Can't brew a sweet shot and am completely lost.

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RNAV
Posts: 30
Joined: November 25th, 2012

Postby RNAV » Feb 11, 2018, 4:47 pm

I can't seem to figure out how to brew a sweet shot.

I have an E61 HX machine (Expobar Office Leva) and a Compak K3 grinder; I've been using Red Bird Espresso as well as their holiday blend. I normally make lattes and am pleased with the flavor and smoothness. I've read on this forum of members referring to shots that have a subtle sweetness. So I decided to taste a shot straight as I normally make it. It definitely doesn't have any sweetness to it, and I frankly can't tell if it's sour, bitter, or both.

My standard is:
1) 16.5g in a 15g VST, ~34.5g yield in 25-30 seconds (I always stop the shot at blonding onset or prior).

To try to get a sweet shot, I tried:
2) 19g in a 20g VST, ~30g yield in 25 seconds. This shot tasted bolder, but I couldn't tell any difference in sourness/bitterness. Definitely didn't taste sweeter.
3) 14g in a 15g VST, unknown weight (got about an ounce in volume, had to stop shot due to channelization causing early blonding). Still tasted sour/bitter, not sweet.

I feel like I've tried opposite ends of the spectrum to achieve a sweet shot. I think part of my problem is that I can't tell if my shots are sour, bitter, or both. Do you all have any suggestions?

Espresso_Junky
Posts: 117
Joined: March 15th, 2017

Postby Espresso_Junky » Feb 11, 2018, 5:25 pm

I'd start by asking how old the coffees are? Perceived notes/sweetness/sour, etc. varies as we all likely taste different to a degree.

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TomC
Team HB
Posts: 7962
Joined: June 6th, 2011

Postby TomC » Feb 11, 2018, 6:33 pm

I'd find something else besides Redbird for starters. Redbird seems to work best in milk anyway.

RNAV
Posts: 30
Joined: November 25th, 2012

Postby RNAV » Feb 11, 2018, 9:16 pm

Espresso_Junky wrote:I'd start by asking how old the coffees are? Perceived notes/sweetness/sour, etc. varies as we all likely taste different to a degree.


I used the Red Bird from 5-15 days post roast, and the holiday blend 15-25 days post roast.

RNAV
Posts: 30
Joined: November 25th, 2012

Postby RNAV » Feb 11, 2018, 9:18 pm

TomC wrote:I'd find something else besides Redbird for starters. Redbird seems to work best in milk anyway.


Thanks for the input. Do you have any recommendations for a blend that's known to be sweet?

BillBurrGrinder
Posts: 82
Joined: February 4th, 2018

Postby BillBurrGrinder replying to RNAV » Feb 12, 2018, 8:42 pm

I keep reading that Red Bird Sweet Blue and Blue Jaguar are very sweet, chocolate bombs. Blue Jaguar is on my list for the next order.

plumbfire01
Posts: 16
Joined: September 30th, 2017

Postby plumbfire01 » Feb 12, 2018, 9:57 pm

Single origins are good and generally better for me. I drink straight espresso strictly. What is the brew temp for the machine if it has pid. Even a Hx machine should be capable of temp stability to some degree. Try loyal coffee hambella or shakiso. Ritual coffee has a good one in sweettooth.

You sound like I did until I had a roaster/barista pull shots until I got a flavorful shot that had lots of complexity. Ideally If you do 18g and yield 36-38 every shot and fine the grind each shot until you get slight bitterness and then back off. Many beans will yield a good bold shot with little flavors and that is because some are roasted with milk drinks in mind where the boldness pushes through the milk and these are more chocolatey drinks generally.

Good luck and keep us posted.

RNAV
Posts: 30
Joined: November 25th, 2012

Postby RNAV » Feb 12, 2018, 11:44 pm

plumbfire01 wrote:What is the brew temp for the machine if it has pid. Even a Hx machine should be capable of temp stability to some degree. Try loyal coffee hambella or shakiso. Ritual coffee has a good one in sweettooth.

You sound like I did until I had a roaster/barista pull shots until I got a flavorful shot that had lots of complexity. Ideally If you do 18g and yield 36-38 every shot and fine the grind each shot until you get slight bitterness and then back off. Many beans will yield a good bold shot with little flavors and that is because some are roasted with milk drinks in mind where the boldness pushes through the milk and these are more chocolatey drinks generally.

Good luck and keep us posted.


Thanks for the suggestions. @BillBurrGrinder: I just ordered some Blue Jaguar, so we'll see how that goes.

No PID, but I am running an Eric's thermometer. Shots start at 206, then end ~203. Given a ~4 degree temp drop from grouphead to puck, I should be getting 202-199F.

Are you saying I should adjust my grind finer (i.e. more of a ristretto)?

plumbfire01
Posts: 16
Joined: September 30th, 2017

Postby plumbfire01 » Feb 13, 2018, 4:52 pm

Ok so ideally you can go finer for flavor until you Max it out and find bitterness. This is assuming consistently pulled shots are done. Once you get bitterness and can recognize it, back off the fine grind a bit and see how it tastes. This should be Incremental and take some time especially to let temp pop back up on boiler.

brianl
Posts: 1342
Joined: May 28th, 2014

Postby brianl » Feb 13, 2018, 5:16 pm

grinder finer but also dose less. sounds like you did it only once and there was channeling so you gave up? Try it again. Also try a long shot around 35s long.

 
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