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Thread: Grinding Adjustments Issue

  1. #1
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    Grinding Adjustments Issue

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight


    I wonder if someone out there can help me with what might be grinder adjustment issue.I have recently began home roasting with an Imex Roaster and have also upgraded to a better grinder .I purchased an Isomac professionale which has certainly resolved quite a number of earlier issues I had in pursuit of a reasonable cup of coffee and have had some really good outcomes since the grinder upgrade. Yesterday I was truly in the zone with a batch of Ethiopian Supreme I had just roasted and could not go wrong as far as making several good cups during the entire day. If only it was like that all the time right ! Today on the other hand I had still a small portion leftover from that same batch and could not get it right. It tasted more like filtered coffee with only a very small amount of crema. I have not altered my dosing and tamping procedure so I can only assume that I need to be looking at some grinder adjustment as the coffee ages after roasting. Would that be a right assumption ? If so should the grind go coarser or finer with age of the blend? I am using a Via Venezia with a pressurized PF but like I said I have had some good cups with it and so I am more inclined to think itís more a grinder or operator problem at this stage.

  2. #2
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    Re: Grinding Adjustments Issue

    carloz....

    As beans age you need to grind finer to compensate.... but you should let them rest for a couple of days post roast before you start to use them...

    Part of your problem is pressurised baskets! They provide the back pressure for extraction.... and when you tamp - then you do as well.... each is fighting the other and it will be very hard to "get it right"....

    Unlike the rest of us who have grind size, distribution and tamp to worry about.... you can add those pressurised baskets.... Keeping 3 things consistent is hard enough - without adding a fourth.

    With pressurised baskets distribution is less important, tamping is less important and grind size normally needs to be coarser.... and is also less important..... the trouble is the pressurised baskets will do their thing.... and that will over ride your efforts....

    Pressurised baskets are really designed for relatively stale (sometimes VERY stale) supermarket coffee which is often also a more coarse grind...... You may get a great coffee from time to time from one (to start off the crema is "false".... produced by squirting the espresso through a very small hole and whipping it up.... so crema amount is not a good indicator of your extraction - as it is with a normal basket.

    Good luck.... but you are making it harder for yourself than the rest of us.... easier to get an espresso "look alike" but much harder to get a "great espresso".

  3. #3
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Grinding Adjustments Issue

    As far as I remember the VV pressurised portafilter is fairly easy to modify to non-pressurised. A search of the site will provide the information you need.

    Was the leftover portion of coffee sealed away or left to sit in the grinder? This can make it change radically overnight as the temp and humidity dance about.

    Oh--and sometimes is seems to matter how you hold your tongue! :P

    Greg

  4. #4
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    Re: Grinding Adjustments Issue

    Part of your problem is pressurised baskets! They provide the back pressure for extraction.... and when you tamp - then you do as well.... each is fighting the other and it will be very hard to "get it right"....

    Unlike the rest of us who have grind size, distribution and tamp to worry about.... you can add those pressurised baskets.... Keeping 3 things consistent is hard enough - without adding a fourth.

    With pressurised baskets distribution is less important, tamping is less important and grind size normally needs to be coarser.... and is also less important..... the trouble is the pressurised baskets will do their thing.... and that will over ride your efforts....

    Pressurised baskets are really designed for relatively stale (sometimes VERY stale) supermarket coffee which is often also a more coarse grind...... You may get a great coffee from time to time from one (to start off the crema is "false".... produced by squirting the espresso through a very small hole and whipping it up.... so crema amount is not a good indicator of your extraction - as it is with a normal basket.

