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Thread: Why is updosing good?

  1. #1
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    Why is updosing good?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi, all!

    I have just ordered Pullman tamper and a ridgeless synesso basket and I am going through old posts to look for any comments on those. I noticed that every now and then people are talking about benefits of updosing. Also Synesso and LM baskets are considered good not least because then take more coffee than standard or original baskets (up to 21g rather than standard 14...)
    I understand that we are getting slightly richer espresso with 20g versus 14g of coffee, but I though we are deviating from the standard as well. Well, not that I am too worried about my coffee not being fit to be certified as espresso italiano ;-) but still I though the idea was to get a good coffee with 14g in the double basket via correct combination of grind/tamp and updosing sounds like a cheat way, isnt it? Of couse, I am not being too serious here, but still...
    Why is it good to updose? Where will we stop then? Is the 30g filter basket coming next as de facto standard? I am kind of dont want an extra caffeine hit ;-) What if I dont want to updose too much, so I still stand a chance of making good shot?

  2. #2
    mwatt
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    Re: Why is updosing good?

    Updosing seems to be a bit of an Australian thing- to get fuller-bodied, chocolatey shots I believe.

    Ive had a bit of fun experimenting with different doses and its amazing the different flavours you can get when you up-dose, down-dose etc.

    Yes, you can get a great shot with a lower dose. (I suspect it might take a little more work to get a great shot with a lower dose, as updosing may be a bit more forgiving - I might be wrong though).

    Really, its all about what your tastebuds like! If they prefer an updosed shot, then updose! If youd rather a normal dose, or a lower dose, then do that! Try a bean or blend both ways and see what you like better! I usually am a bit of an updoser, but theres a particular Kenyan that I loooove down-dosing as it brings out this lovely jasmine-like, coffee-blossom aroma and it tastes like green tea. Amazing.

    Have fun!

  3. #3
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    Re: Why is updosing good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michelle link=1208480913/0#1 date=1208481533
    I usually am a bit of an updoser, but theres a particular Kenyan that I loooove down-dosing as it brings out this lovely jasmine-like, coffee-blossom aroma and it tastes like green tea. Amazing.

    Have fun!
    Thanks Michelle!
    A dopio ristretto usually works well for me if I want something sweeter :-)
    and perhaps you are right, it may be Australian thing! Same thing actually happens or already happened to our wine - they become bigger and richer in our warm climate to express more potential (also have more alcohol ;-) )
    Now I am only worried if a basket which is good for 20g will still be good for 14-16 (at least its ridgeless)

  4. #4
    Senior Member askthecoffeeguy's Avatar
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    Re: Why is updosing good?

    use the 16g basket for your single ::)

  5. #5
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    Re: Why is updosing good?

    A whole lot of different flavours are extracted from espresso at different parts of the shot. To see this, extract the first 10ml of a shot into one glass, the second 10ml into a second glass and the last 10ml into a third; taste the difference. Updosing allows you to get more of the early thick rich syrupy liquid and less of the thinner sharper flavours that develop as the shot progresses for the same volume of espresso by producing that volume from a larger volume of coffee. However you also potentially lose some of the complexity that these bring in the process. Ultimately its a matter of taste but the thicker ristretto-style pours are generally easier on the palate especially for those new to espresso.

    The flip side is that the more coffee you put in, the more work the water has to do to get through the puck so the more likely you are to get channelling; so if youre going to updose its important to get your preparation right. The more coffee you put in, the more resistance youre creating and the more chance there is youll get a low pressure point from uneven dosing, tamping or distribution. The best example of how a low dose can lead to less channelling is a bottomless portafilter on your machine with *no* coffee in the basket - youll notice perfect even water flow with no channelling. The more bodies of resistance you add to the basket the more likely you are that somewhere youll get a source of channelling.

    I just did a test on this. Two shots of Decaf Mocha Java 13 days out of roast. Shot 1 was ground into the doser, dosed straight into the basket once grinding had finished, smoothed with the back of a knife and tamped with the standard undersized Silvia tamper. Extraction gave 30ml in ~25 seconds, pour was evenly distributed in the bottomless portafilter with no signs of channelling. Crema was a bit on the light side.

    Shot 2 I ground two notches coarser on the Super Jolly, dosed as I was grinding, overfilled portafilter and smoothed into the doser, two taps, redosed over full again, third tap, smoothed remaining grounds then tamp with flat Pullman to similar pressure as in shot 1. Extraction time was the same and looked very similar (surprisingly the grind adjustment came in spot on) but crema was darker and more persistent. Again 30ml about 25 seconds.

    Taste of these was the all important factor and they were like chalk and cheese. Shot 1 reminded me of an espresso I had at a service station about five years ago when I was trying to learn what it was supposed to taste like - not foul, but quite sharp and bitter, and very little body. Shot 2 was still on the sharp side as itd gone longer than I normally let it go but nothing like shot 1; it also had a lot more body and was altogether a more pleasant drink to my palate. I turned them both into lattes and got my wife to try them both and she was repulsed by the latte made from shot 1.

    Which is better? Taste and decide for yourself, because updosing and downdosing will give different flavour profiles and only you know which you prefer. Generally updosing is the path most pursue and the above has certainly confirmed it for me (with this bean at the very least) but it doesnt have to be that way.

    Greg

    P.S. The HB titan grinder project thread has a long OT discussion on this exact point.

