Lelit Anita PL042TEMD PID - Struggle for great espresso

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
Ezequiel77x

Postby Ezequiel77x » Feb 08, 2019, 11:39 am

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.
Regards!

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB

Postby another_jim » Feb 08, 2019, 12:03 pm

Why does everyone insist on overdosing espresso shots? As you said, the machine is not a perfectly tuned and maintained La Marzocco, and you are not competing in a barista championship, after years of training, using exotic coffees.

Use 14 to 15 grams in the same basket and grind a lot finer so the flow and timing of the shot is the same as now. The extra head space will improve the infusion, the finer grind will improve the extraction, the shots will taste rounder and less harsh. Here's more information
Jim Schulman

Ezequiel77x

Postby Ezequiel77x » Feb 08, 2019, 1:53 pm

Thank you very much for your Feedback Jim, i will try your suggestion right away. I'll be Giving it a seccond chance i guess, as i've already tried it before.

In the meantime, just want to explain why i've been using Updosing. I usually tend to get more bitter shots than Bright acidic ones, so i then tried to tune my grinds towards a higher dose and coarser grind, since going finer started to expose some charcoal flavours that weren't really appealing, and going for lungo instead while coarser grind without updosing resulted in a heavily underextracted shot. Also It seems that Lelit Machines are setup really high on the pressure profile (OPV) at almost 13 Bar using a blind filter or rubber seal. That, technique flaws and not using the best coffee quality, results in a very unforgiving setup. So it makes the not so good coffee to really expose its flaws when you are grinding so fine. At least thats how i failed on the begining by dosing 16.4 grams on the double basket.

I read the guide you created, and let me thank you because and its an excellent piece of valuable information i'll try your advice and let you know my results.

Regards!

Bluenoser

Postby Bluenoser » Feb 08, 2019, 2:39 pm

I also have thermocouple and used the styrofoam cup method to try to measure brew water temp. I am not sure this is a good method. It does not simulate the flow, but comes out all at once. I always found that it measured, what I think, is about 5 degF cool. I have no way to verify this as I don't have a SCACE.

I since have gotten Eric's thermometer and think that might be more accurate. (But again, really don't have a SCACE to be 100% certain). I look at Eric's thermometer for the last 1/2 of the shot and assume that is close to the brew water temp. Unfortunately, I think one needs a group thermometer to use any HX precisely.

Any chance you could be a bit hot with your brew water and that could be giving you some bitter taste?.. I think I notice a bit more dark brown spots/fleks in the espresso when the water is too hot. This is just a guess. Maybe try measuring to, say 196 and see how that tastes..

RyanJE

Postby RyanJE » Feb 08, 2019, 3:26 pm

another_jim wrote:Why does everyone insist on overdosing espresso shots?


I have to say its probably the result of following all of the "Advice" out there that is very much geared toward the 20G dose range from various roasters and professionals. Think about how often we see a brew recipe from a roaster that falls between 18-22g in.

Maybe that only applies / works for VST baskets though? I have read your basket comparison thread and it appears that matching dose to the vst basket rating is not actually over dosing. But, trying to cram 20 grams into a Faema style basket on the other hand....
I drink two shots before I drink two shots, then I drink two more....

Reefguy

Postby Reefguy » Feb 08, 2019, 9:27 pm

Buenos Aires I visited was beautiful.

Ezequiel77x

Postby Ezequiel77x » Feb 08, 2019, 10:54 pm

Bluenoser wrote:I also have thermocouple and used the styrofoam cup method to try to measure brew water temp. I am not sure this is a good method. It does not simulate the flow, but comes out all at once. I always found that it measured, what I think, is about 5 degF cool. I have no way to verify this as I don't have a SCACE.

I since have gotten Eric's thermometer and think that might be more accurate. (But again, really don't have a SCACE to be 100% certain). I look at Eric's thermometer for the last 1/2 of the shot and assume that is close to the brew water temp. Unfortunately, I think one needs a group thermometer to use any HX precisely.

