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Thread: How many grams of beans for double?

  1. #1
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    How many grams of beans for double?

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

    I have a VBM domobar junior and use a double basket portafilter. I've had my machine for years and thought I made a decent coffee, but I did a barrista session in Adelaide yesterday with a friend where I was told to weigh 21 grams of beans for each double shot. In the past on other sites I've read that I should be using more like 16 grams...

    What's the recommended grams for a home coffee machine with a standard double basket? If I am going to weigh my beans not just do it by sight I want to make sure I am using the right weight.

    (PS I don't know exactly what type of basket I have but this is my machine... https://www.coffee-a-roma.com.au/sto...e_Machine.html )

    thanks in advance
    Martin

  2. #2
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Welcome Martin...

    The amount of coffee that is optimum for your particular setup will depend on the basket volume (measured) and other factors.
    Best way to determine this is via the use of the so-called and ubiquitous "Five Cent Test".

    Basically, prepare a shot in the usual way and after tamping, gently place a five cent piece on top and in the middle of the prepared coffee puck. Lock the Groupe Handle into place as per normal and then remove the Group Handle and observe whether the "zack" has been disturbed. If it has, then you have dosed an excessive amount of coffee into the filter.
    Knock the puck out and prepare another one with slightly less coffee and test again and keep repeating until such time as the zack remains undisturbed, thereby indicating that you have clearance between the top of the coffee puck and the bottom of the shower screen.
    The converse of this procedure naturally applies if your coffee dose is insufficient...

    Anyway, once you establish the correct dose for the filter you have, weigh it and make note that this will be the maximum dose with the particular coffee you are using. Different coffees and different roast styles/depths will vary a little bit so to be safe, you may want to reduce this noted weight by 0.5g or so to account for the variability. Optimum pour rates can then be adjusted by grinding the coffee beans either finer or coarser.

    Hope this helps,
    Mal.
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  3. #3
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    These is no "correct answer" as such. Your "barista" course was merely using the "Let's train them all to be sheep" method of class control.

    You can get a great extraction low and fine and just as easily high and coarse; so long as your distribution is good- and that can be assessed with a naked portafilter. I've dosed 14g in 21g baskets and 19g in 14g baskets for great shots

    Flow rate and resultant cup chemistry are influenced by dose v particle size and there are many ways to get a brilliant shot. Your palate will best determine what works well for your machine and the particular coffee you have to work with at the time. Experiment!

    My thoughts about 5c is that it's probably of more use in the the money box of any young ones you may have.
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  4. #4
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caffeinator View Post
    My thoughts about 5c is that it's probably of more use in the the money box of any young ones you may have.
    That's where you and I will have to disagree mate....
    Many people have come back to me over the years and stated how grateful they were that such an easy method could be used to get them off to a start with their newly acquired machine and NO experience using it or any other.

    Mal.

  5. #5
    Senior Member woodhouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    That's where you and I will have to disagree mate....
    Many people have come back to me over the years and stated how grateful they were that such an easy method could be used to get them off to a start with their newly acquired machine and NO experience using it or any other.

    Mal.
    yeah i agree. sure you can pull more advanced stuff when you have a handle on what you're doing, but this is a good starting point for beginners.
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  6. #6
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    The nickle test is the starting point. Then you start adjusting the grind to get the correct timing/taste on the shot adjusting the volume of the beans used as needed along the way.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    That's where you and I will have to disagree mate....
    Nar- we don't do that too much Mal. Never will!

    Hopefully Marty's teacher did some palate work as well- so he knows what he's looking for...

    These days, it seems all to be about weigh in, so I tell mine that I don't care how they go about finding a way of doing the same thing twice, so long as they learn to be a robot and let grind size go close to being the sole variable. If they can find a way of doing that with a coin, doubloon or grandma's false teeth, I'm good with that!

    We old skools, we can do that with technique. Many of the newies may never learn that because they rely on the scales...

    Cheers and best as always mate...
    Last edited by Caffeinator; 14th July 2019 at 06:48 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caffeinator View Post
    Nar- we never do that too much Mal. Never will!

    Hopefully Marty's teacher did some palate work as well- so he knows what he's looking for...

    These days, it seems all to be about weigh in, so I tell mine that I don't care how they go about finding a way of doing the same thing twice, so long as they learn to be a robot and let grind size go close to being the sole variable. If they can find a way of doing that with a coin, doubloon or grandma's false teeth, I'm good with that!

    We old skools, we can do that with technique. Many of the newies may never learn that because they rely on the scales...

