Beginner's luck with new espresso machine / grinder?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

#1: Post by starfall »

Novice barista, bought new machine, grinder, and tamper. Set it up without changing any settings, ran a couple of pulls, was impressed.

Sharing details + pics to see for feedback if I got lucky, my palate is likely off, or something else.

My plan is to keep settings + technique 'as-is' for a week to see if I can be consistent, taste more, then tune if needed. Thanks for any feedback.

  • Lelit Anna + PID, Eureka Mignon Specalitá grinder, Espro tamper
  • Locally sourced Colombian med roast ~10 days old
  • Filtered tap water
  • Hooked up everything with default settings (grind coarseness, PID temp, etc.)
  • Primed pump in espresso machine
  • Rinsed group head / warmed portafilter
  • Ground beans, default grind setting
  • Put 18g grinds into double basket, tamped beans until 'click' felt
  • 1st pull: 18g @ 95C for 25 seconds, output 59g weight 1:3.27 ratio
  • 2nd pull (new grinds): 18g @ 95C for 27 seconds, output 54g weight 1:3 ratio
To sort out:
  • My precision scale only goes to 100g so had to grind into basket then put basket into portafilter.
  • Basket seemed to overflow before I could fit 18 grams in, so had to spoon some extra in gently. I know it was the double (not single) basket.
  • Don't want to keep unplugging / plugging in the unit multiple times a day as the outlet / box will start getting loose, but plugs are in the middle of my kitchen work area. Idea is to leave an proper amp rated low profile extension plugged in and plug the machines into that. Anyone else solved for this?
  • I plan to empty the tank after each day's use and leave the lid open for ventilation. Is this overkill?


#2: Post by chipman »

starfall wrote:I plan to empty the tank after each day's use and leave the lid open for ventilation. Is this overkill?

Why? And a big yes it is over kill. It is 100% unnecessary and a waste of water and your time.

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#3: Post by guijan12 »

As above: yes this is overkill.

As per your other question: yes 100% beginners luck. :D
But it is very nice to have a start like this, so congrats. :idea:

Prepare yourself for frustrating moments (like ageing beans, grinder settings, brew temperature, etc.) until you master both your grinder and machine.
The main variable then still is the bean with origin, roast and freshness, that influence your coffee.
And oh yes, your taste buds of course :mrgreen:

If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great. (Tom Hanks)


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#4: Post by sweaner »

It is often better to be lucky than good!!
LMWDP #248


#5: Post by johnX »

Great Start!!


#6: Post by thirdcrackfourthwave »

I'm not sure I understand the outlet issue, why are you plugging and unplugging? The machine has a power switch. Anyhow you can buy plugs with switches on them if you don't like the power switch on the machine.

Also congrats for hammering it.


#7: Post by jgood »

Don't empty the water tank -- no point. If you are going to be away for a week or three then empty the tank and when you return, run some water through the machine, as if you were setting it up for the first time, but several tankfuls, to flush out the boiler. I got that advice from Chris Coffee. In terms of your espresso you might want to try a "recipe" with a higher coffee / water ration -- more like 1:2 or my favorite 1: 1 and a half ( 20g coffee for 30 gram espresso out) -- in that case you'll want to be finer ground as you still want the 30 -40 sec time, but for less output, to see if you like it.


#8: Post by John_Doe »

If you must use an extension cord to reach the appropriate outlet definitely go with a slightly higher rating that what the machine draws. No less than a 14/3 wire and 12/3 would be even better, but really depends on the length needed. For my roasting setup I use a heat gun than can pull 11+ amps continuously and I use a heavy duty 14/3 cord with it, but the length is only 9' and it is fine, never even warm to the touch.

Regarding the water tank... as mentioned don't worry about running it empty as that's definitely overkill and not great for the pump if you get air trapped. Always keep water in it for daily use as it keeps things primed. Also, keep the lid on at all times or you will have dust, insects, etc. in the water that can also cause issues. Just remove the tank every 7-10 days and give a quick scrub with a bit of dish detergent (no it won't hurt a thing and never leaves a smell behind) followed by a hot water rinse and it's like new again. This is often overlooked and things will form in the tank due to using filtered water over long periods of time.


#9: Post by starfall »

Thanks for the feedback.

I've collected enough data to see that I am pulling a 1 : 4.22 ratio, some variance on paper, but they all taste the same to me.

Data slightly skewed in that the 1st shots the portafilter is not as hot, when it is hot then the yield is a little less.

I'm enjoying what I am drinking, so I am going to keep running it for a few more days to collect about 20 data points.

Once I see where I am at then I can make micro adjustments.

I like a long coffee so I feel that I am not that far off from what I enjoy.
pull	date	dose (g)	grind	duration (sec)	bar	temp ©	output (g)	ratio
1	13-Feb	18		3.5		25	unk	unk	75		4.17
2	13-Feb	18		3.5		25	unk	unk	59		3.28
3	13-Feb	18		3.5		27	unk	unk	54		3.00
4	14-Feb	18		3.5		22	8	unk	77		4.28
5	14-Feb	18		3.5		26	8.5	unk	79		4.39
6	15-Feb	17.91		3.5		25	unk	94	83		4.63
7	15-Feb	18		3		25	8.5	94	72		4.00
8	15-Feb	18.03		3		25	unk	unk	76		4.22
9	15-Feb	18.06		3		26	8.25	94	83		4.60

Thanks for the water tank advice. I come from winemaking and we clean everything all of the time, but I will adjust my routine.

The power cords are heavy and they plug right in the middle of our small kitchen work space, and because they are so thick, they bend out 4" from the wall, so they are both an eyesore and blocking our work area. I will gently unplug and plug for the time being and think about an alternate plan.

My next step is to get a 0.0g scale that is big enough to weigh the coffee with the basket in the portafilter. I still cannot seem to get all of the grains into basket without stopping at 10g, tapping the basket gently to flatten it, then add more grains. Is this normal?