Any chance you could be a bit hot with your brew water and that could be giving you some bitter taste?.. I think I notice a bit more dark brown spots/fleks in the espresso when the water is too hot. This is just a guess. Maybe try measuring to, say 196 and see how that tastes..


Hi Bluenoser,

My espresso machine is a single boiler, pretty small one 250ml, so temp stability is quite bad. Heating element is rated at 1000watts, but still that won't compensate completely for the lack of thermal mass. It's also equipped with a GICAR PID but trying to tune it resulted into worse results with water temp than going straight by default settings and surfing with flushes. So Water temperature stability and consistency is a little bit out of wack. What i've done to get as consistent result as possible is , time my flushes and take temp measurements to trick the heating element in order to provide me with a constant 94 to 95 C at group (K Type Thermocuple reading) during at least 4 seconds and then it lowers down to 88° C.
So there is both possibilities, to fail going too hot or to fail going too cold. I'm using a very dark roast so i read out there that colder water temps are recommended.


Regards!

RyanJE

Postby RyanJE » Feb 11, 2019, 2:08 pm

Ok, I'm convinced James Hoffmann saw this thread...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45Ja8pJU73s

Looks like he agrees with you Jim! Nice shout out to Home Barista too....
I drink two shots before I drink two shots, then I drink two more....

Ezequiel77x

Postby Ezequiel77x » Feb 11, 2019, 3:52 pm

RyanJE wrote:Ok, I'm convinced James Hoffmann saw this thread...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45Ja8pJU73s

Looks like he agrees with you Jim! Nice shout out to Home Barista too....



Wow @RyanJe, now that's really interesting thanks for referencing that video.
So from what i understood (correct me if i'm wrong), grain origins and quality are what determine in which type of brew Coffee will taste it best, would mean meaning brew Ratios are not that important or dominant over a nice brewing flavors. Now i feel pretty weak on my way to get a good espresso as brew ratio was one of the things that make me feel it improved my technique bases, and with this new info it gets totally destroyed.
It's logical to understand that good grains would produce good coffee but i really though you could get significant results out of mediocre grains by tightening technique or using helping methods to improve the shots.


another_jim wrote:Why does everyone insist on overdosing espresso shots? As you said, the machine is not a perfectly tuned and maintained La Marzocco, and you are not competing in a barista championship, after years of training, using exotic coffees.

Use 14 to 15 grams in the same basket and grind a lot finer so the flow and timing of the shot is the same as now. The extra head space will improve the infusion, the finer grind will improve the extraction, the shots will taste rounder and less harsh. Here's more information


Hi @Another_Jim, i tried exactly as you recommended, i just wanted to share my results with you. and will include some photos on coffee grains and my basket so you can have further reference of what i'm using.

Tried a dose of 15.1 grams, grinded directly to basket, WDT+ tapping distribution by Barista Hussle around 2 taps each direction , and 2 taps flat to then procceed with tamp.
Shot went really good by time, 27.17 seconds 31.10g out. could be 30 at 26.3 seconds but failed to stop it. Shot color was starting to blonde but not fully there yet.
Flavor was not digusting but either too much appealing. No distinctive notes, fruits or anything. no sweetness there were some softened bitter notes at the first sip, then starting to get a little more acidic by 2nd and 3rd sips but not so bright to make it awful. Overall, rounded but not well blended flavors, surprisingly no Carbon taste ( even tho i reduced my grind to 1.5 points for the reduced dose from 19 to 15.1)

Thanks for all the help!
Regards!

RyanJE

Postby RyanJE » Feb 11, 2019, 4:10 pm

High grown washed beans are much harder to brew as espresso. The quality of brewed coffee can be held constant or go down from the quality of the roasted bean. If you have mediocre coffee it will be very hard to brew anything beyond mediocre with it.

Jim is saying, you should follow the fundamentals he posted in his dialing in by taste. It sounds like James H. Would agree. If you still cannot get good espresso then it could just be your coffee.
I drink two shots before I drink two shots, then I drink two more....