Dark roast grinders...

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
Davi-L

#1: Post by Davi-L »

Greetings,
My question about grinders is this:

I only drink dark roasted espresso. Ristretto. That's my taste preference.
As I go through the Internet to find how this variation is prepared, I find next to nothing.
Everyone seems to steer the story towards what they do for light roasts.

Is it so simple that it's not worth talking about?

My flat burr Vario W seems to work.
The QuickMill Alexia is the machine.
Retention is not a problem in my workflow.

The end result is what I taste, not what I see in the mirror below the bottom-less portafilter.
Any suggestions?

Dave

LObin

#2: Post by LObin »

It's a topic about grinder suggestions for dark roasts but you state that the Vario W seems to work for you. I'm confused...

What are you looking to improve? Workflow? Taste? Look? Build quality?

Have you tried adjusting the OPV on your Alexia so that the pressure at the puck is a little lower? When I had my Giotto, I pulled the best ristrettos when the pump started given up. 7-8 bar extractions brought added sweetness.

Have you aligned the burrs on your Vario? The impact may not be as clear as it would be for light roasts but it's an easy way to improve your grinder.

Cheers!
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Quester

#3: Post by Quester »

Davi-L wrote:As I go through the Internet to find how this variation is prepared, I find next to nothing.
Everyone seems to steer the story towards what they do for light roasts.
This video is about brew not espresso, but there are concepts that translate in terms of temperature, degree of extractions, and grind size.

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BaristaBoy E61

#4: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

We use a Mahlkonig K30 Vario with primarily dark and darker roasted beans. We even use it exclusively as a single dose grinder with great results - and against all orthodoxy.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

Jeff
Team HB

#5: Post by Jeff »

I'm not sure what you're after. Classic, Italian-style espresso seems to be primarily dependent on the skill of the roaster, rather than the equipment. It tends to be easy to extract well to the point of sometimes having to take steps not to extract too much "roast bitterness", rather than the challenges seen with medium and lighter roasts.

One thread with a lot of suggestions and opinions is The hunt for best Italian roasted coffee beans

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cafeIKE
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#6: Post by cafeIKE »

For a truly dark roast, like Highwater, I like a [Synesso*] triple basket w ≈21g to get 30g espresso in 40s from first drop. ≈8.5bar @ ≈ 203°F on the puck.

It's important the grinder is consistent, w/o any play or wobble.

* has larger holes than a stock stamped triple or other baskets with fine holes like some IMS baskets

Hoffman bores me :twisted:

Davi-L (original poster)

#7: Post by Davi-L (original poster) »

Thanks for the replies,

My goal is to optimize the taste of the shot.

When the Vario W seems to work, I mean that it grinds without clumps, and the extraction timing and taste are ok.

I notice that if I tap the basket on the mat a few times, when levelling, that tamping is very easy, quick and even. However I think the fines work through the puck to the bottom as when I clean out the basket, there's grinds stuck to the bottom.

I'm hesitant about tuning up the Vario, but it sounds like that might help?

I'll try other pump pressure. It's about 8 bar or so now.

D.

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Marmot

#8: Post by Marmot »

My favourite grinder for dark espresso is a Ditting KF 804 with cast iron burrs similar to a Lab Sweet or Mahlkönig Peak.
With your setup however I would first get another machine. Ideal would be a spring lever machine like a Bezzera Strega. But a small manual machine like a Pavoni or Cremina will get a long way already. I was really surprised when I first tried a really dark espresso first on a normal E61 machine like yours and then on my cremina. The shot was much smoother and had more body. On the Strega it is even a step better and feels like drinking heavy cream.
Maybe you can get a used Pavoni for little money and test it out. It doesn't take away much space and lets you apply a declining pressure curve.

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cafeIKE
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#9: Post by cafeIKE »

Davi-L wrote:the fines work through the puck to the bottom as when I clean out the basket, there's grinds stuck to the bottom
Who cares?
Pucks are compost.

If it tastes good, it is good!

baldheadracing
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#10: Post by baldheadracing »

Davi-L wrote:... I notice that if I tap the basket on the mat a few times, when levelling, that tamping is very easy, quick and even. However I think the fines work through the puck to the bottom as when I clean out the basket, there's grinds stuck to the bottom. ...
Tapping migrates fines lower and larger particles upwards due to granular convection, a.k.a., the "Brazil nut effect." That's why a shot made after aggressive tapping may - may - run very slightly longer than a shot made with no tapping.

What impact there is on taste ... I don't know.

I like 68mm+ conicals rotating at lower rpms for dark roasts, but that's just my personal preference.