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Thread: Beginner help wanted: Espresso Shot

  1. #1
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    Beginner help wanted: Espresso Shot

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello everyone,


    I'm relatively new here and new to the world of espresso, so bear with me please


    I recently bought an ECM Lumina (similar to the ECM Mechanika) and a Quamar Q50E
    and have troubles pulling a perfect or even decent shot of espresso. The problem is, that
    the coffee basically shoots out through the portafilter.
    I started of with nice beans from dibartoli, then some beans from Mecca in Sydney.
    I'd say the best results I had were with Mecca but in general did the flavour vary between sour
    and bitter (hard to distinguish it sometimes ).
    Yesterday, I bought some cheaper beans: Vittoria Italien Blend, to play around as the others
    are a bit too pricy to be wasted. However, the something seems odd.

    I tried to record my latest attempt and aimed for a ratio of 1:2, but heavily over shot,
    probably because I was concentrating on the camera, anyway, here are some photos from my latest shot:


    stats:
    Double shot portafilter filled with 20g - superfine ground
    Extracted for 13 seconds from the first drop, resulting in 32g for the right glass.
    Flavour: a bit bitter


    What do you think? Any help is appreciated.

    Thank you in advance,
    Cheers,
    Philipp

    Video of the extraction:


    Last edited by bonomat; 14th October 2018 at 08:56 PM. Reason: Updated video

  2. #2
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    No obvious problems revealed by the photos . The pour in yourvideo shows a thin and watery extraction. A 'gusher' can result in an under-extracted sour shot and may be caused by the wrong grind or poor dose distribution tamp technique (or both). Assuming you bought your kit from Di Bartoli, why not book some time with them to help improve your technique.

    Be careful of buying coffee that has a use-by rather than a roast date as old beans can cause poor results.
    Last edited by flynnaus; 14th October 2018 at 09:46 PM. Reason: Video provided
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  3. #3
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    I couldn't see the video as I had to give an email address to a site I don't frequent to download it so didn't. But from the photos I'm assuming they are of the Vittoria? Largely because it looks like old coffee, which supermarket coffee will almost certainly be. You may not want to spend lots on dialling in beans, but they will need to be reasonable for you to be able to dial it in. It would be like not wanting to spend the money on Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres to set your Koenigsegg up for the track and buying Bridgestone Ecopia instead, then wondering why your handling and lap time had gone out the window. Not trying to have a go at you, just to explain why freshly roasted reasonable quality beans are important.

    From what I'm reading 20g is a bit much for the stock ECM basket, I think the manual suggests 14g? Try 17 or 18g at most and aim for double the yield in 27s, then adjust to taste. I think what is happening is that because there's too much coffee in the basket you have to grind too coarse to let the water through, so the coffee is underextracted and very sour. In short my advice is get fresh beans from a trustworthy supplier (like the BeanBay link at the top of the page), reduce your dose, and make your grind finer. See how you go with that.
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    So some random thoughts...

    Most store bought beans are really old and require either an overly fine grind or use of a double walled basket. Personally I'd do as previously mentioned and suck it up and buy some good quality, fresh beans to play with. Your puck and extracted coffee look like they've barely touched the grinds and to get 2:1 in 13 secs also says this. What sort of pressure are you getting on extraction?

    You're using the provided double basket so I would probably be aiming for 21g in there, looking at your tamped basket you've got room. However your grinder is producing nice fluffy grinds so you may want to dose half, knock it down on the bench (settle it down not tamp it) then dose the other half and tamp. Lastly, make sure

  5. #5
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    The OP did mention he tried better beans before the cheaper, I’d suggest maybe your machine isn’t fully up to temp and your grind needs to be finer. But done ever try get a decent shot with old beans stick to the fresher beans once your grind is close it won’t need much adjusting from bean to bean

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    True but everything the OP has given to work off is the Vittoria.

    Also just noticed the 13 sec was from first "drop". How long did this take? If it happens to quick it's a big hint your grind is to course. How long is your pre-infusion ?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post

    From what I'm reading 20g is a bit much for the stock ECM basket, I think the manual suggests 14g? Try 17 or 18g at most and aim for double the yield in 27s, then adjust to taste. I think what is happening is that because there's too much coffee in the basket you have to grind too coarse to let the water through, so the coffee is underextracted and very sour. In short my advice is get fresh beans from a trustworthy supplier (like the BeanBay link at the top of the page), reduce your dose, and make your grind finer. See how you go with that.
    Yeh, or if you overdose and jam the shower screen into the puck, you could get pretty severe channeling....and so the water rushes through the point of least resistance. There seems to be a large divot in what I think is a photo of the puck after pulling a shot.

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    Hey guys,

    thanks for the advices, I appreciate your feedback.

    @video: I've updated the video to a youtube link.

    @Beans: If I understand you correctly, than I won't be able to get a nice shot with the cheap Vittoria beans? If so, I guess I'll just go back to fresher beans and give it another try

    @Basked size: Unfortunately I don't know how much should fit into that basket, so I went for 20g as (without any knocking) it's fully filled and that's what we did at the shop as well I'll probably try 21g and see if this helps. I think there should still be more space in the basket before hitting the shower screen.

    @Channeling or the 'divot': I tried with my finger afterwards to check the consistency, but if you look at the other photos, there are no channels, that's why I broke it in half.

    @Pre-Infusion: Hard to tell right now, but from the video I counted 5 seconds before the first drop hits the glass. Is this time important as well? Meaning should I aim for 25-30 seconds including the time prior to the first drop?

  9. #9
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    Hi Phillip,
    It's really worth spending a day of your weekend at a barista course. I went to Barista Academy in Northbridge with a friend, and despite being fairly experienced, I learned some new tricks... One of them might help you. I would be concentrating more on the time of the extraction and how it looks. Don't worry about weighing it for now. Try for a 20 second extraction. To help dial in your grinder... 1 notch is approximately 1 second (or is it 1 notch = 2 seconds... I forget). Try to keep the settling and tamping technique the same, and the same weight of coffee will also help. Once I have this dialed in, I only adjust by a notch or two as the coffee ages (my own roast), so I very rarely have to 'bulk dial' my grinder anymore. My set up is different to yours though (Lever machine).
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  10. #10
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by bonomat View Post
    Hey guys,

    @Beans: If I understand you correctly, than I won't be able to get a nice shot with the cheap Vittoria beans? If so, I guess I'll just go back to fresher beans and give it another try
    I wouldn't say you won't get a nice shot from these beans. If they are more than 3 or 4 weeks past roast date, then they may be stale. This is not a hard and fast rule, some have opened bags of beans that are months old and found them to be still good but it is best to stick to beans that are less than 3 weeks after roast date. If you don't know the roast date, then you don't know how long they have been sitting on the shelf.

    @Basked size: Unfortunately I don't know how much should fit into that basket, so I went for 20g as (without any knocking) it's fully filled and that's what we did at the shop as well I'll probably try 21g and see if this helps. I think there should still be more space in the basket before hitting the shower screen.
    As Barry mentioned, you don't want your tamped shot hitting the showerhead when you insert the portafilter as this can fracture the puck and cause gushers. Different machines have different showerhead clearance so a bit of trial and error is needed but, as mentioned, get someone to show you.

    @Channeling or the 'divot': I tried with my finger afterwards to check the consistency, but if you look at the other photos, there are no channels, that's why I broke it in half.
    There didn't appear to be any cracks or wormholes in your pic. However, water may be escaping down the sides of the puck?? Avoid playing around too much with the tamp. My technique is to tamp once but that has been honed over years. I also used a naked portafilter which helped reveal faults in my distribution. Note that too fine a grind can also cause gushers if there are weaknesses in your puck due to poor distribution.

    @Pre-Infusion: Hard to tell right now, but from the video I counted 5 seconds before the first drop hits the glass. Is this time important as well? Meaning should I aim for 25-30 seconds including the time prior to the first drop?
    The preinfusion time is not as important as the pour itself but 5-10 seconds after starting the pour is usual. It should start as a few drops then a thin stream then a thicker stream. But I've had 17 second and 40 second shots that still taste good.



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