Your Grinder has Narrow Sweet Spots Too, Right? - Page 3

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
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cafeIKE
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#21: Post by cafeIKE »

another_jim wrote:And, Ian, I would dearly love to give you a break; especially at all the times when you opine based on what appears to be zero experience.
Appearances can be deceiving...started drinking espresso when the White Album came out...pull between 6 and 10 shots per day of about 30 coffees per year and have done so for a over a decade...don't live in the rarefied TGP world, just Joe Average's. If I can't backup what I say, I'll eat a pound of spent pux. :wink:

Back on grinders, conicals grind differently because of the burr geometry, not because the grind surface perpendicular separation varies differently with vertical travel. If I err, please point me to the engineering proof.
coffee.me wrote:To clarify, just in case, correct flow is not the issue here, this whole thread is only about taste.
In my zero experience, 'correct flow' is a n00b term with two week utility. "Correct Flow" = "Delicious Shot". Full stop. Delish 20ml in 40s or 30ml in 25s is infinitely preferable to 25ml/25s "meltdown" coffee flavored dishwater or BBQ sauce. It's always and ONLY about the taste.
RapidCoffee wrote:So again: dose has little to do with the grinder, but a lot to do with the espresso machine and (as Jim pointed out) the type of coffee bean.
I fail to see how one can separate coffee, grinder, group geometry, pressure and temperature. Perhaps if pulling into a beaker for measurement, but not a cup for consumption. I have two e61 with the same group, adjusted to the same pressure. When pulling shots from the same ¼# on the same day, I may use 8.0g on the HX / MC4 combo and 9.5g on the DB / MXK combo. The reverse rarely works. Typically, the HX is a tad cooler than the DB as that gives a better taste on the lower dose, finer grind. NOTE : The two grinders are loaded differently for the preferred taste. Perhaps the variance would disappear if dosed per shot or overloaded with a tamper. I'll leave the testing to the experienced :wink:

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Peppersass
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#22: Post by Peppersass »

Boy, I'm probably going to regret dipping my toe into this thread, but here's a question for the OP:

You say the "sweet spot" for taste with your Versalab is 12g and 20g, but nothing in between. So... do shots made with the same coffee at 12g and 20g taste the same, or are they different?

I would be astonished if they tasted the same, so my opinion here is that the OP happens to like the taste of a variety of espresso blends and SOs at 12g and 20g, but not at doses between. Surely these two doses would taste different using any given coffee, with the 12g dose probably being more mild and laid back and the 20g dose being more deep and intense. But maybe the OP likes those two versions of espresso flavor concentration.

Of course, the wrench in this theory is how a bunch of dissimilar coffees could all taste really good at two radically different doses, but I suppose it's possible that this is how the OP's taste buds happen to function. I'll leave that question to the experts.

My point is, could this be a phenomenon of individual taste buds and not grinder/technique/machine?

hperry

#23: Post by hperry »

coffee.me wrote: EXACTLY! And that's why I'm posting my question. Let' me rephrase: why do my 14-18g grind setting shots suck compared to my shots with the grinder set on the 12g or 20g position, even when using different machines, extraction profiles and coffees? Also on the SJ VacPots: why do I get more fines when I go slightly finer or coarser than a certain mid-coarse setting? Is it only me? Did this happen to someone else and they fixed it somehow?

Can you please elaborate? I have a dark&oily ash Guatemala on hand that tastes like ash around the 16g mark on my Versalab; when I change the grinder setting to the 20g mark, I get no ash whatsoever, only slight sweetness and caramel. Such improvement also applies to other coffees --but I mentioned that earlier.
It appears that you are asking for confirmation of a hypothesis that is not validated in many users experience. I do find sweet spots for different coffees and machines. But the dosage at which they occur varies by espresso machine. There are so many interacting processes going on in pulling a shot: grind, size of basket, temperature, pressure, infusion, the quality and age of the coffee, the roaster if you home roast, the characteristics of the particular espresso machine, that I think the hypothesis of a grinder "sweet spot" breaks down - except maybe to describe what you prefer as the particular dose and grind for a given machine.
Hal Perry

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coffee.me (original poster)

#24: Post by coffee.me (original poster) »

Dick, thanks for taking a chance, I was starting to regret asking the question myself :wink:

Yes, your reply is on topic. The 12g and 20g settings result in different tastes. Generally, the 20g shots are dense, complex, magnify milder tastes and produce balanced but very tasteful shots; while the 12g produce sharper shots that are very sweet, lighter bodied but transparent. Both are way better than anything in between: usually a mixed bag of good and bad.

