Achieving Optimal Brew/Pump Pressure - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
DavidMLewis

#11: Post by DavidMLewis »

Grant wrote: - Grind 1/2 the beans into basket/PF, distribute around a bit, grind remainder of beans in basket/PF including using air tight lid on the Rocky to push through any residual grounds (so there are a minimal amount in there for next time).
- Distribute evenly in basket and level off, and then apply 1 solid/even tamp (Reg Barber 58mm flat bottom steel tamper) to 30lbs (or so) - damn digital bathroom scale.
While I don't think this is your problem, I believe you may be able to improve a bit. In my experience of a similar doserless grinder (NS Grinta, heavily modified), I found it quite hard to achieve a really even distribution grinding right into the portafilter and manually trying to fill in the gaps. I've switched to grinding into a small container (the bottom of a Zass Turkish grinder, as it happens), then putting my hand over it and shaking to fully homogenize the grinds and dissipate the static charge. This also allows me to distribute by tapping with my finger on the container as I move it around the basket. The result, at least in my case, has been much more even and much more repeatable.

Best,
David

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Grant (original poster)

#12: Post by Grant (original poster) »

malachi wrote:OK.

You need to flush longer.
If you're only flushing until the water stops sputtering, you're probably brewing at a very high temp. The sputtering is from water at or above boiling temp.

Example...

On the Bricc as I had it set up (1.1BAR) - if I were to flush for a full "5 mississippi" count after the water stopped sputtering, I would be at a brew temp of 200F. In general, almost all espressos are best brewed somewhere between 196F and 203F. Based on what you've said, I would guess that your brew temp is in the 205F-208F range.

In other words... you don't flush until the water stops sputtering, stop the flush and then count "5 mississippi" but rather flush for a "5 mississippi" count after the water stops sputtering.

Does that make sense?
Aaahhh....that makes more sense. I am totally screwing up the flush! I will try some longer flushes (sputtering PLUS 5 mississippi) and experiment from there.
DavidMLewis wrote:While I don't think this is your problem, I believe you may be able to improve a bit. In my experience of a similar doserless grinder (NS Grinta, heavily modified), I found it quite hard to achieve a really even distribution grinding right into the portafilter and manually trying to fill in the gaps. I've switched to grinding into a small container (the bottom of a Zass Turkish grinder, as it happens), then putting my hand over it and shaking to fully homogenize the grinds and dissipate the static charge. This also allows me to distribute by tapping with my finger on the container as I move it around the basket. The result, at least in my case, has been much more even and much more repeatable.
I will play a bit in this area as well as while I am sure there is a lot of room for improvment, but when I cut the bottom off the PF, that may become more apparent. I do not think this is my problem either in this case though. Keeping beans, grinder, distribution, and tamp constant across 2 machine - going from a PID Silvia (a very unforgiving machine to bad technique, but incredibly temperature accurate with the PID) where the espresso was EXCELLENT to the Bric, resulted in an immediate degradation in espresso taste/quality. I am 99% sure it is the machine...or more accurately, how I am USING the machine that is the problem...hopefully my resolving the total failure to understand cooling flushes properly will fix all...I miss my chocolate bomb cappa's!

Grant

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malachi

#13: Post by malachi »

Cool.

Let us know what transpires.

Assume that you're going to need to experiment with the timing and that you'll be looking at flushing somewhere between "2 mississippi" and "8 mississippi" to get the target temp for a specific batch of coffee.


On a (final) side note.... most espresso is best at between 3 and 5 days out of the roaster. 30 hours is a bit fresh for most coffees if used as espresso.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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CraigA

#14: Post by CraigA »

Grant wrote: 1 - in order to give us a chance to better diagnose the problems, it would be really helpful if you could get a little bit of a commercial blend that we're familiar with. I know it's going to be a pain, but this would eliminate one chunk of guesswork on our part. Maybe Brad from Wicked in Vancouver could set you up with a little Black Cat? If you were able to work with a coffee we've all used, we can not only eliminate this guesswork but give you practical advice for that blend.

I'll see what I can do here...I will see if I can figure out how to get in touch with Brad. Anyone have an e-mail address?
Hi Grant,

Brad Ford
Distributor for Canada

Intelligensia Coffee & Tea, Inc.
Canadian Offices
1399 West 7th Avenue.
Vancouver,
B.C.
V6H 1B8

Tel: 604-630-2435
Cell: 604-319-3065
Fax:604-630-2466

http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com

bford@intelligensiacoffee.removethis.com

The same address as above for Brad's Wicked Cafe too!, & the Tel # there is 604-733-9425. :wink:

Grant (original poster)

#15: Post by Grant (original poster) »

Just wanted to post an update on what is happening and what I have done in the last week or so.

