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Espresso with horrible acidic taste. - Page 2

Postby Kyle548 on Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:50 pm

@Randy G.

I have tried to be as methodical as possible, up-until now I have weighed out and used 18g of coffee, next time I'll try a different dose and see if that helps.
I did try a few different blends with much the same result and I'm pretty sure the coffee I'm using is well roasted, I tried it in my moka pot, and it tasted really smooth and produced a really pleasing cup and compared to some old starbucks we have lying around (apparently its medium roasted, but it looks like a full city to me......) the beans are quite a bit lighter coloured. I have had them getting on for 14 days, but the results I have been getting have been pretty much the same since I received them, 2 or 3 days after roasting.

As for water temp, I'll try to measure it at the next chance I get and come back with the results.


In the mouth, there is a sort of, maybe a burnt taste, not that bad really; I could put up with it and maybe even enjoy it, but the real problem isn't so much in the mouth as it is when I swallow, I can really feel the drink on the back of my throat and as the drink cools it really becomes accentuated. I can't describe it as anything other than sharp really....

Thanks, I'll check out your site.
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Postby JmanEspresso on Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:21 pm

Hey Randy,

Ive been reading your site since before I found HB and was only brand new on Coffeegeek, about four years ago. Lovely stuff, I always check back for updates.

But, I must have missed the posting about roasting coffee specifically for higher brew temps. Can you please outline what steps I must take to succesfully brew shots at 302F?

Randy G. wrote:Finally, get another home espresso enthusiast to come over and assist. Sever a dinner or BBQ and ask them to bring some beans or even another grinder if possible. Little things can make a big difference. A coffee that tastes very nice at 302F. can be quite nasty at 196F.



All in good fun sir :D
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Postby Randy G. on Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:09 pm

Basically, what I was getting at was that a light roast that would be great for drip (like a Colombian stopped between 1st and second, or even right at the end of second) would be disgusting as espresso as the acidity would be overwhelming for most drinkers. personally, I appreciate high acidity espresso when it is the citrus variety and accompanied by other flavors, particularly chocolate tones. But it has to be balanced.

Since you have tried other coffees, various doses, and other things, I am thinking that the first place to check is likely brew temp. On a machine with no real temperature control, and coupled with the fact that two degrees difference can be tasted by even new espresso drinkers (and one degree change can be noticeable) it is a logical next step.

And in regards to my website, thanks for the kind words. For me it was Mark Prince and Bogiesan that got me started. We all begin at a beginning, gather knowledge, and those of us with bug egos and a teaching background pass it on.. :wink:
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Postby Kyle548 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:36 pm

Ok, so today, I upped the dose from 18 to 20 and dialed the grind back a little and changed my temp surfing to the method suggested (I also tamped like you suggest on your website) and the shot difference was quite substantial. I wouldn't call my resultant shot good by any means but the taste was far more balanced and a lot less harsh on the throat.
Unfortunately, I ran out of coffee, so I'll have to wait until at least monday for my next delivery.

But still. Things are looking up :D
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Postby JmanEspresso on Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:40 pm

But still. Things are looking up


Id say so!.. One quick change, and you notice it in the cup. Soon, the change you make will be that one particular thing that makes the coffee perfect for you.

WRT the acidity/sourness points being made, high acidity in coffees can be mistaken for sourness. Ive had some coffees that were very bright, that at first I did mistake notes like lemon zest or apple tartness for a misstep in my technique, when in fact, the coffee was just giving me its goodness. You will probably find it easiest to use more chocolate, bass note dominant blends while you dial things in.

Randy, I understood your point, and its a good one to bring up. Acidity, in much higher regard than it was ten years ago, can be misinterpreted as sourness to one person, or green apple acidity to another. Its becoming more and more popular in espresso blends/SOs. Im not one to prefer super pucker shots myself, but Im not afraid of acidity in the cup either. And in brewed coffees I welcome it even more.

I was just poking fun at your typo of 302F(I presume you meant 202F).
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Postby Randy G. on Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:12 pm

JmanEspresso wrote:Randy, I understood your point, and its a good one to bring up. Acidity, in much higher regard than it was ten years ago, can be misinterpreted as sourness to one person, or green apple acidity to another. Its becoming more and more popular in espresso blends/SOs.

