Can you help me troubleshoot my Americano? It's only sour with fresh coffee but fine with old ones

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
yalag
Posts: 50
Joined: 2 years ago

#1: Post by yalag »

So I've been trying to reproduce a 'regular' tasting americano that you would get from a cafe.

When I use fresh beans (doesnt matter what roast), I usually pull the shot with
16g in
32g out, around 30 seconds

Then I make the americano, by adding anywhere from 150g-200g of hot water.

The issue is that when I make it this way, the americano always tastes a bit 'sour'. Now I put sour in quotes because I dont actually know what this taste is. Its doesnt taste like bitter so I can only describe it as sour.

Of course, if we were to assume it's sour, then the first thing I tried was to see if its undeextracted. But I dont think it is, because the original espresso shot tasted actually quite balanced.

Also, even if I try to pull a longer shot (say 45 seconds - 40g out), in an attempt to over extract. It still tasted the same. Maybe just a little bit more bitter but the sour undertone is still heavily there.

Now the funny thing is. If I use old beans, like for example if I just buy a bag of starbucks bean from the super market (which I assume is roasted a long time ago - compared to fresh beans which is typically roasted 2-3 weeks ago). The whole issue is fixed. The sour taste is completely gone, although it's mostly traded for bitterness/burnt taste. Which I find closer to what you would get at a regular cafe.

Now I can just leave it be considering I have single doze grinder. So maybe I just use fresh beans for espresso drinks and old beans for americano. But the inner scientist of me want to fix this. Is it not possible to create a bitter americano with fresh beans?

benhb
Posts: 20
Joined: 2 years ago

#2: Post by benhb »

Beans that are too freshly roasted may be giving your espresso that carbonic acid sourness?

This article has been oft linked by the admins here and it's a good explainer:
https://squaremileblog.com/2020/02/21/r ... freshness/

erik82
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Joined: 12 years ago

#3: Post by erik82 »

Have you tried pulling the espresso on top of the hot water? And how hot is the water you're adding as adding just of boil water will burn the espresso and that's why it should be the other way around. Needing to say that burning your espresso should result in more bitter taste but it's something you can try.

yalag (original poster)
Posts: 50
Joined: 2 years ago

#4: Post by yalag (original poster) replying to erik82 »

I pour hot water on top of the espresso. I use close to boiling water, because that's what comes out of the breville machine.

erik82
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Joined: 12 years ago

#5: Post by erik82 »

Then do it the other way around. That's the biggest mistake people make with americanos. You're ruining your espresso right now as your burning it like pulling it 100C. Especially since the water in the boiler is past boiling point.

yalag (original poster)
Posts: 50
Joined: 2 years ago

#6: Post by yalag (original poster) »

erik82 wrote:Then do it the other way around. That's the biggest mistake people make with americanos. You're ruining your espresso right now as you're burning it like pulling it 100C. Especially since the water in the boiler is past boiling point.
But you said burning it makes it more bitter right? Which is what I want

Pressino
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#7: Post by Pressino »

You did say you were uncertain about the difference between "bitter" and "sour," so I suggest just trying what Eric suggested and let us know if it improves your Americanos.

yalag (original poster)
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Joined: 2 years ago

#8: Post by yalag (original poster) »

What temperature should it be?

User avatar
Jeff
Team HB
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#9: Post by Jeff »

Another possibility is that when you taste the shot it is so hot that you're unable to discern the details of the flavors. What happens if you try the shot after it is cooled down?

Brewbom
Posts: 10
Joined: 6 months ago

#10: Post by Brewbom »

our preferred method for americanos is like the above super stars said when using fresher coffee. (less than 7 days after roast)
  • Put NOT boiling water in cup - it should be drinkable temp so less than 180F so it cools to drinakable
    pour espresso on top so its mixed after shot is done
    for fresher coffee try doing a higher ratio (instead of 1:2 18i/36o try more like 18i/30o)
    sour is like a lemon
if that still produces mostly sour overly lemony notes then try raising the temperature on the Breville if your model allows that, otherwise make the grind finer to slow extraction a bit.