraction

    His conclusion:
    In Italy, espresso is a mass consumption item, mostly made from coffees of the same low quality as is found in supermarkets everywhere. Since the aromas of such coffees are not all that great, staling is of little consequence, while keeping doses precise and yields high is of great consequence, since one needs to extract every iota of caramel to make the shots palatable. So the ground coffee sits in dosers going stale, but is precisely dosed, 6.5 grams into single baskets, 13 into doubles.
    In the non-Mediterranean world, espresso is specialty coffee(11). Cafe owners rightly noticed that the ground coffee was going stale in the dosers, and went to alternative dosing methods. What they didn't notice is that dosing by leveling the freshly ground coffee to the basket's rim, a dose far higher than the Italian norm, gets solubles yields of 16% to 20%, rather than the 20% to 24% one gets with a properly adjusted doser. "Specialty Espresso" was almost always under-extractedAt these low extraction levels, high grade coffees become a bane rather than a boon, producing jarringly acidic or sharp shots. So, in the specialty coffee world, there is a feverish search on for ultra-sugary high grown coffees that are still sweet when roasted light and under-extracted. When such coffees are not available, one gets the ubiquitous medium-dark roasted blends that are a far cry from the quality of the specialty coffees sold for regular brewing.And all this because of an unintended consequence of using fresh coffee. I think it's high time for baristas to relearn their dosing.

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    Good to hear Leonardo! Is it a VST basket you're using? VST don't do a 17g, so maybe not! But you can tell by looking at the rim and side of the basket. It will look like this:


    If it is, I wouldn't go more than 1g over the recommended dose. If it's not, then over by 2g is probably ok, but I reckon try it at 17g with a finer grind and see what it's like for comparison too.

    Using a 1g scale, just slowly add ground coffee until it flicks from 18g to 19g (or whatever weight you go for), then you know you're right on, or maybe .1 or.2 over. You just want to avoid it reading 19g, but in reality it's actually 19.9g, which will make a considerable difference to the flow compared with 19.0g.

    I'm a fan of measuring coffee out by weight rather than volume too, so obviously recommend doing that. Of course, it's a suggestion so look into the merits of it and decide for yourself, but I'm sure if you google something like "setting gs3 volumetric by weight" or varients of, someone will have figured out how to accurately set the volumetric to give you the right weight of coffee out rather than mls. I'm guessing - but could be wrong.

    Play around and see how you go. That's the beauty and fun of having a coffee machine like yours at home. I'm sure you'll still be learning things in 5 years time!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    Having had nothing but a Gaggia Classic and Breville grinder until recently this sort of approach was the only one available to me. You can get some amazing results this way.

    I've never had much exposure to high end equipment so excuse me if this is a stupid question, but would a programmable grinder not improve dose consistency?
    Depends on the consistency of the grinder,

    The Mazzer Robur E was nothing but a pain in my #@$& on Sunday. 8kg of coffee by yourself with a LM Strada and a 2x Robur E's you think would be easy.
    The Robur E doses inconsistently (especially with new burrs)
    sprezzatura likes this.

  49. #49
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    I've noticed that too and had more luck with consistent amounts out of a SM SMTK but still not enough to weigh and expect exact/consistent doses. This is why I dose by volume and train baristas to do so as well.

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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Simpler solution. Look and don't count.

    Judge the shot by appearance and most importantly balance (i.e. taste). We have senses and once shown how to use them, it's actually easy.
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic_couple22 View Post
    I agree with you Chris, timing is a nice base line when you are learning the ropes but at some stage you should let your senses take over and let them be your guide. The slayer journey has had me throw away all my previous notions on brewing coffee and turn on the senses, and I'm loving it.
    I'm in the same position as the OP, more or less. New pointy end E61 machine and learning. And I'm trying to do my best to follow this advice. Stop at the blonding point and use your taste senses. But it seems to me that timing has its uses when learning - as you say it's "a nice base line".

    So my question - on my E61 machine there's a 10 second gap between moving the level from off to on and the first drops appearing from the dual spouts. (Machine purchased from a sponsor who primed and calibrated it.) If I set the grind & dose so that I get blonding at 25-30 secs from the turning the lever on, that's a different drink to one where I grind & dose to get blonding at 25-30 secs from the first appearance of the coffee from the portafilter.

    I want to understand what the differences in these drinks are *supposed* to be, as well as use my senses. That is, I want to get close to a "normal" espresso before I experiment with shorter and longer versions. So do I time from turning the level on or from the appearance of the coffee, in order to get a get an standard espresso?

    Before someone repeats the advice to throw away the timer and taste, I would simply point out that this 25-30 sec benchmark is used all over this site and many others as a "a nice base line", but it makes no sense for people to keep saying this unless I understand how to use it as my starting point.



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