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Thread: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

  1. #1
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    Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I upgraded from a Botticelli to a Giotto several weeks back and although the coffee has improved, its still a very hit-and-miss process. Two good, two average and one crap in every 5 coffees.

    Some dividend cheques are burning a hole in my pocket and upgrading my Rocky grinder to a Mazzer/Macap etc is now on the cards. I want to be able to make not just good, but excellent coffee, and to repeat this with minimal effort. And I also want less mess.

    Im finding the puck is messy - a lot of creep up the sides of the portafilter, which never happened with the Botticelli. The puck is also often angled, even when tamped flat. So I end up with coffee grinds surrounding the group head - a PITA to clean with the Giottos smallish dript tray.

    So if I want better coffee thats easier to male, is a grinder upgrade the way to go, or are my skills too inadequate?

  2. #2
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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Hi there
    Cant comment on the Rocky grinder but i have a Macap M5 with doser working with my Giotto and it all works well.
    A question though.
    Are you using the single or the double basket?
    I found using the single basket and spout hard yakka and couldnt get a good shot so i dumped it in the draw and now only use the double spout and basket and the results are always consistent and i can see each time where my skills are lacking and if my technique goes off.

    Mal

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Definitely get the training, at a reputable place of course. The Rocky is a good little grinder and if the puck is angled (?), like you say, it sounds more like a problem with your process rather then anything else.

    If you give us some shots of the puck we may be able to help.

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    What distribution techniques have you tried since receiving the Giotto? I found with my upgrade to a VBM Super I completely changed my distribution technique.

    I also use the double basket always.

    Was the Pullman tamper a direct match for your Giotto basket?

    Do you have access to a bottomless portafilter to analyse your shots?

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Quote Originally Posted by Intellidepth link=1221560481/0#3 date=1221566281
    What distribution techniques have you tried since receiving the Giotto? I found with my upgrade to a VBM Super I completely changed my distribution technique.
    Just bought a nice Coffees Been tamper mat, and bang the PF on the mat twice during the dosing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Intellidepth link=1221560481/0#3 date=1221566281
    I also use the double basket always.
    Ditto.

    Quote Originally Posted by Intellidepth link=1221560481/0#3 date=1221566281
    Was the Pullman tamper a direct match for your Giotto basket?
    No. Base of tamper > 3mm smaller than basket. Already been in touch with Greg via his website re a new base or whole tamper. Anyone recommend convex vs flat for Giotto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Intellidepth link=1221560481/0#3 date=1221566281
    Do you have access to a bottomless portafilter to analyse your shots?
    No - I tend to analyze how the coffee pours out of both sides of the double PF to assess. Mine is 50:50 even:one-sided.

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    You may need something like this to keep you on the straight and narrow
    So to speak for tamp consistancy



    But if you want a machine that works consistantly well and is clean you cant go past the Macap M4D

    KK

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Hi David,

    I have an M4D on the bench with Giotto at present. Might be worth coming in a pulling some shots?

    regards

    Chris

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Would love to Chris but living in Adelaide makes that a bit difficult :(

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR link=1221560481/0#7 date=1221599150
    Would love to Chris but living in Adelaide makes that a bit difficult :(
    oh yeah :-[

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    hi david

    Im finding the puck is messy - a lot of creep up the sides of the portafilter, which never happened with the Botticelli. The puck is also often angled, even when tamped flat. So I end up with coffee grinds surrounding the group head - a PITA to clean with the Giottos smallish dript tray
    upgrading your grinder will not fix the problem,
    training in the right tecnique and practise will

    after you have it workerd out, then you could try a different grinder and see if it is worth the extra bucks

    the rocky is a good grinder,
    some say the mazzer grinds better,
    others cant see the difference

    graham

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Hi David R,

    I found the NSEW (North, South, East, West) technique of distributing the coffee grounds in the PF prior to tamping really great as you can tell the differences in density in the puck under your finger. It sounds like the grounds from the Rocky may be angling to a particular area on your PF and providing a more dense fill in that zone.

    Overfill the PF to a mound, and gradually move your first finger across the top of the PF from N-S, S-N, E-W, W-E, filling in any less dense areas as you go and compressing ever so *slightly*, pushing spare grounds over the edge. I curve my finger slightly so it creates a slight concave dip in the puck. I weigh the PF to make sure the the grammage is precise, then tamp. (No banging the PF.) I generally work with 17g doubles.

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Great tips guys.

    If were to rule out grind consistency (as the Rocky does an ok job with it..), were remained with the other variables involved with espresso, controlled by the operator: dosing, distribution and tamping.

    Non is configured on its own, but in relations to the other 2. The steady tamping pressure achieved by a tamping stand suggested by KK and the great technique of NESW suggested by Indellidepth are extremely helpful, if understood within a concept. *We may want to look at slightly bigger picture to understand how these parameters are modified against one another, a concept worked out during our training with our students.

    Messy and angled puk are a result of probably a combination of: uneven and inconsistent tamping pressure, incorrect distribution with underdosing. To get to the right, consistent dose (in relation always to your grind settings), the right, consistent distribution, and the right consistent tamping pressure, you would need to tackle each individually then experiment on all possible combination of the 3:

    1. For consistency of dose - mound and NESW, or alternatively use dosing tools thatll allow you swiping off the same amount of coffee every shot

    2. Distribution: eliminate clumping scenario, as theyre a main obstacle towards good distribution. Try also giggling your handle while grind is generated, to achieve better distribution and to enhance water pressure and slow the pour (that is if your grind is not too fine). Thats one of the reasons why some people will choose a doser grinder, that assist them in going fine on their grind and still achieve an even distribution without having to battle clumping, which the Mini Mazzer / Macpa would do for you..) You can choose also to level your puk half way through with your tamper, or level and tamp (remember, thatll slow the pour, you dont want to double tamp if your coffee is fine, youll burn it).

