Which basket for a fill, level then tamp 14g dose? - Page 2

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Ken Fox

#11: Post by Ken Fox »

TimEggers wrote:Thanks for the clarification Ken. I am beginning to see exactly what you are talking about now.

So why has the dose, level and tamp routine become so prevalent even though it often results is very large doses?

Or in other words why has updosing become so popular?
I think that Jim has already hit on the major points. I would add that Schomer has been a major force and this is how he did it. That does not, however, make it right.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

Ken Fox

#12: Post by Ken Fox »

cafeIKE wrote:Gotta say the idea of a fixed 14g dose may not be the best idea. :roll:

Dose for the best taste. Full Stop !!!

12g basket and scraper.
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I've had the scraper for many, many years, but saw them at Cookin' Stuff in Torrance CA a few months back.

Here's my routine for the 12g basket in the Vibiemme:
  • Grind directly into PF with cut down yogurt cup*, moving PF to distribute, about 18 - 20g.**
    Gentle Side to Side shake to distribute and level.
    ONE gentle rap on counter to compact slightly.
    Down dose slightly with scraper to about 14g. (Rotate the scraper 360° to evenly spread the coffee)
    Two or Three gentle raps on counter to level / 'crush the clumps' :lol:
    Gentle tamp.
Yum!

Variations in combination for different coffees [batches or blends]:
  • Adjust grinder to suit roast / blend.
    Skip first rap on counter and grind finer or [almost never] grind coarser and rap twice.
    Change position of scraper to remove more or less coffee.
    Adjust brew temp. [Almost never]
Just this morning, I tried Ken's ramekin method and made the worst shots in a very long time, not to mention being at sixes and sevens. :? The dose was 1g less than I'd typically get, but the agro of futzing with all that hardware is a HUGE impediment to enjoying the coffee. I suppose I could spend a couple of weeks tweaking and honing the mechanics, but I very seriously doubt I'd be any better off. Some here, untasted, have opined that my shots must be 'mediocre'. Current score is tied 5 : 5 for gShots*** between YHS and the baristas at Intelligentsia / 49th Parallel / Caffe Luxxe / Discovery Coffee / Koffee Klatch et al. As further testament to the efficacy of the technique, when I first tried a bottomless PF for a few weeks, I got bored and thought "Wot a wank!" It was not until the Tamper Road Show that I first had a sprite with the BPF and that was only with the most radically curved tampers.

Taste! Taste! Taste! and damn the numbers!

*The only modification in years is the addition of the cut down yogurt cup. It's the only change that made any improvement: Not the taste, just dosing mechanics.
**You want coffee above the rim after the level shake and first rap. I'd rather dump coffee in the knock box than shots in the sink :!:
***In almost 40 years, prior to the Vibiemme the score was 0 : 3 in favor of the baristas :wink:
I'm not advocating a "fixed 14g dose," although I doubt I'll ever again use doses above 16 or 16.5g. My opinion has undergone a seismic change. If you need to put 18 or 20g of some blend into the PF in order to get a satisfying shot, then as far as I am concerned, the blend sucks. It is akin to rejecting a delicately prepared piece of wild salmon because you like"blackened farm-raised salmon." Or preferring an overly sweet and alcoholic Zinfandel to a well made red Burgundy. Sorry, but that is my view at this point in time.

12g is going to be right for some coffee, 14 for some others, and maybe 16 for a few, although I think most could be done at 12-15g and one would have very good results.

My regimen of weighing shots takes me less than 2 minutes additional in a WHOLE DAY's worth of shots, so I would not describe it as being even a minor PITA. The shot to shot consistency I am getting compensates for any minor inconveniences. But, precise dosing is much more important in a 14g shot than it is in a 20g shot. And yes, 20g is what a lot of us (including myself) were using on a regular basis because depending on the coffee and humidity and grind setting, that is what our baskets would easily hold. If you doubt this, then you really do need to buy an accurate digital 1/10th gram scale, to see for yourself how much coffee you have been using. I was surprised, myself.

The amount of coffee in the PF basket overwhelms all other factors in making espresso. If you are off by a gram on a 14 g. dose, this is more significant than being off a gram on a 20g dose, as a percentage of the mass of the coffee. And, it will show in your espressomaking. So, if you are going to downdose, then the dose better be precisely measured or your shots will suffer.

I am reminded of a conversation I had with Aaron Delazzer in Vancouver, in June. He is now the "Director of Coffee" for Ethical Bean, a Western Canadian roaster, and he is a former coffee roaster, barista trainer, and columnist on CG. Aaron related to me how he had stopped drinking espresso altogether for a couple of years, because he found it just such an in-your-face and excessive beverage the way we have been doing it in N. America. He related his experience to me in visiting Italy with his wife recently. He said that Italian baristas act as though they want you to be their customer for the rest of your life, so they serve you something that won't kick you in the face and do you in. They use much lesser doses of coffee in their PFs.

