Do I need an upgrade to make good espresso? - Page 3

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
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Psyd
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#21: Post by Psyd »

zepol wrote:Psyd, could you comment on your use of level baskets?
I'm using the older LM ridged basket, and I level it before tamping, as was suggested. The Silvia is my spare machine, and she lives with my GF, so the scale and everything lives with me at my house. Prior to the new machine, Silvia was fed a weighed dose, and I just noticed that the weighed dose, when ground to provide a 25-28 second double, would just fill a basket to level. The shots I'm getting are just so amazingly consistently nearer-my-godshot-to-thee that I don't think I'll be changing much. Today's production were creamy, chocolaty, and had the best mouthfeel I've had from a shot in a month!
I weight the shots for the Astoria, sixteen and eighteen grams a piece for the sixteen and eighteen gram baskets, and the results aren't quite as good, so there are valid arguments on both sides of the fence.
By weight or by volume, as long as the result is 1.5-2 oz in 25-30 seconds, you're going to end up with great results. Different machines will give better results for different methods, and one needs to find out just what one's machine will respond better to.
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zepol (original poster)

#22: Post by zepol (original poster) »

The source of my harshness problem was the dose. This weekend I reluctantly broke out my 0.1g scale and proceeded to measure out 14g of beans. I ground two clicks finer than usual on the Rocky, reweighed, and was at 14.2g. This amount of coffee in my ridgeless double basket was much less than anything I had yet tried; the ridge on my Reg Barber tamper was a hair below the top of the basket before tamping. Anyway, the shot came out at around 2oz in 24sec and was not harsh at all. I spent the weekend making straight shots, Americanos, Cappuccinos and Lattes, and all were much better than I had been making.

Soon I plan to experiment by varying the weight of the dose. Then I will redo my temperature experiment with the preferred dose. I may play with a triple basket. But I'm confident I've turned the corner.

In summary, my experience with the Silvia has been that it is extremely sensitive to dosing. Lower doses and finer grinds have solved my harshness problems. Further, the harshness resulting from a too high a dose is very different than that from too high a brewing temperature. The latter is kind of ashy in taste, the former is harder to describe, but is less subtle and in fact completely overpowering. Thanks for all the suggestions and comments.
- Rob

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jesawdy

#23: Post by jesawdy »

zepol wrote:The source of my harshness problem was the dose. This weekend I reluctantly broke out my 0.1g scale and proceeded to measure out 14g of beans. I ground two clicks finer than usual on the Rocky, reweighed, and was at 14.2g. This amount of coffee in my ridgeless double basket was much less than anything I had yet tried; the ridge on my Reg Barber tamper was a hair below the top of the basket before tamping. Anyway, the shot came out at around 2oz in 24sec and was not harsh at all. I spent the weekend making straight shots, Americanos, Cappuccinos and Lattes, and all were much better than I had been making.
I know this is an older thread, but I just got the chance to read it. In my experience with the Rocky/Silvia combo, if you want 14g, 15g and sometimes even 16g doses in an LM ridgeless basket, you need to stop well short of a level basket, distribute (or jostle level), and tamp. The Rocky doesn't seem to fluff up the grind (even with WDT) compared to the larger grinders that I have now used, which makes volume dosing somewhat problematic.

Hope the shots are still working out for you....
Jeff Sawdy

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Psyd
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#24: Post by Psyd »

jesawdy wrote: you need to stop well short of a level basket, distribute (or jostle level), and tamp. The Rocky doesn't seem to fluff up the grind (even with WDT)
I switch from a pair of Mazzer Majors (which are nearly the definition of larger grinders) and a commercial two-group to a Silvia and Rocky Combo nearly every other day. I think that the word 'need' that I've italicized and bolded, is a bit excessive, in that I've been WDT'ing and Stockflething to a level basket in the Silvia in a fourteen gram LM basket for the past, oh, call it three years, and it has produced far more consistently amazing results with the same beans than I've been getting out of the pro kit. Shots like a Verdi Opera.
Horses for courses, but I'm seeing a bit of a leaning toward 'right' and 'wrong' as opposed to a choice of techniques and results.
(Not that I'm implying that that is was you meant, Jesawdy, but there are others that have 'gone to the dark side' of the false dilemma of bifurcation. There are few rights and wrongs, and many things that work for you and things that work for me. Sometimes they even intersect.)
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zepol (original poster)

#25: Post by zepol (original poster) »

Jesawdy, I am getting better results more or less consistently now. Well, I still occasionally pull sink shots, but my good shots are really enjoyable. Thanks for asking.

I thought this thread was dead, but the last two posts raise an interesting question about whether or not underdosing is required for the Silvia / Rocky doserless combo. To reiterate my observations, if I use my distribution technique (i.e., my brand of WDT and a 30lb tamp) on a level basket of Black Cat the shower screen tears up the dry puck. Emphatically not a Verdi opera unless you really hate Verdi! However, it turns out that with Black Cat decaf I can dose higher, to just below level, without destroying the puck.

I'm not sure how this all fits together. Psyd's success with level baskets suggest a lower pre-tamp density than I'm getting. This might come from a fluffier grind or from the coffee itself. Is there something about your WDT'ing that might result in extra fluffy grinds? Have you had success with level baskets and Black Cat?
- Rob

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Psyd
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#26: Post by Psyd »

zepol wrote: Have you had success with level baskets and Black Cat?
Funny you should ask, just finished the last of my Black Cat today. While the shots ran well, I'm still experimenting with wait times temp surfing with the steam t-stat. Temps are a bit weird, but when I get it right it's still great. My GF said hers was the best she's had from that bag.
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jesawdy

#27: Post by jesawdy »

Psyd wrote:(Not that I'm implying that that is was you meant, Jesawdy, but there are others that have 'gone to the dark side' of the false dilemma of bifurcation. There are few rights and wrongs, and many things that work for you and things that work for me. Sometimes they even intersect.)
My point was that, in my experience, a level strike on an LM ridgeless double (like the OP) and my Rocky, seems to result in anywhere from 16-20g depending on grind and coffee used.
Jeff Sawdy

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Psyd
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#28: Post by Psyd » replying to jesawdy »

I was just making that clear. Earlier, someone used 'must' (italics theirs, too!) and then seeing 'need', and quite a few other (see some of the locked threads) gospel-like diatribes suggesting that if you do it any other way than the one being described, that you were wrong, I thought a short, friendly reminder that we're here to make suggestions, not laws.
Again, I was pretty sure you weren't guilty of the former type of assignment, but it seemed timely.
I do concur, though. I have a few beans around, and one will take just under sixteen grams at level, the other takes almost three clicks on the Mazzer tighter and nineteen grams of coffee to get a level basket that pulls in more than twenty seconds!
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