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Thread: Dose size discussion.

  1. #1
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    Dose size discussion.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Could other members with digital scales weigh the amount of coffee theyre using for a double. Ive been using approx 21g in a double lately. Since I started weighing the PF just before I start the pour, the dose has come in no lower than 20g and no higher than 22g.
    I tried the placing a coin ($0.10 I couldnt find a $0.05) on the pre pour puck and then inserting, it was leaving a fair indentation. How important is leaving room to expand when it comes to dosing?

    This is done with a 58mm PF and the stock double basket that came with my Diadema Jr. I guess results may vary with various baskets ie doubles but from different sources.


    -Stephen-

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    With my Cimbali I find I usually use from 18.7-19.7g of grounds depending on the grind for a double.

    I use just barely few enough grounds so that I can fully tighten the portafilter on with-out the puck interfering.

    Ive reduced the amount of grounds used and was not happy with the results and went back to the full-pack.

    Java "Likes a full puck" phile

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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    Stephen,

    I can only surmise that you must be using a coffee that is fairly dense / heavy and / or grinding very finely & therefore packing the grinds into a smaller puk, resulting in you adding more grinds to fill the filter to the usual level.

    Otherwise it is surprising you are getting such a heavy portion for the standard sized deep double filter. I usually measure around 19 grams for the identical set up, with my usual blend, which I think is a significant difference to that which you are getting when you consider the amount of space that an extra 2 grams of ground coffee occupies.

    Having said that, I usually dont care what the portion control is, as long as the coffee is ***good***.

    Yup on further thinking...must be due to the type of coffee/blend / type & colour of roast / ultimate density / of coffee you are using.

    Regardz,
    FC.

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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    I dose by volume rather than weight as moisture content and grind density determines relative weight and volume. Weighing coffee is like navigating with a blindfold unless you:
    • only use one kind of bean
    • are able to produce identical roasts
    • have very stable temperature and humidity where you store and make coffee
    Thats not to say that weighing coffee doesnt give you a good benchmark for consistency however the real determinants are:
    • how full the basket is
    • tamp pressure
    • what impression the shower screen leaves
    • how quickly a given volume of water comes through the basket in a given time
    It is the combination of these things rather than any individual one that determines the results. For example, more coffee in the basket can mean less tamping pressure is required.

    There is no agreed best weight of coffee because each machine behaves differently and may have a different size basket so any specific numbers are like comparing eggs with eggs regardless of what type of bird laid them.

    Confused yet? :)

  5. #5
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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    Yep,

    Right on the money Wired... Great advice 8),

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    I was privileged enough to hang out and pull shots with Hazel - the aussie barista champ - recently, and when she made me a coffee, I learnt so much about dosing and grinding and all that from watching. (Because I raost in small batches at home, I dont know how good this will be for a home setting so...)

    Basically, she ground, dosed/distributed, tamped and extracted a shot. She took a sip, dumped it and started again, adjusting the grind to either slow things down or speed them up. Then she did it all again. And again. And again.

    Finally she got a shot she was happy with, steamed some milk and handed me one of the best piccolos Ive ever had.

    My thoughts were: perhaps fixed amounts arent the best when it comes to getting a good extraction, rather observing what happens during a shot, and adjust the grind and/or dose to improve the shot. It all seemed much more fluid and vibey, rather than going off of a set recipe. Like when you watch jamie oliver on tv, they say a cup of x ingredient, and just pour by sight, until it feels right to them.

    sorry for the randomness of this post ... i hope you get what Im trying to say!

  7. #7
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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    Nope!

    Clear as mud mattyj ;)..... ;D.

    Hazels method is one we should all be using when setting up the grinder with new beans, new blends, etc. But once youre set up with a particular bean/blend, the need to do this for every shot thereafter shouldnt be necessary surely? Barring the occasional adjustment for changing ambient conditions that is.

    Just tonight for example, tried one of my staple blends... a simple 50/50 mix of PNG Sigri and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. The resulting shot was absolute bliss... so were the subsequent shots for my son and his girlfriend in a couple of Lattes. Have discovered quite a while ago, that consistency is THE main ingredient when striving for one great shot after another.

    So long as youve got all the basics down pat and very repeatable, you should be able to pull one great shot after another and know how good its going to be just by the way it looks during the pour, its aroma and the duration of the pour. Thats all I ever do and for 99% of the shots pulled with trusted bean blends, it works. Consistency, the BIG C.