As a "sub-project", I wanted to address any distribution/tamp concerns so I went out and picked up a bi-metal hole saw that fit perfectly inside my single spout PF. Wow...it cut through so fast and clean I couldn't believe it. 30 seconds with a dremel sanding drum, and about 2 minutes with some steel wool, and I now have a bottomless PF I am quite proud of....not bad for $20. Looks quite "commercial".

End result of the bottomless action is that I am not seeing any "serious" issues in the basket...at least from what I can tell. I seem to be getting a fairly even distribution of espresso across the entire basket on almost all shots. I occasionally get some "flat" spots in the basket, and some early blonding in some areas, but as soon as we can figure out how to get some video, I will try to post some shots for some comments and analysis.

The longer cooling flushes have made a BIG difference in the shot quality and taste. The off flavours have pretty much disappeared, but the repeated "wow" shots I was so used to on the Silvia have yet to appear. But, with some more playing, it is getting there.

I have gotten one e-mail from Brad, and we are arranging to have some coffee shipped over here. I really hope it isn't as good as everyone says it is....I would hate to have to make it a habit. Thanks for the info Craig.


The previous week of "playing" has resulted in a couple questions though....

1) How do you time the 2nd or 3rd shots if you are pulling multiple shots. For example this AM, I get up, prepare everything, pull the cooling flush (up to about 7 seconds now past water dance ending), and and then load and shoot. Then, I dump/clean the basket, re-load and tamp the basket...but then am unsure how long (if at all) I should flush for. If I manually start a flush, I do not see any water dance or hear any boiling/hissing, but am unsure if I should flush a couple ounces anyways? Time to clean the basket, re-load etc. is probably about 45 seconds - 1 minute past the end of the first shot.

2) Bean age...I am thinking that the green beans I have are probably starting to get a bit old as well. I think they are going to have a 1st birthday soon...should I be thinking of tossing them into the compost? Looking at the numerous (hundreds) of threads on bean age and keeping greens, there seems to be no set "rule"...everything from 6 months to 2 years is "OK" depending on who posted the note. Any thoughts on this?

Grant

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malachi

#16: Post by malachi »

1 - flush by time not volume. Seriously. if you're finding your coffee tastes best if you flush a seven count from when you hear no sputtering, then always flush the seven count.

2 - it depends on storage conditions. i'd suggest roasting your green in small batches to a light cupping roast and cupping each coffee. see if they've faded or have become damaged.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

Grant (original poster)

#17: Post by Grant (original poster) »

malachi wrote:1 - flush by time not volume. Seriously. if you're finding your coffee tastes best if you flush a seven count from when you hear no sputtering, then always flush the seven count.
Perhaps I am not asking this correctly....perhaps I should ask about rebound times instead. So let's say that from idle, I flush to 7 seconds past the point of the hissing/water dance to get my ideal shot with my current coffee. This is easy to duplicate every time - if the machine has been idle. But when pulling repeated shots, let's say each one every 45 seconds after the initial water dance shot, the machine might not even return to a point where it will hiss and sputter, so won't 7 seconds be too much of a cooling flush in this case?

If I am using the end of the water dance as an reference point for how long to flush, how long do you flush when the machine does not recover long enough to get back to the "overheated" point - i.e. you have no point of reference to start timing.

Looking at the various articles, a 45 second period between shots produces a small temperature hump that can increase the complexity of the shots with at least some coffee (taken from "How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love HXs" by Dan Kehn), so if I am pulling repeated shots at 45 seconds, so I even need to do any flush?

Grant

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krazycranes

#18: Post by krazycranes »

that's the beauty of an e61 group head. 9+ lbs. of chrome plated brass has good temperature stability. 1 minute or longer and a short flush 1-2 oz. should be fine. Let the taste be your guide. When the off flavors start coming back, time to flush.

Kevin :lol:

Grant (original poster)

#19: Post by Grant (original poster) »

Man...I am just starting to think this machine is very temperature unstable....I can do something one day that seems to work, and then the next can't duplicate it, but then something else will work. I am almost positive it is temperature related.

Will a simple styrofoam cup temperature test give me close enough results to see if the machine is out of whack somehow? I was thinking of trying the following - will the below work to give me any close temp reading? (I have a very high quality digital probe thermometer which reads very quickly and accurately as confirmed on my PID Silvia many times).

1) Cut a styrofoam cup short so it holds exactly 2oz before overflowing.
2) Insert probe into cup
3) Insert cup into PF
4) Pull cooling flush (emulating pro method style flush/pull)
5) Immediately put PF/cup directly under group and pull shot until it just overflows (2oz).
6) Read temp.

..and if this will give me a close measurement, what should be the approximate temp in the cup to give me the needed temp in the basket?

Grant

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malachi

#20: Post by malachi »

I hate to say this, but it's rarely the machine.

What seems to be the trouble?
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin