Can't stop getting an overextracted shot with La Colombe, Nizza

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
Jeeheon

Postby Jeeheon » Jun 06, 2018, 8:15 pm

Gear: Sette 270, Breville Dual Boiler, 22g VST basket

So my usual espresso roasts are blends from places like Bird Rock where they're roasted at the level of a typical third-wave blend and I can pretty easily get a balanced shot from that roast level. I also less frequently get lighter roast single origins. I've never until now tried darker roasts.

Today I bought a bag of Nizza from La Colombe. I've heard good things about this roaster but I was disappointed to find that this roaster doesn't have roast dates printed on the bag, just "sell by" dates... I bought it despite that to try it out. It was supposed to be a "medium" roast but upon opening the bag I found that it's pretty damn dark and oily. Their "medium" is more akin to a Starbucks "medium" than a typical third-wave "medium". I was pretty surprised given how well La Colombe is regarded.

So I've been pulling shot after shot and I just can't get it to balance let alone underextract. I've upped the dose, decreased the yield, lowered water temp, and coarsened my grind to no avail. The point where I quit was this:

24g dose into my 22g basket, a grind coarse enough that it pulls at about 7 bars (way faster than any balanced shot I've pulled), 24g yield, 195 degrees.

What's the deal? I'm at the limit of my basket, at the limit of my coarseness/pressure before it's not even espresso anymore. Should I go less than a 1:1 ratio? Decrease temp even more?

EDIT: Could my VST filter basket be the culprit? I believe the holes in the VST's are bigger than a traditional filter basket to accommodate lighter-roast specialty blends and single origins (so that you can grind fine enough and not block up the machine). Since the holes are wider, they're not letting me grind this espresso coarse enough?

Samcanadian

Postby Samcanadian » Jun 07, 2018, 2:08 pm

Some may point to the Grinder as the problem, but the Sette is more than capable of giving something at least palatable considering all the other variables are locked in.

What's the minimum dose you've tried? You're at a ton of coffee in that basket and I almost wonder if you'd be better off starting over with a smaller amount.

skimmy

Postby skimmy » Jun 07, 2018, 4:04 pm

While i don't have an answer for you... just wanted to chime in that i, too, was surprised at both the lack of a roast date and the degree of roast for a "medium." I received a bag as a gift about a year ago, so gave it a shot even though i don't typically go for something that charred. After not much success dialing in (super coarse or else choked and not much in between), i ended up trying to blend them with other lighter beans before eventually just tossing the rest.

Regardless of roast preference, it's interesting to hear that they are still labeling this line as "medium".

Jeeheon

Postby Jeeheon » Jun 07, 2018, 4:29 pm

Samcanadian wrote:Some may point to the Grinder as the problem, but the Sette is more than capable of giving something at least palatable considering all the other variables are locked in.

What's the minimum dose you've tried? You're at a ton of coffee in that basket and I almost wonder if you'd be better off starting over with a smaller amount.

Smallest I've tried dialing in was 16g.

Jeeheon

Postby Jeeheon » Jun 07, 2018, 4:31 pm

skimmy wrote:While i don't have an answer for you... just wanted to chime in that i, too, was surprised at both the lack of a roast date and the degree of roast for a "medium." I received a bag as a gift about a year ago, so gave it a shot even though i don't typically go for something that charred. After not much success dialing in (super coarse or else choked and not much in between), i ended up trying to blend them with other lighter beans before eventually just tossing the rest.

Regardless of roast preference, it's interesting to hear that they are still labeling this line as "medium".

I know they're well regarded by the specialty coffee community, but given that their cold brew cans and other products are sold across the country, I think they may have mainstreamed a bit - maybe the company is moving in the direction of a higher-end Starbucks.

User avatar
TomC
Team HB

Postby TomC » Jun 08, 2018, 7:34 am

You've already fallen upon the culprit. Set aside your VST basket. Switch to a regular basket (with fewer holes). Cut your dose and grind coarser.

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slybarman

Postby slybarman » Jun 08, 2018, 8:49 am

I have had no problems pulling good shots with Nizza. I do wish they had a roast date on their bags and emailed them to tell them as much. I was pulling an 18g dose in an 18g VST basket. Vario grinder. Perhaps your dose is too high and you don't have enough head space? Try bringing the dose down some.

What other baskets do you have to try?

RyanJE

Postby RyanJE » Jun 08, 2018, 10:01 am

Could just be that you dont like the coffee / roast level. For example, people love Caffe Lusso espressos and i just dont care for them (I want too!) no matter what.

Its just too dark for my tastes.
I drink two shots before I drink two shots, then I drink two more....

BaristaBob

Postby BaristaBob » Jun 08, 2018, 11:39 am

Jeeheon wrote:Gear: Sette 270, Breville Dual Boiler, 22g VST basket

...

So I've been pulling shot after shot and I just can't get it to balance let alone underextract. I've upped the dose, decreased the yield, lowered water temp, and coarsened my grind to no avail. The point where I quit was this:

24g dose into my 22g basket, a grind coarse enough that it pulls at about 7 bars (way faster than any balanced shot I've pulled), 24g yield, 195 degrees.

What's the deal? I'm at the limit of my basket, at the limit of my coarseness/pressure before it's not even espresso anymore. Should I go less than a 1:1 ratio? Decrease temp even more?

EDIT: Could my VST filter basket be the culprit? I believe the holes in the VST's are bigger than a traditional filter basket to accommodate lighter-roast specialty blends and single origins (so that you can grind fine enough and not block up the machine). Since the holes are wider, they're not letting me grind this espresso coarse enough?


Your equipment is fine...BDB and Sette, with VST baskets. I own a BDB and VST baskets, and the Sette is a great grinder. General problem is that dark roasts behave totally different than light roasts. So just to let you know what I do to pull a great shot using dark roast (my only dark is a Kenya AA from a local roaster that even though he calls it med-dark, it's more toward the dark, oily side...but still good for my taste). For dark roast think...lower temp, lower pre-infusion, lower dose, less time, less in the cup.

He are my parameters:
16g to 18g in using 18g VST basket (you need a 18g VST basket...okay to use the Breville baskets they are really good in general)
temp: 198F to 200F
pre-infusion time: 5- 7 sec. at 55% power
30g to 34g in the cup
total time: 25 sec. to 30 sec.

Play within these ranges and report back!
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..."

Jeeheon

Postby Jeeheon » replying to BaristaBob » Jun 11, 2018, 5:52 pm

You're able to adjust your pre-infusion time with your BDB?? Where is that in the menu?