Basket Overdosing; time for a serious re-evaluation! - Page 22

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

#211: Post by peacecup »

Ken,

I've always admired your attempts at improving espresso. Given your enthusiasm for the 14g espresso, I think its time you finally take a step up (or is it down?) to a 43-45mm home lever, i.e. Ponte Vecchio or Caravel. That way you can use 14g and still use a full basket! Pair it with a nice hand grinder. Fluffy grinds, no static, no clumping, from drawer to basket in a flash, and you're ready to pull the shot. For precise temp control the open boiler Caravel is unbeatable, and the PV is a steam demon for those 6-oz am Cappas. Really no better 2-group on the market.

Happy holidays!

PC
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

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Psyd

#212: Post by Psyd »

malachi wrote: Resist dogma.
Just taste what's in the cup.
Eat the rich, and the Green Monster will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes. Yeah, and 'Resist Dogma' is starting to become somewhat dogmatic, here, as is 'Taste is the only yardstick'.
While this is great advice, having some vocabulary to describe just how you arrive at the taste you like is one step beyond the basic necessity for language. Taken to extremes in the other direction, describing how you like your coffee to be made as, "Good, please", isn't going to be that helpful to your barista.
If you use one word to describe a half-a-dozen things, that word is meaningless. If we use a half-a-dozen words to describe one thing, the words become meaningless. Our lexicon in the US, as it applies to specialty coffee, is, shall we say, remarkably diverse. Most of it has been rendered useless by a certain Monster coffee sales maven.
I'm just saying that an accurate discussion, especially in written form, requires some more accurate terminology.
Deciding what is what, and what describes what, won't change the taste, just our ability do discuss it with more definitive terms.
Espresso Sniper
One Shot, One Kill

LMWDP #175

zin1953

#213: Post by zin1953 »

Agreed.

At the same time I was always telling my each of my students that the best wine in the world was the one they individually liked the most, I was also trying to get the class to understand and accept certain terminology* through which communication between ourselves (students and teacher), between the students-as-consumers and retail wine merchants and sommeliers, between the students-as-winery employees and the winemakers for whom they worked would become not only easier but also enhanced.

It IS what's in the cup. But one does need to describe it, too . . .

Cheers,
Jason

* And to be specific as possible . . . if I say this wine is reminiscent of "apples," some people in the class (and some people reading this post right now) will think of a Red Delicious; others will imagine the taste of a Golden Delicious, or a Fuji, or a Jonathan . . . whereas I may have been thinking the wine in question reminded me of a Pippin. And clearly a baked (Roman Beauty) apple is something else entirely!
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

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malachi

#214: Post by malachi »

Saying that these so-called golden rules are not universal - and that people should determine what they like and not simply assume that what someone else likes is in any way valid for them - is different from saying we should not have terminology.

Believe me... if you ask anyone who knows me (or read any of the stuff I've written) I'm big on terminology and descriptors.

I'm just not big on rules about the "best" way (or god forbid the "true" way) to make espresso and I'm very, very down on dogma about the "right" way to make or enjoy espresso.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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Marshall

#215: Post by Marshall »

Making espresso is much like learning to play an instrument. Beginners want (and need) pretty firm guidelines. Usually they are flailing around, making terrible noise and looking for a way out. As they gain more experience and their skills grow, they become more comfortable improvising.

So, I think a few simple rules are very helpful for newbies. But, (almost) anything goes, if you know what you are doing and why.
Marshall
Los Angeles

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TUS172

#216: Post by TUS172 »

"Wow" what an interesting thread... Thanks Ken. I have not been able to peruse HBs various forums for some time and this one has been particularly fun... Even though it has taken me a couple of days to get through. :)
I have weighed my doses for 2 years now for consistency and been quite happy with the results.
However, as you stated, your previous dosing practices were 18 - 21 grams. I was always dosing the same as you. I came from using a PID'd Silvia with the 21 gram baskets... When I went to lever machines my 1st inclination was to find a 21 gram basket for the 51 mm portafilter of a La Pavoni... I did find one that fit but had sold the unit before they arrived (did not like the quality of the Milleniums), but did sell the baskets to others on this (HB) site... Never to hear from them again... Hmm, I wonder why? :lol: I opted to go with Leva 'A' baskets for the 49mm Pavonis and Creminas I own and dosed them at 17 grams every day.
Anyway I have recently tried what you have been professing with my SO home roasts and "Wow" again... The results were as you and others here have described! Thank you to all for the great posts and such an informative and entertaining thread! You have taught this 'old daug' a new trick!
Bob C.
(No longer a lever purist!)
LMWDP #012

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#217: Post by cannonfodder »

I have often referred to the golden rule (or rules) as less a rule and more a starting point or guideline. Most of us have a few years under our belts and many much more than that. We have learned enough about the craft to move beyond the basic guidelines to find what we like and experiment with the extraction space. However, if you are new to the craft you need some kind of basic guide to get started, which is where the golden rule comes in, along with all of the other recommended starting points. My two beans worth of opinion.
Dave Stephens

roblumba

#218: Post by roblumba »

In my opinion the 14 grams doesn't work for the entire shelf life of most coffee's. Especially if you buy several bags per order and it takes a week or two to finish them. I find that as the coffee ages, and I think others have voiced the same opinion, upping the dose helps to continue to get good flavor. The smaller 14 gram starts to taste awful.

