16 Grams of Magic

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
PeetsFan
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#1: Post by PeetsFan »

I began brewing my own espresso again about eight months ago. I had a Breville Infuser, then got a Bezzera Duo MN. I struggled with bitter-tasting shots for quite a while. Although the drinks tasted fine with milk, the taste wasn't what I was looking for. With the Bezzera, my shots always seemed overwhelmingly strong. I was using recipes of 19 or 20 grams in, 25-30 seconds of extraction, and 38-42 grams out, at 195F. My filter basket is a 20g VST.

After thinking about the taste, I began to try 16 gram shots in the 20g basket. I needed a finer grind. For about a week, I ground my dose finer and finer, and raised the brew temperature to 199F.

Finally, I'm happy to say, the results are fantastic. I could drink these shots all day! I have no idea why 16g doses come out so much better, but they do. And I prefer the lower caffeine dose anyway. I ordered 18g and 16g baskets from VST, so I'll try them, but I'm so happy with my morning coffee now... it's coffee heaven.

Although... I'll be even happier once I master latte art. But this machine is great for milk steaming.

vickeryj
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#2: Post by vickeryj »

What you are describing aligns pretty well with the guidance in Espresso 101: How to Adjust Dose and Grind Setting by Taste
If the coffee tastes aggressive, you need more caramels and sugars, less flavors. Decrease the dose, and make the grind finer to keep the flow the same. This will increase the proportion of sugars, while keeping the acid bitter balance the same.
I too have decreased my dose, especially with medium and darker roasts, because the shots were too intense.

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Jeff
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#3: Post by Jeff »

There's nothing magical about 18 g. I typically pull medium and lighter flats roasts at 17 g starting. What tastes good with your coffees, grinder, machine, and technique is the right dose!
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PeetsFan (original poster)
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#4: Post by PeetsFan (original poster) »

vickeryj wrote:What you are describing aligns pretty well with the guidance in Espresso 101: How to Adjust Dose and Grind Setting by Taste

I too have decreased my dose, especially with medium and darker roasts, because the shots were too intense.
Thanks! I appreciate the confirmation!

PeetsFan (original poster)
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#5: Post by PeetsFan (original poster) »

Jeff wrote:There's nothing magical about 18 g. I typically pull medium and lighter flats roasts at 17 g starting. What tastes good with your coffees, grinder, machine, and technique is the right dose!
Thanks!
I'm curious to see if there's any difference when using 16g in a 16g basket. It may lead to better extraction... we'll see.

I wonder if someone's already compared 16g doses in 16/18/20g baskets. It would take a very long time to decisively compare, I think. Especially if you dial in all three baskets independently.

Do you ever ask yourself: "Of all the addictions, why did I pick this one?"

vickeryj
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#6: Post by vickeryj »

I have a 15g Decent Espresso basket on the way, I'll report back with what I observe.

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JohnB.
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#7: Post by JohnB. »

If you are using mostly medium-dark roasts try one of the HQ 14 ridgeless baskets. https://www.espressoparts.com/products/ ... 3512743099 They will hold 18g but work well with 14g-16g doses also.
LMWDP 267
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PeetsFan (original poster)
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#8: Post by PeetsFan (original poster) » replying to JohnB. »

OMG! $4.50!
The VST baskets were $30 each.

Clive Coffee promised me this would be less expensive than a cocaine addiction. I'm really not sure!

(Ok, they didn't really say that.)

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JohnB.
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#9: Post by JohnB. » replying to PeetsFan »

Yes & many of us prefer the taste of medium roast shots pulled using the HQ basket over the VSTs. I own both but seldom use the VSTs any more.
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SandraF

#10: Post by SandraF »

@PeetsFan - when you use a 16g dose, what is your target output?

I just tried 16g with around 27g out in 27 seconds & it was much less intense. Definitely something I'd like to work on.