Bad Results, Refractometer Confuses Me - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
jmotzi

#11: Post by jmotzi »

msg31 wrote: 17g D -> 45g Y -> 21s -> 8.1 TDS -> 22% extraction -> Not sour, but no flavor, especially not the sweetness I'm hoping for
I'm not sure I've ever had a coffee with no flavor at 8% TDS / 22% extraction; That includes the ones I don't like.

Rhetorical question - what are your flavor expectations based upon? For example, have you tried this coffee at a cafe or at a friend's house and are trying to reproduce that profile?

JM
LMWDP #662

msg31 (original poster)

#12: Post by msg31 (original poster) » replying to jmotzi »

Good question. I haven't tasted any of the coffees I have in a cafe. Right now, I don't anticipate being able to go to a cafe any time soon.

My flavor expectation primarily is around brightness or fruit. My vocabulary may be lacking. And that expectation is what I'm unable to achieve. Other attributes, body or acid, seem fine. When I brew these coffees on filter, I do get the brightness or fruit flavors.

But, the predominant flavor I find in my shots is sourness.

Here's a different example - a medium roast coffee single origin Guatemala from Elm Roasters (in Seattle), 2 weeks off roast, 203F:

17g Dose -> 46g Yield -> 25s -> 6.9 TDS -> 19.3 Extraction
17g -> 46g -> 29s -> 7.6 TDS -> 20.8
17g -> 46g -> 32s -> 7.6 TDS -> 20.6
17g -> 50g -> 34s ->7.1 TDS -> 21.6

The last shot at almost a 1:3 ratio was the best. No sourness. But, I was hoping for more concentration in flavor, which may be counter-intuitive to the ratio.

I am surprised that across multiple different coffees I am unable to get a shot that tastes good at lower (1:2, for example) ratios.

But, with the SSP High Uniformity burrs, I'm expecting to pull shots at a lower (1:2, 1:2.5 ratio) per: https://www.option-o.com/faq-lagom-p64

I'd be willing to try a different roast, if that would help with troubleshooting.

mathof

#13: Post by mathof »

msg31 wrote:[T]he predominant flavor I find in my shots is sourness.

Here's a different example - a medium roast coffee single origin Guatemala from Elm Roasters (in Seattle), 2 weeks off roast, 203F:

17g Dose -> 46g Yield -> 25s -> 6.9 TDS -> 19.3 Extraction
17g -> 46g -> 29s -> 7.6 TDS -> 20.8
17g -> 46g -> 32s -> 7.6 TDS -> 20.6
17g -> 50g -> 34s ->7.1 TDS -> 21.6

The last shot at almost a 1:3 ratio was the best. No sourness. But, I was hoping for more concentration in flavor, which may be counter-intuitive to the ratio.

I am surprised that across multiple different coffees I am unable to get a shot that tastes good at lower (1:2, for example) ratios.
I wonder if the display on your machine is giving you the right brew water temperature. 203F should be sufficient but perhaps for some reason the actual temperature is several degrees lower than the display indicates.

Peter_SVK

#14: Post by Peter_SVK »

@msg31:
What temperature do you use for LaCabra? Have you tried to increase it as per mathof suggestion (I would recommend the same)?

203F (95°C) sounds very high to me for medium roast and good taste - I think that actual temperature of your machine must be lower from the display reading by ca. 3°C. From memory I think I prepared LaCabra at ca. 93-93.5°C (but SG machine).

msg31 (original poster)

#15: Post by msg31 (original poster) » replying to Peter_SVK »

Yes. 203f for La Cabra - and all lighter roast coffees.

The Profitec Pro 300 has a PID.

Is there a way to manually verify the temp?

Peter_SVK

#16: Post by Peter_SVK »

If you use 203F for medium roast, light roast should require 2 - 2.5°C higher temperature, otherwise it taste a bit more acid (sour). Try first e.g. 207F.

mathof

#17: Post by mathof »

msg31 wrote:Yes. 203f for La Cabra - and all lighter roast coffees.

The Profitec Pro 300 has a PID.

Is there a way to manually verify the temp?
The official way is with a Scace thermofilter:

https://www.espressoparts.com/espresso- ... evice-only

attached to a t-type digital thermometer.

There are various suggestions for homemade alternatives which you can find by searching H-B. My method is to slip a thin-wire, K-type thermocouple (tc) over the top of a basket filled with coffee before inserting the portafilter. I try to keep things neat by covering the coffee with a paper filter and then sandwiching the tc in place with another paper filter above that. The wire is, of course, plugged into a K-type digital thermometer.

However, if I were you, I would begin by simply raising the temperature on the PID to see what that does to the taste.

Peter_SVK

#18: Post by Peter_SVK »

To get an idea about brew water temperature I used selfmade grouphead thermometer in previous E61 machines. Not that accurate like SCACE, but good enough for everyday use to see machine behaviour e.g. to compare shot after shot.


msg31 (original poster)

#19: Post by msg31 (original poster) »

I set the PID to 207F.

Tried the La Cabra again. 25 days off roast.

17g Dose -> 42g Yield -> 25s -> TDS 8 -> Extraction 20
17g D -> 45g Y -> 27s -> 6.9 TDS -> 19 E
17g D -> 42g Y -> 35s -> 8 TDS -> 20 E
17g D -> 45g Y -> 39s -> 7.5 TDS -> 20.5 E (best shot)
17g D -> 44g Y -> 43s -> 7 TDS -> 20 E (sour flavors increased)

For each shot, I ground finder.

The best shot was the second-to-last, a hint of brightness and minimal sourness.

As an experiment, I will borrow a friend's Lelit Elizabeth.

I'm happy to assume poor technique is the problem. But, people with the Lagom P64 seem to report great results. I want to switch out the Profitec Pro 300 and see what happens.

msg31 (original poster)

#20: Post by msg31 (original poster) »

I borrowed a friend's Lelit Elizabeth.

My results with the La Cabra were similar - muddy flavors, no brightness.

Then I switched to a light roast single origin from Soul Work. On the Pro 300, this coffee was similarly muddy flavors, sour. But, on the Elizabeth the shots were bright, sweet, and fantastic.

The Elizabeth was set at 203F. I noticed the water from the Elizabeth was warmer than the Pro300 also set at 203F.

As an experiment, I measured water from both machines in a room temp glass. Not a perfect experiment, but the Elizabeth water was ~150F and the Pro300 was ~140F. Setting the Pro300 to a temp of 207 on the PID resulted in water closer to 150F.

I was only able to borrow the Elizabeth for a day. I don't have a scace. I realize these aren't perfect experiments.

Over the weekend, I bought a medium roast espresso blend from Olympia Coffee that had been rested for 12 days. The recipe in the shop was 18g -> 38g yield -> 27s on a Arduino Mythos.

Using my Pro300 set at 207F, my results were again mediocre: sour, muddy flavors.

18g dose -> 40g yield -> 27s -> 7.1 TDS
18g dose -> 38g yield -> 30s -> 7.6 TDS
18g dose -> 45g yield -> 30s -> 8.2 TDS

I'm in a position where I'm confused. I feel like my technique should be yielding better results. I've had the Pro300 for 4 years and have had more failures than success. The possibility of a temp problem may be a factor - up until last week, I've been pulling shots at what I thought was 203F. I originally paired the Pro300 with the Profitec T64 grinder. I assumed the bad results were from that grinder. But, now with the Option-O P64 I continue to see bad results.

I'm still willing to consider I'm at fault :)

Any thoughts on what to do next?