If there weren't online forums, I'd just assume my techniques or worn burrs are the reason I don't get great shots in the middle area; but now I'm not very sure what to think. As for taste buds, naaah, that's not it as my wife agrees to the same conclusion -- and she has a lot more buds than I do :wink:

If it isn't the grinder, it's my techniques, but what should I suspect?

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michaelbenis

#25: Post by michaelbenis »

Max,

I think it's the coffee. Certain beans only really work at one dose for me, whereas other do different equally enjoyable things at two or even more different doses. I may of course have a preference for one over the other, but will find any of them preferable to what happens in between.

I also find the same thing happens with roasts. Different characteristics will pull more into focus (and fade out) at different roast temperatures and there will be certain points where the kaleidescope is better than others, and of course some where it is absolutely fantastic.

Coffee is organic and complex. It isn't one variable on a slide rule (one of the many things I love about it).

So.... no I don't think it is your grinder or your burrs.........

Although of course it could be that as well :shock: :D

Cheers

Mike
LMWDP No. 237

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cafeIKE
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#26: Post by cafeIKE »

coffee.me wrote:The 12g and 20g settings result in different tastes. Generally, the 20g shots are dense, complex, magnify milder tastes and produce balanced but very tasteful shots; while the 12g produce sharper shots that are very sweet, lighter bodied but transparent. Both are way better than anything in between: usually a mixed bag of good and bad.
+1

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danetrainer

#27: Post by danetrainer »

michaelbenis wrote:Max,

I think it's the coffee. Certain beans only really work at one dose for me, whereas other do different equally enjoyable things at two or even more different doses. I may of course have a preference for one over the other, but will find any of them preferable to what happens in between.
+1

I was just about to say the same thing when Mike beat me to it. I mostly dose SO's and find a wide range of variance between one coffee and another, not any particular sweet spot for the machine or grinder. One 15.5 gram dose of a Sidamo for its sweet spot, compared to 18 gram for an El Salvador Pacamara, and so on...what produces the "best" tasting shot.

CafSuperCharged

#28: Post by CafSuperCharged »

coffee.me wrote:Amazing shots happen around the 20g mark and the 12g mark. Between 14-18g, it almost always brings the worst in coffee and masks the best.
(I notice some grumpiness between the super poster espresso gurus of this forum. Age related MIS?)

Everybody is assuming all sorts of things when you only give us sparse data. Espresso coffee is an optimisation problem in a multi-variable space that probably does not have one single optimum but more that are taste dependent however. Also the optimum will change between harvests and potentially roasts even from the same harvest.

Now, why don't you give us a table that reveals per line the blend, amount ground, temperature, the way you distributed and tamped, the espresso machine you used, pressure details about the portafilter and basket, head room between puck and shower screen, and all those other factors debated here as variables in the optimisation space so we can judge if you really present us with a "ceteris paribus" case.

Regards
Peter

Take caffè seriously and other things lightly

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another_jim
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#29: Post by another_jim »

CafSuperCharged wrote:(I notice some grumpiness between the super poster espresso gurus of this forum. Age related MIS?)
Personally, I'm overwhelmed by the sheer volume of amazingly unsuspected discoveries the young ones are making. The sheer pace of their progress towards espresso nirvana has me grumbling.
Jim Schulman

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cafeIKE
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#30: Post by cafeIKE »

All the cool stuff was already discovered
Cleaning Note: Front flushing an E61 dispersion screen