    Cheers and best as always mate...
    Thanks for that. No, the teacher (private class of 2) told us that the 21 g is fixed and the only variables are coarseness of grind and the tamping pressure and so you always use 21g and then adjust the grind until you get 28-33 seconds pour. We didn't do palate work...although I've had a home machine for some 10 years so I know what I like and don't like.

  9. #9
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    The 21g on the equipment that you were training on might have been a good starting point.

    Only so much time in a training session so if he gives you a fixed variable, then teaches to adjust the grinder then you have less to learn and will making something good in no time. Nothing wrong with that but now you need to find your own baseline on your own equipment.

    Easy now you know how!
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Some good advice offered by very experienced people Marty, as you've probably now guessed, there is more than one way to skin a cat.
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    Thanks everyone. I think I'll try the 5 c test and experiment with weight of the coffee like suggested. My past experience was that I had the best shots with around 18g on my machine....
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  12. #12
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caffeinator View Post
    We old skools, we can do that with technique. Many of the newies may never learn that because they rely on the scales...

    Cheers and best as always mate...
    Indeed we do mate but with an open ended question like that, I nearly always suggest starting from zero and then allowing the new CSer to work up from there. And, best to you too mate, as always...

    Mal.

  13. #13
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    The dose can vary for different basket brands (obviously), but meaning for eg a synesso double basket has bigger capacity than say a breville double basket.

    Also I have found some coffees have a different density so the same weight will have a different tamped height.

    Regardless the 5c test to get ballpark dose, keeping this dose and tamp the same, then adjusting grind to get the flow you want is great start and should prevent chasing ones tail.

    Cheers
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartyL View Post
    Thanks everyone. I think I'll try the 5 c test and experiment with weight of the coffee like suggested. My past experience was that I had the best shots with around 18g on my machine....
    FWIW Marty, I use a dose of 18 grams in an 18 gram basket to pull a double shot, works for me.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    The answer is 42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caffeinator View Post
    We old skools, we can do that with technique. Many of the newies may never learn that because they rely on the scales...
    not sure what you're saying about the worth of weighing coffee...

  17. #17
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodhouse View Post
    not sure what you're saying about the worth of weighing coffee...
    What he's saying is many of the younger espresso generation would be lost if their scale failed, whereas those of us who learned the process prior to scales becoming commonplace would experience no inconvenience.

    To prove the point to myself I did just that, bypassed the scale for my late afternoon coffee, did it all by eye, no drama.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    The answer is 42
    I did the test once Jack, from recollection the number was closer to 100 for an 18 gram shot.

  19. #19
    Senior Member woodhouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    What he's saying is many of the younger espresso generation would be lost if their scale failed, whereas those of us who learned the process prior to scales becoming commonplace would experience no inconvenience.

    To prove the point to myself I did just that, bypassed the scale for my late afternoon coffee, did it all by eye, no drama.
    eh, Iíve relied on scales all my coffee-brewing life, and the few times Iíve been without scales, Iíve eye-balled it, and still gotten great results.

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    Without discounting either method, I feel that the arbitrary reliance on weight/time, takes away from the end product.
    While there should definitely be recipes or guidelines for modern espresso, blindly following them will not always work. There are far too many variables to control, most importantly that coffee itself is a living thing. It is a bit much to assume you can achieve the exact result every time.
    Especially in the home, you need to rely on experience and instinct to adjust the recipe accordingly.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodhouse View Post
    eh, Iíve relied on scales all my coffee-brewing life, and the few times Iíve been without scales, Iíve eye-balled it, and still gotten great results.
    Then I guess you've earned the right to regard yourself a member of the old skool.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bosco View Post
    Without discounting either method, I feel that the arbitrary reliance on weight/time, takes away from the end product.
    While there should definitely be recipes or guidelines for modern espresso, blindly following them will not always work. There are far too many variables to control, most importantly that coffee itself is a living thing. It is a bit much to assume you can achieve the exact result every time.
    Especially in the home, you need to rely on experience and instinct to adjust the recipe accordingly.
    Very true, although once you know what your doing the adjustments tend to be quite minor.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Very true, although once you know what your doing the adjustments tend to be quite minor.
    Agreed, and mostly instinctively.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bosco View Post
    Agreed, and mostly instinctively.
    We agree again.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    In my humble opinion, looks can be deceiving when it comes to judging the amount if coffee in a basket.
    What appears to be a set volume within the basket can vary greatly in weight. A light roast can give a fluffy puffed up grind whereas the same weight of grinds from a darker roast will be denser and hence lower down the basket.
    Age and humidity will influence the height. And, of course, a coarse or fine grind.

    I always weigh the amount. With digital scales for years...and now with pre-set grams on the Baratza Sette which does the weighing on the fly.
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