Dialing In (Be)for(e) Flow Control

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
PIXIllate

#1: Post by PIXIllate »

As I get more comfortable with my Profitec 600 I'm starting to think about the flow control that I've had since the beginning.

What I'm wondering is where in the process do people who use this regularly do their dialing-in?

Do you start with the FC in a neutral 9-bar position and dial in your 25-30 second grind/shot and then use the FC after that?
Do you dial-in at 9 bar and then take the grinder a little finer before using the FC?
Do you just use one very fine grind setting and let the pre-infusion take care of it?

Plinyyounger
Supporter ♡

#2: Post by Plinyyounger »

That is a great question imo. It did in fact overwhelm me prior to my latest purchase (700) and I didn't order the FC. I look forward to hearing our brethren's responses because like you, this is an avenue I want to travel.

PIXIllate

#3: Post by PIXIllate » replying to Plinyyounger »

Yeah, I'm surprised there isn't more written about this. Perhaps it's just too soon to have any broadly accepted practices. If you watch James Hoffman's Olympia Cremina review along with the Smart Espresso Profiler you can get a sense of what that machine would look like to try to emulate. I love the shots from those machines so that may be something I attempt to mimic with the flow control.

Jeff

#4: Post by Jeff »

Having started to dabble in flow profiling on a DE1, I find that grind and dose change significantly with large changes in early, low-pressure infusion. Based on that, I'd dial-in with the profile (manual or automated) you intend to use.

PIXIllate

#5: Post by PIXIllate » replying to Jeff »

Dial in how? Adjust the grind until you get first drips at (x) seconds? Total shot time?

That is essentially what I'm asking, Time is used to dial in basic grind size for a given coffee.

What is being timed in a flow control shot? For example a Slayer might be 20 seconds to first drip at 2ml/s. I can set my machine to 2ml/second so that would potentially be a way to time that shot to dial in the grind. Don't quote me on these exact parameters as I have not researched this enough.

Another example would be an Olympia Cremina. There you have very low pressure for 10-15 seconds and then it drips and you run the pressure up to 7-8 bar but then almost immediately start a declining pressure until the shot ends. Do I set the grind so I get first drips at 15 seconds at 2ml/second? Or 3ml/second or 4?

And then there is the idea of not mimicking another machine but instead creating a profile that suits particular styles of coffee or preferances.

Has anyone done enough of this to start to be able to generalize cause and effect of particular flow profiles? How are we all to arrive at grind size?

The old 25-30 second window for rough dialing in is gone. What replaces it for that initial grind size dial in?

jrham12

#6: Post by jrham12 »

I'm also just barely scratching the surface of flow control on my E61 so take this all with a big lump of salt! :) I'm also in a unique scenario because my wife uses the machine to make her milk drinks so what I did is dial in our main grinder (Atom 75) with the flow control set in a position to emulate the flow rate of the stock mushroom. That's how it sits most of the time so workflow is the "normal" 2:1 ratio in about 30 seconds...

When I want to play around with flow control, I use my Lido hand grinder to grind a bit finer than normal. One thing I've seemed to note as a common outlook is that when you are doing long pre-infusions or ramping down pressure to match a lever profile, the 30 sec shot target goes out the window. Watch some of the WholeLatteLove videos on youtube where they use different profiles and the two things you watch are the pressure gauge and your scale.

Here are some other resources / ideas:
Check out the first page or so of the Lelit Bianca thread: Lelit Bianca Review
Here's a couple interesting things from Dalla Corte:
https://www.dallacorte.com/en/magazine- ... n-121.html
https://static.wholelattelove.com/PDFs/ ... w+rate.pdf

Hope that helps! I'm still learning right along with you!

Josh

pcrussell50

#7: Post by pcrussell50 »

With coffees that are made better with pre infusion, I start slow... Around 1.5ml/s, then ramp up to whatever target pressure I'm aiming for usually between seven and nine bar, sometimes six if the roaster recommends it, and then taper the pressure and or flow down from there during the final half of the shot. With all the capability and hoopla surrounding flow control, that seems to be most versatile profile for me and my other mates with either Slayers or full blown flow control.

-Peter
LMWDP #553

Jeff

#8: Post by Jeff »

"The old 25-30 second window for rough dialing in is gone. What replaces it for that initial grind size dial in?"

I don't know that this is going to be a satisfying answer, but we're still not at the Star Trek vision of "Computer, make me a killer Kenya espresso."

I'd say, "Whatever your last set of good shots were, adjusted by your guess about the beans and roast."

That's really no different than what it is without a paddle group or flow/pressure control. The 25-35 second guideline is great for beginners that don't have any experience to get close. From there, it's taste and texture of the cup.

