Hello to all HB Comunity,
Fist of all, let me excuse me as i'm not an English native speaker but a spanish one, so forgive me for any grammatical atrocities i may drop in here.
I'm going to "quickly" introduce myself, my name is Ezequiel. i am 30 years old. Coffee lover since child, not just because the sake of it, but due to it's innate properties, for boosting energy during work out, it's beautiful spectrum of inherent flavors and for all that prep steps that requires to make a good cup of espresso.
I've been lurking this forums for more than a year in order to learn , absorb and make use of the huge amount of useful information regarding Coffee brewing and barista skills in general.
I live in a quite poor and underdeveloped country called ( Argentina ), from the South American continent, so i have pretty limited access to any barista equipment, and also to TOP end coffee grains, Since Coffee quality here is not as highly regarded as it is in other countries. Most people don't ever realize if they are drinking a fine barista espresso vs a burnt charcoal from the local bar. I tell you this for you to understand the context i live in, where i'm located. Here Barista Coffee stores are mostly non-existant or rare to find . I mostly have access to Brazilian Santos Coffee roasted in batch without so much care put into it. The roast type is almost or if not the TOP of the dark spectrum. It seems oil is not present on the surface of the grains but still it's really dark.
After a while, i managed to save enough money ( one year of savings ) get my hands on a Lelit Anita Combi PL042TEMD, built-in grinder single boiler espresso machine, 57mm group head. Could not access anything better than that. Importation is heavily restricted here and internal taxes are extremely high. So what you would probably spend into a serious HX or DB machine i did put it into this little humble machine. To give you an idea lets round up to almost 1200 USD spent on it. That is with a 57mm Tamper and cheap chinese precision scales.
As for grinder i could get my hands on a Baratzza sette 270w. for another lets say 700 USD.
Ok, I don't want to extend to much on the intro so to bother you guys, but i wanted to at least introduce myself in this first post, so you can get to know a little bit about me.
Long Story short, i've been trying to dial-in my equipment in order to achieve the best possible shot i could get. Knowing that i'm not a massive coffee drinker due to Kidney pain and adrenal problems, but i still refuse to give up coffee since i really enjoy it, mostly espresso. For that reason i consume a double shot a day, and i know is it kind of a limiting factor that would definitely slow things down in regards to the learning process.
It's been 1 year since i have this equipment described before and i managed to get Double basket shots on time between 25-28 sec, 19.4g in 36.7 out. almost exact 1:2 ratio for espresso. when dose goes higher i tend to cut shots sooner so to avoid over-extracting and burning the coffee, i always tend to compensate by going into the ristretto ratio rather than making long shots, since coffee quality as i told you before is not the best.
I use RO water for my machine, i could make my own Five Senses recipe with MgSO4 and Baking soda, but i don't know if thats better.
The techniques i use are:
Weighting dose before grinding with 0.01g precision scale ( 20,4 grams goes in the grinder , 19,4 goes out of it , so it averages of 1 gram retention.)
Dose Griding from Frozen grains ( due to the conservative nature of my drinking habit, as i tend to waste near to 5 grams per 100gr of Coffee at most due to grinder retention)
Weighting espresso shot with a 0.1g precision scale
Measuring brew temp at group with K type termocouple and multimeter with Styrofoam cup ( By doing Surfing Purges i aim at temps towards 95°C / 203 F at Grouphead before extraction).
I use WDT + Stockfleths for distribution and use a normal Flat Tamper to around 30 Pounds of pressure. but not really paying that much attention to tamp pressure.
Finally I time my Shot's with Chronometer. Always trying to end shots by the 3 variables, shot Weight as 1st priority, time as 2nd priority (keeping it around 26-29 sec almost always), and shot color as 3rd.
Still after all these steps, my shots are coming out so ramdomly, when everything seems to be done right ( meaning tamping leveling, distribution and water temperature ) acid and bitter flavours may get rounded up a little bit, but still far from what i believe an excellent espresso shot is.
And when i fail with my technique and get bad shots they can go from being Bitter as death or as very acid as lemon ones too, But bitterness tend to be the most prevalent on failures.
So i would love to have some recommendations from you guys.
That's all and sorry for the long post.