    Good luck.... but you are making it harder for yourself than the rest of us.... easier to get an espresso "look alike" but much harder to get a "great espresso".
    would have to ask, have you spent time with a via venezia making coffee
    sounds not

    as carloz has said, he is quite happy with his quality of coffee from this unit and has asked a question in relation to grind

    dont make it more difficult than it needs to be

    the prob is not the pressurised PF, it is a grind and dose prob

    i can pull some very good tatsing shots off the via, using fresh roasted coffee, 3-4 days post roast

    with the via venezia, using the right grind and dose of coffee it can overcome the PF design,
    and can get a better espresso than some users, using high end home HX units with expensive grinders

    Not so with the dual floor filters used in the breville/sunbeam / krups

    graham

  5. #5
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    Re: Grinding Adjustments Issue

    Greetings and thanks for your comments Graham. I agree that itís a grind and dose problem with the VV. I have had the unit for some two years and must admit that the shots have improved a great deal since I have been guided by this forum. The VV is only now beginning to really show its capabilities with proper use. Nevertheless I will be getting a new unit without the pressurized PFís to complicate my life further after Christmas and will be seeking comments from forum members for that purchase. I did adjust my grind this morning as suggested and voila. Now if I can only keep it that way. Just out of curiosity I tried a second pour an hour later which was a failure. I think I may have to return to weighing again as that last one may have been a dose problem. I have been pulling some good shots with the VV and I suppose that is subjective. But I can best define my idea of a good shot by saying it has a flavor which is consistent and sustained from the start to end and does not diminish into a watery milky taste as you get further down the cup. Thanks again.

    Another question you might be able to answer. Would it be pratical to remove the spring on the PF of the VV to isolating the problem from machine and operator


  6. #6
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    Re: Grinding Adjustments Issue

    Greetings and thanks for your post. I did not know whether to grind coarser or finer as the beans aged so youíve clarified that for me. I can also see how tamping with a PF can be counterproductive from what you say and I may have to give this some further thought. It has been suggested elsewhere that I remove the spring in the PF and do away with it entirely. I did have a brief attempt at that but it was so unsuccessful I put it back. Though at the time I was using a poor quality grinder which I suspect was a major part of the problem.I might have another attempt at removing the spring from the PF and see what happens with the new grinder. As I have mentioned I do get some good shots with the PF but this morning eg. I got one good shot and the other two went down the sink.


  7. #7
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    Re: Grinding Adjustments Issue

    with the vv i overfill abit, and well tamped, so that the coffee sits hard against the shower

    when i remove the spent grounds they come out hard and compacted, the same as if i was using a commercial machine

    i found that removing the spring didnt really improve the way it works

    non pressurised PF are available for around $60.00

  8. #8
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    Re: Grinding Adjustments Issue

    Many thanks for this piece of information. I will start doing the overfills as suggested by you as I did have success with the overfill on various occasions but think I have strayed away as I focused on other concerns with my methods. Will continue using the PF as well.

  9. #9
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    Re: Grinding Adjustments Issue

    To everyone please..... get it right. Like they say, they are 4 M rules for making a great cup of coffee.

    First M is - Macchina: the coffee machine, what you have got is pretty good for an entry level machine, make sure the machine is at the correct operating temperature and most of all your portafilter is up to temperature.

    Second M - Miscela: The coffee blend, here we can talk for a few years, but if you say that you had good coffee the day before, one day shouldnt effect the coffee extraction(hopefully you didnt store in the fridge or freezer)

    third M - Macinatura: The grinding, most likely this is the problem, coffee is hydroscopic, it absorbs humidity and changes its characteristics significantly. The general rule, if it is a rainy day with high humidity, or early in the morning, the grinder needs to be set coarser. The reaosn is pretty obviously, if the coffee has absorbed some of this humidity then when you are pressing it will compact more firmly and it will slow down the extraction process, resulting in a burning taste, a darker colour and very little crema.

    Fourth M - Mano: the hand. This is basically how you you tamp the coffee, the dosage and the force you apply during tamping. My best advice is to you is to experiment, learn from trial and error and please, do not do any barista course or lessons etc etc...


