Elektra Microcasa a Leva bitterness (or sourness?) - Page 2

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
pseudonymousbosch

Postby pseudonymousbosch » May 17, 2019, 3:47 pm

Hm, well, I have freshly roasted coffee now, from a reputable supplier and it is still tasting almost undrinkably bitter. My ratios seem to be right: 15g of beans yielding about 22.5g of liquid coffee in around 25 seconds.

There doesn't seem to be channeling, either: I'm using a naked portafilter and it produces an impressively unified stream.

I have only been locking in the portafilter a short time before preinfusing, though, because I had read that the portafilter could get too hot. Should I be leaving it in to warm up for longer?

I am feeling a little dispirited (not to mention broke) by my coffee experiences!

User avatar
drgary
Team HB

Postby drgary » May 17, 2019, 4:32 pm

Are you doing temperature surfing and dose and grind changes to address the amount of bitterness extracted and to address the balance of bitterness with other flavors? If it's functioning correctly the MCAL should provide consistently delicious and layered shots, but any coffee needs to be dialed in, and you're still learning your machine.
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

pseudonymousbosch

Postby pseudonymousbosch » May 17, 2019, 4:43 pm

Thanks, Gary. I am definitely varying dose and grind. I admit to not really understanding how temperature affects the taste and how to adjust it.

Simon

User avatar
drgary
Team HB

Postby drgary » May 17, 2019, 4:48 pm

Are you able to brew with an immersion or pourover method? If you measure the water temperature and vary it to optimize taste, you'll know what you're aiming for with espresso from the same coffee. Temperature is critical with any fine coffee. When I reviewed the MCAL I gave some tips on temperature surfing. You might look for that in the long-form review in the Bench forum. It's linked to the short review also.
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

pseudonymousbosch

Postby pseudonymousbosch » May 17, 2019, 5:02 pm

Appreciated, Gary. Have found it and will read with interest.

pseudonymousbosch

Postby pseudonymousbosch » May 17, 2019, 8:16 pm

A sharp and informative article, Gary.

Here is the coffee I'm using: https://www.coffeecompass.co.uk/product ... resso-500g

Any suggestion for the heat approach?

Simon

User avatar
drgary
Team HB

Postby drgary » May 17, 2019, 8:56 pm

Ask the roaster for guidelines to pull that as espresso. Then brew some via immersion or drip at that temperature and taste it. Then use the guidelines I believe I posted earlier to dial in according to taste.
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

Felice

Postby Felice » Jun 01, 2019, 6:03 pm

I wanna stick up for Lavazza, but with the caveat that darker, robusta driven beans want a cooler temp.

I too have been driving myself nuts with an microcasa lately, it can be tricky. I've used a moderately hacked gaggia classic for several years with fine luck, and have on occasion returned to it out of frustration. The thing with all this stuff is that all the factors mentioned exist simultaneously, which is why folks often emphasize changing one thing a time. Generally, lighter coffees require a finer grind, preinfusion and warmer temps. Even if you dial in the lavazza perfectly, trying your same technique with a lightly roasted Ethiopian will not give a good cup. Similarly, folks telling you how long they warm up the machine is only a bit of temperature management, the set temp on the pstat, the routine- to flush or not to flush, a single cup vs several in a row, etc. all effect the cup greatly. I don't say this to get you down, but to say that it is hard, it's not just you.

zubinpatrick

Postby zubinpatrick » Jun 02, 2019, 9:37 am

Somewhere on this site there is a decent overview of temperature/time/grind/tamp and how they all work together to affect taste(sour/bitter/ etc...) it is a good read and the interplay between the elements is complicated and requires at little time to absorb (pre-infusion) before you can start experimenting and modifying your particular routine, for your machine. Getting a roast you like is also important, I personally only use locally roasted beans because I know they will be relatively fresh, and because I can give feedback to the roaster if something goes amiss. Definitely experiment, and try changing different parameters and the taste will come.

pseudonymousbosch

Postby pseudonymousbosch » Jun 02, 2019, 10:45 am

Thanks for all the ideas and encouragement, everyone. I - perhaps stupidly — keep ordering different beans, which seem to require radically different grinds, thus compounding the problem. I don't seem to be any better and admit to feeling fairly intense frustration at the elusiveness of a decent espresso (although realise here not the place to dwell on my emotional response).

I am also going through shocking amounts of coffee beans, failing to get the grind right.

You do have to wonder how many MCAL owners just gave up out of frustration, especially before the growth of forums such as this.