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Thread: How to make the perfect coffee for Newbies

  1. #1
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    How to make the perfect coffee for Newbies

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi Guys

    I thought I would post my success on how to brew espresso at home.
    I have spent the last year and a half trying to find the best way to make coffee at home.
    I read a few common myths and talked to many industry professionals.

    The most common way I tried to make an espresso was identify what size basket you have. Say a 18 gram basket. Then you put that through your machine untill your grind is fine or course enough to produce 30 ml of espresso in 30 secs.
    This is wrong.
    Then industry professionals told me I need to brew according to ratios.
    So say you put 18 grams of coffee through your machine then you need to brew in a 1.1 -2.5 ratio weight out.
    So lets say I choose a 2:1 ratio. For my machine I would weigh 18 grams of coffee and attempt to get 36 grams of coffee out in grams not mills. I found that to do this it can take half to a kg of coffee before you can work this ratio out.
    The simplest method ive found is. Weigh your coffee grounds at your basket size so for me 18 grams coffee for a 18 gram basket.
    Leave your grind setting alone on your grinder for now. Purge your machine through your portafilter for about 10 secs. Then dry the basket really well.
    Dose your 18 grams of coffee into your basket and run it through your machine.
    Don't weigh or measure your shot simply time it to see its not going under 20secs and not over 35 secs.
    Pay close attention as the shot pours out. You should see a very dark black shot come out, going to a ritch dark brown. The spout streams should look quite thin not to thick. As soon as you see the shot go to a yellow color stop the shot.

    Have a look at your shot. If the shot is a golden yellow color it has not been extracted quite long enough. If it has dark blackish lines through it or mottling it has been over extracted. If it is a dark redish or caramel color with flecks of coffee in it that means you have the perfect grind setting for your machine.

    For this method to correct an under extraction. Make your grind setting finer by 1 grind adjustment and repeat untill at the desired taste.

    To correct over extraction make your grind setting courser by 1 setting and repeat till the desired taste is achieved.

    This is nothing new that other people haven't done before but this is the most reliable method I have found and doesnt involve wasting lots of coffee.

    Any comments appreciated.
    Pasic likes this.

  2. #2
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    10 second purge seems like overkill to me? Also weighing your dose in then ignoring dose out makes no sense you're controlling 1 variable then ignoring the other by using time as your only guide.

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    Every machine is different hense the 10 second purge, you can't go wrong. Do it for 3-5 if your boiler is low capacity.
    If you saw in my post I said you can control weight in weight out if you like but that is just to hard and time consuming. Its all relative anyway.
    If you follow the guide and simply use the color of the shot as when you are to stop then you will get a good result.
    If you really want to you could taste-mmm delicious, so this means your happy. Weigh this shot and work out what the brew ratio was. So for an 18 gram basket thats 1.8 grams of coffee out per gram of coffee grinds in. So lets say you weighed your shot and it weighed 41.4 grams. This means your mmm delicious brew ratio was 2.3:1 weight out vs weight in.
    Now if you come back and do not do anything but my method again stop your shot taste and you get mmm delicious again. Re weigh your shot and if it is 2.3:1 or very close to then you have now found your brew ratio aswell. Yay!
    But the result is the same as my method anyway, delicious coffee with the least effort.

  4. #4
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Yeah that all sounds fairly familiar. I've been on a similar journey for over 6 years now, but using a variety of machines and grinders so there's always been something new to learn. I've brought my technique back to something similar following plenty of experimenting and researching. I always weigh my beans when just making coffee for myself, but I rarely weigh the end result now as I make judgements based on flavour which to me is much more important than hitting a ratio target.
    The 10sec purge will be very much machine specific so it won't apply to everyone. You certainly don't do it on a PIDed Silvia or a top level dual boiler for example. On my little HX machine a group head flush is a necessary evil due to how hot it runs, but for that same reason I never flush through the PF unless I'm trying to accelerate heat up first thing in the morning.
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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Too much science for me.

    I have no idea how heavy the coffee going into the basket is.

    I grind and then lightly tamp. Start timing the shot when I start the pump and finish when the shot starts to blonde.
    I aim for about 60ml from a double but sometimes get 50ml or more. If I get less than 50ml I'll try again with a coarser grind. If I get more than 60 then a finer grind.
    I don't care how much as long as it tastes good.

