nuketopia wrote:Stop worrying about the puck. Just dump it out, wipe the filter clean and keep going.
On tamping, level the grounds, tamp once as straight and level as possible. I sometimes run my finger around the inside of the rim to knock off any lingering grounds. Mostly just to keep the brewhead clean.
If you want to really up your game, you need to use a scale to weigh the dose and weigh the shot. Stop pulling the shot when you hit the beverage weight you want. Use the timer to judge the fineness of grind. If you dose the same weight, and pull the same beverage weight, the time will reveal how consistent and coarse/fine the grind is.
Volume and time - very inconsistent ways to measure process.
It is really hard to measure volume of espresso, due to the fizz in it. It's really hard to measure coffee grinds by volume, due to compressibility.
I've got an Acaia Lunar scale, which is awesome. However, in my other home, I use an inexpensive scale I bought at Fry's, which is fine if you keep it away from water.
My e61 machine is generally ready to go in 20 minutes. I think it is better after half an hour, but I've certainly pulled good shots in 20.
I agree with you on the puck advice.
Puckology is a dark art. Best not to fool around with it. (j/k)
To faithfully follow a given recipe, it is necessary to have the needed equipment to allow taking control of shot variables, meaning: time, weight of the grinds, weight of the water dispensed.
If the cost of a Lunar scale is affordable to the OP, it is the best one for the job, imo, for measuring weight of the grinds, shot time (thus rate of flow) and dispensed water weight. I've made do without a Lunar by using an espresso shot stopwatch app, along with an inexpensive scale but finally settled on the Lunar as a labor and frustration saver.
Armin wrote:I have a couple of questions and am looking for honest feedback.
Set up: Rocket R58, Nuova Simonelli G60 Grinder, Julius Meinl Cafe Expert Espresso Spezial beans. I dose singles at 8 grams (4sec), and 16 grams(8 sec) for my doubles. Confirmed with a scale. Just started with a semi-auto a few months ago, but I am noticing a couple of things...
1) My pucks are never dry. Should they be?
2) My pucks the majority of the time stick to the screen. I backflush my machine after each session with the blind basket.
3) I always have grounds on the side of the basket after tamping, and usually just use my finger to knock them loose, then re-tamp. Is there a better way? Tapping the portafilter doesn't seem to dislodge them.
4) Once I dial it in to extract between 20-30 seconds, I find my shots being just off, whether bitter or sour. And I have a hard time telling the difference too.
I have posted a few pictures/videos of my crema, my tamping, and overall extraction from afar. Can someone critique and let me know what to start changing? I'm trying to keep my beans consistent. Haven't changed any factory temperature settings on the R58.
I'd appreciate any insight.
Learning the bits necessary to turn out great shots has been, for me, a challenging and enjoyable linear string of investigative mysteries. The resources, and guys and gals, on this forum provide a wellspring of knowledge one can tap to solve the mysteries.
Earnest Insight: Learn and follow a standard recipe, although one can also alter a recipe. All things being equal, bitter is the taste you taste when the grind is too fine, thus sour is the taste you taste when the grind is too coarse*. Finding the balance point is the goal of 'dialing in.'
The closer you get to being dialed in, the more difficult it becomes to detect the difference between bitter and sour in the shot.
I prefer to attack from a too-coarse sour grind setting and adjust finer to dial in simply because bitterness is unkind to my taste sense. As the grind setting becomes finer and finer past the dialed in setting, the more intense the bitterness becomes.
Keep a notebook and record every shot including shot date and time, bean roast date, grinder setting, the recipe's shot variables and degree of detected sour or bitter taste. Pick a roasted coffee bean vendor of fresh good quality with stated roast date. Stick with the same beans for the first few months as you sort out your taste buds and your process knowledge and skills.
Hope this helps in some way.
edit: *You can easily devise an experiment where the grind is intentionally set far too fine; short of choking the espresso machine. It would be a very slow shot, gooey thick. Taste it and remember that taste. It's name is Bitter. The exact opposite is to the far side of too-coarse and it's taste, by definition, is Sour. Remember that taste as Sour. When I approached it like this, the mystery of sour and bitter was put to bed.