In addition, some coffee's have very interesting characteristics that are not as present in lower doses. For example, Ethiopian Sidamo can have a wonderful berry aroma and flavor that really explodes at higher doses while it's more subdued at lower doses. Now it depends on your audience and you goals. So if you know you are pulling a coffee that has some really crazy flavors at higher doses, and you want your taste buds, or someone else's taste buds to experience it, then I say go for it. There is absolutely no good reason to feel like you have to go to a lower dose because someone thinks Americans have done something bad by going for larger doses.

There is a component of food that is very much like an art. We see today's chef's continuing to wow their patrons with unique and interesting combinations of flavors from various cultures. Especially in America we see cultures from all over the world getting mixed up in the kitchen and catering to the American palate. This is expected and should be welcomed. When I'm in Japan, they mix things up for the Japanese palate, and I don't blame or flame them for doing it. It's a privilege when I visit to experience their interpretations of American, or Italian as they use of the ingredients that they have access and cater to the Japanese palate.

And for the Americans, we have them cafe's making a 1-1.25 ounce double that has some crazy interpretation of the coffee bean in comparison to the Italian standard. I happen to like both ways and enjoy them both in their proper place. I would like to see some of these cafe's show a little more variation in their extraction technique, going from the lower doses to the higher doses. And actually I do see that happening to some extend in places like Barefoot Coffee roasters. Depending on the Barista, one might prefer to overpack while another barely packs. And you can taste the variation in their preferences. I would like to see the variation exist within each and every Barista and have more to do with the particular coffee bean.

I think some Barista's murder a bean trying to get it to extract a syrupy 1 ounce when it would taste much better at a lower dose and higher volume. But again, sometimes it's not just the bean, but also the age that effects whether a lower dose would do a bean justice.

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Peppersass
Supporter ❤

#219: Post by Peppersass »

Hello All,

Forgive me for resurrecting this thread, but it's one of the most interesting I've read on the site.

I'm a pre-machine newbie. While waiting for my PIDed Silvia from hitechespresso (the Macap M4 is already here, grinding for a -- *shudder* -- moka pot), I've been trying to learn as much as I can about the art and science of making good espresso. This is an incredible site with tons of information. Been looking at a lot of YouTube vids, as well.

So, one of the things I'd like to try is the 14g dose vs the 18-21g updose that most people seem to use. There's a lot of logic to Ken's argument about machine design, and I'd like to test it for myself.

First question(s): I read in a post that Silvia likes updosing. Is that really true? Has anyone tried 14g doses in a Silvia?

Second question: Several posts in this thread say that U.S. roasters have engineered their blends for the updosing that's become typical for U.S. baristas (almost every video on YouTube features updosing, as does the Heather Perry Espresso 101 series.) Can anyone recommend any first-rate blends or SO coffees suitable for 14g doses available from U.S. roasters?

Third question: I'm not ready for home roasting yet. For experimentation purposes, I've ordered some Machristay Black Pearl from Chris Coffee (it's here and I'm using it in the moka), some Black Cat from Intelligentsia, and some WBC from Coffee Klatch. I'm not sure, but I suspect all of these have been optimized for updosing. The Intelligentsia site is the only one that gives brewing recommendations, and they say 18-20g. How well are these coffees likely to work at 14g?

Any info would be much appreciated.

Ken Fox (original poster)

#220: Post by Ken Fox (original poster) »

dgreen wrote:Hello All,

Forgive me for resurrecting this thread, but it's one of the most interesting I've read on the site.

I'm a pre-machine newbie. While waiting for my PIDed Silvia from hitechespresso (the Macap M4 is already here, grinding for a -- *shudder* -- moka pot), I've been trying to learn as much as I can about the art and science of making good espresso. This is an incredible site with tons of information. Been looking at a lot of YouTube vids, as well.

So, one of the things I'd like to try is the 14g dose vs the 18-21g updose that most people seem to use. There's a lot of logic to Ken's argument about machine design, and I'd like to test it for myself.

First question(s): I read in a post that Silvia likes updosing. Is that really true? Has anyone tried 14g doses in a Silvia?

Second question: Several posts in this thread say that U.S. roasters have engineered their blends for the updosing that's become typical for U.S. baristas (almost every video on YouTube features updosing, as does the Heather Perry Espresso 101 series.) Can anyone recommend any first-rate blends or SO coffees suitable for 14g doses available from U.S. roasters?

Third question: I'm not ready for home roasting yet. For experimentation purposes, I've ordered some Machristay Black Pearl from Chris Coffee (it's here and I'm using it in the moka), some Black Cat from Intelligensia, and some WBC from Coffee Klatch. I'm not sure, but I suspect all of these have been optimized for updosing. The Intelligensia site is the only one that gives brewing recommendations, and they say 18-20g. How well are these coffees likely to work at 14g?

Any info would be much appreciated.
I don't know about the Chris Coffee blend, but the others are designed to be used at doses well above 14g.

All of this however begs the question. The Silvia is a very "challenging" machine to get good shots out of. At your level of experience, especially with this machine, I think you already have way too much on your plate to even be contemplating a comparison of anything. Using the coffees that you have on hand (which will go stale long before you pull two decent, consecutive shots from your new Silvia) will just further compound the problem.

I suggest that you concentrate on trying to get drinkable shots out of your new equipment however you are able to do it, and leave the comparisons until later, probably much later.

ken
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955