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When do you start to time the shot?

Postby rotuts on Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:42 am

its been said that the perfect espresso is a 25 second shot of 25 gms etc

but when do you start to time the shot? when you activate the lever? when you begin to see coffee coming out of the bottomless portafilter?

I have an Alexia PID and a K-3 doserless and roast SweetMaria's with an iRoast-2 with a long probe Cooper thermometer through the top into the bean mass for reproduceability.

I can tell how my shot will turn out by the thickness of the stream and I full my double espresso cup about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up.

I was curious to find out how this technique compares to the 25 second version but when to begin the timer?

many thanks!
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Postby samster on Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:53 am

for me, time starts when water starts flowing into the portafilter (i.e., when you activate the lever, starting with pre-infusion on an e61). adding 25 sec by the time extraction comes out of the basket will likely result in a bitter shot and too much espresso in your cup.

when i pre-infuse, i count 6 seconds and then draw for another 20-ish. but it depends. i go by looking at the stream more than time.

also, different beans change dosing and grind requirements so time varies all the time but usually never more than 32-ish total seconds, and never less than 22-ish total seconds else my shots taste bad.

(e.g., just opened a bag of honduran with which is impossible for me to do 18g on my marzocco baskets as these are dense beans -- must do 20 to get closer to tampable height -- some say this is too many grams -- and i still get short draws, will adjust grind).
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Postby Bluecold on Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:01 am

I do one preinfusion pump until I feel resistance, and wait until the first drop. Then I let go of the lever. If it looks like a nice flow, I drink it, if it tastes good, I repeat the process for the next time. If it tastes like it could taste better, I fiddle with grind settings and dose for the next time.

I don't time. I do weigh. I seem to like about 50-60% brew ratios.
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Postby rotuts on Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:22 am

many thanks. Ill try to time the way I do mine and see how close it is to 25.

I can tell how the shot will taste ( over or under infused ) by the diameter of the stream from the bottomless portafilter.
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Postby HB on Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:32 am

rotuts wrote:but when do you start to time the shot? when you activate the lever? when you begin to see coffee coming out of the bottomless portafilter?

This question comes up a lot. Below are a few of the previous discussions:

The majority agree the timing starts when the water first makes contact with the coffee, i.e., when the pump starts.
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Postby aecletec on Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:21 am

25 in 25 is merely a guideline, as is 30 in 30, or any other vague flow related instruction. The 'perfect' shot is the one tweaked to your taste.
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Postby rotuts on Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:39 am

agree completely. its in the cup that matters.

now why i cant get a cup that matters with the double filter I may never know! ( not the double standard filter the one thats bigger than that that only fits in the bottomless portafilter.
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Postby aecletec on Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:08 pm

What is it about your cup that doesn't matter?
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Postby rotuts on Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:28 pm

well I mis-wrote.
:oops:
in the largest filter, the one that only fits on the bottomless portafilter the shots were always harsh and bitter, where as that same grind/bean mixture done on the 'double' was sweet and mellow.
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Postby RapidCoffee on Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:38 pm

HB wrote:The majority agree the timing starts when the water first makes contact with the coffee, i.e., when the pump starts.

Regardless of majority opinion, this is not an entirely trivial issue. Water contact with coffee grinds proceeds downwards, from the top of the puck to the bottom. On preinfusing E61 groups, it may take 7-8 seconds before the entire puck is saturated, and espresso droplets appear. This "dwell time" is 30% of the recommended pour time. On my Spaz S1V1 (rotary pump, no preinfusion) the dwell time is about half that, and the puck saturates 3-4 seconds sooner. I'm not convinced that water contact with the top of the puck is a better measure of grinds saturation than the middle, or the bottom.

Jim's approach (half the dwell time plus all the pour time) is a reasonable compromise. If nothing else, it cuts the variance between different ways of timing in half.
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