In N. America we seem more interested in getting the money out of you this quarter, and the future will just take care of itself :P

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

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k7qz

#13: Post by k7qz »

Ken Fox wrote:I am reminded of a conversation I had with Aaron Delazzer in Vancouver, in June. He is now the "Director of Coffee" for Ethical Bean, a Western Canadian roaster, and he is a former coffee roaster, barista trainer, and columnist on CG. Aaron related to me how he had stopped drinking espresso altogether for a couple of years, because he found it just such an in-your-face and excessive beverage the way we have been doing it in N. America. He related his experience to me in visiting Italy with his wife recently. He said that Italian baristas act as though they want you to be their customer for the rest of your life, so they serve you something that won't kick you in the face and do you in. They use much lesser doses of coffee in their PFs.

In N. America we seem more interested in getting the money out of you this quarter, and the future will just take care of itself :P

ken
Good Morning Ken:

I wonder if this might also be a function of what the local/regional market demands. Unlike yourself, I have never been to Italy but it is my impression that the Italians actually drink espresso- as in shots. Whereas, here in the states the typical consumer in a coffee shop orders a nightmare amalgamation of milk, syrup, whipped cream and sprinkles. Updosing required with its resultant in-your-face shot to even taste a hint of coffee. Just a guess...

Case in point: I was in the best coffee shop in our part of the state last night and asked the barista (whom, in his defense, appeared to be new) for a double ristretto. He in turn asked me if I wanted syrup in that... :roll:

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cafeIKE
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#14: Post by cafeIKE »

HB wrote:I have no qualms about rating my average espresso a 3.0 to 3.5, which is around the midpoint of regional competitors.
Sadly, this morning I ran out of Discovery Coffee's Espresso Blend and pulled a shot from a home roast. 2.0 would be charitable :cry:
Ken Fox wrote:I'm not advocating a "fixed 14g dose,"
Methinks thou dost prostest too much. My post was to the original "using a 14g dose by weight"
Ken Fox wrote:If you need to put 18 or 20g of some blend into the PF...
18-20 less 5-6 into the knock box = 12-15 in the basket, repeatedly. It's extravagant, to be sure, but the extra goes in the compost. You should see my roses! :wink:
Ken Fox wrote:It is akin to rejecting a delicately prepared piece of wild salmon because you like"blackened farm-raised salmon." Or preferring an overly sweet and alcoholic Zinfandel to a well made red Burgundy. Sorry, but that is my view at this point in time.
Is your implication that every one else has a palate inferior to thine. If so, I hope your Burgundy is "Hearty" :P I'll wager you've never had wild salmon. Unless you tasted a Coho in the 1950s cooked within an hour of landing, you've never tasted wild salmon. What passes for wild salmon today, we used as crab bait! And don't mention crab or lobster until you've plucked them from the ocean and dropped them into the pot yourself. Those poor buggers in display tanks pale by comparison.
Ken Fox wrote:12g is going to be right for some coffee, 14 for some others, and maybe 16 for a few, although I think most could be done at 12-15g and one would have very good results.
This differs from dosing for taste :?:
Ken Fox wrote:If you doubt this, then you really do need to buy an accurate digital 1/10th gram scale, to see for yourself how much coffee you have been using.
I know exactly how much. The precise amount that makes the best shot. For years, I've had an Escali 200gx0.1g Liberta, iirc, now relegated to entertainment. Using my method is ±250mg without all the falderol. Close enough for Rock 'n' Roll :P Here's an experiment for you. Precisely weigh your doses and pull a series of identically timed shots. Start the timer the instant the first drop hits the cup and let it run for a fixed interval. How close is the weight of the series? Or pull a series of shots to some identical weight. How close is the time? How close is the taste? If there is any variation, the precise weighing of the dose is all for naught. :roll:
Ken Fox wrote:He said that Italian baristas act as though they want you to be their customer for the rest of your life, so they serve you something that won't kick you in the face and do you in. They use much lesser doses of coffee in their PFs.
Had my first espresso almost 40 years ago from an Italian girlfriend, who would be mightily offended at your implication she wanted me as her 'customer' :P I'm reminded of a time when I ordered an 'espresso' in America and it came in a 16oz mug with ZERO crema! Astounded, I blurted "What's THIS?!?!?!" Getting espresso elsewhere, when used to Italian, is probably very similar to a Yorkshireman ordering a beer or fish and chips in America. Conversely, the first burger I had in Glasgow was somewhat of a surprise! :shock:

Only after the purchase of the 12g basket and flatter shower screen, did the Vibiemme truly come into it's own. cpl593h twigged me to what was wrong with a comment that he felt 15g baskets might be too deep when used with the lightly roasted coffees I prefer. Given the advanced state of your dotage, I understand if you don't remember that I mentioned this to you at SCAA that I'd done just that and the improvement was remarkable. Perhaps you were distracted by all the smoke from Jeffery's HotTop demo :wink: :P

After 'ignorantly' pulling shots for many years that by most guests account were quite delicious, the coffee internet fupped my espresso for quite some time as I tried ridiculous 30# tamps, 18g+ doses et al. in the mistaken belief others knew more and the techniques would 'improve' the shots.

All this concentration on numbers reminds of the player in the Cincinnati Kid that calculates the odds for every bet and still loses.

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TimEggers (original poster)

#15: Post by TimEggers (original poster) »

Hello Mr. Eales I should clarify that I typically start at a 14g dose then go from there based on taste. Sorry for the confusion.
Tim Eggers
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LMWDP #202

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HB
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#16: Post by HB »

Split follow-on discussion to Start my barista journey at the beginning.
Dan Kehn