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    Thanks for the considered responses guys.

    I started weighing the coffee so I could check my dosing consistency. I was tending to updose and found if I wasnt careful the coffee would come in to contact with the the dispersion screen.
    20-21g seemed a tad high so I thought Id see what size dose others were using. I think Ill try reducing the dose marginally and see how the coffee reacts.
    I guessing Im wondering what the downside would be with too much coffee in the basket. At the moment my main concern is leaving room for the coffee to expand. Although I cant say I know what happens if you dont leave enough room...

    The journey continues.

    -Stephen-

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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    I would go with the consistency avenue.
    I weighed my shots for the last few and I seem to average around 18 to 19g.
    I basically go through the same routine for each shot and adjust my grind to suit the process rather than attempt to adjust any other aspect.

    I just use the 7g coffee spoon that came with the Silvia.
    I normally get 9-10 grams in a spoon.
    I put 2 spoons of beans into the Rocky, grind, dose, tap PF on bench lightly to settle coffee, level off (wooden stirrer), tamp lightly, tap with tamper on side, tamp firmly, brush off excess.
    Then Im ready to do the shot.
    Ive found with this approach, as long as I am consistent, the grind is the only variable I really need to play with.

    Geez it sounds like a lot of fiddling when you write it out, but its all just habit now.

    Brett.

  10. #10
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by sharkboy link=1121427776/0#7 date=1121526093
    I guessing Im wondering what the downside would be with too much coffee in the basket. At the moment my main concern is leaving room for the coffee to expand. Although I cant say I know what happens if you dont leave enough room...

    -Stephen-
    What ocurs with my machine (Silvia) is that the portafilter will not screw on easily, requiring above-average force. This may not do the seal any good.

    If said force is not applied, as the pressure builds up substantially, leakage will occur from the seal, so plain water trickles down into the brew.

    The extraction time goes way beyond 25 seconds -- up to a minute or more.

    The shower screen may require more frequent cleaning to remove gunky deposits.

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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    Hazel showed me what up-dosing does to la marzocco shower screens - they go loose, and no matter how tightly you screw them in, they stil spin around and move a bit. But this didnt seem to stop her from up-dosing!

    I updose with my little sunbeam toys, because its the only way I can get a decent extraction from them ... but beware of the lighter portafilters made from aluminium - I used to hold the handle in the group to stop it from popping out during the shot, and one day there was a loud bang. I broke one of the lugs of the portafilter!!! Easily replaced with the brass pf off the more expensive SB aromatic...

    I remember reading a post on coffeegeek from Mark Prince, about a discussion he had with Paul Bassett regarding dose sizes. Basically, PB up-doses (ie; 18-19g for a double shot, rather than the standard 14g), which in PBs words, cheats the coffee into a good extraction. More beans = more oil to extract = less chance of a poor extraction??? I dont know.

    Oh yeah, apparently weighing the beans isnt the best method of dosing, because of differing moiture content/weight for different origins/roasts etc. In that case, is it better to dose by sight? Like, dosing to a certain level in the basket?

    Ive also noticed that as I grind finer, the same amount (2 heaped 7g scoops) of ground coffee tamps to a lower level in the basket? Are my eyes playing tricks on me, or is this normal?

    Oh yeah (edit), on the coffee crazy DVD, PB talks the camera man through his espresso prep, and he mentions dosing so that when tamped, the coffee cake touches the disersion screen, leaving no room for expansion ... although in his last article in crema mag, he mentions packing the coffee to a specific level in the basket, allowing for it to expand firmly and evenly onto the shower screen when brewing. I figure from that, that if its not already touching the shower screen before brewing, its pretty close ... then the next problem is the big ugly screw in the middle of the shower screen.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    When weighing your beans you cant just use a set weight except as a starting point. Each bean/roast will need different weights according to the conditions of the day and the fineness of the grind. However once youve established that weight for that particular bean and day it will generally only vary slightly through-out the day with the slight adjustments youll need to make in the grind as determined by the changing environment.

    No your eyes werent playing tricks on you. The finer the grind the farther it will pack down.

    The ideal dose level seems to be to use the minimum amount possible so that when the shot is done you can clearly see the impression on the puck of the screw/screen.

    Java "Theres *got to be a use for all those pucks!" phile

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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    Ok Stephen its all about been said now, and heres a summary.