I told a story about that in Chapter 91 - here is the relevant excerpt:

------------------------------------------------------
We were there on a Saturday morning when Alec Binyon, the owner, was behind the counter (during the week, up until 6:00 PM, Lucky Rodrigues, who placed nineteenth in the semi-finals of the 2007 SCAA U.S. Barista championship, works behind the counter). The counter is just big enough for one person to work behind, but it is not meant to be a "fast coffee" shop in the tradition of the chain stores with revolving doors and push button coffee machines. This cafe prides itself on quality. All their coffee and tea offerings are organic. And they brew their own chai tea. Since I am a coffee guy (you probably noticed by now), and this is a coffee website (well, DUH!), it is their coffee on which I will focus.

I started out, after introducing myself and telling Alec where I heard of his shop, with a straight double shot. After all, a multitude of sins can be hidden in four ounces of steamed milk, but a straight espresso is coffee in its birthday suit. Alec showed me the shot which was first pulled into a clear, graduated shot glass, and of the nearly two ounces it was about 1.75 ounces of crema. He then transferred it to a proper, ceramic espresso cup and saucer. The aroma was quite enticing. The espresso blend they feature is Element 114 is from Barefoot Coffee Roasters of Santa Clara, California. It is a post-roast blend of four different coffees (one of which is roasted to two different ways). I will say that the taste was totally unexpected-- let me explain the best I can:

As the sip begins and you swallow, a hit of sourness begins. If you have had sour espresso before it is a very unpleasant experience because it begins sour and then gets worse. I was expecting that to happen as Ii swallowed, but instead of the sourness becoming overpowering it turned interesting and pleasant. It became a dramatic and delicious lemony flavor. I then offered my wife a sip. I could barely keep from laughing as Ii watched- she took a sip and her face hardened as she sensed the sour, and then relaxed as the lemon came through in the follow. So "Element 114" is a high acid, bright coffee. I prefer very balanced coffees, rich in flavor, heavy bodied, and buttery smooth, and so Element 114 is not to my personal tastes, yet it is quite drinkable straight.
---------------------------------------------------------
That was in 1997. Funny how tastes chage. I really enjoy that taste now, and unfortunately barefoot I thinik changed hands as well as discontinuing that blend years ago iirc.

I was just poking fun at your typo of 302F(I presume you meant 202F).

A typo like that from me is no surprise whatsoever. I am only surprised that I can find the computer each morning! :shock:
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Postby Randy G. on Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:13 pm

JmanEspresso wrote:Randy, I understood your point, and its a good one to bring up. Acidity, in much higher regard than it was ten years ago, can be misinterpreted as sourness to one person, or green apple acidity to another. Its becoming more and more popular in espresso blends/SOs.

I told a story about that in Chapter 91 - here is the relevant excerpt:

------------------------------------------------------
We were there on a Saturday morning when Alec Binyon, the owner, was behind the counter (during the week, up until 6:00 PM, Lucky Rodrigues, who placed nineteenth in the semi-finals of the 2007 SCAA U.S. Barista championship, works behind the counter). The counter is just big enough for one person to work behind, but it is not meant to be a "fast coffee" shop in the tradition of the chain stores with revolving doors and push button coffee machines. This cafe prides itself on quality. All their coffee and tea offerings are organic. And they brew their own chai tea. Since I am a coffee guy (you probably noticed by now), and this is a coffee website (well, DUH!), it is their coffee on which I will focus.

I started out, after introducing myself and telling Alec where I heard of his shop, with a straight double shot. After all, a multitude of sins can be hidden in four ounces of steamed milk, but a straight espresso is coffee in its birthday suit. Alec showed me the shot which was first pulled into a clear, graduated shot glass, and of the nearly two ounces it was about 1.75 ounces of crema. He then transferred it to a proper, ceramic espresso cup and saucer. The aroma was quite enticing. The espresso blend they feature is Element 114 is from Barefoot Coffee Roasters of Santa Clara, California. It is a post-roast blend of four different coffees (one of which is roasted to two different ways). I will say that the taste was totally unexpected-- let me explain the best I can:

As the sip begins and you swallow, a hit of sourness begins. If you have had sour espresso before it is a very unpleasant experience because it begins sour and then gets worse. I was expecting that to happen as Ii swallowed, but instead of the sourness becoming overpowering it turned interesting and pleasant. It became a dramatic and delicious lemony flavor. I then offered my wife a sip. I could barely keep from laughing as Ii watched- she took a sip and her face hardened as she sensed the sour, and then relaxed as the lemon came through in the follow. So "Element 114" is a high acid, bright coffee. I prefer very balanced coffees, rich in flavor, heavy bodied, and buttery smooth, and so Element 114 is not to my personal tastes, yet it is quite drinkable straight.
---------------------------------------------------------
That was in 1997. Funny how tastes change. I really enjoy that taste now, and unfortunately barefoot I thinik changed hands as well as discontinuing that blend years ago iirc.