    I eyeball 100 shots and then do a calibration shot into a shotglass measurements to check myself.

    You're making it sound way harder than what it needs to be.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trentski View Post
    Too much science for me.

    You're making it sound way harder than what it needs to be.
    Amen to that.
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    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    I dose about yay much into the portafilter, tamp "quite hard", lock it in, start tapping my foot around once per second as I watch the shot, lose count of how many times I've tapped, stop the shot as it blonds, have a sniff and add milk for my partner. If it didn't look quite right I have a little fiddle with the grinder and repeat the process for my long or short black, usually the next shot is at least "pretty good" or "bloody ripper"

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    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Can't say I like seeing black at the beginning of my shot... usually means I have side channeling. Browny-red from the get go is what i'm looking for.

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    How to make the perfect coffee for Newbies

    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Amen to that.
    +1

    The weighing approach sounds like something from the American anoraks over on Homebarista.

    I have never weighed the grounds or the shot.

    Just using the good old mk1 eyeball and tastebuds here

    Dose the grounds into the double portafilter and pack.

    Then pull a 50-60 ml double shot in around 30 seconds from a double basket.

    Watch the colour of the stream.

    Enjoy the results.

    This ratio stuff from Homebarista has led to an unfortunate trend towards pulling 'constipated' shots.

    These are the vicinity of 25 ml total output from a double that ends up tasting like asphalt. Totally constipated. Let it flow. Within reason.
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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    I'm not in the slightest bit embarrassed to say that I weigh the grinds, and the brewed coffee. But I do this simply as a form of feedback. It simply cannot hurt (and it takes me a total of about 1.5 seconds of additional time). Weighing the brewed coffee is particularly useful, as I use a number of different cups, some of which are much easier to judge volume in than others.
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    I weigh grinds for both pour over and espresso, I also pull ristrettos. Works for me and my guests.

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    Senior Member Alexpid's Avatar
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    I don't weigh everytime (except aeropress and drip) but mainly to check my grind is ok, and if I change beans in the hopper. Small adjustments in dose or grind can make a big difference in the cup!

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    I weigh my dose to ensure consistency, but beyond that it's all eye. If I'm having a Picollo, I prefer the shot to run shorter to keep it rich and not bitter. If it's a larger drink I allow it to run a little longer.

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    If I dose anything more than 13 g in my 14 g basket, locking in is hard and the tamp gets disturbed. 12.5 g is perfect. Same sort of thing with the 18 g basket. I consider basket sizes as nominal only.

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    Hi,

    I've got a question. I've been using my single basket so far and I think I've found the right dose and have been able to extract nice espresso. Today, I tried using my double basket, and I didn't adjust my grinder setting.

    I was a bit surprised that the flow rate of coffee coming from the portafilter was way too fast. Any idea why did this happen? I suspect the following:

    1. I tamped too lightly.

    2. I incorrectly dosed my coffee. But I think I got the dosing correct.

    3. I ground my coffee beans too coarse. Bear in mind, however, that the same grind setting was fine when I made a single espresso.

    Any idea? Thanks.

  16. #16
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    Ditch the single filter basket and stick to the double basket. Single baskets are far too finicky, hence why most people dont use them. The double allows for a much easier process.

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    Thanks. I've been hearing that advice a lot. But I would like to have the flexibility of using single or double basket. For example, a double shot espresso is good for a morning coffee but it may be too strong for an evening coffee.

    Do you need to adjust your grinder setting every time you change a basket size?

  18. #18
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kopiku View Post
    Thanks. I've been hearing that advice a lot. But I would like to have the flexibility of using single or double basket. For example, a double shot espresso is good for a morning coffee but it may be too strong for an evening coffee.

    Do you need to adjust your grinder setting every time you change a basket size?
    Yes you do.

    Use fresh beans.

    Experiment.

    Coffee runs too slow, grind coarser, too fast finer.

    Try to tamp with consistent pressure.

    Only change one variable at a time.

    Make notes.

    I keep reposting this, lots of good information therein.

    The link http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food...228-2f7w0.html

    How to make the perfect espresso at home

    Date
    March 4, 2013
    Champion barista Caleb Podhaczky, a roaster for Five Senses, shares his wisdom on making cafe-quality espresso at home with Jane Holroyd.
    How to make the perfect espresso
    Victoria's reigning barista champion Caleb Podhaczky demonstrates how to make the perfect espresso at home.
    Caleb Podhaczky makes about 20 or 30 espresso coffees a day in his role as a roaster (and taster) for Five Senses, a coffee importer and wholesaler that supplies cafes and restaurants throughout Australia.
    Podhaczky no longer works as a barista but still likes to flex his muscle in competition; he was named Victorian Barista of the Year in 2012 and 2013 and will compete at the Australian barista titles in Melbourne this month.
    He says making a perfect, cafe-quality espresso at home is achievable with a bit of trial and error. Here are his tips for those with an espresso machine.

    Fresh beans can help deliver an espresso with a good crema. Photo: Marco Del Grande
    1. Beans: Buy your coffee beans from a specialist supplier who knows how old the beans are and when and where they were processed and roasted. Fresher beans produce a better espresso, which should be viscous and full of flavour with a good crema. A bad coffee will be thin and flat-tasting.
    Advertisement
    Always buy whole beans. Fresh beans should be stored away from light and heat at a constant temperature. There's no need to store beans in the freezer; a cupboard away from a heat source will suffice, but use them within three weeks. Make sure the beans are kept in an airtight container.



    2. The roast: Your bag of coffee beans should have a roast date on the back. Podhaczky believes beans should be used between four days and three weeks after roasting for optimal flavour.

    3. The grind: It's vital you get the grind right as this controls the rate of extraction, which in turn affects flavour. If the beans are ground too fine, a burnt or "ashy" flavour may result. If ground too course, the espresso will taste watery and thin, as the water will pass through too quickly without extracting all the flavours and oils in the coffee.
    Podhaczky describes the perfect texture for an espresso grind as being "like flour with a little bit of gritty salt or sand through it". The ground coffee should clump a little when you squeeze it (but not be too sticky). For filter coffee, the grind particles should feel more like breadcrumbs.



    4. Clean and dry: Make sure there is no moisture (or old coffee grinds) in your porter filter and basket. If the coffee comes into contact with moisture, it could begin extracting too early. Use a tea towel to wipe the parts clean.



    5. Tamping: Serious home baristas should invest in a tamper to compact their coffee evenly into the basket. Fill the basket about three-quarters full with ground coffee. Tap the basket on your bench to "collapse" the coffee and ensure the basket is filling evenly. Add more coffee and collapse again until full, but not overly.
    Tamp the coffee: Podhaczky grabs the tamper like a door knob and leans into it from above with a straight arm "about 15kg body weight is ideal". If you turn the basket upside down after tamping, the coffee should stay put.
    After tamping, the basket should be about four-fifths full. If coffee sits too hard-up against the machine's shower screen, you may get an uneven extraction; too far away and the espresso may taste muddy. Podhaczky uses the analogy of a watering can: water poured from too great a height will hit the soil (coffee) too forcefully and churn it up, resulting in mud.



    6. Purge your machine by running some water through it before making your espresso.



    7. Make the espresso. Different baristas use different rules to ensure consistent and well-balanced espressos. Some, such as Aaron Wood from Auction Rooms and Small Batch in North Melbourne, advocate weighing both the dry coffee and final wet espresso. Wood says a good "brew ratio" is roughly two parts dry coffee weight to three parts wet espresso. So 20gms of dry coffee grounds should yield a final espresso shot weighing 30 to 40gms, depending on your taste.
    Podhaczky's rule of thumb is to go by volume: "30mls in 30 seconds". Espresso cups generally range in size from 60 to 90mls, but Podhaczky's ideal shot is 30ml. If your machine takes longer than 30 seconds to produce a 30ml shot, your grind is likely too fine and could taste burnt.
    (Note: While Podhaczky recommends playing with your grind before anything else, you could also try altering the rate of extraction by varying the amount of dry coffee you use. Less coffee will result in faster extraction and vice versa.)



