Faster tasting better

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?

#1: Post by jefegold »

Hey all
I've been enjoying some shots recently with Stumptown's Hairbender. It's been weird though that the most complex shots have been fast. My NS Oscar 2 has an opv set to 8 bar. Shots are 17.5g in a HQ 14g basket, 32 to 34g out in 20 seconds. When I grind finer, or even up the dose, the lighter notes disappear. Too far, and the shots get stale, almost salty, though some milk chocolate remains. I do not know the temp of the shots. I have a thermometer one might use to test milk temp, but I have not calibrated it and do not have a scace. I'm okay with the shots as they are, but I want to be able to get more out of the variety of coffees out there, and am constantly wondering if something is off given the speed of the shots.

Does anyone have any insight or comments?

User avatar
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

There are a lot of people exploring low-pressure, high-flow shots today. You might get some insight from ... -espresso/ (or the full paper that is linked from that blog)


#3: Post by cafespress »

Very interesting. Are you using this lower pressure & dose, coarser grind technique? Happy with the results? I was surprised it was written in 2020. I just read another article about lower pressure brewing from a surprising source here: ... -at-6-bar/

User avatar
Team HB

#4: Post by Jeff »

I ran my E61 at around 8 bar on the gauge for many years. That's probably around 7 bar in the basket. My typical shots on my current machine are 4-6 bar in the basket. Depending on which burr set I'm using, shot times from pump on, including fill and soak, can be under 20 seconds.

I find I enjoy the flavor and my shots are even more tightly repeatable.

I haven't cut the dose, mainly out of habit. Since I'm not making milk drinks, the change in shot volume would be noticeable.

User avatar

#5: Post by bostonbuzz »

I've been messing with this. I got my shots dialed to tight and slow like :55s from frost drop 19g:38g.

Found that longer lower preifusion and lower pressure was better.

Then I went coarser and faster. Sour... raised the temp, pretty good. Will continue to experiment.

I feel lowering the dose is tricky since lots of folks machines and baskets need a certain dose to avoid channeling -packing the puck into the shower screen and messing with that causes all sorts of issues.
LMWDP #353

jefegold (original poster)

#6: Post by jefegold (original poster) »

Thanks all. These comments are great. I'll check out the article on the lower pressure.
My pressure gage is rigged onto the portafilter that comes with a dual spout. The actual spout is unscrewed and I got a coupling which I screwed on and then screwed a gage on the other end. I just use my phone's camera to look back up to the gage as it is facing down. It's been consistent at 8 bar whenever I've checked. Since it's on the end of the portafilter, filled with water (I don't put in a basket and run coffee through with the gage on it) would you say that I actually am brewing at 8 Bar?

User avatar
Team HB

#7: Post by Jeff »

Assuming that the puck is able to provide enough resistance, you're probably somewhere between 7 an 8 bar. When there is flow, there is some drop in pressure along the way due to narrow passages and turns and bends. 8 bar into a blind basket is lower than classic pressures (9-10 bar was an older recommendation) and probably a reasonable starting point.

If you do decide to try out other pressures in the future, you might want to drop that by 1-2 bar to make the change clearer. Even 1 bar difference may not be immediately obvious in the cup. You can always tweak from there, up or down.