An Even MORE Considered Approach to E61 Flow Control (now with video) - Page 3

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
PIXIllate (original poster)
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#21: Post by PIXIllate (original poster) »

Personally I see almost zero downside to the stock e61 spring and little to no upside to the stiffer one. I guess if you wanted to deliver the fastest, most powerful amount of water in the shortest time then it would be better with the stiffer spring. And I do appreciate the benefit of a fast fill a-la levers but given how manual and sensitive the timing and feel of profiling a shot as I've demonstrated is I think it's a big benefit to have a slightly slower ramp.

I guess at some point I might get bored and finally install the other one but that also makes it much harder for the wife to use once I've gone to work.

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#22: Post by romlee »

Chris: I have to thank you again for posting your video and commentary. It's been enormously helpful and has resulted in my ability to brew much better espresso.

I bought my first E61 machine (Puristika with flow control) 4 months ago. I swapped out the stiff spring for the original spring per your and others recommendations. The slower ramp up in pressure was helpful as I learned how to use the E61 functionality and controls.

I didn't start using flow control until recently and struggled with technique despite the wonderful resources found in the user forums here. Since your machine and mine are both ECMs, using the clearly defined steps was made much easier to follow.

As a new E61-with-flow-control user, I was nearly cross eyed trying to watch pressure, timer and adjust the control valve lever. It was best for me to parse out the sequence initially by keeping a close eye on the group head manometer and moving the lever at the pressure "cues" to reach the targeted shot by weight. After getting better acquainted with pressure sequencing I added timing. No surprise when I found that both pressure and timing values aligned nearly exactly (I think the variance, when there is one, is when I adjust the OPV from 9 to 8 bars or 8 to 9, just to see how the shot is affected).

The overall result has been delicious espresso in the cup using medium-light roasts (Dogma from Paper Plane, Montclair NJ) that my spouse and I like rather than just tolerate (we've been dark roast, traditional Italian comfort espresso drinkers for over 30 years). I think your posts and video have shown us that a good machine with technique and practice can go a long ways.

Thanks again. Well done.
“Be curious, not judgemental.” T. Lasso

PIXIllate (original poster)
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#23: Post by PIXIllate (original poster) »

romlee wrote:Chris: I have to thank you again for posting your video and commentary. It's been enormously helpful and has resulted in my ability to brew much better espresso.

Thanks again. Well done.
You're very welcome and I'm glad this helped someone. To be honest I didn't use the flow control for the first year I had it other than some fooling around.

It wasn't until I started getting a better handle on extraction theory and looking into some of the advancements being made in regards to pre-infusion, flow rate, puck saturation, peak pressure and fill speed that were coming out of the Decent users dataset and traditional levers that I began to formulate a more systematic plan. And even then it took quite a bit of thinking and experimentation with different profiles/knob routines to really get to place that I consider a wholesale improvement for all roast levels.

As I've said none of the ideas behind what I've done are new or mine. What I did was figure out a way to transfer the theory into e61 flow control steps. I've been talking about it for a while but I think the only way to really communicate this kind of thing is with a video.

It's gratifying that this will save someone else the trouble or allow them to use an ignored flow control kit they own out of confusion or frustration.

PIXIllate (original poster)
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#24: Post by PIXIllate (original poster) »

As an additional note, recently in another thread Dick (who only makes singles) pointed out a parameter/distinction that should have been stated by me to begin with:
Peppersass wrote: Another data point is that I tried Chris's method without the soak (I need to do some programming to implement that), and didn't like the resulting shot at all. It seemed over-extracted, so a soak probably would have made it worse. Perhaps the reason is that Chris designed his method for doubles, not singles.
If someone is using this method and runs their shots at 2:1 or beyond (which always taste thin and watery to me) you may want to significantly reduce (or eliminate altogether) the zero flow bloom stage. This would seem to also apply to singles, which is a rabbit hole I have yet to go down.

Pretty much all of my shots are 18g in an 18g VST basket and also (quite importantly) I keep my ratios pretty tight, always falling short of a 2:1. Most commonly I'm aiming for between 32.5-33.3g out which works out to ~1.8:1 ratio.

I have a strong personal preference for intense, concentrated but well extracted shots which is one of the things I like most about my Monolith grinder; it naturally produces high EY% so even when stopping short of a 2:1 ratio I can comfortably get into the 21-23% range. I'm told by people with a Monolith MAX this can be pushed even further with shorter, more intense shots in the 1:1.5 or even 1:1 range that still manage to reach that extraction yield range and beyond. Do I need ANOTHER grinder? Perhaps....

People with grinders that don't produce as even a particle size and as high an extraction yield may be able to make up for some of those shortcoming of the grinder with the extended bloom. On the other hand, a grinder that produces a lot of fines that are then left to soak for an extended period may net you bitter flavors depending on the coffee.

I'd like to encourage people to taste, make notes, reiterate. With patience and a structure to work within better tasting shots are possible when compared to flipping the lever and watching the shot pour.