    The art of making coffee is just one of the most simple things to achieve, the only skill required is common sense. Theres no such thing as a "Barista University degree" and sorry if im going to upset many, but in italy, a barista is on the bottom of the social scale when looking at jobs. Usually, over there, when you just turn 14 and you dont want to remain at highschool and you cant find any other jobs, so you may try to work at the service station as a petrol pump attendant, then if you cant even manage that your father will try to convince a local bar to hire you as an apprentice, usually after a few slaps on the back and considering your father will keep slapping you on the back if you dont make an effort you will have mastered the "art of making coffee". In my opinion the real barista, the real professional barista is the person that knows his customers by their names and the coffee style that they like, knows how to smile and how to converse with customers, is friendly and of course, knows how to make coffee.





  10. #10
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Grinding Adjustments Issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Destijl link=1229584863/0#8 date=1230086073
    Fourth M - Mano: the hand. This is basically how you you tamp the coffee, the dosage and the force you apply during tamping. My best advice is to you is to experiment, learn from trial and error and please, do not do any barista course or lessons etc etc...
    I always thought "mano" was the skill of the barista, not something as mundane as dose/tamp.

    And sorry, but not to do a course is the silliest piece of advice Ive ever read on this site.

    Would you recommend learning to drive a car by yourself?
    I hope not.
    The way its done is someone teaches you until you are competent to be allowed to practise by yourself.



    Quote Originally Posted by Destijl link=1229584863/0#8 date=1230086073
    In my opinion the real barista, the real professional barista is the person that knows his customers by their names and the coffee style that they like, knows how to smile and how to converse with customers, is friendly and of course, knows how to make coffee.
    I disagree somewhat.
    How to make good coffee is the main thing, the rest is just fluff (show).
    If you can do all of it, great, if not, Ill take the coffee without the show any time.



  11. #11
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    Re: Grinding Adjustments Issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1229584863/0#9 date=1230087566
    I always thought "mano" was the skill of the barista, not something as mundane as dose/tamp.

    And sorry, but not to do a course is the silliest piece of advice Ive ever read on this site.
    I was going to let this rest..... hoping it would die a natural death!

    But as Thundergod says.... it is a LOT more than dose/tamp..... it is knowing what beans to use (fresh!!!) and how to "care" for them.... how to use a grinder correctly.... and how to choose a grinder appropriate for the task..... how to use the machine itself - effectively!

    It is all about technique..... a technique you need to be taught.

    Quote from Destijl on Today at 13:34:
    In my opinion the real barista, the real professional barista is the person that knows his customers by their names and the coffee style that they like, knows how to smile and how to converse with customers, is friendly and of course, knows how to make coffee.

    I disagree somewhat.
    How to make good coffee is the main thing, the rest is just fluff (show).
    If you can do all of it, great, if not, Ill take the coffee without the show any time.
    Just ask the owner of a well known specialist coffee outlet here in Perth...... which is frequented by people who love coffee (including CS members)...

    He recently had to lose a Barista who had fantastic customer relationship skills..... but his expertise in making coffee was relatively cr@p (believing no doubt that customer service was more important than the quality of the product.....)

    When I go somewhere for a coffee..... I want a great coffee..... the smiles, remembering my name and what I like is a bonus - but I can live without them..... A cr@p coffee..... Ill walk out and probably not return!

    And I rate the importance as:

    Mano
    Miscela
    Macinatura
    Macchina

    Without skills - you will never make a great coffee - regardless of beans and hardware.
    If you have the skills but the beans are cr@p no combination of grinder and machine can overcome the problem
    Someone who knows what they are doing, has fresh quality beans and a quality grinder can get a pretty good espresso out of almost any machine....

    The machine is the least important link in the chain.

  12. #12
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    Re: Grinding Adjustments Issue

    I get the strong impression that *Destijl is "taking the mickey", and is getting exactly what he or she wants, ie bites from CSs. If Im wrong, then I sincerely apologise.



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