Comments on my technique [video]

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aindfan

#1: Post by aindfan »

Can anyone comment on how I'm doing and provide any tips (based on a low quality cellphone video)?

The shot tasted good but was a tiny bit on the sour side.

Thanks!

«missing video»
Dan Fainstein
LMWDP #203
PSA: Have you descaled lately?

grong

#2: Post by grong »

All in the spirit of commenting from far away without a chance to drink the espresso personally, I offer the following.

I don't think the Weiss stirring is necessary, but it doesn't hurt. After the Mr. Brown's distribution method (tossing the grounds in the covered basket) I would simply level and tamp. All the extra tapping and packing create more work, and I think allow for inconsistency from basket to basket.

With your basket prepared, draw a short flush to get fresh water from the boiler—this will probably be a little hotter and more consistent. Make sure before you draw that the pressure is around .8 bar, even if you need to kick in the boiler by letting off a little steam. This will give consistently provide a full first pull. If the shot is still sour and you don't like it, you might want to increase boiler pressure a tad. I like my shots on the cool side; a little sour balances sweet Brazils, and my wife likes it in milk drinks.

Skip the Fellini pull, and when you are satisfied with the quality of your pulls, add the Fellini pull to add volume if you feel you are not sacrificing quality. I no longer use the Fellini pull.

The flow of your shot looks just a little fast, so a finer grind might be called for, but its close.

Thanks for posting the video. Best wishes.

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shadowfax

#3: Post by shadowfax »

Do you really need to tap it so much? I know that most people that I have read either advise avoiding tapping altogether or, at least, ONLY tapping after the light tamp (super light), but before the final tamp. I also don't think that the number of tamps you did (was that 3?) are helpful in anyway. Most likely they are harmless, just kind of a waste of time, and a way to add more entropy to your shot. That is, I think in general the more elaborate your routine, the more can go wrong, and the less consistent you are likely to be. I think you're going to be best off skipping the stirring and just shaking the basket up, and then tamping once. No need to tap the basket, I would try just brushing off the rim with your finger over a waste basket/ knockbox.

As far as the shot, it looks OK (as OK as a shot can look without a bottomless portafilter), but the shot seemed slightly over-extracted when you took the video of the final result--those two light blond spots were a little big. You might try pulling a slightly smaller shot and see if you like it better, or consider that the Fellini might be negatively impacting your pour quality (broken side seal, maybe?)

Grains of salt with my advice: I have absolutely no experience with any of your equipment, and even though I have a lever machine, it's direct, not spring, so I can't comment on how to control volume. My eyes may also be deceiving me--as you note, the video is not too high quality.
Nicholas Lundgaard

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HB
Admin

#4: Post by HB »

I agree with the comments about the WDT and the excessive flourish, especially with the grinder you're using, since the Le'Lit PL53 produces nearly clump-free grounds. The Lusso is a forgiving espresso machine; IIRC, I pull using 12 grams and a simple level cut.

«missing video»
From Demonstration of the Quickmill auto milk steamer
Dan Kehn

aindfan

#5: Post by aindfan »

Thanks for the great comments. I'll post tomorrow morning with the results of cutting down on the "violence" in my shot preparation.
Dan Fainstein
LMWDP #203
PSA: Have you descaled lately?

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peacecup

#6: Post by peacecup »

I agree on skipping the stir, unless you have a lot of clumping. My hand grinders don't clump at all, so I take my shots neither "shaken nor stirred".

And I also agree that the shot looks a little fast - you could grind finer, tamp harder, or dose fuller (I suggest trying only ONE of these at a time, until you get the results you like).

Given that you're using tow pulls, a fuller dose will allow the shot to go longer without blonding, so you could try that first. The PV is not as sensitive to overdosing as some other machines are said to be.

I also agree that the Fellini preinfusion is not needed. That said, I've used it, abandoned it, then came back to it, and I use it regularly. I think it does more than add volume - it preinfuses the entire puck, which allows for a more even extraction. If you do decide to use it, I recommend pulling the lever down and holding just until all the air escapes (i.e. the piston is full), then smoothly pumping the lever once and holding. The ENTIRE preinfusion should be around 10 sec.

Oh, and for the second pull, just keep the lever down long enough for air to escape (i.e. no second pre-infusion).

Sourness can be caused by water that is too cold, I think.

Bitterness is too hot, I think.

And, after all (or BEFORE all) are the beans. I recommend finding a blend you like, and staying with it, including about the same level of freshness (within 2-3 weeks) until you have all of the other variables (grind, dose, tamp, temp) to your liking.

Oh, and I must say that a hand grinder would be a nice addition to the bench for those quiet, reflective times, which seem to produce the best shots,

PC
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

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orphanespresso

#7: Post by orphanespresso »

dosing....the key to all levers. And hand grinders, the portal to espresso mellowness. How's Sweden Jack?

IMAWriter
Supporter

#8: Post by IMAWriter »

Dan....if I fussed that much, I'd probably switch to tea! :lol:
I also concur that a bit more coffee in the basket would be good. Also, as it appears you were grinding per dose, the beans could have been flying around a bit, causing the grind to coarsen up towards the end. Maybe try a 1/4 filled hopper? Helps in my SJ, or to just place a tamper on top of the 15gram load.
Also, I agree that 2 tamps is enough. I do a 15# leveling tamp, brush off, then a 25 or so 2nd tamp and polish...of course, out machines being way different, tamping pressure is subjective.
Funny, "borrowing" an Arrarex Caravel from Doug and Barb at orphan espresso.com (while they were tricking out my Cremina) taught me a big lesson. Simple IS more consistent. I miss that little Caravel.
You obviously take great care and enjoy the process. I'm just like you, in that the journey is still ongoing, and consistency can be elusive. We're all in your corner! There are many here more expert than me, but I hope I helped in some way.
Cheers!
Rob
LMWDP #187
www.robertjason.com

grong

#9: Post by grong »

peacecup wrote:I also agree that the Fellini preinfusion is not needed. That said, I've used it, abandoned it, then came back to it, and I use it regularly. I think it does more than add volume - it preinfuses the entire puck, which allows for a more even extraction. If you do decide to use it, I recommend pulling the lever down and holding just until all the air escapes (i.e. the piston is full), then smoothly pumping the lever once and holding. The ENTIRE preinfusion should be around 10 sec.
I have also used the Fellini pull in the past, then stopped using it. But now I have been experimenting along peacecup's above guidelines, placing the Fellini move right near the beginning of the preinfusion, just after air pressure change sounds cease, with very nice results in flavor and volume. Great guideline, peacecup!

aindfan

#10: Post by aindfan »

Thank you very much for all the tips! I owe a more detailed update - I'll post that this weekend.

In short - no complaints about fewer preparation steps, tighter grind, and no Fellini preinfusion. As I said, more details and possibly an updated video coming up soon.

I am still getting some some brighter spots in the crema where the espresso stream is during the second pull. I'll keep working on it. Everyone seemed to mention the dose and I forgot to write that in my original post. It was 15g. My tamp was... firmish? Enough to pack the coffee down?

Edit: One more thing that I forgot to mention: thank you for reminding me that this machine doesn't have to be all about the fuss of tweaking a degree here and there. It just plain works - and I'm trying to streamline my prep to line up with that. Anyone have 45mm yogurt cups (so I can stop using the rolled up and taped Intelligentsia publicity postcard)?
Dan Fainstein
LMWDP #203
PSA: Have you descaled lately?