    None of us weigh our portions, however on the odd occasion when I have done, and I am using the identical set up to you, I have weighed about 19 ish grams in the deep double generic commercial filter.

    Thats using a particular blend, at a particular grind, and tamping in a particular way. Deviate from any of these, and you could get a different weight if you bothered to weigh in again, particularly if using a lighter roast, or grinding finer, because the coffee will pack up smaller and you will add more to fill to the same volumetric level.

    I have never bothered with the scheit about leaving room for "expansion" due to water taking up the slack inbetween the particles of grinds in the filter during the extraction. *Each to their own, I fill the filter and tamp, and if I remove, I always look for the slight kiss of the shower on the grinds. If I dont see it, I put more coffee in, reapply to the group, and brew. Works for me.

    Overfilling the filter at first can be felt because of the resistance when you place the group handle into the group. Over time, overfilling flattens the shower up against the backing plate. Depending on the type of machine being used, this could be a no no...but not for yours. It will take you long time to wear out or damage the shower on the Diadema Junior. As long as you do a regular detergent backflush (which you would have done anyway), the extra fines that might otherwise tend to gunk up the shower from overfilling, will be taken care of. Regular in terms of household use probably wouldnt be any more frequent than once a week or in really low use circumstances...once a month even!

    The other way in which overfilling could affect a machine ( but again I would expect the Diadema Junior will be very resilient to this over a prolonged period due to the mass of the group in this area), is that the area of the group where the lugs from the group handle are applied to and move around in, will crack away. Any kind of "unnecessarily rough handling" when applying group handles to the group wioll eventually result in this. Machines with basically, flimsy groups, fail sooner. It depends on the build of the group by the particular manufacturer.

    The abve is simply intended to address a few issues that were raised in the discussion, and whilst some of my comments sound like an advertisement for the Diadema Junior, that which has been said is quite true...Stephens machine is built like the proverbial you know what and in home use I would expect very few problems let alone problems due to filling the filter completely full before applying it to the group.

    Mind you by "filling the filter completely full", I dont mean forcing extra large quantities of grinds into places where they shouldnt go.

    Regardz,
    FC.

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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    Dosing by sight makes lots of sense, and will be my guide for most of the time from now on. I can see how the physical weight of the ground coffee can be misleading and or irrelevant. Ever since this realisation I have noticed that nearly every reference to dosing coffee uses grams as a guide.
    Examples include:

    Adjusability of dosers on grinders.

    Filter basket sizes. Ive got a 12g and 18g and 21g basket apparently.

    Recommendations for commercial coffee ie amount of ground coffee to use for singles and doubles. Unfortunately usually 7g and 14g repectively.

    Those plastic spoons that come with machines and grinders are 7g spoons.

    Other members posting on this topic
    Basically, PB up-doses (ie; 18-19g for a double shot, rather than the standard 14g)
    I guess when I measured my dosing, just to see where I was at, I was surprised by the seemingly large dose size and with most available references mentioning grams I followed suit.

    More and more Im finding coffee leans more toward art than science. Well at least to my sensibility anyway.

    -Stephen-

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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    Hi all!

    About time for me to chime in here as a fellow Diadema owner...Sorry about the delay Stephen! :-[

    What FC has mentioned in his last post was right on the money!

    I began placing around 16g into the basket - weighed with digital scales and had terrible results.

    I totally agree with the above discussion that weighing the grinds is not the best way {weigh?} to go, however I am lucky enough to be using one blend, roasted with a high level of consistency in a relatively stable enviroment - or so my hygrometer says!

    I dose by sight, and then weigh the basket to check. Why?

    a) I dont trust myself yet ::)

    b) I am really focussing on consistency to better my results.

    I continuously get a reading of between 18 and 20 grams on the basket......despite my attempt to control the variables listed above - but the results are great!

    I did mean to ask FC about the old expansion in the puck, but I see he has answered that one nicely. ;)

    I find that a little too much in the basket and I get a SLOW extraction - 40-50secs and oil in the bottom of the filter.
    I also find that my showerscreen is covered in grinds, and the puck looks like a muddy mess.....

    Conversley, a smaller dose than usual also gives me a wet puck, but no where near as bad as the above description; which brews accordingly - not good.