I was just poking fun at your typo of 302F(I presume you meant 202F).

A typo like that from me is no surprise whatsoever. I am only surprised that I can find the computer each morning! :shock:
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Postby Maxwell Mooney on Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:16 pm

Yes, you should change your grind as you adjust your dose.

One thing I've noticed is that it's really hard for most people to differentiate between acidic and bitter. My first thought is to have you drop your dose to around 14g, fine it up enough to keep your flow rate at about a 25-30 second shot, and see what that does. You should cut the shot just after it turns blonde (no more than 5 seconds after blonding). That's how you know when the shot is done.

There is a thread on how to gauge a shot's blonde point.

For now, don't worry about the amount of volume you get. Volume is a bad indicator of how much liquid you should have.

Sometimes you have to pull a smaller shot to get the most that the bean has to offer you.

You should weigh your dry coffee in, and your brewed espresso weight out. If you're truly getting acidic coffee, it means you are underextracting your coffee. Coffee has different compounds that come out depending on how much is being extracted from the coffee. The first 0-18% of coffee extraction is all acids, 18-22% is sugars, and 22-30% is bitterants. Coffee is only 30% water soluble.

So if you're getting acidic coffee, what that means is that your water is only extracting within the first 18% of the coffee, which means you need to extract MORE out of the coffee to get into the 18-22% range. In order to extract more from the actual coffee itself, you have to lower the ratio of how much coffee to water you're using, while keeping the flow rate the same, so that means LOWERING your dose (or adding more water, but 18g is a high dose IMHO), and grinding finer so that the water has more time to extract those nummies from the coffee.

Randy's advice about quantifying what you're doing is the best advice anyone can give you. If you don't have a scale or other measurement tools, it's all just a shot in the dark (pun intended) and you won't be able to make meaningful progress in any feasible amount of time.

One of the biggest problems I run into is that third wave cafes pull their bright, lightly roasted Single Origins, which would otherwise be super tasty, at too high of a dose which underextracts their sugars and makes your face pucker.

I hope your espresso journey continues and you get this figured out sooner than later! It takes time to learn, especially from the internet, but it is very possible!

Blessings!
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Postby Kyle548 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:23 pm

Hi.

Yes, I find it difficult to know acidic and bitter.
The end effect is that of a burning as I swallow, so I assumed it was bitter.

I don't know about 3rd wave, but I had a shot at a local shop recently that was very slightly bitter and extremely chocolaty. It made me smile a little. I don't know what it was though, the beans were in a sealed hopper branded with a company name.
The taste was a really far cry from the coffee I can make.....


My basket is a triple from the feel of the thing; 18g is about 1/2 of the whole basket after tamping, 14g would be an awful lot less.
Does the amount I fill the basket matter? Is it not better to be closer to the screen, without touching it of course?

My next shot I'll measure everything and film my shot and post it here with comments on taste.
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Postby Kyle548 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:19 am

I pulled a shot just now.
I used 14g coffee and pulled about 33g shot in 23seconds. Total shot volume was about 1.3 oz.


The cup, while drinkable is very bright. I think the taste is sort of like a strong citrus taste. Kind of like the juice you put onto pancakes. It overpowers all other flavours, so other than it, I have no idea what is in the cup.

The shot stopped tiger striping at about 17 or 18 seconds, but its hard to say exactly when the shot blonded as from the start, it goes from black to a stream of cream liquid with a few, unpronounced stripes which disappear relatively soon. The black drips stop at about 4 or 5 seconds into the pour.
At first, I thought I was using beans that are too fresh, but now the beans have aged for just over 6 days and when I checked with the roaster, the sales rep said for him, the beans usually peaked at a week when he was working as a barista. The only change that I can see is that the crema is a lot more stable and doesn't bloom as I pull. Its still quite bubbly though. (expected of a naked porta filter?)

I read the digital coffee thread, but I don't quite understand the maths behind it. According to the thread, I should have about a 42% extraction.
But is that 42% of the total soluble content of the bean (about 30%)?
Assuming it is indeed 30% for my current beans, 42% of the total soluble 30% is about 9.2%? Certainly that puts me right in the middle of your range of acidity.
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