    Signs of good coffee: In the first instance the machine will deliver drips before a steady stream of espresso. Fresh coffee will be slightly viscous and will almost look like it's springing back up because of the oils in the beans.
    Your 30ml espresso shot should have a nice crema on top. This is the lighter, fluffier substance that sits on the surface. Crema looks like tiny bubbles and is reddish-brown or hazelnut in colour and dissipates after a minute or two. Lack of crema is a sign your coffee beans are past their best.
    Coffee_Dude, kbc, MattyRay and 2 others like this.

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    Thanks, Yelta. Will definitely save this post.

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kopiku View Post
    Thanks, Yelta. Will definitely save this post.
    Hope it helps, keep us informed re your progress.
    kbc and kopiku like this.

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    Just to give an update on my progress. I've been able to produce a foamy latte using the double basket. Love the taste. Extraction was about 25-28 seconds. Here is the picture.

    Merely looking at the picture, do you think that I have done it right? Cheers.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  22. #22
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Extraction time good, what volume did you get? sounds like your doing well.

    Not a milk drink person Kopiku, looks good to me.

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    I didn't really measure the volume. Now it's all about maintaining the consistency then.

    Cheers

    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Extraction time good, what volume did you get? sounds like your doing well.

    Not a milk drink person Kopiku, looks good to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snedden9485 View Post
    Ditch the single filter basket and stick to the double basket. Single baskets are far too finicky, hence why most people dont use them. The double allows for a much easier process.
    I'm really new to making espresso, and the Breville machine I have came with four baskets, 1 cup and 2 cup in both single wall and double wall. The manual stated single wall was best for when grinding your own beans, so that's all I've used so far, in the 1 cup size.
    When you say 'ditch the single filter basket', I assume you mean (in my case) use the 2 cup single wall basket?
    And you do this as it's easier to get a more consistent pull from a larger volume of ground coffee?

    Sorry for the noob questions but this seemed to be the thread for it.

  25. #25
    Senior Member skidquinn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kopiku View Post
    Thanks. I've been hearing that advice a lot. But I would like to have the flexibility of using single or double basket. For example, a double shot espresso is good for a morning coffee but it may be too strong for an evening coffee.

    Do you need to adjust your grinder setting every time you change a basket size?
    I read a post by Chris @ Talk Coffee around dosing.
    His advice was when filling the basket with grinds and distributing - when using a double, sweep the excess with something straight (I think he said the inside of your finger?? but you can use anything - I use the handle of a scoop), but for a single use the bottom of your finger bent kind of inwards so more grinds as swept out (ie. creating a concave surface).

    This works very well for me, and I now change between single and double baskets frequently without adjusting my grind.

    Cheers

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    Thanks! I think I've found the right dosing and grinder setting for a double. I will try to use a single and see if I will need to change my grinder setting.

    Quote Originally Posted by skidquinn View Post
    I read a post by Chris @ Talk Coffee around dosing.
    His advice was when filling the basket with grinds and distributing - when using a double, sweep the excess with something straight (I think he said the inside of your finger?? but you can use anything - I use the handle of a scoop), but for a single use the bottom of your finger bent kind of inwards so more grinds as swept out (ie. creating a concave surface).

    This works very well for me, and I now change between single and double baskets frequently without adjusting my grind.

    Cheers

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by snedden9485 View Post
    Ditch the single filter basket and stick to the double basket. Single baskets are far too finicky, hence why most people dont use them. The double allows for a much easier process.
    I make singles every day with consistency. It takes practice but it is do-able. I hate wasting coffee. Why use 18 to 20gms for a single unless you want a double ristretto. I also like dialing in by the brew ratio method as well. I find if I use 12 to 13gms in a single and get about 18 to 20gms of liquid (approx ratio 1:1.5 ) then I generally enjoy the cup. Also many cafes make singles when there are few customers, in fact some of the best coffees I've had are made from singles. I often ask those cafes how much coffee do they use for singles and many have said 9 to 12 gms and those that are familiar with brew ratios say they aim for 1:2

    For newbies I would recommend to start dialing in doubles and get that right then experiment with singles. Also one day measure your brew ratio and see what you get. I find experimenting fun. They say that sometimes the journey is just as enjoyable as the destination.

    Do not give up on singles. Short term waste, long term save
    Last edited by barri; 21st May 2016 at 06:15 AM.

  28. #28
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    My doubles never go to waste. Much easier making one double than two singles........



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