    3. For consistency of tamp: make sure your tamper cover the entire puk (thats abc, suggest to fix your tamper issue before anything else!), try use a tamping stand for the angle and / or pre calibrated tamper, that introduces the same amount of pressure each time you tamp.

    Whatever combination, or only 1 parameter modified eventually, it will need to be a routine easy to repeat and that youre comfortable with (hence why tamping very hard is never a good idea, nor the grind-level-tamp-grind-distribute-level-tamp routine, that would take forever... ;)), otherwise, youd never achieve consistency, therefore excellence.

    Hope it helps. Dosing Tools, Tamping Stand, Calibrated Tampers and many other aids to your consistency, are available on: http://www.unpaid.com.au/products.asp?cid=27

    Let me know if I can help more, Ofra

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Hi all,

    Thanks to all of you for your advice. One final point - my Pullman tamper is about 2mm too small for the new basket, should I look at a new custom-sized one? Funny thing is, it seemed easier to get a clean puck out of my Botticelli, whose basket fit the tamper perfectly.

    Cheers,
    Dave

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    definitely get a better fitting tamper...shame to have all that great equipment and struggle at the business end due to one of the "cheaper" components. itll make life a lot easier.

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    My previous tamper was only 1mm different, and I had a long routine of multiple tamps to get the puck evenly tamped and grounds down from the side without knocking.

    The perfectly matched Pullman works beautifully in 1 tamp and polish. It cut down the time, and improved the shots by eliminating edge channelling. Worth it? Yes. Every shot.

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Agree intellidepth.

    Just note David that since Pullman is customized per basket, we may wish to avoid a repetition of the same incompatibility in the future.

    If youd use the original Giotto baskets forever, youd be happy. If youd decide to experiment with baskets sizes and makes to control better strength and complexity of your coffee (example: triple basket 18g-21g, Standard 58mm 12g, etc), your Pullman tamper may become, again, less than a perfcet match.

    Suggest to consider any good quality heavy duty, 58mm S/S flat base tamper that you can get around the $40. It will be compatible with your baskets and with most 58mm standard baskets, and will help you to build a healthy routine. In a later stage, you may want to order a Pullman, or you may find the standard 58mm to do a satisfying job...

    Bolb: no need to put your single handle in the draw, send us your handle and well turn it to a naked handle for you for $50... :)

    Ofra


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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR link=1221560481/0#12 date=1221683562
    Hi all,

    Thanks to all of you for your advice. One final point - my Pullman tamper is about 2mm too small for the new basket, should I look at a new custom-sized one? Funny thing is, it seemed easier to get a clean puck out of my Botticelli, whose basket fit the tamper perfectly.

    Cheers,
    Dave
    Might be a silly question but does your basket that fits the Pullman not fit the new machine?

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Yep TGs suggestion is on the money
    An E61 group head will accept a basket from another E61 group head
    The diameter is the same
    The only limiting factor is depth (depends on make)

    In fact you can use the whole PF of the Botichelli

    KK

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    I think you should check what your shares have done in the last few days. Then sell all your coffee equipment to make up for losses!

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1221560481/0#16 date=1221709871
    Might be a silly question but does your basket that fits the Pullman not fit the new machine?
    The old machine has already found a new home, so Ill never know...

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Quote Originally Posted by damian1 link=1221560481/0#18 date=1221731193
    I think you should check what your shares have done in the last few days. *Then sell all your coffee equipment to make up for losses!
    I sold all my shares a couple of years ago and moved most of my superannuation into cash a few months ago.

    So hopefully I wont have to sell my coffee equipment.

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Sounds like a good move thundergod. I should employ you as my financial adviser!

    At least us share owners made a little of our losses back today. So keep spending! I know I will - Im on the look out for a super jolly. Not because I dont think the rocky is up to it, but it has a bit of trouble keeping up with my 2 group.

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1221560481/20#20 date=1221742714
    I sold all my shares a couple of years ago and moved most of my superannuation into cash a few months ago.

    So hopefully I wont have to sell my coffee equipment.
    Youll just need to check under the mattress on a regular basis TG- and keep that pesky son away from it! ;D

  24. #24
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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Do they still cash pound notes ::)

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Quote Originally Posted by damian1 link=1221560481/20#21 date=1221807631
    Sounds like a good move thundergod. *I should employ you as my financial adviser!
    I did work in a bank for almost 20 years.

    ------------------------------------

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan link=1221560481/20#23 date=1221809059
    Do they still cash pound notes ::)
    Last time I worked in a bank the answer was yes.
    Theyll give you $2 for one.

    A switched on bank clerk would usually recommend you try exchange them with a coin dealer instead as youd probably get a better "price".

  26. #26
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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    I thought the value may have gone up with inflation. *If a pound was worth $2 in 1966 or $7 I forget it must be worth at least $7.00 now. ;)

  27. #27
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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    We switched to decimal currency on the 14th February 1966.

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    I remember the switch (had to fight my brother for the new coins that the milkman left when he HOME delivered the milk) but I was unsure of the date. That gives away my age (the milkman delivering the milk I mean) ;D. I wonder if coffee helps the memory :-/

  29. #29
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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan link=1221560481/20#27 date=1221897652
    I wonder if coffee helps the memory :-/
    yes it does - particularly short term memory.

    "Coffee creates new neuro pathways to information once thought lost" Dennis 2007

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    Re: Upgrade my grinder or my skills?

    I forgot I read that *;D ;D maybe I need another coffee. *It seems the older you get the more you forget. *Maybe because there is so much new information. *



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