    All the above said, 6/10 of my doses are close to spot on and taste great! Now if I can just improve my consistency to 9/10, then I can work on the latte art again! 8)

    BTW Stephen, Im yet to install the tip but will definately let you know how I go!

    Regards,

    James

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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    Thanks for that James and yes...you also have a very nice machine and grinder set up ;)

    Stephen, I have been beating my head against a brick wall for ages telling people to dose "volumetrcially" rather than by weight. There is a range of different sized filters around, some machines have over time ended up with a mix of non compatible (from the point of view of size) filters...plays havoc with you when trying to set up a doser grinder. In addition, not all groups are machined in the same way, and as a result the group showers are not all positioned in the same place when the group handle is applied to the group.

    This all makes for different amounts of grinds, even in the same sized filters, when fitted to different machines.

    Clear as mud? If so, only because it was difficult for me to write this up. Its simple really...fill the filter...to the level suitable for your particular set up.

    Anyway, another sweeping statement from me...people who insist on publishing doses **by weight** in their espresso texts, I guess have amassed less experience than they should have had, before writing these texts....

    The best espresso text I have seen, is that published by another of our Site Sponsors - Pinot. If anyone is looking for one such text, you are wasting your time looking at anything else.

    Stephen, your vendor (of the machine) should have made this (volumetric dosing) perfectly clear during your pre delivery familiarisation lesson.

    Regardz,
    FC.

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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by sharkboy link=1121427776/0#13 date=1121617457
    More and more Im finding coffee leans more toward art than science. Well at least to my sensibility anyway.
    Finally! Some are starting to realise that making coffee is an art and not so much a science. Throw your thermocouples and scales away and start adjusting your technique to your machine. Use sight, sound, smell, texture, taste as your tools, and then you have a better chance of making better coffee on virtually any machine. You all know the parameters that are needed to extract a good brew. All we need is to use our senses to adjust our technique if our machines settings or design require it. Dont need to lock in numbers in our heads and try to make our machines conform to those that a perfect machine would do. There are many ways of achieving a good brew, and there is no holy grail.

    It is easy to see that FC really understands the parametres of making a good coffee and he always gives advice on how we can adjust what we do to make our coffees better whenever we have concerns, and not often about how we can adjust the machines. I doubt he needs a thermocouple or a PID controler to be able to make a good cupper. When he made me a coffee in his shop he took great care extracting the espresso maybe even more then Ive seen before. He observed how the brew reacts, looks, smells, etc. and would have picked up any imperfections on the way well before it got into my latte. He could tune the machine or adjust his techinque to make a good extraction without using any tools or props.

    That is what we all need to achieve. Hes had 40 years experience, though. But if we rely on bits of measuring equipments to learn our skill then well take longer to get there and will have less fun and more frustration with our machines. It is a bit like those in the cafe that keep pooring the textured milk with a spoon to hold the froth back so that they can CONTROL the milk flow. They are too eager to poor a good latte and cannot wait till they develop the skill of free pooring.

    With better skill better coffee is achieved , but with better machinery no better coffee is guaranteed.

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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    Oh shucks Monti!

    Regardz,
    FC.


  19. #19
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    In a commercial setting one must dose by volume. There simply isnt time to weigh each shot and waste is figured into the pricing structure.

    In a home setting such waste is rarely looked upon as being acceptable. Especially when roasting your own beans in small batches.

    In most cases it is this that leads people to try and dose by weight.

    As has been amply pointed out you *cant dose purely by weight with-out taking into consideration environmental variables. HOWEVER, once those variable have been adjusted for and youve arrived at the correct mass to grind settings to achieve that perfect extraction I find that you can easily adjust for the temp and humidity variations through-out the day by paying attention to your extractions and making the minor adjustments to grind and mass of beans on the following extraction as dictated by the results of your current one. Just as any good barista must do no matter what dosing technique they use.

    Properly done this is accomplished with never straying outside that perfect shot time. *Very rarely will my extraction time fall outside of the acceptable range. During the summer and winter it is almost unknown as the house is closed up and kept at pretty constant levels. In the spring and fall when the windows are all wide open is when I will see large variations.

    This also a very effective method where shots are being drawn relatively consistantly over the course of the day. Around here its about an extraction an hour.

    If you are only doing a few shots a day then it will not be as effective due to the larger variations between shots because of the greater amount of time between them.

