Can't get espresso to taste good anymore

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
ltespresso
Posts: 27
Joined: August 26th, 2016

Postby ltespresso » Aug 26, 2016, 10:42 am

Hi all, first post here. I'm to the point of asking for some help. I bought a Breville Dual Boiler (BES920XL) and a Breville Smart Grinder Pro. I also picked up a scale and a 30lb tamper. I started off using Illy beans and everything turned out great. Then I switched to lavazza super crema and everything was still great. Then, out of nowhere, eveything hit the fan. I could no longer make an espresso that didn't make me gag. My wife and I can't really tell the difference between sour/bitter so not sure how to describe the flavor but it's horrible. Almost makes you want to throw up. I've tried everything I can think of. Tried changing the Lavazza beans back to Illy, didn't help. Tried playing around with different grind sizes. Didn't help. Tried playing with dosing to do 16-18g didn't help. Tried "overdosing" and trimming with the Razor tool. Didn't help. Even bought a naked PF, which didn't help.

I ended up buying some 49th Parallel Espresso beans after reading a good review and just got them yesterday so I attempted it again. Still disgusting. I tried a few different things with those beans and still no go. So that's when I decided to document the whole process and ask for help. Maybe there is something I'm missing or doing wrong. I love drinking an espresso and I love making espresso based drinks so I've invested in all of the equipment that got great reviews and I'm more than willing to spend the money where it's needed so I can get an amazing shot.

Weighing a dish before weighing the beans
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Weighing beans
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Grind settings
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How it came out of the grinder
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Weighing the grinds to see how much came out
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Doing the weiss distribution technique in the bowl to break up clumps
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Breville shower head, no plugged holes
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Grounds in PF, pre-tamp
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Tamped
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puck, bit sloppy but comes out in one piece. i've tried changing things around until I get a dryer puck and it still tastes bad.
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60ml double
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shower head has some grounds. changed things arounds until no grounds on head and still tastes bad.
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691175002
Posts: 78
Joined: April 4th, 2016

Postby 691175002 » Aug 26, 2016, 11:07 am

Maybe try cleaning everything? Pull a shot without any coffee and see how the plain water tastes. Check that the temperatures seem about right as well.

ltespresso
Posts: 27
Joined: August 26th, 2016

Postby ltespresso » Aug 26, 2016, 11:08 am

Yep, tried that too. Water is correct temp based on the 200 set. Tastes fine.

John49
Posts: 89
Joined: December 4th, 2014

Postby John49 » Aug 26, 2016, 11:21 am

A few suggestions. For 18g of coffee you have way to much liquid out (60ml), make your grind finer at try for about 36ml in 30 sec. But before you do, empty out the water tank and clean the tank and filter holder, remover and clean the shower screen and distributor plate.

ltespresso
Posts: 27
Joined: August 26th, 2016

Postby ltespresso » Aug 26, 2016, 11:38 am

Really 60ml is too much? I thought 60ml was the average amount for a double and 18g was what I've been reading is about the average amount for a double too. In any case, it's worth a shot to try and see if it helps. I'll try it this afternoon. Thanks!

Bill33525
Posts: 286
Joined: March 16th, 2014

Postby Bill33525 » Aug 26, 2016, 11:55 am

It's best to weigh the beverage and 1:2 ratio is a good starting point for popular espresso roasts. Some beans will create a lot of crema which gives a false impression of volume. Put a scale under the shot glass.
Your tamper looks like its a little small in diameter for the basket you are using. Look at the tamped dose and notice some grinds up the side of the basket. This could become an issue when you grind finer.
What are your preinfusion settings? Have you changed your water mineral profile? Espresso needs some minerals for good extraction. Have patients, your equipment is capable of good Espresso.

ltespresso
Posts: 27
Joined: August 26th, 2016

Postby ltespresso » Aug 26, 2016, 12:06 pm

Yeah I can def try to go back to the stock tamper. I had just gotten a "Espro Calibrated Flat Tamper, 58mm" to help make sure the tamp pressure was good. I have not adjusted any settings in the espresso machine, I didn't think to change any of those because it was working fine prior on the same settings.

The only thing I've done regarding the water is set the hardness level in the machine per the instruction guide and hardness test strip. I know the better the water the better the espresso so I've been using our reverse osmosis water.

Shife
Posts: 539
Joined: March 14th, 2015

Postby Shife » Aug 26, 2016, 12:07 pm

ltespresso wrote: I know the better the water the better the espresso so I've been using our reverse osmosis water.

Unless you are adding minerals back in, this is a problem.

ltespresso
Posts: 27
Joined: August 26th, 2016

Postby ltespresso » Aug 26, 2016, 12:23 pm

We have a whole-house soft water system, so it's either using the soft-water or using the reverse osmosis. Otherwise I'd have to use bottled water or something. I've been using the same water the whole time though, and it worked fine before?

gr2020
Posts: 204
Joined: July 5th, 2016

Postby gr2020 » Aug 26, 2016, 12:49 pm

Bill33525 wrote:It's best to weigh the beverage and 1:2 ratio is a good starting point for popular espresso roasts. Some beans will create a lot of crema which gives a false impression of volume. Put a scale under the shot glass.


+1. Try your 18g in, and maybe start with 36g beverage weight. Adjust your grind finer until that 36g takes about 30 seconds or so. That should at least get you in the right ballpark!