Why so widely spaced grind settings for some espresso blends?

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
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edwa

#1: Post by edwa »

...split from Favorite Espresso Blend? by moderator...



I was intrigued at the mention of Flying Goat's Espresso Ticino so I ordered a lb and got another lesson is this ongoing espresso education! First let me say the coffee is quite enjoyable.

I change blends almost every week enjoying the variety. I had found that with a few exceptions I was grinding within a certain range on the Mazzer Mini. One exception was Vivace's Dolce which needed a finer grind. Yet here I am 9 days after the roasting of the Ticino and I have to grind it at a coarseness that I've never ground any coffee before. I can't tell you how many shots I choked the Bric with as I continued to dial open the grinder setting.

Is this due to the beans that make up the blend? I ran "Grindz" thru the Mazzer a little less than 60 shots ago, so I feel its reasonably clean.

Any thoughts on why such a swing in settings?

Apologies, Dan, if this should have been a different thread. It came off of the previous mention of Flying Goat's Espresso Ticino.

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edwa

#2: Post by edwa »

So, nobody cares to venture a reason for the swing in grind settings?

It was a riot and a mess when I switched to the new bag... of Supreme Bean Dolce Terra Organic Espresso which needs to be around the setting of Paradise Roaster's Havana Espresso. I got a geyser with a pour faster than a speeding bullet.

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HB
Admin

#3: Post by HB »

edwa wrote:Is this due to the beans that make up the blend?
I've always attributed the grind setting change to the bean hardness and moisture content. Higher moisture content, coarser grind setting.

My rule of thumb: If the extraction chokes, pinch the grounds and smell them; if they feel/smell moist, it's 2 to 2-1/2 notches coarser versus 1-1/2 to 2 notches if they have average moisture content. Dry, flyway grounds and a fast pour, it's 2-1/2 to 3 notches finer versus 1-1/2 to 2 notches if they have average moisture content.
Dan Kehn

psycho_supreme

#4: Post by psycho_supreme » replying to HB »


Yet again, I've learned something new thanks to Dan!

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edwa

#5: Post by edwa »

Thanks Dan,

So bean hardness is traceable to certain regions? Can you give a couple of examples of hard vs softer beans used in Espresso blends?

So, dry fly away and fast pours are not indications of older beans and can be attributed to fresh ones?

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HB
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#6: Post by HB »

edwa wrote:So bean hardness is traceable to certain regions? Can you give a couple of examples of hard vs softer beans used in Espresso blends?
Sorry, I don't home roast and don't construct blends, so I can't provide examples.
edwa wrote:So, dry fly away and fast pours are not indications of older beans and can be attributed to fresh ones?
It could be an indication of stale beans, but I've worked with fresh blends that required a tighter grind and the "tell" was the dry fly away and light color of the grounds.

Tip to reduce waste: Learn to adjust the grinder based on the feel of the grounds. A teaspoon is enough to check the granularity and moisture content. Grind a sample and pinch it between your fingers. It should feel much coarser than flour, but less coarse than salt. The grounds should stick together slightly; if the beans are fresh and the grounds don't adhere together, it's too coarse. If the grounds hold a fingerprint impression, it's too fine.
Dan Kehn

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iginfect

#7: Post by iginfect »

I believe high grown Central American beans are hard. My knowledge in this area is very limited.

Marvin

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Compass Coffee
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#8: Post by Compass Coffee »

edwa wrote:Thanks Dan,

So bean hardness is traceable to certain regions? Can you give a couple of examples of hard vs softer beans used in Espresso blends?

So, dry fly away and fast pours are not indications of older beans and can be attributed to fresh ones?
While yes stale beans can be the cause of fast pours as others have indicated fresh roasted beans/blends can vary greatly in grind setting. Since I've played quite a bit with SO shots (and home roasting) can say even with same origin it will vary. Also degree of roast same bean another factor. But some rule of thumb target starting grind settings can be developed over time reducing dial in waste. For instance overall SO Yirg's tend require some of the coarsest grinds with Kenya's almost as coarse while at the other end of the spectrum a Sumatra very fine. Centrals tend to be in between the too with Konas slightly finer than Centrals but coarser than Indonesians. Degree of roast wise generally speaking the lighter the roast the finer the grind.

When it comes to blends if you know the bean composition you can extrapolate starting trial grind, if bean composition unknown, well it's back to trial and error! But even then with practice it shouldn't take to many sinkers to zero in alternating hgh/low previous known grind settings for other blends and adjusting. Of course it's extremely important to keep your dose, distribution, tamp and shot temp consistent dialing in a grind! :wink:
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com

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edwa

#9: Post by edwa »

Thank you Mike, that's what I was after. Roaster's don't always state what their blend is made up of and I can understand wanting to protect their interests but I think it would be very educational to know. I had sent an email to Flying Goat letting them know a thread had been started with a mention of their Espresso. Seemed like an opportunity for them to chime in and make some new friends. But, I guess they were too busy.