    Dosing by weight really only works for a small group of people. Those who do roughly 10-30 extraction sessions (ie one or more shots done at the same time) that are evenly spaced through-out the day.

    If you do less the variations will be too great between sessions, and if you do more then the weighing becomes onerous.

    For this small group of people, using weight as a factor in the dosing equation works very well.

    For everybody else, volumetric is the other alternative.

    Brewing up the perfect cup is indeed an art. Using weight as part of the dosing equation does nothing to reduce that. No more than filling the basket to a predetermined level does. How you put all the varried components of making an espresso together and how you tweak them all until they come into that perfect harmonious balance of your perfect God Shot is an art and not a science. IMHO Science should be used to further your art, not replace it.

    Whether youre using the science of volume or the science of mass to determine how much coffee to use that is just a small part of what goes into making your perfect cuppa.

    Java "Fit the tools to the Job" phile"

  20. #20
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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    FC
    Thanks for the plug.

    My only queery about weighing the coffee and the filter basket befor extracting, is that, by the time you load it back in the group handle the basket and handle will be cold. Not to mention the ground coffee would be starting to heat up. That is assuming you are keeping the handle and basket warm!!!!!!
    Then if you had tamped the coffee before weighing it, all the fiddling about could see you with a cracked cake. Then you will end up with channelling etc, etc.

    I have extracted a few bits form our book.

    Opinions differ as to what constitutes the perfect espresso. A formula for an espresso is as follows:
    Correctly dose and tamp enough freshly ground coffee in the group-handle filter basket. Place the group handle in the group head. Commence the extraction process immediately to produce 25–30 ml of richly flavoured coffee from a single spout in 25–30 seconds.

    When you are training, you should use this espresso formula as a reference point only. You should consider working within the formula’s parameters. Then, when you have gained experience, you should fully understand the variables and will be able to adapt your technique as required (see chapter 4, Extracting espresso coffee).

    Experienced baristas understand when to stop the extraction — that is, once the flavours of the ground coffee have been exhausted. For many baristas, the problem lies in not knowing when the flavours are exhausted. They allow too much water to pass through the coffee grounds, and the result is a bitter or burnt brew.

    SIX KEY ELEMENTS FOR CORRECT EXTRACTION
    1 The coffee beans must be freshly roasted.
    2 The coffee grinder must be clean and adjusted.
    3 The coffee must be freshly ground for each order.
    4 The water-filter system must be able to produce quality water.
    5 The espresso machine must be clean, and at the correct operating temperature and pressure.
    6 The barista must be knowledgeable and trained.

    DOSE QUANTITY
    The quantity of ground coffee (measured in grams) that is used for each espresso will vary depending on the size of the filter basket. Coffee quantity should be enough to fill the filter basket about 5 mm from the top of the basket rim after tamping. If you change the size of the filter basket, you will need to adjust the grinder (see chapter 3, Grinding coffee).


    COFFEE QUANTITY
    The amount of ground coffee to use per ‘shot’ depends on a number of variables, such as:
    ;) type or blend of coffee
    :D size of filter basket
    ;D type of espresso machine
    >:( the barista’s packing (dosing, tamping) method.

    FILTER BASKETS
    The quantity of ground coffee that a filter basket can hold varies:
    :-[ single baskets — from 6 to 14 g
    :-* double baskets — from 12 to 22 g.

    The nominal number given to a filter-basket size might not be a true indication of the amount of ground coffee that the filter basket will hold; for example, an 8 g basket might actually hold 10–12 g of ground coffee when the coffee is tamped.

    It is important that you know that various sizes of filter basket are available. A barista may need to use a different-sized filter basket when:
    :-/ the coffee type is changed
    :( the problem of under-extraction occurs
    :o the problem of over-extraction occurs.

    For more detailed info you will have to buy the book. It will be available again in about a week.
    John


  21. #21
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Dose size discussion.

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    As always some excellent info there Pinot! :D

    On the weighing comments:

    My only queery about weighing the coffee and the filter basket befor extracting, is that, by the time you load it back in the group handle the basket and handle will be cold. Not to mention the ground coffee would be starting to heat up. That is assuming you are keeping the handle and basket warm!!!!!!
    Then if you had tamped the coffee before weighing it, all the fiddling about could see you with a cracked cake. Then you will end up with channelling etc, etc.
    Weigh the beans before grinding. ;D This eliminates all those downsides. :D

    Java "Gotta love good info" phile



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