Color and shot timing

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
Greg_R

#1: Post by Greg_R »

Hi all,
I'm new to making espresso and am working on dialing in my equipment and learning the process. My current recipe is 17g in, 33g out in 29sec. I'm able to repeat that +/- 4g with the same timing. The taste is drinkable but not great (a touch sour). Beans are WLL Crema Wave and I'm using a bottomless portafilter double basket.

One thing I noticed is that the first drips are happening in 2-3 seconds and the color is almost immediately blonde. Does this color *always* point to a too-coarse grind, or does it vary by bean? When I try to make the grind finer (1 tick mark on Ceado e37s), I'm getting extraction times of 17-18sec. An 18g dose seemed to be hitting the screen (not tamping hard enough?).

Any thoughts on how I should proceed with adjustments (to recipe or technique)?

Jeff
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

Usually, since everything is, or at least should be, considered for the case in hand as well as if it is merely myth, even with light-roast beans, the first drops I see are dark brown to very dark brown somewhere.

"A touch sour" along with the description of light extraction and rapid blonding suggests to me under-extraction.

Grinding finer but getting shorter extraction times gives some other hints. My guess is that you're "channeling". The water is blowing through weak points in the puck and "ignoring" most of it on the way. There are often two causes of this, uneven puck prep and grinding so fine that you're past the "normal" range.

I'm guessing your prep could use a little tune-up. How are you doing it so far?

Also, which machine do you have? 17 g is a typical dose for most machines with 58 mm baskets, but there are a many out there with different size baskets as well as a handful that have more or less "headspace" than typical.

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BaristaBoy E61

#3: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Try tightening the grind finer so that the 1st drop takes about 6-seconds and see what happens.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

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HB
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#4: Post by HB »

Greg_R wrote:One thing I noticed is that the first drips are happening in 2-3 seconds and the color is almost immediately blonde... The taste is drinkable but not great (a touch sour).
Sounds like stale coffee to me.
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cafeIKE
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#5: Post by cafeIKE » replying to HB »

Ditto

Roast date?
Storage method?

Greg_R (original poster)

#6: Post by Greg_R (original poster) »

Thanks for the tips to far.

Jeff, I'm using a Synchronika. I run some water through the portafilter, then remove and dry it. I weigh out the grind, then use some very fine needles (<0.4mm) in a home-made WDT tool to break up the clumps (this tends to collapse the mound of grinds). I then use an Alsainte distributor/tamping tool to smooth and compress the puck.

>>> Grinding finer but getting shorter extraction times
Sorry, I screwed up the problem description in my 1st post. When I go _slightly_ finer, I get 17-18g out in 29sec. The extraction time would have to be much longer to hit 30g out. I've been keeping my time constant, since I don't have a fast-enough scale to stop it by weight.

HB/cafeIKE: The WLL crema wave doesn't have a roast date on it, so maybe that's it. I will go get some beans with a known roast date and see what happens. My storage method is to keep them in the re-sealable bag until they are used, and even then I just put a little in the hopper (so figure 2-3 days in the hopper as a worst-case scenario). The room is cool and dark.

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cafeIKE
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#7: Post by cafeIKE »

Roasted coffee is good for about 15 days MAX at room temperature regardless of container. Less when it's 120 in Portland...

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Greg_R (original poster)

#8: Post by Greg_R (original poster) »

I was able to get rid of the blonde color by making my grind slightly finer and increasing the dose. First drops are still a little fast (3 seconds)... I'll keep playing with the grind/dose.

Would a dose of 17g versus 18g greatly affect the time to first drops, or is this largely a function of grind and coffee freshness?

Pressino

#9: Post by Pressino »

Are you using a spouted or naked PF? It may be easier to see the true color changes during extraction with a naked PF.

Jeff
Team HB

#10: Post by Jeff »

Greg_R wrote:Would a dose of 17g versus 18g greatly affect the time to first drops, or is this largely a function of grind and coffee freshness?
"#2" -- A 5-6% change in the depth of the bed will change things a bit, but not by, say, a factor of two.

The coffee needs to be fresh to start ("Roasted on" - good, "Best by" - scary) and, for most "espresso" blends, typically somewhere between a week and three weeks after roast. I agree with others that, once opened, you've got something like 10-14 days of "fresh" coffee before it starts to change significantly.