  6. #6
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    Re: Why is updosing good?

    Mmmm....

    Just to show how difficult getting a handle on the whole updosing and downdosing issue can be....

    Whilst I agree with Gregs comments re taste, and I far prefer the flavour from updosing.....

    I personally have found less problems with channelling when a Synesso double basket is updosed (to around 21 grams in my case) than with say 14 grams..... and Ive attributed that to the "head room" between the surface of the puck and the bottom of the showerscreen....

    With updosing the puck (before extraction) just touches the showerscreen so there is very little room left for water during extraction (and for the puck to move and/or expand)..... with downdosing there is quite a gap which fills with water and leaves a"soggy puck" after extraction......

    Using a Pullman (of course ;)) channelling is very rare indeed but with a lesser tamper Id get channelling occasionally near the wall of the basket if I down dosed.....

    So which is better? The taste side of it is a matter of personal preference but on the channelling side Greg and I are getting different results... Even if the flavour was much the same Id still updose!

    My advice would be for you to try and see what works best for you and your tamping technique - but dont forget to correct the grind between dosing levels for the correct rate of extraction. ::)

    Edit: One thing which might make a difference to the above observations - the La Cimbali has a pre infusion phase.... where the puck is "wetted" with low pressure water prior to extraction. This will cause the puck to expand and as an updosed puck has no where to expand to.... it enhances the sealing in the basket..... maybe that is the difference!!

  7. #7
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    Re: Why is updosing good?

    I think you need to define updosing. As I call it, putting more coffee into the basket so that you have less room between the puck and shower screen is updosing. Using bigger baskets so that you can use more coffee while maintaining the gap is a different story.

    Updosing is an interesting topic. In our many experiments we have found that its not only a ristretto like shot that is produced, but the shot has a completely different mouthfeel. Updosing tends to move the flavours of the espresso towards the upper pallete.

    I find that updosing to pour a ristretto produces less body than finer grind for ristretto. The expansion of the puck plays a major decider in the mouthfeel of your shot. By updosing we are adjusting this as well as the dose.

    Take 2 almost identical espressos. shot 1 poured from 16gm in a 14gm basket, shot 2 poured from 16gm in a 16gm basket. All other parameters are equal. Shot 1 has less body but a more intense upper pallete expreience. Shot 2 has a better body but the upper pallete experience is much milder and delicate. Shot 1 is more intense and sweeter, but shot 2 has a wonderful body, flavour and balance.

    Its each to their own, however I prefer to use a generous size basket and leave the all important expansion room.

  8. #8
    Wine_of_the_Bean
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    Re: Why is updosing good?

    Is there such a thing as a shallow single basket? Ive been thinking about trialling the difference between the standard single (i.e. funnel) and a shallow single with the holes all across the bottom. Cant seem to find one.

    Body and mouthfeel are nearly irrelevant in the case of milk-based drinks. Its only really applicable to ristretti/espressi IMHO.

  9. #9
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    Re: Why is updosing good?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1208480913/0#5 date=1208516233
    Mmmm....

    Just to show how difficult getting a handle on the whole updosing and downdosing issue can be....

    Whilst I agree with Gregs comments re taste, and I far prefer the flavour from updosing.....

    I personally have found less problems with channelling when a Synesso double basket is updosed (to around 21 grams in my case) than with say 14 grams..... and Ive attributed that to the "head room" between the surface of the puck and the bottom of the showerscreen....

    With updosing the puck (before extraction) just touches the showerscreen so there is very little room left for water during extraction (and for the puck to move and/or expand)..... with downdosing there is quite a gap which fills with water and leaves a"soggy puck" after extraction......

    Using a Pullman (of course ;)) channelling is very rare indeed but with a lesser tamper Id get channelling occasionally near the wall of the basket if I down dosed.....

    So which is better? The taste side of it is a matter of personal preference but on the channelling side Greg and I are getting different results... Even if the flavour was much the same Id still updose!

    My advice would be for you to try and see what works best for you and your tamping technique - but dont forget to correct the grind between dosing levels for the correct rate of extraction. ::)

    Edit: One thing which might make a difference to the above observations - the La Cimbali has a pre infusion phase.... where the puck is "wetted" with low pressure water prior to extraction. This will cause the puck to expand and as an updosed puck has no where to expand to.... it enhances the sealing in the basket..... maybe that is the difference!!
    You must have misunderstood my comments JavaB. My personal experiences are similar to yours in that I rarely experience any difficulties with channelling in updosing (our machines are somewhat different which may account for the odd discrepancy). However I can see theres greater potential for channelling in an updosed configuration than a downdosed, and if the technique and equipment isnt up to standard (which presumably ours are) itd be more of a challenge than a downdosed setup. That was the reason for the empty filter basket example. The flavour benefit, however, is worth the effort IMHO.

    Jason, re defining updosing, I agree with you generally but I think the term gets used more loosely than that, i.e. updosing is anything more than 14g if ciffee for a double shot, regardless of whether thats in a 14g double basket or an 18g double basket. I expect the situation arose because people started packing more coffee into 14g baskets (hence the term) and since the results were preferred some basket manufacturers started making larger double baskets and triple baskets. However the term updosing has stuck. I also agree that a standardisation of terms would be beneficial.

    Nunu: have a look at the LM Swift single basket. It has straight sides a a full perforated base but IIRC the capacity would be more than a regular 7g single.

    Greg



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