There's so much of a range with "espresso" today. Are you talking a ristretto with a brew ratio around 1:1 with a flow rate under 1 ml/s, or a café allongé that runs 70 g at 4-5 ml/s and 6-9 bar?

The first couple minutes of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teSDDFta5G4 are a quick, high-level discussion of extraction and light roasts.

When I start to work with a new coffee, I look at the roaster's notes, if available. I don't have the roaster's exact setup, so I know their notes aren't going to be more than some general guidance. Relative to their other coffees, is it a low or high ratio? is it cool, medium, or hot? I'll look at the roast when I see it as lighter roasts often need finer grinds than medium roasts. Based on that and what I was just pulling, I'll guess as to the changes in grind needed. I'll usually pull back from even an 18 g dose in a VST 18 to 16 g. I'll definitely pull back if I was dosing at 19 g.

Pull a shot. How did it flow; was I way off? How uniform was the extraction, visually? (I've taken to using an old iPhone as a live camera to save my back.) How does it taste? Low-pressure, early infusion or not, the general grind/dose adjustments work pretty much the same. Finer grind, more water contact time, more water flow, higher extraction. More coffee per in-cup weight, generally more concentrated coffee flavors, good or bad.

Once I'm close on grind, I'll decide what to tweak. Didn't like the color or speed of the early drops? Adjust grind or early infusion. Overextracted? Adjust grind or target weight. Try different temperatures. Depends on my mood and patience.

PIXIllate

#9: Post by PIXIllate »

pcrussell50 wrote:With coffees that are made better with pre infusion, I start slow... Around 1.5ml/s, then ramp up to whatever target pressure I'm aiming for usually between seven and nine bar, sometimes six if the roaster recommends it, and then taper the pressure and or flow down from there during the final half of the shot. With all the capability and hoopla surrounding flow control, that seems to be most versatile profile for me and my other mates with either Slayers or full blown flow control.

-Peter

Have you come to any broad conclusions about which coffees are made better with pre-infusion? Which are made worse and are better at a full 9 bar slam?

With the above flow profile (1.5 ml/sec - 6-9 bar - declining to weight out) how do you determine grind size? Do you start with a standard 9 bar shot for dial-in or do you dial in based time to first drops from the 1.5ml/sec pre-infusion?

PIXIllate

#10: Post by PIXIllate »

Jeff wrote: I'd say, "Whatever your last set of good shots were, adjusted by your guess about the beans and roast."
I'm not sure this is an answer to a question. How did you start dialing in your first "good shots"? Did you literally just pull 20 second pre-infusions at 10 different grind setting and blind taste them? Did you start with dialing in a standard non-PI shot and then add the flow profile to that grind setting?
Jeff wrote: There's so much of a range with "espresso" today. Are you talking a ristretto with a brew ratio around 1:1 with a flow rate under 1 ml/s, or a café allongé that runs 70 g at 4-5 ml/s and 6-9 bar?
For the sake of a starting point I think it would be pretty easy to agree on dialing in a 2:1 ratio at least to begin with on a new coffee unless the roaster had clear recommendations otherwise. Does anyone start with a new coffee at 1:1 or 4:1 unless there is a CLEAR indication to do so? You might end up there based on taste or personal preference but I don't think that's a productive way to discuss dialing-in. As it pertains to long PI shots or non-PI shots.
Jeff wrote: When I start to work with a new coffee, I look at the roaster's notes, if available. I don't have the roaster's exact setup, so I know their notes aren't going to be more than some general guidance. Relative to their other coffees, is it a low or high ratio? is it cool, medium, or hot? I'll look at the roast when I see it as lighter roasts often need finer grinds than medium roasts. Based on that and what I was just pulling, I'll guess as to the changes in grind needed. I'll usually pull back from even an 18 g dose in a VST 18 to 16 g. I'll definitely pull back if I was dosing at 19 g.
So does this mean you dial in grind setting based on a non-PI shot starting with roasters recommendations? This is the question I was originally asking.
Jeff wrote: Pull a shot. How did it flow; was I way off? How uniform was the extraction, visually? (I've taken to using an old iPhone as a live camera to save my back.) How does it taste? Low-pressure, early infusion or not, the general grind/dose adjustments work pretty much the same. Finer grind, more water contact time, more water flow, higher extraction. More coffee per in-cup weight, generally more concentrated coffee flavors, good or bad.

Once I'm close on grind, I'll decide what to tweak. Didn't like the color or speed of the early drops? Adjust grind or early infusion. Overextracted? Adjust grind or target weight. Try different temperatures. Depends on my mood and patience.
I think you're trying to give me some good information here but there is little to work with as you don't clearly describe a starting or anchor point.