Advice - just can't get espresso right

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stevezau

#1: Post by stevezau »

Hi All,

Firstly, I am a novice, please go easy.

I have a Rocket Giotto Type V Machine and Mazzer Luigi Grinder.

Prior to buying, I took a 3 hours course on making espresso but I just can't seem to get it right. I am just not clear or getting confused watching videos on how-to when trying to dial in my shots.

I am adjusting the grind, weighing the coffee to 18gm. Trying to tamp at the same pressure. Then pulling the shot timing 25 seconds and 60mls.

I can get the shot pouring slowly and consistently for 25 seconds @ 50-60ml. However, what I am confused on is if I measure the coffee it is 17grams but does not fill the portafilter.

Every video I've watches teaches you to fill, tap twice, level off and tamp. If I do this then I cannot get the shot flowing correctly and maintain the right coffee weight before i pull the shot.

Any advice, please. I am going insane burning through heaps of beans.

thirdcrackfourthwave

#2: Post by thirdcrackfourthwave » replying to stevezau »

1. How is the taste? Taste is your primary guide.
2. Output in Mls? Weight is better than volume so think grams not mls.
3. Personally, and this is subjective, I don't like my shots that 'lungo.' Are you shooting for a lungo? Familiarize yourself with brew ratios. 1:3.3 is what you are at right now. This tends to produce a bitter watery shot.
4. There is a lot of discussion on shot weight and length of pull. I don't want to go down that route--there is plenty out there already. For me your shot seems to be pulling fast. I would reduce the grind size. See # 1
5. From what I could see here I would continue weighing the coffee in. Go with what is working, see #1 taste.
6. You may burn through some beans but work at one variable at a time. You seem to have found a good weight for coffee in the basket. Go from there.

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HB
Admin

#3: Post by HB »

stevezau wrote:Every video I've watches teaches you to fill, tap twice, level off and tamp.
The leveling method is fine for experienced baristas working in a cafe, but I don't recommend it for beginners. The Newbie Introduction to Espresso video series offers simple albeit a little OCD techniques that reduce espresso preparation to rote mechanics.
In the video above, I recommend "pay attention to the landing" as you dose. But if that's not working for you, the Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT) is literally idiot-proof method for preparing an evenly distributed puck.
Dan Kehn

jgood

#4: Post by jgood »

1) I would try for a 20 grams coffee / 30 grams output in about 40 seconds (about 7 secs to the first drops and about 33 sec more for the shot) -- that suits my taste buds -- YMMV! Weigh the dose and then weigh the output - do you have a small scale that can fit under the cup as you pull the shot? Let weight take priority over time in deciding when the shot is done.
2) Are your beans fresh? Dried out beans can cause issues.
3) Do you have a bottomless portafilter? It's a big help in refining your process. After a little bit you want the stream to resolve into one stream.
Good luck!!

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iploya
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#5: Post by iploya »

stevezau wrote: I am adjusting the grind, weighing the coffee to 18gm.

However, what I am confused on is if I measure the coffee it is 17grams but does not fill the portafilter.
Can you clarify your question please? I would like to offer a solution but I just don't understand what you are describing here. Thanks.
--AB

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iploya
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#6: Post by iploya »

Wait, I think I got it:
stevezau wrote: I am adjusting the grind, weighing the coffee to 18gm. ... However, what I am confused on is if I measure the coffee it is 17grams but does not fill the portafilter. ... Every video ... teaches you to fill, tap twice, level off and tamp.
So I think you must be saying you dump 18g in the PF but then you "level off" by basically brushing off the coffee protruding from the top of the PF. And in so doing, sounds like you lose about a gram of dry coffee.

Then don't level off. You're messing up your dose. Your dose is critical. It's the ONE thing you will lock in (hold constant from shot to shot) while you fine-tune other parameters on subsequent shots.

If your grinder allows you to grind directly into the PF and you get a nice, uniform pile of coffee in the PF you could just tamp it. If not, you can get a cheap $20 distribution tool online that distributes the coffee without spilling it. You can even try to distribute it evenly with your finger or an implement prior to tamping. Just don't spill any dry coffee out of the PF. This way, every shot you do will start with your measured 18g and then you can adjust the grind to increase/decrease the shot time until you get the right extraction and taste you desire.

I think that addresses your question. The other thing to suggest would be to measure your liquid espresso by weight, by taring the empty espresso cup on the same scale used to weigh out the 18g dry coffee dose, and then positioning the cup/scale under the PF and stopping the shot when the desired gram weight is reached. It is possible to get decent consistency by measuring fluid volume, but if you already have a scale to weigh the coffee then you'll be able to more precisely control the brew ratio (that is, the ratio of dry coffee to liquid espresso) if you use that same scale to measure gram weight for both the ground coffee AND the espresso shot.
--AB

jgood

#7: Post by jgood »

Here's something I do - I fill the portafilter in 2 stages - about 2/3 of my dose, then tamp lightly, then dose the rest, and then the "real" tamping. As my grinder can keep several time settings it very simple. It could also be 1/2 at a time. And weigh each dose and the output. As mentioned the scale goes under the cup to measure the output.

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HB
Admin

#8: Post by HB »

Those following this thread may wish to refer to stevezau's cross-post of the same question on CoffeeGeek to avoid needlessly repeating previous suggestions. To stevezau, please review Why is cross-posting strongly discouraged? Thanks.
Dan Kehn

stevezau

#9: Post by stevezau »

Hi All, sorry for the delay.

I ended up buying new beans and it made a world of difference!! My other beans must of been off/far too old.


Anyway, i watched all the tutorial videos and purchased a tuned pressure tamper, bottomless PF and a tool to level the grounds each time..

The bottomless PF has made a HUGE difference as a feedback loop able to see how my shot pours in the first 2-3 seconds.

Thanks all!

millmountain
Supporter ♡

#10: Post by millmountain »

HB wrote:Those following this thread may wish to refer to stevezau's cross-post of the same question on CoffeeGeek to avoid needlessly repeating previous suggestions. To stevezau, please review Why is cross-posting strongly discouraged? Thanks.
Well spotted, Dan.

Steve, glad you got your first issue sorted. Feel free to check back in with the next one!