Is the first shot of the day really considered not as good?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#1: Post by srossnz »

And if so why? I hear this a lot and am wondering if it is a myth.

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#2: Post by tekomino »

I don't think so, I mean my first shots of the day are always good. However I start with clean and warmed up machine.

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#3: Post by another_jim »

If you do nothing to compensate, the first shot after a long idle or the first shot of the day can be at the wrong temperature. With some machines it is easy to compensate, with others it's so hard, that it's less trouble to draw a throwaway shot.

More controversially, some people also think shots taste better if the group is seasoned with fresh coffee oils, i.e from a very recently brewed shot.
Jim Schulman

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#4: Post by cafeIKE »

It depends on many factors. If the grinder retains a lot and the group is not clean, then the first shot is probably going to suffer. Of course, if the machine is never cleaned and the coffee is months old, the first shot is fine.

A short sacrificial grind may not clear the grinder sufficiently. Lately, I've been experimenting with updosing the first shot about 0.3g on a 10g single to maintain the pour. If I dose 10g, the first shot runs a bit fast. Even with the same pour, shots 2+ seem more balanced.

Over the years I've experimented with knocking the puck and flushing / back flushing the group immediately after the shot and leaving the puck in the group until the next shot, pulling a short flow before knocking the puck. IMO, leaving the puck is preferable. It could be genetic. I like Yorkshire Bitter, dark chocolate, Lagavulin and rarely order dessert.

See Sink that First Shot

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srossnz (original poster)
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#5: Post by srossnz (original poster) »

Mine are all good now. I started using a plastic air tight container lid so when grinding on the rocky and it finishes, I leave it running for a few seconds and I pump the lid in and out of the hopper and it really cleans out the grinder.. gets every last bit out of it and into the basket. I also have a clean warmed up machine. So, yeah I guess I can see how some factors affect the first shot but I think I have minimised it.

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#6: Post by JmanEspresso »

Personally, Ive been sinking the first shot for a while now. Ever since we had that discussion a little while back about backflushing with a couple grams after a long idle, Ive been tossing the first one. FOR ME, on my setup, it makes a difference that I notice. Its mainly my grinder.. it likes to hold onto coffee. With single dosing/brushing, I get most out, but even a gram or two is enough to throw off the taste. So, I waste a ~8gram single once or twice a day.

If Ive left the machine alone for less then like 2-3hours, I usually wont waste a shot. Its generally only after a long idle/overnight.

Kim Sammons
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#7: Post by Kim Sammons »

Yeah I totally agree, for me its the same. My grinder will hold on to a little bit of coffee which i use to bring everything up to temp etc etc then the shot gets binned. For me and my machines it makes a difference and it was something i was always taught and something i teach.

for the sake of one or two shots why not?

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#8: Post by BeastinBarista »

I think it depends on machine/grinder prep more than anything. If a decent routine is developed and followed I see no reason to sink any shots. As long as the machine is thoroughly warmed up/cleaned it should be ready to go. I do run some blank flushes through just to superheat everything. Regarding the grinder, this is my routine... At the end of the day I empty the hopper and use up any remaining beans for my last shot or two and this includes brushing out the throat thoroughly as to not leave any grounds behind for staling. The next brew session I run a few grams through and discard as these first few grams will be slightly coarser. Then it's all good to go. IMO this is far less wasteful than using 8-16 grams in a sink shot.

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#9: Post by »

Just like any other process with respect to espresso. If you've ever pulled a first shot that you liked/loved/was godly than if you can replicate the process, it'll be the same. However, we all know that is somewhat bull$#!t because replication of a process doesn't take into consideration environment, mood, bean difference - I wouldn't assume that you always have the SAME distribution of bean type from shot to shot.

I read about so much waste going on with the 10-50g purges, multiple sink shots, etc. I practically 'drink' everything, rarely purge my Vario and if I do it's insanely little that I believe is easily sufficient - 1% or less of stale grinds has rarely ever ruined a shot for me if I could even tell. I've 'ruined' so many shots that if I had made them sink shots, would not have realized most were just fine to sip and experience taste difference in lax procedure.
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#10: Post by cannonfodder »

I think about every reason the second shot would be better has been covered. Stale grinds in the grinder chute from the previous day, the oils from the previous days shots cooked on and spoiled on the grouphead which gets purged off with the first shot of the day, a freshly cleaned machine often benefits from being seasoned after the cleaning to coat the brass with oils and remove any leftover detergent and kill any metallic flavors you may get from the metal. The machine also tends to stabilize after the first shot. The brew path has been brought up to temperature, the water in the system is fresh and the machine is simply happier the second time around.
Dave Stephens